Archive for August, 2009

GE seeks support for GE-minded politicians

August 19, 2009

General Electric’s political action committee (GEPAC) issued the following letter to GE employees soliciting contributions so that it can support politicians who make money for the company, including with respect to the Waxman-Markey climate bill, financial services reform and military spending.

The e-mail (below) was apparently sent today by John Rice, the CEO of GE Technology Infrastructure:

Dear Colleagues:

I would like to invite you to join me in an important initiative available to GE leaders — the GE Political Action Committee (GEPAC). This year, Senior Professional Band (SPB) employees will have the choice to join other eligible employees to become members of GEPAC.

The intersection between GE’s interests and government action is clearer than ever. GEPAC is an important tool that enables GE employees to collectively help support candidates who share the values and goals of GE. While we must continue to engage elected officials to help them better understand our various businesses and how legislation affects our Company and our customers, we must also make sure that candidates who share GE’s values and goals get elected to office.

Our Company is heavily impacted by a number of issues pending in Washington this fall. For example, we are working hard to ensure that financial services reform includes provisions, which provide important new safeguards over the financial system, while allowing GE Capital to continue to be a vital source of lending to small and mid-market businesses in the United States and around the world. In recent weeks, we have made great strides towards convincing key lawmakers that GE Capital should remain a part of the General Electric Company.

On climate change, we were able to work closely with key authors of the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill, recently passed by the House of Representatives. If this bill is enacted into law it would benefit many GE businesses. We are continuing our efforts to make certain that a final bill includes provisions to ensure the United States maintains its leading position in the renewable energy industry, which is an industry sector of vital importance to the future of GE.

And the issue with the most activity out of our Washington, D.C. Government Relations office this month is the Joint Strike Fighter/F136 Engine. GE is working relentlessly to ensure funding for F136 Engine, which is a critically important program for GE Aviation.

I hope that you will take a minute to learn more about GEPAC and read through the attached FAQs. Passion, optimism, and the will to win are mandatory in any GE leader. Please understand, participation in the GEPAC is not mandatory. Participation is purely voluntary.

Thank you for all your efforts and for learning more about GEPAC. Please be on the lookout for further communications this summer.

John

While there’s nothing wrong with businesses lobbying, it’s pretty gross that GE’s profits depend so much the “intersection” of GE’s interests with government action and on lobbying as opposed to innovation. Moreover, the Waxman-Markey bill is nothing short of anti-American.

But such as the depths to which CEO Jeff Immelt has taken the company. Immelt has overseen the destruction of two-thirds of GE’s shareholder value. He only survives as CEO because his other board members are afraid of firing a colleague who shares a symbiotic relationship with President Obama.

What would Thomas Edison say?

Florida feels green chokehold on energy

August 18, 2009

Florida Power & Light is seeking permission from the state Public Service Commission to raise electricity rates by 30% starting on Jan. 1, reports Greenwire. FPL says that the existing system is maxed out and demand is growing.

So why is the system maxed out? It may have something to do with green activist groups who are blocking electricity production in Florida.

The Everglades chapter of Earth First! issued a media release on February 19, 2008, that stated in part:

Early Monday morning dozens of concerned community members from Palm Beach County and all over the nation put their bodies on the line to halt construction of FPL’s West County Energy Center (WCEC), demanding energy efficiency, truly clean, renewable energy and a moratorium on development in south Florida. Everglades Earth First! blocked the main entrance to the WCEC site, a proposed massive 3800 MW gas-fired power plant that would emit 12 million tons of CO2, a leading greenhouse gas, every year. The plant is currently under construction despite ongoing legal challenges to the plant’s needed permits and certification, which have been spearheaded by the local Palm Beach County Environmental Coalition.

A dozen activists locked themselves together through metal pipes as 200 supporters rallied around them. The blockade stopped work on the construction site for six hours before a total of 27 people were arrested.

This confrontational action was taken to protect the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge which sits 1000 ft from the power plant site and to protect the larger Everglades system. Restoration would be undermined by new development that the power plant is expected to encourage in the area. The civil disobedience action also aims to protect the entire planet from the destructive effects of climate change caused by power plant emissions.

We just don’t need this plant,” said Lynne Purvis, an activist with Everglades Earth First! who was born and raised in the Loxahatchee area. “I’m not willing to threaten the integrity of the Loxahatchee, one of the last large, intact pieces of northern Everglades, so that people can fuel their greedy energy desires.”

Purvis says that the Everglades Earth First! group intends to continue a sustained campaign of direct action against this power plant and its adjacent gas pipeline.

The green/energy issue will take on heightened importance now that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is launching a campaign to replace retiring Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL). Crist has supported climate change legislation in the past. But the greens are now concerned that Crist may move to the right in order to gain the Senate seat. Our guess is that if Crist is shifting positions, it is just an expediency to win Martinez’s seat.

Florida voters should demand that Crist explain himself on green issues. Otherwise they face even greater energy price hikes in the future.

Ohio’s Green Hell: JunkScience.com launches job loss awareness campaign

August 18, 2009

BoccieriFront

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — JunkScience.com today announced a “Save Ohio Jobs” campaign to educate Ohio voters about steep job losses that may be caused by the Waxman-Markey energy tax bill.

“A recent study by the Heritage Foundation estimates that Ohio may lose an average of 46,000 jobs annually between the years 2012-2035 if Waxman-Markey bill is enacted into law,” said JunkScience.com publisher Steve Milloy. “Unless Ohio wants to experience this kind of unemployment, Ohio voters must make their voices heard by their representatives in Congress.”

Ohio congressman who voted for Waxman-Markey and against jobs in Ohio in June include: Rep. John Boccieri (OH-16), Rep. Steve Driehaus (OH-1), Rep. Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15), Timothy Ryan (OH-17), Zack Space (OH-18), and Betty Sutton (OH-13).

Ohio Senators who may be voting on the Waxman-Markey bill this fall include Sen. Sherrod Brown and Sen. George Voinovich.

“Our on-the-ground campaign will encourage Ohio voters to express their outrage to these politicians about Waxman-Markey,” said Milloy. “Not only would Waxman-Markey send Ohio jobs overseas to places like China, India and Mexico, but the bill would force Ohioans to pay more for energy, including an almost doubling of monthly electric bills,” Milloy added.

Ironically, the Waxman-Markey will accomplish nothing for the environment since, along with jobs, Ohio will simply be outsourcing its greenhouse gas emissions to China, India and Mexico.

“Even if you believe in the junk science-fueled notion that manmade emissions of greenhouse gases are altering global climate, this bill doesn’t reduce emissions so much as it merely shifts them to other parts of the world — especially since China and India have vowed not to commit to binding emissions limits,” Milloy said. “A further irony is that, to the extent Waxman-Markey makes the state poorer, Ohio’s environment will suffer since environmental protection is expensive,” Milloy added.

“Waxman-Markey is all pain and no gain for Ohio,” Milloy says.

This campaign will be paid for by JunkScience.com and will feature Milloy’s new book, the Amazon.com Best Seller, “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.”

BoccieriBack

Click here for images of the postcards Ohio citizens sent to Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. John Boccieri.

Click here for the news release.

Bird lives worth more than military lives?

August 17, 2009

ExxonMobil pled guilty to killing about 85 protected waterfowl, hawks and owls in five states over the past five years. The birds died from exposure to  the company’s natural gas well reserve pits and waste water storage facilities.

Exxon has already spent $2.5 million safeguarding its facilities and is being fined an additional $600,000 — a total of $3.1 million for 85 bird deaths. That works out to about $36,470 per bird death.

Let’s put this in some perspective.

The “death gratuity,” as the U.S. military calls it, is only $12,420 for active duty personnel, jumping up to $100,000 for combat-related deaths.

Poultry give their lives to feed us for about $2 per pound — chickens and turkey existing at a level far below their “protected” bretheren.

There’s something very wrong about a society that values some dead birds on a par with dead soldiers — not to mention a Department of Justice that actually spends time and taxpayer money prosecuting the deaths of 85 birds.

Spector will vote to doom Pennsylvania

August 17, 2009

Sen. Arlen Spector (D-PA) said last week that he would vote for cloture on climate legislation, thereby allowing a bill to move to a simple majority vote for passage, according to Greenwire.

The odd thing, of course, is that there is no Senate bill yet.

If Spector’s cloture commitment represents his sentiments on the House-passed Waxman-Markey, woe is Pennsylvania.

The Heritage Foundation says that Pennsylavnia stands to lose an average of 46,762 jobs per year between 2012-2035 and Pennsylvania familes stand to lose and average of $4,888 per year during that period if the House-passed Waxman-Markey bill is enacted into law.

Vichy Oil

August 17, 2009

Greenpeace recently leaked a memo from the American Petroleum Institute discussing the trade group’s involvement with so-called “Energy Citizen” rallies against Waxman-Markey. Greenpeace likens these grassroots efforts to “astroturf.”

The problem with API — aside from failure to keep its communications confidential — is not that it is funding grassroots rallies against Waxman-Markey. We are for anybody that opposes the bill and would welcome their support with open arms.

The group’s real problem is that, while it opposes Waxman-Markey, it wants Waxman-Markey Lite.

According to this API memo issued in the wake if the Greenpeace kerfuffle, the oil industry association says,

API has a clear position on climate legislation: It opposes Waxman-Markey, and calls for the Senate to get it right. API is not opposed to fair and transparent climate legislation that limits greenhouse gas emissions but protects U.S. jobs and ensures that energy prices are not raised to the point where they threaten the economy.

How the oil industry thinks it can live with greenhouse gas regulation is beyond comprehension. Regardless of how lax they start, greenhouse gas limits will only get more expensive, stringent and draconian.

API’s effort to cut a deal with the carbon devil is reminiscent of France opting for Nazi occupation-lite through its Vichy government. The only sensible — and honorable — thing to do, however, is to fight evil all out.

API President Jack Gerard: The oil industry's Marshall Petain?

API President Jack Gerard: The oil industry's Marshall Petain?

Captain Renault looks at Vichy water in disgust in Casablanca

Captain Renault looks at Vichy water in disgust in Casablanca

Obama EPA makes first threat on CO2 limits

August 17, 2009

Carbon Control News reports that,

The Obama EPA is explicitly saying for the first time that a pending greenhouse gas (GHG) vehicle emissions rule, when finalized, will define carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHGs as regulated under the Clean Air Act and will therefore trigger mandates for new power plants and other stationary sources to limit their GHGs.

The purpose of this threat, of course, is to scare industries and Congress into a cap-and-trade bill this fall.

Click here for the EPA document. The threat is made in footnote 18.

Green Hell: ‘Well-substantiated and amusingly argued,’ says National Review

August 17, 2009

I like where I live, but I didn’t quite realize that it was turning into a green hell. At least not until I read Steven Milloy’s new book, Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.

Read the rest of Mark Hemingway’s review of Green Hell at NationalReviewOnline…

Townhalls with Al Gore? Bring’em on!

August 13, 2009

Al Gore’s group Repower America apparently is looking to hold townhall meetings on Waxman-Markey, reports the News-Sentinel (Knoxville, TN). Stay tuned. This could be fun!

Cap-and-trade creator says it won’t work

August 13, 2009

The creator of the cap-and-trade concept told the Wall Street Journal that he doubts the scheme will work for greenhouse gas emissions. According to the article:

Mr. [Thomas] Crocker sees two modern-day problems in using a cap-and-trade system to address the global greenhouse-gas issue. The first is that carbon emissions are a global problem with myriad sources. Cap-and-trade, he says, is better suited for discrete, local pollution problems. “It is not clear to me how you would enforce a permit system internationally,” he says. “There are no institutions right now that have that power.”…

The other problem, Mr. Crocker says, is that quantifying the economic damage of climate change — from floods to failing crops — is fraught with uncertainty…

“Once a cap is in place,” he warns, “it is very difficult to adjust.” For example, buyers of emissions permits would see their value reduced if the government decided in the future to loosen the caps…

Crocker’s last point is more correctly expressed as there being a great deal of uncertainty about whether climate change is necessarily a bad thing. A slightly warming planet, after all, is most likely much more desirable than a slightly cooling planet.