Archive for the 'First Green President' Category

Blue day for reds as Browner leaves White House

January 25, 2011

Obama energy and environment czar Carol Browner reportedly is leaving the White House. She can now rejoin her comrades at Socialist International. Dasvidania, Carol. Drop us a line from the scrap heap of history — let us know how Al Gore is doing.

Milloy, Cavuto discuss Obama’s Immelt pick

January 24, 2011

Obama and GE: New Industrial Superstructure

January 24, 2011

By Steve Milloy
January 21, 2011, Investor’s Business Daily

The choice of General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt to chair the new President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness must be one of President Obama’s most ironic appointments.

The purpose of the council is to advise the president on “finding new ways to promote growth by investing in American business to encourage hiring, to educate and train our workers to compete globally, and to attract the best jobs and businesses to the United States.”

Of Immelt, Obama said: “Jeff Immelt’s experience at GE and his understanding of the vital role the private sector plays in creating jobs and making America competitive makes him up to the challenge of leading this new council.”

The White House further burnished Immelt’s credentials by adding in its media release that “Mr. Immelt has been named one of the world’s best CEOs three times by Barron’s, and since he began serving as chief executive officer, GE has been named America’s most admired company in a poll conducted by Fortune magazine and one of the world’s most respected companies in polls by Barron’s and the Financial Times.”

This praise should make us wonder if there is another Jeff Immelt leading another General Electric in some parallel universe .

When the Immelt-we-know took the reins of the GE-we-know from the legendary Jack Welch in the days before the Sept. 11 attacks, GE’s stock price was in the $40 range. More than nine years later, GE’s stock price is struggling to get back to the $20 level. And during the March 2009 depths of the financial crisis, GE’s stock dipped to below $7.

GE was in such bad shape at that time that it required a $139 billion bailout from taxpayers in the form of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. backing of GE Capital debt. GE then cut its dividend 68%, from 32 cents per share to 10 cents per share.

Its dividend has since recovered to 12 cents per share, and shareholders may get a couple of more pennies per share in 2011, but GE’s financial performance under Immelt is anything but a success story.

Adding to the irony is the president’s notion that Immelt knows about creating jobs and increasing competitiveness.

Immelt actually eliminated 18,000 GE jobs in 2009, despite receiving untold millions in government stimulus and subsidies — like $60 million to build a “technology center” (office building?) in Michigan and $55 million to build a hybrid locomotive battery plant in New York.

As to competitiveness, consider the rather tawdry August 2009 e-mail solicitation of GE employees by GE’s political action committee (GEPAC), which read in part:

“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. … We have made great strides toward convincing key lawmakers that GE Capital should remain a part of (GE). … On climate change, we were able to work closely with key authors of the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill. . .. (It) would benefit many GE businesses. … GE is working relentlessly to ensure funding for F136 Engine, which is a critically important program for GE Aviation.”

One hundred years ago, Thomas Edison innovated to earn profit for GE.

Now Jeff Immelt lobbies for profit because there is no market for failed businesses, higher energy prices and duplicative military hardware.

That GE is so dependent on government largesse should raise the specter of Immelt’s obvious conflict of interest. Will he advise the president on what’s good for America or what’s good for GE?

The Obama-Immelt partnership is best envisioned as two drowning men clinging to each other in order to stay afloat. The failed CEO needs the president’s central planning policies and favor to keep his job. The struggling politician needs the mega-company CEO to camouflage and smooth over his anti-business beliefs and tendencies.

This symbiotic relationship may work out for Obama and Immelt as individuals, but we ought not hold our collective breath waiting for two men without track records of nonpersonal success to create jobs, increase our competitiveness or to fix what’s ailing our troubled economy.

Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” (Regnery 2009).

Obama detached from reality of his regulation

January 18, 2011

President Obama has allegedly given up cigarettes but his op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal makes us wonder what they’re now smoking in the White House.

In “Toward a 21st-Century Regulatory System,” President Obama rhapsodizes about the value and necessity of balanced regulation. On a superficial level, even the libertarian economist Milton Friedman would have agreed with that sentiment. But of course, details matter and that’s where the President’s argument falls apart.

In one of two concrete examples he provides about regulatory actions his administration has taken, President Obama writes (fantasizes?),

One important example of this overall approach is the fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks. When I took office, the country faced years of litigation and confusion because of conflicting rules set by Congress, federal regulators and states.

The EPA and the Department of Transportation worked with auto makers, labor unions, states like California, and environmental advocates this past spring to turn a tangle of rules into one aggressive new standard. It was a victory for car companies that wanted regulatory certainty; for consumers who will pay less at the pump; for our security, as we save 1.8 billion barrels of oil; and for the environment as we reduce pollution.

The reality is that the car makers have long fought higher CAFE standards. The only way they can meet the standards is to sell enough dangerous and unprofitable small cars to offset the safe and profitable large cars and SUVs sold. As prices are again heading toward $4 per gallon, consumers aren’t paying less for gasoline. And if we’re using less gasoline, it’s only because our economy is in the toilet, not because of CAFE.

The other example the President cited is a new process for approving medical devices. But as those rules have not even been proposed, we’ll have to wait and see about them.

The President also wrote,

But we are also making it our mission to root out regulations that conflict, that are not worth the cost, or that are just plain dumb.

For instance, the FDA has long considered saccharin, the artificial sweetener, safe for people to consume. Yet for years, the EPA made companies treat saccharin like other dangerous chemicals. Well, if it goes in your coffee, it is not hazardous waste. The EPA wisely eliminated this rule last month.

Hey President Obama, the FDA also considers carbon dioxide to be safe for human consumption in soft drinks, yet the EPA is regulating it as a threat to the public welfare under the Clean Air Act. How about rollin’ that one back?

Now that President Obama has lost the ability to jam his agenda through Congress, he will use the regulatory agencies to do the same. No one should be fooled by his rhetoric — which doesn’t make any sense anyway.

Update: President Obama issued today an executive order (i.e., policy guidance to executive branch agencies) entitled, “Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review.” The words sound good (e.g., ” each agency shall ensure the objectivity of any scientific and technological information and processes used to support the agency’s regulatory actions”), but then again, East Germany was also called the “German Democratic Republic” — and it was none of those.

EPA’s desperate new smog scare

January 14, 2011

A new study reports that people can suffer lung damage from ground-level ozone (smog) even at the strict new standards proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But this is yet another example of how science can be manufactured by EPA to fit its regulatory agenda.

Last month, the EPA delayed finalizing its proposed ozone standards, supposedly pending completion of a scientific review. This was the third delay for the rules which the agency hoped to have in place last August.

Although the Bush administration EPA had tightened the ozone standard to 75 parts per billion (ppb) in 2008, the Obama EPA proposed in January 2010 to further tighten the standard to between 60 to 70 ppb. But this proposal is quite controversial as its underlying science is questionable, and it would be very expensive and inconvenient to implement and comply with. And unlike the case of greenhouse gas regulation where EPA has successfully divided the big business community, businesses are united against these rules and so have been able to exert sufficient pressure on the White House to cause the Obama EPA to hiccup — a remarkable occurrence.

But the ever-resourceful EPA and its long-time partner-in-junk science, the American Lung Association, rushed to publication a new study that purports to show that the proposed standards may not be tight enough. (Aside from its publication in an ideologically friendly journal, the study was still in Word document format, as opposed to journal format, when it was released).

Although the study has not been reported in the mainstream media yet, the EPA/ALA has fed it to the agency-friendly trade press. As alarmingly reported by Energy and Environment News:

Healthy young adults can suffer lung damage at the lowest level of ozone pollution being studied by U.S. EPA as the agency prepares stricter limits on smog, according to new research that was touted today by public health groups.

Published today in the American Journal of Respiratory and Clinical Care Medicine, the study provides the strongest evidence yet that most of the U.S. population is being exposed to dangerous air pollution, the American Lung Association said.

“This study provides even greater evidence for a stronger ozone standard to protect the public from the nation’s most widespread air pollutant,” said Norman Edelman, the American Lung Association’s chief medical officer, in a statement. “Ozone today remains a threat that we need all the tools in the Clean Air Act to combat.”

Contrary to the above-captioned claims, however, the only thing this study proves is that scientific study should be removed from the EPA.

EPA researchers had 59 healthy young adults (ages 19-35) exercise in a zero ppb ozone chamber and, a week or so later, had them exercise again in a 60ppb ozone chamber. Study subjects spent 6.6 hours in the chamber each time, engaging in 50 minutes of exercise (alternating bike/run) with a 10-minute break per hour. Spirometry measurements (forced expiratory volume at one second, FEV1, and forced vital capacity, FVC) were taken before and after the chamber exposures.

Here are the results. When exposed to 60 ppb ozone while biking/running for 6.6 hours, study subjects had a statistically significant mean decline in FEV1 of about 1.75 percent and a decline in FVC of about 1.19 percent more than when exercising in zero ppb ozone.

Do these results matter? Are the reported reductions in FEV1 and FVC meaningful? From a clinical perspective, no. Changes in FEV1 and FVC are clinically important at levels ranging from 15-20 percent — not 1-2 percent.

Underscoring the meaninglessness of the changes allegedly “measured” is that spirometry is not so precise that such small changes can be reliably detected and attributed to anything other than how hard the subjects inhaled and exhaled. It’s interesting to note, for example, that the results inexplicably differed for men and women. The margins of error reported for the men indicate the ironic possibility, in fact, that the 60 ppb exposure may actually have increased their FEV1 and FVC. Since this is not likely to have happened, the explanation must lie in the unreliability of the spirometry.

Moreover, the study subjects were likely exposed to much higher levels of ozone than the researchers say they were. As air quality expert Joel Schwartz pointed out in his 2007 book Air Quality in America (AEI Press), the ozone doses used in the laboratory studies are based on ambient concentrations measured by monitors, rather than real personal exposures. But as it turns out,

… [the] ozone concentrations measured at the ambient monitors used to determine Clean Air Act compliance are much higher—at least 65 percent higher, on average—than the concentrations in the air people actually breathe in. Several factors contribute to the discrepancy between monitored ozone levels and personal exposures. Ambient monitors are often placed several feet above typical human head-height to avoid interferences from people and surfaces near the ground. However, ozone deposition on surfaces (such as clothing or the ground) reduces the levels in the air that people actually breathe in. Levels also tend to be lower near roads, due to destruction by nitric oxide emitted by vehicles. Finally, there is evidence that the equipment used for regulatory monitoring gives ozone readings that might be biased high.

So although the EPA researchers claim the study subjects were exposed to 60 ppb ozone, that level equates to about 92 ppb measured by an outdoor monitor measuring ambient ozone — a level that is 22 percent higher than the existing standard set by the Bush administration and more than 50 percent higher than the tightest level proposed by the Obama administration.

Schwartz also observed that,

In addition to using personal exposures that are too high, laboratory studies also use “background” ozone exposures that are too low. To determine the health effects of ozone, researchers compare subjects’ lung function while breathing ozone with their lung function while breathing “clean” air—that is, air representing some background exposure level. All studies to date have used ozone-free air for this background level. This too is unrealistic, because there is always some natural background ozone in air due to natural emissions of ozone-forming pollutants from vegetation, lightning, and occasional transport of ozone to ground level from the stratosphere. Some ozone and ozone-forming pollutants are also transported into the United States from other countries. This background level of ozone is a matter of controversy, but it is certainly not zero.

But does the science really matter? Isn’t ground-level ozone (aka smog) just bad? And shouldn’t we do everything possible to live in a zero-smog world?

To put the EPA’s new non-results in context, consider what economist Donald Norman, PhD. of the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI estimates will be the costs of tightening the ozone standard to 60 ppb:

… the annual cost of attaining a standard of 60 ppb would be $1.013 trillion between 2020 and 2030, equivalent to 5.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020. The present value of attainment costs over this period amounts to $7.1 trillion based on a discount rate of 7 percent.

Norman’s other key findings include:

  • GDP would be reduced by $676.8 billion in 2020 (in 2010 dollars), an amount that represents 3.6 percent of projected 2020 GDP in the baseline case (2.5 percent annual GDP growth);
  • Total U.S. job losses attributable to a 60 ppb ozone standard are estimated to rise to 7.3 million by 2020, a figure equal to 4.3 percent of the projected 2020 labor force;
  • Job jeopardy and the impacts of a 60 ppb ozone standard are largest in states where there is considerable manufacturing and refining activity. The states with the largest job losses include: Texas, which would lose nearly 1.7 million jobs at a total attainment cost and reduction in GDP of $452 billion (in 2010 dollars); Louisiana, which would lose 983,000 jobs at a cost of $270 billion; California, which would lose 846,000 jobs at a cost of $210 billion; Illinois, which would lose 396,000 jobs at a cost of $98 billion; and Pennsylvania, which would lose 351,000 jobs at a cost of $86 billion;
  • Together, annual attainment costs and reduced GDP in 2020 would total $1.7 trillion…

Should we sacrifice millions of jobs and trillions of dollars to improve U.S. public health by precisely zero?

In a March 1992 report by a blue ribbon panel of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board, Safeguarding the Future: Credible Science, Credible Decisions, the agency was warned not to adjust science to fit policy.

But 19 years later, the agency has yet to embrace this advice. It’s doubtful that EPA ever will on its own. The solution is for Congress to remove the scientific research function from the EPA and put it someplace where it’s less susceptible to politicization.

DC Circuit teases, then screws Texas

January 13, 2011

We should have known it was too good to be true when on Dec. 30 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit temporarily blocked the EPA from taking control of Texas’ air pollution permitting program.

Yesterday, the Court changed its mind and lifted the stay ruling that,

“petitioners (Texas) have not satisfied the stringent standards required for a stay pending court review.”

The DC Circuit judges were the dope-smoking Douglas Ginsburg, Clinton-appointee Judith W. Rogers, and Thomas Griffith, who practiced law without a license in Washington, DC (1998-2000) and Utah (2000-2004).

God help us.

EPA outsmarts biomass industry

January 12, 2011

“Biomass-inine” is the only way to describe the biomass industry’s deal with the EPA.

Administrator Lisa Jackson announced today that the biomass industry would be exempt from the agency’s greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations for three years, pending more research on whether biomass is truly “carbon neutral”:

The agency intends to use this time to seek further independent scientific analysis of this complex issue and then to develop a rulemaking on how these emissions should be treated in determining whether a Clean Air Act permit is required.

Dave Tenny, the president of the National Association of Forest Owners told Greenwire,

“We think this is a very positive step in the right direction.”

But the agency had already declared biomass to be carbon neutral in its April 2010 “Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks 1990-2008”:

“…because biomass fuels are of biogenic origin, . . . [i]t is assumed that the carbon (C) released during the consumption of biomass is recycled as U.S. forests and crops regenerate, causing no net addition of CO2 to the atmosphere.”

Based on that statement, biomass should be permanently excluded from GHG regulation.

Note that in the above-captioned statement, however, the EPA only “assumed” biomass to be carbon neutral. And as argued in a July 2010 missive from the radical green Center for Biological Diversity,

The “carbon neutrality” assumption is just that—an assumption, not a fact. “Carbon neutrality,” if it exists at all, must be demonstrated on a project-specific basis, taking into account all emissions from biomass production, transport, processing, and combustion, all emissions and lost sequestration capacity associated with forest thinning and clearing operations, and actual analysis of fossil fuel displacement.

In the la-la-land of manmade global warming, that would seem to be quite a good point. There would seem to be much difference in say leaving biomass to decompose slowly versus the combination of fossil fuel-reliant harvesting and accelerated carbon-emitting through combustion.

But whether or not biomass is carbon neutral is just a distraction.

What’s really going on is that the EPA has effectively eliminated a potentially powerful foe from the upcoming political battle over the agency’s GHG regulations.

By embracing the CBD’s argument and reneging on its earlier assumption that biomass is carbon neutral, the EPA now has a passable excuse for denying the green-hated biomass industry a permanent exemption from GHG regulation. But since the agency doesn’t want to permanently antagonize the industry and its political supporters, especially now in the heat of battle over GHG regulation, a three-year reprieve has been granted.

Conveniently, that three-year period is just about the time that it will probably take to complete the ongoing litigation over the EPA’s climate rules. It also removes the issue from the 2012 presidential election. This obviously helps the EPA out a lot now while giving the biomass industry essentially nothing in return and setting it up to be screwed later.

Underscoring the EPA’s attempt to defuse political tensions are letters sent by Administrator Jackson to biomass champions Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Max Baucus (D-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), reading in relevant part:

“I hope you will see the steps described in this letter as following through on my prior commitment to exercise whatever discretion the Clean Air Act affords to avoid discouraging the use of renewable, domestically-produced fuel in power plants and factories.”

Through the 2012 election, the EPA will likely implement its greenhouse gas regulations gingerly and with an eye out toward not making more political enemies for President Obama. So it’s unlikely that the biomass industry would have felt any pain during that time from the EPA. But in three years — when the litigation and election are over — the biomass industry could very well be at the Obama EPA’s mercy.

If the fossil fuel industry has lost the war by 2014, then the biomass industry will be on its own defending itself against an Obama EPA that takes no prisoners. The EPA has long excelled, you see, at dividing and conquering business. It’s the agency’s most effective tactic.

The EPA threw the biomass industry a thin bone by classifying biomass as “best available control technology” during the three-year period. But this is a worthless gesture since no significant fossil fuel burner will be required by the agency to switch from coal or natural gas to biomass.

Lobbyist Tenny is right that the EPA’s action is a “very positive step in the right direction” — for the EPA.

One cheer for Arizona…

January 2, 2011

There’s good news and bad news from Arizona, according to a report in the Arizona Republic.

The good news is that the state is refusing to implement the EPA’s new climate regulations, which go into effect today.

The bad news is that the state is allowing the EPA to enforce the rules since it is afraid the agency might otherwise move to stop construction projects and hurt the state’s economy.

But why not force the agency’s hand? Make it go to court. Force Obama to explain why he wants to hurt the state for no good reason. Make a federal judge rule against the state. Make the Supreme Court rule against the state. Put the rogue federal government on display for all to see. Light a fire under Arizona’s governor and its congressional delegation.

Let’s not just go gently into that good night.

Hook ’em Horns: Texas sues EPA anew on climate

December 22, 2010

The state of Texas has filed a new lawsuit against the EPA and the climate rules slate to take effect on Jan. 2.

Following the rejection of a request for a stay of the EPA rules by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Texas has filed its new effort to stay the rules in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

In petitioning the court to review the EPA’s action, Texas claims:

The GHG SIP Call is contrary to both the Clean Air Act and the Constitution. Recognizing the proper role of the States, the Clean Air Act declares pollution prevention to be “the primary responsibility of States and local governments,” and not the federal government. 42 U.S.C. § 7401(a)(3). EPA rejects that approach and seeks to deprive Texas of its right to manage its air resources. It does so by unlawfully replacing a properly-approved Texas SIP, despite Texas’ strong track record of reducing pollution and improving air quality in the State. The United States Constitution also denies the federal government the authority to commandeer the States to carry out its ends, but here EPA attempts just that by threatening Texas with severe economic harm unless the State adopts, on an unrealistic timeline, EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations, which are themselves unlawful.

The GHG SIP Call is arbitrary and capricious and is contrary to the Clean Air Act. The State of Texas is directly and immediately harmed by the GHG SIP Call because it purports to rescind the State of Texas’ permitting authority under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration program, 42 U.S.C. § 7470 et seq., and, thereby, to impose a construction moratorium on greenhouse gas sources. This action causes Texas and its citizens great and immediate injury, in the form of forgone business investment, lost jobs, lost tax revenues, and administrative expenses. By contrast, this regulation accomplishes no discemable environmental benefit. The amount of greenhouse gas emissions that would be avoided under this regulation is miniscule; indeed, it is impossible to even measure. The State of Texas therefore reserves the right to request that the Court stay the GHG SIP Call pending resolution ofthe instant Petition.

The EPA responded that Texas is merely forum-shopping, looking for a sympathetic court in the wake of the D.C. Circuit decision.

Stayed tuned and… Remember the Alamo!

Sadistic Judges Back EPA Climate Rules

December 15, 2010

by Steven Milloy
December 15, 2010, Human Events

Last Friday’s federal appellate court decision allowing the Obama administration’s greenhouse gas regulations to take effect Jan. 2 is an unnecessary travesty for taxpayers, consumers, businesses and states.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is by no means the final word on whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rules are legal, but it does allow them to take effect pending their litigation.

The court (Clinton appointee David Tatel, Bush appointee Janice Rogers Brown, and former-dope-smoking Reagan appointee Douglas Ginsburg presiding) held that the industry lawyers challenging the rules failed to show that “the harms they allege are certain, rather than speculative, or that the alleged harm[s] will directly result from [the EPA’s regulations].”

This is ridiculous.

On Jan. 2, the EPA will start writing permits for power plants and other large emitters of greenhouse gases. Overlooking for a moment the costs and hassles to emitters and consumers that will undoubtedly be caused by the rules, at the very least this permit-writing process will cost the EPA and state permitting authorities (read “already strapped taxpayers”) about $80 million per year.

And what environmental benefits will be gained by these expenditures? You don’t have to be a global warming skeptic to respond “none.”

Under the Clean Air Act, if the EPA decides to regulate a pollutant, the so-called “best available control technology” (BACT) must be used to reduce emissions. But, funny enough, there is no BACT for greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2).

Burying CO2 underground — so-called carbon capture and sequestration — is experimental, and so is not considered BACT. The Obama EPA would love to declare natural gas as BACT for electric power generation, but it is not yet willing to escalate its war against the coal industry.
Since there is no commercially available technology to reduce CO2 emissions from smokestacks, few will be avoided — even the EPA acknowledges that.

So at the very least, Judges Rogers, Tatel and Ginsburg have imposed huge costs on taxpayers for precisely nothing in return. Apparently there is nothing quite like a lifetime appointment away from the real world.

But the wasted $80 million is really only the tip of the iceberg. There remain a number of ways that the EPA’s rules can cause further harm, according to environmental consultant Rich Trzupek.

First and foremost, the permitting process is open to public comment, most of which tends to come from environmental activist groups who typically use the process to delay permits and harass applicants. There’s nothing speculative about this harassment; it will happen.

Next, the Clean Air Act allows states to charge permit holders fees based on the amount of emissions. This would essentially be a carbon tax passed on to consumers through higher prices.

The EPA is directing state permitting agencies to press for energy efficiency in permits, enabling regulators to meddle in business operations when it comes to equipment selection, for example. And since high-efficiency equipment tends to cost more money, consumers can expect to absorb those costs as well.

The EPA is also advising states that they can engage in emission trade-offs in permitting — allowing increases in some other regulated pollutants in exchange for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. But such “backsliding,” as it is termed by environmentalist vigilantes, would merely provide another opportunity to harass permit applicants.

States say they will be harmed by the EPA rules. Texas, in particular, has said it isn’t ready, willing or able to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

In a September filing, Texas’ attorney general told the court, “If Texas is unwilling or proves unable to accede to [the EPA’s] unlawful [rules], the [EPA] has threatened to impose a permit moratorium that would halt as many as 167 projects in its first year, costing the state jobs, business opportunities, and tax revenues. In effect, due to uncertainty resulting from the agency’s actions, a de facto construction ban is already in place.”

Demanding a showing of more harm than the foregoing is more sadistic than judicial in nature.

The EPA is out of control and the federal judiciary is out of touch. Let’s hope the new GOP-controlled House is up to the challenge of using its budget and investigative powers to get a grip on the EPA. Revamping the courts and the laws they interpret will have to wait until at least 2013.

Mr. Milloy is the founder and publisher of JunkScience.com. His columns and op-ed pieces have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times, and Los Angeles Times. He is the author of “Green Hell,” a book from Regnery Publishing.

Note: This column erred in originally reporting Judge Judith W. Rogers, rather than Judge Janice Rogers Brown, as member of the three-judge court. I regret the error.