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Archive for October, 2021

Silver City New Mexico, A Tourist Art Town

October 31st, 2021 No comments

Beautiful Places Along The Road

Art, Architecture, Landscape

New Deal Post Office (1934)

New Deal Post Office (1934) – Abandoned, like Biden abandoned the Green New Deal

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Gila National Forest

Gila National Forest

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The Proof Is In – Biden Is A Climate Fraud

October 29th, 2021 No comments

No Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions In Biden’s “Build Back Better Framework” 

Progressives Fold: What Happened To No Climate – No Deal?

Manchin, Sinema, And Corporate Power Hijack The Future

[Update: 4/17/22 – Biden and the Dems are toast in the mid-terms: (NY Times reports)

The Interior Department said in a statement that it planned next week to auction off leases to drill on 145,000 acres of public lands in nine states. They would be the first new fossil fuel leases to be offered on public lands since President Biden took office.

The move comes as President Biden seeks to show voters that he is working to increase the domestic oil supply as prices surge in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But it also violates a signature campaign pledge made by Mr. Biden as he sought to assure climate activists that he would prioritize reducing the use of fossil fuels.

“And by the way, no more drilling on federal lands, period. Period, period, period,” Mr. Biden told voters in New Hampshire in February 2020. […]

Upon taking office, Mr. Biden issued an executive order calling for a temporary ban on new oil and gas leasing on public lands, which was to remain in place while the Interior Department produced a comprehensive report on the state of the federal oil and gas drilling programs.

[Update 4/6/22 – it’s getting hard to keep track of all the betrayals and rollbacks. This is egregious. Biden is not even trying. NY Times reports about the Clean Water Act Section 401 State Water Quality Certification issue I’ve been trying to get focus on for years:

E.P.A. did not ask the judges to vacate the regulation while it worked on a new one.

[Update 4/1/22 – it’s getting even worse. NY Times reports (and shame on Harvard and Columbia for providing cover):

Biden will tap oil reserve, hoping to push gasoline prices down

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents oil and gas companies, said Mr. Biden ought to encourage domestic oil production by reducing regulations. …

But Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, welcomed the Biden announcement, saying it would “provide much-needed relief while also allowing for the simultaneous ramping up of domestic oil and gas production to backfill Russian energy resources.” …

The administration plans to call on Congress to require companies to produce oil on more than 12 million acres of federal lands that are already permitted for extraction or pay fines, a proposal that will probably face an uphill climb.

[Update: 3/19/22 – The evidence keeps piling up:

[Update: 3/15/22 – as the planet burns and the science gets even more dire, Biden pulls an Obama and is getting WORSE. This is literally insane:

Biden bragged last week, U.S. fossil fuel corporations “pumped more oil during my first year in office than they did during my predecessor’s first year.”

Domestic oil and gas production is “approaching record levels,” said Biden, “and we’re on track to set a record for oil production next year.” The president, who has ordered the release of tens of millions of barrels of oil from the nation’s strategic reserves, argued that any blame for untapped extractive potential should be placed on the shoulders of those who are sitting on millions of acres of federal property.

“They could be drilling right now, yesterday, last week, last year,” Biden said, referring to leaseholders who possess thousands of unused permits.

[More Updates below]

Back in July, after it became absolutely clear that Biden’s Executive Order “pause” on oil & gas leasing on public lands was a sham, I wrote:

The evidence to support that claim is now over-whelming (it’s actually worse than Biden’s approval of Enbridge pipeline and opening 80 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling and asking OPEC and Russia to increase fossil production and expansion of Obama’s “Asian Pivot” with gunboat diplomacy  and warmongering that undermine climate diplomacy with China and embrace of Trump’s bloated record Pentagon budget (the Pentagon is one of the world’s leading GHG emitters) and limping into COP26).

Here are the climate programs in Biden’s “Build Back Better Framework Agreement”:

Investments in Clean Energy and Combatting Climate Change

Clean Energy Tax Credits ($320 billion):

Ten-year expanded tax credits for utility-scale and residential clean energy, transmission and storage, clean passenger and commercial vehicles, and clean energy manufacturing.

Resilience Investments ($105 billion):

Investments and incentives to address extreme weather (wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes, including in forestry, wetlands, and agriculture), legacy pollution in communities, and a Civilian Climate Corps.

Investments and Incentives for Clean Energy Technology, Manufacturing, and Supply Chains ($110 billion):

Targeted incentives to spur new domestic supply chains and technologies, like solar, batteries, and advanced materials, while boosting the competitiveness of existing industries, like steel, cement, and aluminum.

• Clean Energy procurement ($20 billion):

Provide incentives for government to be purchaser of next gen technologies, including long-duration storage, small modular reactors, and clean construction materials.

After Biden:

a) walked away from the “pause” on fossil extraction on public lands (half the loaf of a “keep it in the ground” policy);

b) ignored multi-billion subsidies to fossil fuels;

c) did not not even discuss EPA regulation of GHG emissions; and

[Update 10/30/21: Speaking of EPA regulations! Into the Biden EPA regulatory vacuum, the Supreme Court just intervened:

“It’s a huge deal — and a big surprise,” said Jeff Holmstead, a former EPA assistant administrator and now a partner at Bracewell LLP. The court’s decision to get involved will “almost certainly prevent the Biden administration from moving forward with a new rule to regulate carbon emissions from the power sector. They’ll have to wait to see what the Supreme Court says.”

The Biden administration urged the Supreme Court not to get involved, saying the issues in the case had been overtaken by events because the EPA doesn’t plan to revive the Clean Power Plan.

“This court’s review therefore should await the completion of EPA’s new rulemaking, when any challenge to the new rule will take a more concrete shape,” the administration told the justices.

d) failed to consider establishing a “price on carbon”;

Biden has now abandoned his proposed Clean Energy Performance Program – which was market based and incentives only, not regulatory mandates and thus even weaker than Obama EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Biden’s “clean energy investments” do virtually nothing to assure reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Corporations – their overpaid mangers and wealthy shareholders – and Wall Street love “incentives” (AKA subsidies). There is no guarantee that incentives for renewable energy actually replace fossil power (they might just serve growth in demand). And these public subsidies are not conditioned upon contribution of private corporate money. Why should the public have to pay for what amounts to private infrastructure?

On top of all that, the linked bi-partisan Senate infrastructure bill is a climate disaster.

[Update 10/30/21 – I was aware of the logging crap in the infrastructure bill (and haven’t read the 1,684 page reconciliation bill).

Jeffrey St. Clair flags another provision in reconciliation:

Biden’s reconciliation package looks like a catastrophe for the environment and not just on climate. The new language codifies “collaboration logging” projects on the national forests, providing $14 billion in funding for clearcutting public forests, a destructive bailout of the timber industry, which the timber industry will promptly pocket and then campaign like hell to take Biden down in 2024.

Image 10-30-21 at 8.20 AM~~~ end update]

The progressives have already publicly “enthusiastically endorsed” this framework, so, unfortunately, I can’t urge you to contact them and demand that they stand by their “No Climate – No Deal” pledge.

Perhaps you might want to call or tweet them and tell them what you think about their sellout.

The Democrats’ failure to deliver on climate – plus lots of other promises and very popular “human infrastructure” programs like: paid family leave; Medicare for all, or at least Medicare expansion for vision and dental; negotiated (lower) prices for prescription drugs; living wage (should be $24/hour); mortgage and eviction moratorium; student debt relief; free college; public housing; public transit; redistribution of the $50 trillion stolen by the 1%; abandonment of tax increases for corporations and wealthy; surrender on pro union PRO Act; elimination of the Green New Deal Climate Conservation Corps (CCC); abandoning the abolition of the filibuster; walking away from the voting rights bill;  etc – virtually assure Republicans regain power in ’22 and ’24.

By failure to deliver concrete benefits that improve the daily lives of people – and by dissing progressives and the base – Biden and the Democrats re playing right into the Trumpers hands. There will be little enthusiasm among Democrats and the Trumpers will be able to attack the Weimar “do nothing” Democrats.

Dark times ahead:

Meanwhile, the amateurish “stop the steal” efforts of 2020 have given way to an organized nationwide campaign to ensure that Trump and his supporters will have the control over state and local election officials that they lacked in 2020. Those recalcitrant Republican state officials who effectively saved the country from calamity by refusing to falsely declare fraud or to “find” more votes for Trump are being systematically removed or hounded from office. Republican legislatures are giving themselves greater control over the election certification process. As of this spring, Republicans have proposed or passed measures in at least 16 states that would shift certain election authorities from the purview of the governor, secretary of state or other executive-branch officers to the legislature. An Arizona bill flatly states that the legislature may “revoke the secretary of state’s issuance or certification of a presidential elector’s certificate of election” by a simple majority vote.

I warned of exactly this many times, most recently:

[End Note: Forgot to mention that Biden and his AG allowed the persecution of climate and human rights lawyer Steven Donzinger. Oops, I almost forgot: they are seeking extradition of Julian Assange.]

[Update – 11/16/21 – even more evidence:

Update – 11/12/21 – Heres’ more evidence: (h/t CP)

[Update – 12/6/21: Here’s more:

[Update – 12/15/21: Exactly like Biden’s assurance to Wall Street that “nothing fundamentally will change”, Biden Sect. Energy assures Big Oil that they are not “the bogeyman”:

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Murphy DEP Admits Commitment To Continued Reliance On And Expansion of Fossil Fuels

October 27th, 2021 No comments

DEP Commissioner La Tourette Dismisses Climate Activists At NJ BIA Climate Denial Conference

A Sister Soulja Moment

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(Photo: NJ DEP Commissioner LaTourette (DEP website))

For years, we’ve been trying to warn people that:

1) the Murphy administration’s Energy Master Plan explicitly and actively promotes continued expansion and long term reliance on fossil fuels;

2) the Murphy DEP has done nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and they have no intention of doing so in upcoming climate PACT regulations; and

3) DEP Commissioner LaTourette is a dangerous former corporate and fossil industry lawyer who relies on identity politics for cover. (A human Trojan Horse)

Those warnings have been ignored by NJ climate activists and media, who have instead praised and cheerlead for the Murphy climate record.

Incredibly, we now have the Murphy DEP Commissioner’s own words that confirm our criticisms.

I buried this important quote in my prior post, which focused on the NJ business community’s promotion of the fossil fuels’ industry climate denial propaganda campaign now under investigation by Congress.

So, here is the Murphy DEP Commissioner LaTourette’s own words:

No immediate end to fossil-fuel use

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said he has told advocates pushing to shut down all fossil fuel projects that that is not going to happen anytime soon.

“We need carbon-based fuels to power our economy,’’ LaTourette said. “It is why we don’t see the DEP responding to calls for a fossil fuel moratorium.’’

There is so much that is so wrong with this quote:

1. NJ Spotlight failed to report on a previous DEP rejection of a petition for rulemaking filed by climate activist. For details, see:

2.  Instead of reporting on this very bad and unprecedented DEP decision on the merits when it occurred, NJ Spotlight allowed DEP Commissioner LaTourette, weeks later,  to instead attack climate activists before an audience of climate deniers in the NJ business community.

That is gross cowardice.

It would be like LaTourette speaking before a Christian Nation conference to oppose and dismiss demands by gay rights activists.

What LaTourette did is a classic political tactic now known as a Sister Soulja Moment, whereby political hacks intentionally discredit and marginalize activists as unrealistic “radicals” in order to appear reasonable.

3. But DEP Commissioner LaTourette not only attacked climate activist before a climate denial audience, he factually mis-represented their petition to make them appear radical, unrealistic, and not credible.

Specifically, the climate activists petitioned DEP to : a) stop approving expansion of fossil infrastructure ;and b) stop approvals of pending permit applications for expansion of fossil infrastructure.

Commissioner LaTourette twisted and misrepresented a demand to stop expansion, to a “shut down all fossil fuel projects”.

Obviously, there is a HUGE difference between stopping the expansion of fossil infrastructure and shutting down all current fossil fuel projects.

LaTourette and NJ Spotlight did not accidentally conflate these two issues – they basically misrepresented and lied about them.

4. Here are fossil infrastructure expansion projects the Murphy DEP has already approved and/or are pending projects they have effectively now embraced: (source: petition)

In the last three years, the following projects have been built:

  • Garden State Expansion Project (Bordentown, Chesterfield)
  • Gateway Expansion Project (aka Roseland Compressor Station) (Roseland andPaterson)
  • Rivervale South to Market (Bergen, Hudson Counties and Meadowlands)
  • Lambertville East Expansion (Lambertville)
  • Sewaren 7 PSE&G gas-fired power plant (Woodbridge)

The following major fossil fuel projects are currently in the pipeline and/or pending DEP review:

Pipeline and compressor projects:

  • PennEast Pipeline. On June 29, 2021, the US Supreme Court reversed a Third Circuit ruling and allowed fossil fuel developers to seize state land for this massive pipeline. (Note: recently allegedly cancelled, but no binding decision or documentation)
  • Northeast Supply Enhancement (aka NESE) (Somerset and Middlesex Counties and the Raritan Bay). While New York and New Jersey denied permits for this project last year, Williams/Transco is actively seeking to revive the project and is asking for a two-year extension of their federal approval.
  • Southern Reliability Link (Pinelands). This project remains under construction despite massive leaks and cost overruns.
  • South Jersey Gas pipeline. Even though its original purpose no longer exists, SJG is exploring other options.
  • Expansion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, including expanded/new compressor stations in Wantage and New Milford. (Considered to be 2 projects)
  • Regional Energy Access Pipeline with 3 compressor stations

Gas-fired power plant projects:

  • Phoenix Energy Center (aka Highlands Power Plant) (Holland Township)
  • Keasbey Energy Center (Woodbridge)
  • NJ Transit Meadowlands Power Plant (Kearney). Despite agreeing to rethink the project to build a 140 MW gas-fired power plant and use renewable energy, it is unclear how much renewable energy technology will be used in this project.
  • PVSC power plant (Newark). Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission plans to build an 84 MW gas power plant for operating power when commercial power is not available.

Liquified Natural Gas

• In December 2020, the NJ, PA, DE and Federal members of the Delaware River Basin Commission voted to approve a liquid natural gas (LNG) export port at Gibbstown, NJ. DEP already issued permits for this project

NJ Spotlight and NJ climate activists have allowed LaTourette to get away with this gross abuse.

But we told you so, and for years now.

We’re not happy about being right about this disgusting policy and politics of the Murphy Administration.

And we’re disgusted by the failure by media and activists to tell the truth.

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Climate Denial Is Alive And Well in Blue NJ – And Given A Prominent Platform By NJ Spotlight

October 26th, 2021 No comments

Just 2 Days Before Exxon & Fossil Industry Executives To Testify In Congress About Climate Denial Campaigns

The Murphy DEP’s Sister Souljah Moment

[Update: Pacifica network is live broadcasting the Congressional hearings on 10/28/21. My local station is KPFA, starting at 6 am PST/ 9 am EST.]

Under threat of subpoena, Congress demanded that executives of ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, Shell Oil, the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce testify about their reported efforts to mislead the public about climate change.

That testimony will be presented in 2 days, on Thursday, see:

Congress acted in response to a huge scandal resulting from a sting operation and secret recording of Exxon’s Chief lobbyist. As I wrote:

In an historic sting operation, Exxon’s top DC lobbyists were duped – by Greenpeace UK of all people – into thinking they were talking to job recruiters. Please read this remarkable story and watch all the astonishing Zoom videos here (the expose is called “Unearthed):

The Washington Post wrote an overview of the proliferating national scandal, see:

An Exxon lobbyist thought he was in a job interview. Instead, it was a secretly recorded Zoom call. – 

Ray Cantor, NJ BIA (former DEP official)

Ray Cantor, NJ BIA (former Christie DEP political appointee

So, that’s the context for a controversial climate denying “conference” held by the NJ Business and Industry Association (NJ BIA) last Friday and shamefully reported today by NJ Spotlight.

NJ BIA imported a national fossil industry funded climate denier to attack NJ’s modest – and unimplemented – clean energy goals.

“The perception of crisis and level of alarm often portrayed in the media and by politicians is overblown,’’ Curry said. …

“It’s time to listen to the business, not the politicians and activists,’’ Curry said.

Just who the hell is Curry and the “Climate Forecast Applications Network”?

NJ Spotlight doesn’t tell readers anything about this unknown person and unknown organization who just magically parachuted into New Jersey.

So, here is some background on the climate denying, fossil fuel funded “source”, Judith Curry, the hack that NJ Spotlight provided a huge and unqualified platform to:

Climate scientists criticize her uncertainty-focused spiel for containing elementary mistakes and inflammatory assertions unsupported by evidence. Curry is a regular at Anthony Watts‘ denier blog, as well as Steve McIntyre‘s Climate Audit, another denier site. She has further embarrassed herself (and her university) by using refuted denier talking points and defending the Wegman Report, eventually admitting she hadn’t even read it in the first place.[1] Curry has agreed with Trump’s description of climate change as a “hoax”, writing in 2016 that the UN’s definition of manmade climate change “qualifies as a hoax”.[2]

Yet, NJ Spotlight didn’t tell readers about any of that.

NJ Spotlight presented Curry’s climate denial right up front, and reduced the whole debate to a fact free she said/he said with Murphy BPU President.

This kind of journalism is astonishing – and highly irresponsible – particularly in light of the known fossil industry funded climate denial campaign that is now under investigation by Congress.

But, that’s not all of what was so wrong with NJ Spotlight’s coverage.

NJ Spotlight has written literally dozens of highly misleading stories about the alleged “high costs” of renewable energy, but with absolutely no mention of the benefits, the costs of climate emergency, or the economics of investment in infrastructure (investments are not “costs”, as they have benefits, or internal rates of return). So called “costs” are only relevant in relation to benefits. And all this mis-focus on costs, with no mention of the distribution of costs (equity) or the moral flaws with the entire cost benefit analysis enterprise. And on top of all that, no mention of the billions of dollars in subsidies to fossil energy or the profits of the fossil corporations.

I’ve complained repeatedly to NJ Spotlight co-founder and editor John Mooney about this egregiously misleading journalistic malpractice. He’s refused to even reply.

But, in addition to the NJ BIA climate denial propaganda “conference” and the journalistic malpractice, the Spotlight article did reveal important news. Let me explain:

The NJ media has failed to cover the recent denial by the Murphy DEP of an important regulatory petition by NJ climate activists that would strengthen and accelerate the Murphy’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions goals to reflect current science, and impose a moratorium on new fossil infrastructure.

I think I’m the only one who has written about this, see:

shawn_latourette-newBut instead of reporting that petition denial story critically, NJ Spotlight gave a platform for the Murphy DEP Commissioner to brag about “telling advocates” that a moratorium on new fossil “is not going to happen anytime soon”.

Spotlight even mis-represented a moratorium on new fossil (the actual petition demand) with a “shut down of all fossil projects” or a phase out.

Commissioner LaTourette made this public statement not in an official document, but as he groveled before the NJ BIA climate denier conference.

That’s what’s known as a “Sista Soulja” moment! (Commissioner LaTourette’s a real tough guy, keeping those climate “advocates” in line!).

A Sister Souljah moment is a politician‘s calculated public repudiation of an extremist person, statement, group or position that is perceived to have some association with the politician’s own party.[1]

Here’s Murphy DEP Commissioner’s own words:

No immediate end to fossil-fuel use

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette said he has told advocates pushing to shut down all fossil fuel projects that that is not going to happen anytime soon.

“We need carbon-based fuels to power our economy,’’ LaTourette said. “It is why we don’t see the DEP responding to calls for a fossil fuel moratorium.’’

Get that?

The Murphy DEP Commissioner publicly repudiated climate activists and he did so before a climate denial conference held by fossil funded climate denying hacks and business groups!

Bob Martin, former Christie DEP Commissioner

Bob Martin, former Christie DEP Commissioner

Finally, in the denouement of journalistic malpractice, NJ BIA and NJ Spotlight actually trotted out Gov. Christie’s thoroughly discredited former DEP Commissioner, Bob Martin, for a parting cheap shot:

The cost could run as high as $2.4 trillion based on a study by Princeton University, according to Bob Martin, a former DEP commissioner.

“The costs will be significant,’’ Martin said, although there is increasing private investment in modernizing the grid.

Unbelievable.

Spotlight co-founder and reporter Tom Johnson needs to retire.

Here’s the email I sent NJ Spotlight editor John Mooney:

John – TJ’s story gives extensive quotes to a partisan fossil fuel industry funded climate denier (Judith Curry) –  with no context on who she is or represents or who she is funded by. Look at her bio:

https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Judith_Curry

Curry’s views have been discredited and criticized by scientists.

TJ’s story places her quotes up front and makes them a she said/he said debate with BPU.

This is highly irresponsible journalism, and it comes just 2 days before Exxon and fossil industry executives will testify before Congress about their climate denial strategies.

You must do better.

Wolfe

[Update:

Consider just how brazen this climate denial backlash really is:

The NJ BIA event was held the Friday before President Biden came to NJ on Monday to promote his climate & infrastructure bills. The story was published the day after Biden appeared – AND WITH NO MENTION OF BIDEN!  ~~~ end update]

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US Senator Sinema Blasted At Bisbee Arizona “Private Event” For Corporate Shilling

October 23rd, 2021 No comments

“Corporate Shill” – “Corporate Greed” – Was The Chant Of Protesters8H1A1660

Shill – an accomplice of a hawker, gambler, or swindler who acts as an enthusiastic customer to entice or encourage others.

Sometimes it’s hard to run away from reality and the world is just dumped into your lap.

As I sat drinking beers at the *Old Bisbee Brewing Co.’s lovely outdoor lounge today, a protest emerged right across the street! I could hear their muffled chants, but could not read their signs.

After I confirmed that the protest was against Arizona US Senator Sinema, of course I sprang into action!

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I immediately and unsuccessfully encouraged the twenty something folks drinking beers to do like Thoreau did when he famously replied to his friend Emerson from jail for his “crime” of tax evasion for protesting the Mexican War: “what are you doing out there, and not in here” (e.g. why were these folks not with the protesters). (In reply, most said they were tourists and Air B&B travelers consumed by their cell phones.)

I then literally ran and got my camera.

When I returned to the protest, I learned that Sinema was actually there. It was a “private” wedding of a family of her elite supporters.

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Shortly after I got there, the mom of one either the bride/or the groom came outside to confront the protesters, crying, and begged for the protesters to relent. “It’s their wedding” she cried.

Heres’ what I saw: more photos coming after I can establish a faster connection and upload them:

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[Update: 10/24/21 – Slightly faster connection this morning, which I don’t expect to last. More pics:

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