Marita Noon

Big-spending Republicans should be afraid following the upset victories by Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz in Texas last week, over the establishment candidate David Dewhurst, and Richard Mourdock, over six-term incumbent Richard Lugar, in Indiana on May 9. On Thursday, Washington Post editorial board member, Jonathan Capeheart said: “Folks might not like the Tea Party much. But that’s not stopping this loosely affiliated band of people fed up with government spending and deficits from sending like-minded souls to Congress.”

Bloomberg News said of the Cruz victory: “The Tea Party has no leader, no hierarchy and no national fundraising network, yet the insurgent political movement born of frustration at government spending has bolstered its clout—and its potential for aggravation—in the Republican Party with the nomination of U.S. Senate candidate and political newcomer Ted Cruz in Texas.”

The common thread in these quotes: “people fed up with government spending” and “born of frustration at government spending,” highlights the heart of the Tea Party movement—even though, is it just a “loosely affiliated band of people” with “no leader, no hierarchy and no national funding network.” The recent upsets reflect the grassroots’ growing dissatisfaction with the Republican Party’s failure to control spending.

Other than the August 14 senate race in Wisconsin where Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde are battling each other for the tea party backing in the race with establishment candidate, former governor Tommy Thompson, the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy may be the next line of battle between the Tea Party Republicans and establishment Republicans hesitant to curb their big-spending ways.

I have written several columns in opposition to the PTC extension, but if you are not familiar with it, David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation explains it this way: “The wholesale prices of electricity in the different U.S. markets average from less than three cents per kilowatt hour (kW-h) to about 4.5 cents per kW-h. The PTC provides a subsidy of 2.2 cents per kW-h to wind energy producers. So this PTC subsidy is equivalent to 50 percent to 70 percent of the wholesale price of electricity.” To which Phil Kerpen of American Commitment adds: “So taxpayers pick up more than half the cost for wind power—and even then many wind projects are struggling. It will never work, at any cost, because the concept of large-scale industrial wind power is based on bad science.”

When thinking about the PTC, it is important to realize that we, the taxpayers, have already been subsidizing the wind energy industry for more than 20 years and that the wind energy lobbyists, advocates, and manufacturers acknowledge that if the PTC is not extended, the industry cannot survive.

Surprisingly, the first shot in the spend/don’t spend battle over the extension of the PTC came from the “moderate” presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, when he came out on Monday with a statement regarding allowing the “longstanding tax credits that help finance wind energy projects” to expire, as scheduled, at the end of this year—a position in line with the Tea Party’s “frustration at government spending.”

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Post image for Recap of the 7th International Conference on Climate Change

“We are winning the war!” was a phrase I heard repeatedly last week. Congressman Sensenbrenner, Vice Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, said: “We won on these issues because we were right.”

What “war” brought together more than 60 scientists from around the world—including astronauts,  meteorologists, and physicians; politicians—comprising the Congressman, a head of state, and a member of the European Parliament; and policy analysts and media for two-and-a-half days in Chicago? The battle over climate change and the belief that there needs to be real science—more “about honest debate than ideological warfare.”

Assembled by the Heartland Institute, the seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7) provided the second opportunity for Congressman Sensenbrenner to address the group. In his opening comments, Sensenbrenner said, “We’ve come a long way.”

He recounted: “When I last spoke, the House of Representatives was poised to pass the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill; the United Nations was promising the extension and expansion of the Kyoto Protocol; and President Obama was touting Spain as our model for a massive increase in renewable energy subsidies. Three years later, cap-and-tax is dead; the Kyoto Protocol is set to expire; and Spain recently announced that it eliminated new renewable energy subsidies.”

Sensenbrenner told about the behind the scenes wrangling that went on to get the Waxman-Markey bill passed. “I was on the House floor on June 29, 2009, when then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi desperately pulled Members aside to lobby, beg, and bargain for votes for the Waxman-Markey bill.” It did pass. But “the electoral consequences for the proponents of these policies was severe.” Just 16 months later, in the 2010 elections, “over two dozen of the Members she convinced to vote ‘yes’ lost their jobs.”

It wasn’t just the Members who suffered harsh political ramifications for their support of the Waxman-Markey bill—which was supposed to nullify the impact of manmade global warming through a cap-and-trade scheme. Sensenbrenner contends that support of the manmade (anthropogenic) global warming position (AGW) also cost Al Gore the presidency back in 2000. He explained: “West Virginia’s 5 electoral votes would have tipped the election for Gore, and Gore’s near-evangelical support for climate change easily cost him the 42,000 votes he would have needed to win there.”

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Post image for Wind Energy: The Wheels Are Coming Off the Gravy Train

The wind energy industry has been having a hard time. The taxpayer funding that has kept it alive for the last twenty years is coming to an end, and those promoting the industry are panicking.

Perhaps this current wave started when one of wind energy’s most noted supporters, T. Boone Pickens, “Mr. Wind,” in an April 12 interview on MSNBC said, “I’m in the wind business…I lost my ass in the business.”

The industry’s fortunes didn’t get any better when on May 4, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) wrote an editorial titled, “Gouged by the wind,” in which they stated: “With natural gases not far from $2 per million BTU, the competitiveness of wind power is highly suspect.” Citing a study on renewable energy mandates, the WSJ says: “The states with mandates paid 31.9% more for electricity than states without them.”

Then, last week the Financial Times did a comprehensive story: “US Renewables boom could turn into a bust” in which they predict the “enthusiasm for renewables” … “could fizzle out.” The article says: “US industry is stalling and may be about to go into reverse. …Governments all over the world have been curbing support for renewable energy.”

Michael Liebreich of the research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance says: “With a financially stressed electorate, it’s really hard to go to them and say: ‘Gas is cheap, but we’ve decided to build wind farms for no good reason that we can articulate.’” Christopher Blansett, who is a top analyst in the alternative-energy sector in the Best on the Street survey, says, “People want cheap energy. They don’t necessarily want clean energy.”

It all boils down to a production tax credit (PTC) that is set to expire at the end 2012. Four attempts to get it extended have already been beaten back so far this year—and we are only in the fifth month. The Financial Times reports: “Time-limited subsidy programmes…face an uphill battle. The biggest to expire this year is the production tax credit for onshore wind power, the most important factor behind the fourfold expansion of US wind generation since 2006. Recent attempts in Congress to extend it have failed.”

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Post image for Institutional Environmentalism: Less about Hugging Trees, More about Bringing America to Her Knees

Despite his speechmaking touting an “all of the above” energy strategy, President Obama’s reelection could depend his willingness to stand in the way of developing America’s resources.

Back in November, at the time of the original Keystone XL pipeline decision, environmental groups threatened to pull their backing for Obama if he approved the pipeline. Michael Brune, executive director of America’s largest environmental group, the Sierra Club, is on record as saying that the President’s decision on Keystone would have “a very big impact” on how they funnel their resources—with the obvious implication being that they would not support the President if he didn’t do their bidding.

Other environmental groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Environmental Defense Fund took a different tack but with the same goal. A press release from the Rainforest Action Network promised the President that if he denied Keystone, he would see a “surge of enthusiasm from the green base that supported you so strongly in the last election.”

Environmental groups clearly understand they have the ability to influence the President’s decisions based on their claims to support—or not support—his bid for a second term. So far, they must be pleased with his administration’s efforts. On Wednesday, April 18, leading environmental groups came out with their official endorsement of President Obama—“the earliest” the groups “have ever endorsed in a presidential election cycle.” According to The Hill, “The groups are planning a mix of advertising and on-the-ground work on Obama’s behalf.” However, Glenn Hurowitz, a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, thinks the groups should have waited longer before endorsing the President. He believes the early endorsement removes the “greens’ leverage.”

Most pundits agree that the 2012 presidential election will be a hard fought, close race. In order to win, President Obama needs the four million votes from “greens” the groups represent—and they do not want increased domestic resource extraction.  According to BusinessWeek, funding from environmental groups is currently less than 50% of what it was through the same period in the 2008 campaign—one of the reasons cited: “renewing offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Though receiving little press, the Obama administration is working hard to convince the “greens” that he is one of them.

The NRDC (one of the groups promising support if Obama does the right thing) has launched a major fundraising effort—aided by the actor Robert Redford, to block a proposed mine that would provide America with access to one of the largest known deposits of copper in the world. Copper is essential for electric transmission and America’s industrial future—and highly sought after by developing economies such as China. The land—already designated for mineral exploration and development—also contains gold, silver and molybdenum. Despite the fact that the Native Alaskans living near the proposed Pebble Mine site want the infrastructure and jobs the mine would provide, rich sport-fishermen and out of state environmental groups (NRDC is based in New York City) are claiming to “pressure the Obama administration to reject any permits that could allow Pebble Mine to move forward. And if necessary, we will challenge this disastrous project in federal court.” The fund raising letter states: “Only NRDC combines grassroots power with the legal clout of more than 400 attorneys.”

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Post image for Who Are the Environmentalist Extremists?

Second of a three-part series of excerpts from Energy Freedom by Marita Noon

Originally published in the Washington Examiner

Part 1, “Big Green Wants To Repeal the Industrial Revolution,” is available here.

So who are all these evil-appearing “environmentalists?” Should all Birkenstock wearers be suspect? What about the lady at the grocery store with the canvas sack for her purchases?

There is a difference between those of us who care for the earth, want to use it wisely, and believe in recycling—and those who are in decision-making positions, setting policy and/or funding the programs. We are talking about something bigger, something organized, and something with plans greater than saving polar bears or spotted owls; something with plans to fundamentally transform the United States. There are hundreds of these groups influencing policy in America.

They want to move people into cities where they are easier to control and get rid of inefficient human patterns—which is what happens when people live in rural locations. Many of the ideas lauded by environmental groups only work in cities: electric cars, community gardens, and mass transit. Control is really the issue.

Columnist George Will states: “Today’s green left is the old red left revised. The left exists to enlarge the state’s supervision of life, narrowing individual choices in the name of collective good. Hence the left’s hostility to markets. And to automobiles—people going wherever they want whenever they want. … The green left understands that the direct route to government control of almost everything is to stigmatize, as a planetary menace, something involved in almost everything—carbon. Environmentalism is, as Lawson (author of An Appeal to Reason: a Cool Look at Global Warming) writes, an unlimited ‘license to intrude.’ ‘Eco-fundamentalism,’ which is ‘the quasi-religion of green alarmism’ promises ‘global salvationism.’”

For forty-plus years they have continued what, in the 70’s, was called “conducting this politics of consciousness.” They mostly do not hold political office. Without violence, they have attacked minds. They have transformed society—all while we were sleeping. The environmentalists dream of a new earth. They have visions of a utopia. They do not have any real plans as to how they will get there. But they are conducting politics of consciousness and have managed to transform much of society into believing with them.

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Post image for Big Green Wants To Repeal the Industrial Revolution

First of a three-part series of excerpts from Energy Freedom by Marita Noon

Originally published in the Washington Examiner

Environmentalists would have everyone believe that oil, gas, and coal—all fossil fuels—are at the base of much of the world’s ills. Nuclear is no better. They even oppose hydropower, wind energy, and commercial solar. Yet, they claim the high ground and position themselves as the moral authority. What would the world look like if they were setting truly setting energy policy rather than merely influencing it?

An in-depth study of environmental groups’ energy-related goals as posted on their websites’ shows that there is not an energy project they like. In short, they want to “kill,” “block,” and “deny.” The only thing they want to expand is moratoriums.

If environmentalists are in charge, expect these changes to American life:


Most Americans have the freedom to come and go in their individual cars as they choose. A survey found that 91% of Americans consider their cars to be a necessity, not a luxury. Yet environmental extremists are actively working to stop or prevent drilling for oil and gas. They also aim to shut down coal-fueled power plants and oppose nuclear energy. With a reduced capacity for electricity and transportation, our lifestyle, as we know it, ceases to exist.

Modern Conveniences

The same survey found that most Americans consider things like microwaves, air conditioning and heating, computers, and cell phones to be a necessity. However, in a limited-fuel, environmentally controlled society, these items would have to go. They all require electricity—as do electric cars. Additionally, each of these “necessities” is made from plastic and plastic is typically made from hydrocarbons.


Like modern conveniences, our health is heavily dependent on both energy and plastics. If you have been in a doctor’s office or hospital lately, you know that even taking your temperature requires electricity and plastics. Today’s extreme regulations could have an adverse impact on our health.


Without abundant electricity to purify water and pump it into your home and remove and process waste matter, you couldn’t live there. You’d need to move to a location near a fresh water source. Additionally, many environmental groups want to block the cutting of trees—making the construction of new homes near a potential fresh water source virtually impossible.

We all want clean air, fresh water, and a safe food supply, but stopping, opposing, denying, and blocking are not the ways to get it.

Huge strides have been made since the dawn of the industrial revolution. Despite increases in the typical activities that produce pollution, America is much cleaner now than it was twenty years ago. Since 1970, our population has increased and our energy consumption has gone up. We drive more miles each year. At the same time, our American ingenuity has been at work generating an increase in our Gross National Product. Environmentalists want you to believe that pollution has also increased. However, the truth is that, despite this growth, our aggregate emissions are approximately half of what they were.

Michael Economides, author of Energy and Climate Wars says, “The US is certainly one of the cleanest, more environmentally responsible nations in the world. Virtually no European country can boast cleaner waters, more pristine rural landscapes or air quality.”

We need exploration and innovation in America. We need to tap into energy sources currently—or in the process of being made—off limits in America by the Endangered Species Act or by plans to lock up resources under the guise of a national monument. When you think about it, energy makes America great—and we do it in a manner cleaner and safer than anywhere else on the planet.

Post image for Man Bites Dog: Genuine Demand, Not Government Mandates, Creates Jobs

Lately, President Obama has been bragging about the drop in America’s dependence on foreign oil—now less than fifty percent. Earlier this week, he introduced a new chart to show how oil imports have declined under his leadership. The chart does not show the drop in America’s oil consumption, due to the bad economy. Nor does it give any indication of the trend for the future based on his policies—which will likely lead to increased use of foreign oil.

President Obama’s energy policy is largely set by his environmental base that favors “alternatives” and eschews fossil fuels—especially drilling for oil. His policy mirrors that of California where the resistance to tapping the resources under the residents’ feet has resulted in increased imported oil from the Middle East. Once the largest oil producer in the world, California is now importing nearly 50% of its oil—with about 21% coming through the Strait of Hormuz. California’s gas prices are routinely the highest in the country. If Iran closes the Strait, as they’ve been threatening, California will be in dire straits.

While less dependent on Middle Eastern oil than California, the United States is like California, in that we have vast resources that are locked up due to regulation, blocked access, and delayed permitting. President Obama touts the reduction of imported oil, but his bragging rights may be short-lived, if he continues on the same anti-drilling track California has been on.

Gasoline prices are driven largely by the headlines. They are full of talk about Middle East unrest and devoid of American drilling announcements. Hence, fear over future supplies keeps bumping the price up and up.

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Post image for Fossil Fuels’ Triple “A” rating

“I’m trying to write a paper on why fossil fuels are good. I was wondering if you could help me out with some information? I couldn’t find much information on the Internet because most people seem to think that fossil fuels are evil.”

The aforementioned is from an e-mail a young man named Cooper sent me the day before his paper was due. His father had heard me on the radio and suggested that Cooper contact me. I spent 45 minutes talking with him. Everything I said was a fresh new idea to Cooper. Obviously he was not being taught the complete picture. If Cooper had questions, others probably do, too. Here are the three things I told him that, like Cooper, you may not know, may have forgotten, or just haven’t thought about in a while.

With rising gas prices bringing energy into the debate, and President Obama setting his energy priorities out in his budget, it is important to be aware of some energy realities. Otherwise you may think fossil fuels are “evil,” when, in fact, they provide us with the freedom to come and go, to be and do.

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Post image for The Penalties of Feel-Good Energy Policies

Because of the unproven notion that burning fossil fuels causes global warming, saving energy has become the cultural norm with the expectation that reducing the use of coal-fueled electricity and gasoline will help everyone. More and more wind and solar generation is being installed and cars use less and less gas, with some being all-electric. This should be a good thing, but it ends up costing everyone—and disproportionately penalizes the poor.

Installing an unsubsidized residential solar photovoltaic (PV) system is expensive and the payoff can be decades. As a result, they are typically purchased by only those with substantial disposable income. A few years ago, I participated in a “solar fiesta.” I live in rural New Mexico where we often have snow on the ground from late October through early March. Due to cost, I only heat my home to 58 degrees in the winter. I have a large south-facing roof surface. I figured I was a prime candidate for a solar PV system. I visited different vendors. When I asked about the payoff, one vendor looked down his nose and emphasized: “It is not about the payoff.” I could not afford to go solar. I still burn pellets in my stove and bundle up all winter.

Those, who can afford the up-front costs to take advantage of the free energy from the sun, can avoid paying their utility company anything. They may even feel smug that they have beat the system. With net metering, when they generate extra power, the meter may literally spin backward. When the sun isn’t shining, they use the power they’ve banked. The end of the month total can balance out.

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Post image for All Those Billions, Blowing in the Wind

On February 1, an urgent alert was sent to supporters of wind energy. It stated: “The PTC is the primary policy tool to promote wind energy development and manufacturing in the United States. While it is set to expire at the end of 2012 … the credit has already effectively expired. Congress has a choice to make: extend the PTC this month and keep the wind industry on track…”

The wind energy industry has reason for concern. America’s appetite for subsidies has waned. Congress is looking for any way it can to make cuts, and the twenty-year old Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy is in prime position for a cut. It naturally expires at the end of 2012. Without action, it will go away.

The payroll tax extension will be a hot topic over the next few weeks as it expires on February 29. Wind energy supporters are pushing to get the PTC extension included in the bill. Whether or not it is included will be largely up to public response. After all, regarding the PTC’s inclusion in the payroll tax extension bill, the February 1 alert stated: “our federal legislators heard us loud and clear.” In the December payroll tax bill negotiations, the wind energy PTC was placed on a “short list of provisions to be extended through that bill.” Wind supporters are worried—hence the rallying cry.

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