With the continued Benghazi investigation, IRS political targeting and DOJ press surveillance, could a scandal at the EPA be the next shoe to droop for the Obama administration?
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) been closely following the EPA’s misuse of private communication to conduct public business, and fees the agency has placed on conservative groups seeking information that they usual waive for media and watchdog groups. After successfully gaining access to former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson’s emails, CEI is now suing to gain access to the text messages of Gina McCarthy, the senior EPA official the President has nominated to now run the agency.
CEI’s Chris Horner joined “Wilkow” Thursday to discuss his organization’s request to access text messages sent by Jackson and McCarthy, and what they’re looking for.
“Where are these text messages? Are they really engaging in serial, coordinated, systematic document destruction in violation of criminal law?” he asked. “Because I have an affidavit in one of my lawsuits from NASA admitting that they are. OK, so this is not far-fetched, this is rather near-fetched.”
Horner noted that McCarthy is being promoted to an “enormous budget” and “enormous responsibility” and there are questions that need to be answered.
Barack Obama condemned the IRS scandal earlier this week saying,
“I have got not patience for it… I first learned about this from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this.”
But now we know… The Obama administration knew about the IRS targeting scandal in June 2012 – before the November elections.
The New York Times reported:
The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was auditing the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year.
At the first Congressional hearing into the I.R.S. scandal, J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that he informed the Treasury’s general counsel of his audit on June 4, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly thereafter.”
It remained unclear how much the disclosure would affect the broader debate over the I.R.S.’s problems. Complaints from Tea Party groups that the I.R.S. was singling them out became public in 2012, through media accounts.
Mr. George told Treasury officials about the allegation as part of a routine briefing about ongoing audits he would be conducting in the coming year, and he did not tell the officials of his conclusions that the targeting had been improper, he said.
On the heels of Maryland’s decision to enact tough new gun laws, the ironically nicknamed state (the “Free State”) will now impose a so-called “rain tax” on its residents.
The “storm management fee,” passed by the state legislature in 2012, will go into effect following a decree from Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley.
But first, a little background [via the The Gazette]:
In 2010 the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency ordered Maryland to reduce stormwater runoff into the Chesapeake Bay so that nitrogen levels fall 22 percent and phosphorus falls 15 percent from current amounts. The price tag: $14.8 billion.
And where do we get the $14.8 billion? By taxing so-called “impervious surfaces,” anything that prevents rain water from seeping into the earth (roofs, driveways, patios, sidewalks, etc.) thereby causing stormwater run off. In other words, a rain tax.
The EPA ordered Maryland to raise the money (an unfunded mandate), Maryland ordered its 10 largest counties to raise the money (another unfunded mandate) and, now, each of those counties is putting a local rain tax in place by July 1.
The 10 areas affected by the “rain tax” include Montgomery, Prince George’s, Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll, Hartford, Charles, Frederick, Baltimore counties, and Baltimore city.
“Fees will be calculated on the surface area of properties as the theory is that roofs, driveways and carparks create more potential for drainage problems and water contamination,” Metro explains. “Councils are supposed to determine how much to charge per square foot, but the fee depends on the size of the building and surrounding paved surfaces.”
Lost in the kabuki-dance drama of last week’s budget showdown were immensely important votes in the Senate and House on the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to govern through regulation. In the House, 19 Democrats joined the Republican majority in a decisive 255-172 vote to defund the EPA’s attempt to circumvent Congress and begin its own cap-and-trade program.
The measure was introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan. A companion measure introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jim Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who is the ranking minority member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, fell just short of the votes needed for passage, despite support from three Democrats.
Supporters of the EPA effort should think twice before cheering the outcome of the Senate vote because, while the regulatory initiative is safe for now, the prospects for its long-term survival are dim, prompting Politico to headline a recent story, “EPA holds on for dear life.” The reason the outlook is so grim for the EPA on this issue is the fact that a growing number of congressional Democrats have had enough of being threatened by executive branch political appointees.
The threats started in 2009 when EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson warned that her agency would move with a regulatory version of cap and trade if Congress failed to approve President Obama’s legislative version of the program. Predictably, the House, led then by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, approved the Obama bill by a wide margin. But things stalled in the Senate prior to the 2010 midterm congressional election. When Democratic Senate candidate Joe Manchin of West Virginia won election after running a well-publicized TV spot featuring him putting a bullet from a high-powered rifle through a target labeled “cap and trade,” Jackson moved to make good on her threat.
First I want to say I am proud to be part of the U.S.Constitutional Free Press they are doing a great job keeping the American people informed about anything that the are not getting fom other media sources keep up the great work everyone
First I want to say I am proud to be part of the The U.S. Constittional Free Press, they are doing a great job. Keeping the American people informed about anything that they are not getting from other media sources. Keep up the great workeveryone.
Lets start with BP British Petroluim it has come out in the last couple of days, that a new estimated amount of oil being poured into the waters of the Gulf. They are saying 30 to 60 thousand Gallons a day is spilling in the ocean, which equels making an Exxon Valdes every 5 days. We are now on day 59 of this massive leak of oil,
BP is an 80 Billion dollar company, and this spill could exceed the value of the company. In Europe they are saying that BP could have to file for Bankruptcy before the well is capped. just this week they are saying that BP could spend 81 Billion dollars to just clean up this oil in the Gulf. Thats not even touching on the amount of money that will make the people of the affected area of the Gulf made whole. The Macondo well is spilling about 2.50 Million Gallons per day into the Gulf.
Today it came out the President of the USA gave Mr George Soro’s own oil company the one he owns 80 percent of in Brazil 2 Million Dollars, Mr Soro’s has 80 Billion dollars in an oil company so whats the 2 Million Dollars for well its for drilling in the Deep waters of of Brazil for oil. Mr Soro’s has been one of President Obama’s advisors on this oil spill.
This week an new Fund was started for the people affected by the oil spill in the Gulf, and its being headed up by Kenneth Feinberg. Yes the same Gentleman that headed up the 911 fund, money was miss handled Mr Obama chose Mr Feinberg he said for his fine work with 911 fund. more to come about BP .
Now onto Information about the stock Market this last 2 weeks. This week California that they have a zero cash flow, just by saying that they are saying they are broke. What will happen next is that we have to bail them out, so here is what I say to CA inadvance of their request for a loan. Tighten your wallets, pay off your bills, use the tenth Admendment of the state Constitution. Alot of the state spending is their fault, the rest of it is the federal Governments Fault. So CA get some guts to tell the Federal Government to keep their Mandates, next go through all of your monthy bills, pick all the important ones pay for those. And get rid of all of the waste and fruad and abbuse. There are at least 16 other states in the same boat, and that boat is about to sink into an never ending sea of constant. Debt I say that you need a realistic Budget. There are 22 other states that are in so bad a shape that they will be cutting back on retirement benifits for their state employees, not suprised that Idaho is one of those 22 States in Dire straits.
There is someone that could teach you how to stay within your means. I have no debt other then my land, which will be paid of in about the next 1 year and half. My house is not finished, why becuase I have not gotten a loan to pay for the supplies to finish it but it is getting done.
this next couple of weeks I will finaly have a closet, to put clothes in. I have been living out of a suitcase for the 12 years, I have lived here. Now before all of you yell at my husband, for me not having closets. Dave is a hard working man, he does a lot of honey do’s arround here. He tried to get the closets done while I was on my Mothersday vacation. I just got back before they were done lol. Anyways back to what I was saying about being Debt free. We dont spend money we dont have. We save up for everything we want, I am putting a business together piece by piece. I save up for awhile spend some on the things I need for my business, then I save up some more. I am not like the Government can’t borrow money, or print my own money. So I have to live within my means. I feel its way past the time the States get there act together.
This week Greece has been downgraded to BA1 statice which is junkBond statice , and next week france will have their rating lowered to AA statice from AAA the rating. Are done by Moody’s and this week I found out whom owns most of Moody’s. This week I Found out that Moody’s is owned by Halliburtan and they are owned by Warren Buffett owns stock in both Halliburtan and Moody’s. well I will end this blog for today and will write my next blog on http://NewsFreePress.wordpress.com I should have a blog there in about 24 hours from now have a great day.
Tonight I will co host News Free Kooskia Idaho at this link http://www.blogtalkradio.com/News-Free-Kooskia-ID tonights show airs at 9pm Pacific and 10pm Mountain and 11pm Central and 12am Eastern time zones Tonight is our Thrsday night Ham Radio show with Dave Brainerd wb6dhw
Tuesday night, following a tour of the Gulf Coast area, the President of the United States addressed the nation regarding the state of the BP oil spill. In his speech from the Oval Office, President Obama spoke regarding our nation’s dependence upon oil and how we need to break that dependence.
During his speech, the President made a statement that was blatantly false. The President noted, “We consume more than 20% of the world’s oil, but have less than 2% of the world’s oil reserve. And that’s part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean — because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water.”
We are not running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water. In fact, it is due to the President’s party of extreme environmentalists that BP had to drill some 40 miles from the coastline in deep waters to extract oil. Imagine if this oil leak had happened in the shallow waters off of the East Coast or even, dare we say it, in the pristine ANWR region. How much easier it would have been to cap the leak and clean up the oil.
Consider our nation’s vast oil reserve resources that are currently unavailable for use due to government ownership of the land or outright bans on drilling in certain areas.
According to a June 2008 article in Kiplinger Magazine, the United States has enough oil reserves to power the nation for upwards of three centuries. That’s three-hundred years, Mr. President. We are not running out of oil reserves, it’s just that those oil reserves have been declared off limits due to decades of environmental lobbying of our politicians, especially those on the Left. This lobbying has driven the likes of BP and others out deep into the Gulf of Mexico to extract the nation’s needed oil.
Note the following statement from the article:
“…untapped reserves are estimated at about 2.3 trillion barrels, nearly three times more than the reserves held by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC) and sufficient to meet 300 years of demand-at today’s levels-for auto, aircraft, heating and industrial fuel, without importing a single barrel of oil.”
Think about that. The nations that currently hold us hostage by their massive oil production actually have far less reserves than our own nation. Put another way, some of the very nations in which we are dependent upon oil are also the same nations that help to sponsor worldwide terrorism. Were we to extract our own oil, it would make our nation and the world a safer place. But, isn’t a spotted owl more important than the safety of the world?
Among the areas the article mentions are the oil shale located underneath land in Colorado, Wyoming, and in Utah. These lands are federally protected, but they alone could provide about 200 years worth of oil for the nation. Others mentioned include oil reserves located under Montana and some reserves located on protected lands in Texas, California, Utah, and Kentucky.
In fact, our own government has acknowledged the vast oil resources available to us. In an April 2008 study conducted by the United States Geological Survey, the group began its press release with the following, “North Dakota and Montana have an estimated 3.0 to 4.3 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil in an area known as the Bakken Formation.”
The report acknowledges that the available oil reserves could be much larger, but the 3.0 to 4.3 billion figure represents oil recoverable right now with today’s technology. In fact, there may more than 100 billion barrels eventually recoverable with continued developments in the technology necessary to extract the oil.
Then there is the most famous government-blocked area of oil reserves, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuges (ANWR). With 10 billion barrels available, ANWR is the most accessible of the major untapped oil reserve locations in the United States and claims are that this oil could be extracted in a way that would have minimal negative environmental impact.
Yet, with all of these resources, here we sit, importing oil at a feverish pace and a significant portion of it from our enemies and those who support terrorist organizations around the world. And, here we sit watching oil float towards our shores through unnecessary deep-water drilling when we could be drilling on dry land.
Yes, the President is correct when he calls for the need to use more alternative energy sources. Some of these may, in the long-term, actually be more efficient than the use of oil and be more readily accessible. However, until then we would be wise to tap our God-given resources in the safest of areas first before we go drilling more than a mile beneath the ocean for the same fuel that is available on dry land.
Therefore, if we’re tossing all the blame towards BP for this catastrophic oil spill then we’re ignoring other perpetrators. The reason BP and other oil companies are drilling 40+ miles off the shoreline and more than a mile deep is because of the stranglehold that environmentalists have held on politicians and their resulting energy policies for decades.
Let’s use some common sense. Drill first on land, then in water. It’s really not that difficult.
President Obama tried Tuesday night in his Oval Office speech to rally the nation behind his efforts to tackle the Gulf oil spill, but by also highlighting his energy agenda, he set off reaction on Capitol Hill that could risk turning the disaster into a political football.
Obama, trying to take control of a crisis that has slowly eroded support for his administration, pointed to the relief efforts already under way and said the government would hold BP responsible. But later in his 18-minute speech, he turned his focus to the need to “seriously tackle our addiction to fossil fuels.”
“We can’t afford not to change how we produce and use energy, because the long-term costs to our economy, our national security, and our environment are far greater,” Obama said in the first Oval Office address of his presidency.
The speech came 57 days after the April 20 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 workers and sparked the crisis, in which millions of gallons of oil already have spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The speech also served as a prelude to Obama’s meeting Wednesday with BP executives at the White House.
Republicans accused the president for using the oil spill to push his legislative agenda.
Obama: ‘We Will Make BP Pay for Its Recklessness’
Transcript of Obama’s First Oval Office Speech
FACT CHECK: Obama Inflates Hopes in Spill Recovery
“Instead of leveraging this crisis to manufacture knee-jerk political support for cap-and-trade energy taxes, President Obama should focus on providing the people of the Gulf with real and honest solutions to this horrible environmental disaster that this administration has been slow in waking up to,” Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said in a written statement.
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., said Obama “is trying to exploit this disaster to pass his national energy tax.”
“Stop exploiting this disaster to pass this cap-and-trade tax,” he said.
The congressman was referring to the “cap-and-trade” legislation that Democrats have been trying to push through Congress since last year. After the House approved a version of the bill last June, the Senate has been sitting on the proposal while other issues like health care and financial regulation moved to the front of the legislative line.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., praised Obama’s comments on his energy agenda.
“I firmly believe that a diverse energy strategy will help our nation reduce pollution, create millions of clean energy jobs that can never be out-sourced and lower our dependence on oil,” Reid said in a written statement. President Obama presented a path to energy independence in his speech tonight that strengthens our economy and protects our environment.”
In his speech, Obama called on all Americans to contribute to “a new future that will benefit all of us.”
“As we recover from this recession, the transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of good, middle-class jobs, but only if we accelerate that transition,” Obama said. “Only if we seize the moment. And only if we rally together and act as one nation — workers and entrepreneurs; scientists and citizens; the public and private sectors.”
Reid said he looks forward to passing a bipartisan energy bill this year.
“This legislation can only be passed if Republicans decide to work with us and demonstrate that they share our serious commitment to building a 21st century energy strategy for America,” he said.
But Republicans were outraged that climate change legislation would be discussed in the same breath as the Gulf oil crisis.
“Never has a mission statement fit an administration as perfectly as Rahm Emanuel’s ‘never allow a crisis to go to waste.’ Climate change policy is important, but first things first,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, describing the energy bill as a tax on everyone that would “do nothing” to stop the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Somehow he thinks he can use the tragedy in the Gulf as a reason to pass cap-and-trade,” said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. “There is no relationship between the oil spill and cap-and-trade.”
The climate bill most likely to pass the Senate is one sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and John Kerry, D-Mass. They said on Tuesday that their bill will save energy and create jobs.
“It will create 440,000 additional jobs annually through 2020 and 540,000 additional jobs through 2030,” Kerry said.
Lieberman said one analysis shows the plan would save 2 million barrels of oil a day by 2030 — in part by getting heavy trucks to run on natural gas. He said that inaction at this point would lead to sustained dependence on oil and “risk repetition of what’s happening in the Gulf today.”
But critics are extremely skeptical about both claims. Previous assessments of cap-and-trade bills warned of job losses, and analysts say savings in oil are hard to come by:
“In automobiles, at least in the short run, next 10 years or so, it’s very difficult to switch from one energy source to another,” said David Kreutzer, research fellow for energy economics and climate change with the Heritage Foundation. He said the climate legislation and its mandate to cut emissions would end up hurting the country’s coal industry “dramatically.”
Buried deep inside a federal newsletter on March 16 was something called a “notice of solicitation of comments” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the Department of Labor.
“BLS is responsible for developing and implementing the collection of new data on green jobs,” said the note in the Federal Register, which is widely read by government bureaucrats and almost never seen by the general public. But the notice said there is “no widely accepted standard definition of ‘green jobs.'” To help find that definition, the Labor Department asked that readers send in suggestions.
The notice came only after the department scoured studies from government, academia, and business in search of a definition. “The common thread through the studies and discussions is that green jobs are jobs related to preserving or restoring the environment,” the notice said. Duh! Beyond that, a precise definition has eluded Labor Department officials.
On Capitol Hill, a staffer for Sen. Charles Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, was poring through the Federal Register and spotted the note. Then he went to the Department of Labor Web site, where he found a number of announcements like these:
** U.S. Department of Labor Announces $100 Million in Green Jobs Training through Recovery Act
** U.S. Department of Labor Announces $150 Million in “Pathways Out of Poverty” Training Grants for Green Jobs
** U.S. Department of Labor Announces Nearly $190 Million in State Energy Sector Partnership and Training Grants for Green Jobs
In the staffer’s mind, two and two came together. The Labor Department is shoving money out the door for “green jobs,” yet at the same time is admitting it doesn’t know what a “green job” is.
Cue Grassley, a longtime watchdog of funny business in the federal bureaucracy. In a June 2 letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Grassley noted that there was an enormous amount of money in the $862 billion stimulus bill for those still-undefined green jobs.
“According to the administration, the Recovery Act contains more than $80 billion in clean energy funding to promote economic recovery and develop clean energy jobs,” Grassley wrote. “However, it has come to my attention that the [Labor Department] is just now attempting to define what a ‘green job’ is. Interestingly, this comes more than a year after the Recovery Act was signed into law and after millions of dollars in funding have already been distributed for green jobs.”
Since the Labor Department is looking for a definition after spending hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on green jobs, Grassley asked, then what definition of green jobs did it use when it spent the money? The question applies beyond the Labor Department. What about all the other government agencies that are spending zillions on green jobs? They don’t have a widely accepted definition either.
Grassley voted against the stimulus. But since it passed, he wants to hold the administration accountable for the money. “This inquiry is a measure of oversight to make sure the money is spent the way supporters of the legislation said it would be spent,” he says. “I’m asking how the administration is distributing the money for what it said would go to clean energy jobs. If the criteria were too broad or poorly defined, the money might be going for other kinds of spending.”
So far, the Labor Department has not yet responded to Grassley, and a spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile, even as it searches for the definition of a green job, the Labor Department is assuring Congress that everything is going gangbusters on the green job front. “The demand for green job training opportunities is enormous,” Solis told a Senate committee in March, adding that the Labor Department had by that time already spent $500 million on green jobs, with more to come. “The department has been unable to keep pace with the record number of applications for grants.”
Last year, Republicans complained that the Obama administration planned to spend billions on an ill-defined concept of green jobs. Now, billions have been spent, and many more will be spent, and the administration still can’t tell you what a green job is. Just look at the Federal Register.
President Obama says he values accountability. How about accounting for those green job billions?
Last year, the EPA announced an enormous power grab on global warming, far exceeding its constitutional authority by rewriting the Clean Air Act and essentially threatening Congress to legislate with the threat of blunt force trauma to the economy. This blatant move annoyed one of the more moderate Republican Senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, so much that she announced a resolution to have the EPA’s move disapproved by Congress. The vote is today, and it’s going to be close. If Sen. Murkowski wins, it will send a clear signal to the Administration and its allies in the green movement that they can’t get away with such shenanigans. It’s essential that she does.
The EPA’s move followed the quixotic decision of the Supreme Court in the case Massachusetts v. EPA to decide that the Clean Air Act, passed in 1970, was intended by Congress to deal with the problem of increasing concentrations of Carbon Dioxide as well as more traditionally regarded air pollutants. The ruling allowed the EPA to regulate fossil fuel emissions. President Obama’s EPA jumped at this opportunity, but was faced with a problem.
The plain language of the Clean Air Act would apply the regulations to anyone who emits more than 250 tons of CO2 in a year. That means fast food franchises, apartment buildings. and hospitals would be subject to regulations aimed at clamping down on pollution from large industrial facilities. Even the EPA recognized the absurdity of this result. It took it upon itself to rewrite the law, saying that what the Clean Air Act meant in this case was 25,000 tons, not 250, and issued what it called a “tailoring rule” to this effect. This represents a significant assault on the principle of separation of powers.
The interesting thing is that everyone agrees that the EPA regulations are potentially disastrous. For example, Democratic Senator John D. Rockefeller (WV) has said that “EPA regulation will have an enormous impact on the economic security of West Virginia and our energy future.” His colleague Mark Begich of Alaska seemed to agree, saying, “I believe that the EPA’s enforcement of the endangerment finding would be clumsier and less targeted than if Congress were to act.”
Yet Sen. Begich and many of his colleagues seem to think that the threat of EPA action is a good thing, with him continuing on to say, “We need a comprehensive energy plan and if this keeps the fire under these guys to get something major done, I’m all for it.” In other words, he’s all for the EPA usurping Congressional authority if it forces Congress to pass something he’s in favor of, which leads one to wonder if he’d be so in favor of agency overreach in an area where he didn’t approve of the action.
It was exactly this overreach that led Sen. Murkowski to propose her resolution to disapprove the finding on which the EPA based its power grab, a finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare. Such a ruling, made under the provisions of the Congressional Review Act, would simply overturn the “legal force and effect” of the finding, and not the reasoning or conclusions. There are plenty of Senators wholly convinced of the reality of man-made global warming who are preparing to vote for the resolution.
Sen. Rockefeller and several of his more realistic Democratic colleagues have said they will support the resolution, which only requires 51 votes to pass. President Obama has already said he will veto the resolution should it pass both Houses, but a vote in favor would still send a strong signal to the Administration — and the Courts — about Congressional intent in this area. The vote is on the knife-edge.
Who could be the hero that puts the vote tally over the top? Senator Byrd of West Virginia has often voted in favor of sensible energy policy in the past and could join his colleague Sen. Rockefeller in voting for his state against his President, for which he would be owed many thanks. Yet even his vote might not guarantee approval.
Step forward Senator Scott Brown (R-MA). He has been on the fence on the issue, probably because of his state’s role in the underlying court case. But during his election campaign, he said the following:
“I just want to make sure if in fact… the earth is heating up, that we have accurate information, and it’s unbiased by scientists with no agenda. Once that’s done, then I think we can really move forward with a good plan.”
The EPA made its decision before Climategate or any of the other recent scandals that have revealed how politicized climate science has become. If Sen. Brown wants the really good plan he said he did, he should vote for the motion so that neither the EPA nor Congress takes precipitate, job-destroying action based on shaky science.
Given the bipartisan support for the resolution, it would be appropriate for Sen. Brown, unapologetic truck driver that he is, to cast his vote in favor. If he does so, he will have saved the nation from EPA’s regulatory anti-stimulus, and upheld an important constitutional principle to boot.