Marita Noon

For most of the last decade, alarmists have rung the global warming bell. Back in 2006, when Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was released, it seemed folks were beginning to wake up to the alarm. Public concern regarding global warming peaked following the release of Gore’s movie and is now back down to pre-propaganda levels. Addressing the declining public alarm about global warming, Edward Maibach, director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, said, “The erosion in both public concern and public trust about global warming should be a clarion call for people and organizations trying to educate the public about this important issue.”

Ed, Al, et al, should be alarmed, as three different news items in one week add to the public’s growing skepticism about global warming.

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Post image for Easiest Deficit Solution: Rein in Regulatory State

Admittedly, we, as a country, need to get past this debt-ceiling crisis and, consequently, it has consumed the news cycle. But, the proposed solutions focus mainly on two elements of the problem, while the rating agencies seem to be looking at the bigger picture. Whether Republican or Democrat, the plans address only cutting spending or raising taxes, and the $14 trillion number is too large to meet in the middle—even if we did both. Long term, what Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s are looking for is a plan moving forward that will fix the future.

So, how’d we get here? The over-simplified answer is basically the same way any household account gets into trouble: too much spending and not enough income. Both sides of the debate seem willing to cut some spending. President Obama apparently thinks the only way to increase revenue is by raising taxes.

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The local utility company had just released their report outlining how they’d met the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), passed by the legislators back in 2007. I posted the following on my Facebook page: “New Mexico Utility Company report outlining future energy plans = more expensive electricity facing all states with RPS.” A long series of posts followed including this one from Steve: “The sky is WAY too clean! Let’s get some Los Angeles-style haze going on. And our water? Way too clean… let’s dump battery acid in it! There’s not enough lung cancer in NM to support our private cancer clinics—let’s get some air pollution in this mother! If you want to live where you can see the sun and breathe the air, sorry, it might have to cost a little more.”

Next, Todd posted: “Are you arguing that the current environment is so bad that we have the cancer, the haze, the battery acid? Are you saying that people who violate the law will not be prosecuted? It seems so. I would also suggest that you have a burden of proof here. You would need to prove that the system is broken before requiring new laws.” Steve didn’t post again.

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Post image for Thanks Legislators, Higher Energy Bills Are on the Way

The price of everything is going up and much of the increase can be traced back to energy costs. With unemployment high and the economy threatening a double dip, wouldn’t you think our elected officials would be doing everything possible to cut energy costs and, therefore, lower prices to help ease the pain the public is feeling? Not!

Legislators in more than half the states have voted for mandatory renewable energy standards—usually called an RPS for Renewable Portfolio Standards. While the numbers vary state-by-state, an RPS generally requires that an increasing percentage of a state’s electricity come from renewable sources—primarily wind and solar—by set dates. Most of the mandates coincide with the year: 15% by 2015, 20% by 2020, etc. Most states voted in the RPS back when the economy was thriving and “green” energy sounded like a good idea—after all the wind and the sun are “free.” Voting against “renewables” was akin to not liking puppies. Elected officials from both parties have voted for their state’s RPS. But, renewable energy systems have not proven to be free, and most cannot survive without special mandates and subsidies paid for by your tax dollars.

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Post image for In Anti-Spending Climate, DOE Gives $4.5 Billion in Taxpayer Backed Guarantees to Solar Manufacturer

Despite a downward trend in the prices at the pump, overall energy costs are rising. While most people could not quote the price they are paying per kilowatt hour—as they can for a gallon of gas, they do know their electricity bills are skyrocketing. They also understand that the government policy of picking winners and losers makes taxpayers the losers.

As legislators fight to show their spending-cutting credentials, folks phoned their Senators in June and expressed enough ire that a Democrat-sponsored amendment easily won bipartisan support: by a margin of 73-27 the Senate voted to end ethanol subsidies. The Feinstein amendment was attached to a bill that did not pass and, therefore didn’t change anything. Its importance is mostly symbolic and represents more than just ethanol.

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Post image for Ethanol Subsidy Voted Down

Albuquerque NM—Thursday, June 16, members of the U.S. Senate, by a margin of 73-27, voted to eliminate a tax credit and a tariff that subsidize ethanol production, according to an article in Bloomberg News.

The vote signals a major change in public opinion. It shows that telephone calls to members of Congress can tip the balance in favor of or in opposition to an issue.

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Post image for Put Jobs and the Economy First

Last week’s New York Times announcement: “Sen. Cornyn’s Amendment Would Pre-empt Listing of Southwestern Lizard,” has received little attention as the media has been more focused on Congressman Weiner—but this is big news, too. For those in Southeast New Mexico and West Texas who’ve been working to draw attention to a little lizard with the potential to kill jobs and hurt the region’s economy, Senator Cornyn’s (TX) actions represent a giant step toward rational thinking.

For the past few months, since around Christmas time last year the Fish and Wildlife Service announced the proposed listing of the sand dune lizard as an endangered species, Permian Basin residents have been up in arms about the potential economic damage the listing could have on the area’s two major sources of jobs and revenue: ranching and oil and gas development. The feared impact would be especially hard hitting in the current fiscal crisis and could increase the price of gas as the Permian Basin accounts for about 20 percent of our domestic production.

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Post image for Strike 2 for T. Boone Pickens

He’s baaaack. T. Boone Pickens. In 2008, his “Pickens Plan” sounded like the solution to our energy problems and would have filled the Midwest with wind farms—backed up with natural gas-fueled power plants. At the time of his self-promoted plan, the price of natural gas peaked. He likely did quite well with his natural gas investments. He went away, and his idea of farms filled with wind turbines was forgotten.

But he’s back with a new spin: television ads and media appearances promoting, once again, natural gas use—this time in America’s fleet of trucks. With high prices at the pump and Middle East unrest, the 2011 Pickens Plan sounds good. Using natural gas for transportation fuel is, as the Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVA) ad posted on his website states: “clean, less expensive, and right here.” It seems hard to argue with and dozens of congressmen have signed on to the plan known as the NAT GAS Act (New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions) or HR 1380.

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Apologize

by Marita Noon on May 26, 2011

Post image for Apologize

The hit song “Apologize” could become the theme song of the 2012 Republican Presidential campaign.

Mitt Romney won’t shed his “Romney-care” baggage through a simple apology. Instead he is embracing his controversial plan, claiming that he is no “flip-flopper.” While he is pulling strong poll numbers, pundits believe this one issue will make it tough for him to garner the support of conservatives and may cost him the nomination.

Likewise, Gingrich was thought to be a strong candidate with layers of people and policy carefully in place. Instead of catapulting to the top, as he likely expected with his May 11 announcement, he has been in the forefront of the news with his apology to Paul Ryan for his Sunday morning gaffe regarding the Ryan Plan. He has made several fumbled attempts to recover from this violation of Ronald Reagan’s famed “eleventh commandment,” but most cannot forgive him for sitting on the sofa with Nancy Pelosi and agreeing with her that “our country must take action to address climate change.” No worry. He has not asked for forgiveness and, in fact, refuses to apologize. As recently as a year ago, Gingrich claimed that he would still do a commercial, only this time with the spin that both conservatives and liberals should be prepared to stand on the same stage.

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Post image for Note to Candidates: “It’s about the energy, stupid”

In the politically divided climate there seems to be little agreement. But everyone seems to concur that, despite a slight dip, the prices at the pump are too high and that expensive energy drags down a struggling economy.

Even Congress has heard the voice of the people. However, the White House is still pushing policy that pumps up prices.

In recent history, one prevailing viewpoint has been pre-eminent when it comes to America’s energy: climate change crisis. Policy has been centered on the idea that the climate is changing and that this is a new crisis caused by man’s use of hydrocarbons and that if we’d quit using hydrocarbons all would be well with the world. This philosophy has been out there long enough that most have tired of it—viewing it as just another “doomsday scheme.”

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