Marita Noon

Post image for Public Policy and Regulatory Decisions Driving up Electricity Rates

Electricity rates now depend more on public policy and regulatory decisions than on actual costs.

Based on a newly released report from Oliver Wyman, a leading global management consulting firm, “There is a growing need to increase electricity prices. These rate increases are largely being driven by environmental, regulatory, and security requirements.” And they are adding to “financial strain at the worst possible moment.”

The report, designed to help utility companies deal with customer wrath, states that “the increases have been the most significant in the residential segment”—where they grew more quickly than other sectors. Despite declining pricing on some fuels, such as natural gas, electricity rates have risen 2.7% per year with some regions experiencing average price increases of 5.1% annually. In contrast, the consumer price index—excluding food and energy—rose by 1.7%.

[click to continue…]

A week has passed since President Obama made his shocking announcement delaying the Keystone XL pipeline decision until after the presidential election. The news has been met with cries of victory and sighs of disappointment, but the tactic shouldn’t have surprised anyone as it totally fits with his ideology.

Additionally, TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, handed the environmentalists a win.

First, we all know that the President is fundamentally opposed to all carbon-based fuels (think Solyndra, et al)—so the pipeline’s approval was a longshot. But it would have created thousands of true shovel-ready jobs without a dollar of taxpayer money—many of which would have been union (not to mention the spin-off jobs).

The pipeline’s approval would have made the unions happy, while angering the environmentalists. Two of Obama’s solid funders were in conflict—one shouting in one ear, the other in the other ear (drowning out the voice of the American public). Waiting for the decision, watchers wondered which base held more sway.

The delay announcement, however, is a possible fundraising coup.

[click to continue…]

Post image for On Energy Production, U.S. Isn’t Keeping up with the Joneses

America has an abundance of natural resources, yet our policies keep them locked up. We can’t drill in the Gulf. ANWAR is off limits. Mining is nearly impossible due to regulations. “Endangered species” threaten existing supplies.

Meanwhile resource discoveries are being made and developed the world over.

[click to continue…]

Post image for Salazar’s New Order Contradicts His 2010 Order

Weeks after the infamous BP oil spill in late-April 2010, the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the agency that managed leasing and regulation, was split up into three parts.

Addressing the reorganization, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, said: “We will be able to strengthen oversight of the companies that develop our nation’s energy resources.” He addressed a perceived conflict of interest between departments due to the leasing and regulatory functions being in one agency—one brings in revenue and one regulates (and perhaps punishes) the businesses generating the income.

His mid-May 2010 actions bring his new Secretarial Order to reorganize a different agency into question.

[click to continue…]

Post image for Permitting Access to Domestic Resources Creates Jobs

Nevada has the highest unemployment rate in the country and is one of the worst in foreclosures. “In my district,” Nevada Assemblyman Hansen reports, “one in seventeen houses is in foreclosure. One in eight is vacant. The people are economically desperate. Meanwhile we have an industry that would love to open up mines and create jobs with an average salary of $80,000. Unfortunately we also have a government that takes ten years to permit a mine.”

No wonder 77% of Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction.

[click to continue…]

Post image for Why Resort to Shenanigans to Make Green Energy a Reality?

We all know about Solyndra. We are learning about Fisker, the start-up electric car company, which received a $529 million loan from the Department of Energy. Touted by Vice President Biden as “a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs,” the cars are being manufactured in Finland. These are big stories being covered by the major media outlets. And these are only two such stories out there.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about two smaller stories from little states where shenanigans, at the least, and possible outright corruption, at the worst, were engaged in attempting to push through supposed green-energy projects. While researching those, another shady story surfaced: Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm Project.

Back in 2004, in a different political and economic world, the RI General Assembly passed a Renewable Energy Standard that states: “fossil fuel prices are extremely variable and created economic hardships for employers and families, and increased use of renewable energy can both lower and stabilize energy cost.” The ratepayers of RI were sold a bill of goods that renewable energy can lower energy costs.

[click to continue…]

Post image for The Person at the Top Can Make a Big Difference

“When paperwork gets in the way of benefits, that’s a problem.” So said John Bemis, Secretary-designate of New Mexico’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, appointed by Governor Susana Martinez. What is significant about Bemis’ comment, made during a presentation in front of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association’s Annual meeting on October 3, is that it represents a total change in attitude from the previous administration and is indicative of the difference one person—at the top—can make.

The change in attitude in NM presents a case study from which the rest of the US would be wise to learn.

[click to continue…]

Post image for Smash Capitalism, Liberate the Planet?

Occupy Wall Street is a chaotic collection of people with conflicting messages. According to the New York Times, they represent “A feeling of mass injustice.” They want to:

  •  make banks safer, and let them fail,
  • name and shame fat cat salarymen,
  • free legislators from special interests, and
  • change the United States’ two-party system.

One sign seems to cancel out another. Some, like “End the Fed,” could be seen at a Ron Paul or Tea Party rally. Some, like “unf*#@ the world,” are vague. Others, like, “Smash Capitalism, Liberate the Planet,” represent an underlying mindset.

It would be easy to write them off as a group of kooks who will go away after they have had their ten minutes of fame. However, what began as an apparent grassroots movement may have been high-jacked. Commenting on Occupy Wall Street, Nancy Pelosi said “God bless them.” According to the Washington Post, “Prominent House Democrats are embracing the Occupy Wall Street protests” and CNN reports that labor unions have pledged their support: “Wall Street protests swelled Wednesday to their largest numbers yet, after local unions pledged support to a third week of demonstrations against income inequality, corporate greed, corruption and a list of other social ills.” Rush Limbaugh believes George Soros money is behind the protests.

[click to continue…]

When it comes to America’s energy policy, we are continuing our headlong rush, like lemmings over a cliff, to self-extinction. September 30 was the deadline by which the Department of Energy needed to get the remaining billions in stimulus funds out the door. Apparently, no one learned any lessons from the Solyndra scandal.

Shoveling $4.7 billion in stimulus funds to four solar projects is a big issue being covered by the national media. In two little states, the lemming analogy is still relevant, though under reported.

Both Delaware and Rhode Island are a part of the floundering Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and both have a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), requiring cuts in carbon emissions and increases in renewable energy. Both raise energy costs to consumers.

[click to continue…]

Post image for A Battle of David and Goliath Proportions

In the last few weeks a battle has been going on behind the scenes involving the sites who publish my work and those who wish to silence me and smother public debate.

The debate between the Center for Biological Diversity and me stems from an issue gaining increasing attention. Most recently, on September 28, according to an Associated Press article, the EPA cut corners. Referencing a report from the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general, the article states the “EPA should have followed a more extensive review process.” Inspector General Arthur A. Elkins, Jr said: “It is clear that EPA did not follow all the required steps.” Earlier this month, the Washington Examiner revealed a similar scandal: U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger “ripped” two Fish and Wildlife scientists for their “biological opinion” that was “arbitrary, capricious and unlawful.” Likewise, I drew attention to science behind the proposed endangered species listing for the Sand Dune Lizard. The CBD took offense. Instead of defending the science, exposing the techniques of professional environmentalism, they have opted to attack me and post videos of my presentations on their website.

How’d we get here?

[click to continue…]