Wall Street Journal

Post image for Media Gift: Republicans, Pickens’s New Subsidy and the ‘Circular Firing Squad’

The Wall Street Journal has a long piece today about the prospect of using the state to move part of the U.S. transportation fleet from oil to natural gas. It gives prominent voice to the massive public affairs campaign of T. Boone Pickens to add billions to his natural gas fortune as a swansong to a prosperous career.

This campaign takes the form of a bill embraced by ostensible fiscal hawks, causing an uproar from those conservatives who took umbrage at Members abandoning their pledges of fiscal sobriety at the drop of a billionaire’s phone call. This enabled the media to describe the Republicans’ ‘circular firing squad.’ Well played, gentlemen.

The vehicle was not Pickens’ first choice. His first choice was a windmill mandate, transparently pushed by a handful of gas interests, including Chesapeake Energy’s Aubrey McClendon, to put a green hat on their efforts to use the state to displace coal’s market. In this effort, they found natural allies in environmentalist special interests.

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♫ You don’t have to live like a refugee

You’ve probably heard the dreary narrative many times. By increasing the frequency and severity of floods, storms, droughts, and famines, and by accelerating sea-level rise, anthropogenic global warming will drive millions of people from their homelands. Wave after wave of “environmental refugees” will inundate poor countries barely able to feed their own populations. Fragile governments will tumble. Regional conflicts will intensify. Moral of story: “Global warming is a national security threat — even the generals are worried.”

Google “climate change” and “environmental refugees,” and about 5 million sites  pop up. So you might be inclined to think, where there’s so much smoke, there’s bound to be some fire.

Many of these sites — for example, National Geographic News — reference a November 2005 United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) report predicting there would be as many as 50 million climate refugees in 2010. What actually happened?

Today’s (pre-Earth Day) edition of the Wall Street Journal reports that the 50 million climate refugees did not materialize. In fact, many of the places UNEP supposed would be hardest hit by global warming are rapidly gaining population! [click to continue…]

Post image for Ethanol: Coburn, ATR, WSJ

There is an ongoing ethanol spat between Senator Coburn (R-OK) and Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. The dispute is over conservative support for a bill that would repeal the ethanol tax credit, which has the effect of raising an industry specific tax. Americans for Tax Reform comes down hard on any effort to increase taxes. The Wall Street Journal added their two cents in favor of Senator Coburn:

Our readers know Mr. Norquist as the plucky author of the no-new-taxes pledge, which has helped to make tax increases a red line in Republican politics. In a letter to Mr. Coburn, a deputy of Mr. Norquist writes: “Repealing the ethanol credit is the right thing to do, but other taxes must be reduced in the same legislation by at least this much to prevent a net tax increase.”

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Post image for North Dakota’s Lessons for America

Not every State is suffering economically.  According to a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed by Joel Kotkin,  unemployment in North Dakota is 3.8 percent (nation-wide, it’s about 9 percent), due primarily to increasing production of oil and gas. And, as noted by Bonner Cohen in a letter to the Journal, North Dakota’s energy boom was made possible primarily because almost all of North Dakota’s rich deposits of oil and natural gas lie beneath privately-owned land. Otherwise, it would have been locked up by the Obama administration.