The Green Regulation Machine: Saving the Planet or Killing Jobs?
California water outlook: Sierra snowpack dry and getting drier, 52 percent of historic norm
By Paul Rogers email@example.com
Posted: 03/29/2013 06:44:08 AM PDT
Updated: 03/29/2013 06:44:37 AM PDT
It's been so dry this spring in California that, as they say in Texas, the trees are whistling for the dogs.
State water officials on Thursday announced that the Sierra Nevada snowpack -- a key source of drinking water for millions of people -- is at an anemic 52 percent of its historic average.
That's the lowest reading for the beginning of April of any time since 2007, which was the start of a three-year drought. Only two years during the past 20 have had less Sierra snow at this time of year, 1994 and 2007.
"We're seeing a lot of melted-out spots, a lot of grass and rock where we normally see snow," said Dave Rizzardo, chief of snow surveys for the California Department of Water Resources in Sacramento.
The amount of snow and rain that fell in the northern Sierra between January and the end of March is the least since records were first kept in 1920. In San Francisco, the rainfall over the same three months (1.72 inches) is the lowest since records were first kept in 1850, and the second lowest in San Jose, whose records go back to 1874. It's a similar story in Oakland, with the driest spring so far since the 1930s, when consistent records there were first kept.
A forecast for mild weekend showers across the Bay Area, with a 70 percent chance of rain Sunday, won't be enough to change the overall picture, water experts said.
Nevertheless, in an odd mix of events, so much rain and snow fell in Northern California
in November and December that reservoirs and ground water banks remain healthy, and no large Bay Area water agencies say they expect water restrictions or mandatory rationing this summer.
"We have planned for the possibility that the winter would be as dry as it is. We are prepared with other water supplies," said Marty Grimes, a spokesman for the Santa Clara Valley Water District, in San Jose. "We are fine through this year. But obviously we'll be hoping for a wetter winter next year."
In the East Bay, water officials held back more of the runoff from heavy storms late last year in their reservoirs than normal, leaving plenty of water "in the bank" when the spring rains failed to materialize.
The on-again-off-again rainfall this year has made for a wild hydrologic ride.
"We got more rain in a few hours during one storm on Dec. 23 than we've had in the whole three-month period from January until now. It's been a strange year," said Charles Hardy, a spokesman for the East Bay Municipal Utility District, which serves 1.3 million people in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
The district's main storage area, Pardee Reservoir in Calaveras County, was 88 percent full Thursday. At worst, the district's customers will get a voluntary conservation request this summer, Hardy said.
Same thing in Silicon Valley, where the Santa Clara Valley Water District is comfortably sitting on a year's supply of water in its vast underground aquifers, roughly 326,000 acre feet, and has another year's supply, about 308,000 acre feet, stored underground at the Semitropic Water Storage District near Bakersfield.
The bone dry last three months haven't even particularly affected the state's ski resorts. At Heavenly at Lake Tahoe, there is a 4-foot base, some of which is left over from the November and December storms, and the U.S. National Freestyle Skiing Championships are set for this weekend.
"The snowpack was generated early. We are just riding it out through the season," said Heavenly spokesman Russ Pecoraro. "People have been coming up and raving about the conditions."
Some Californians, particularly some San Joaquin Valley farmers, however, will face a more parched summer than their Bay Area neighbors. That's because the low snowpack means state and federal officials won't be able to pump as much from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, a key source of water for the farms that use 80 percent of the state's developed water supply.
Officials from Gov. Jerry Brown's administration on Thursday used the snowpack news to try to boost the difficult political fortunes of their $23 billion plan to build two massive tunnels under the Delta to make it easier to move water from the north to the south.
"With today's snow survey, the table has been set for yet another very dry year," said state Natural Resources S
CLIMATE CHANGE WEEKLY #86
FRIGID SPRING FREEZES GLOBAL WARMING CLAIMS
A remarkably frigid spring is putting the freeze on global warming from Russia to the U.K. and from Alaska to Florida.
The Russian International News Agency reports the exceptionally cold spring, even by Russian standards, is delaying the annual bird migration. The U.K. Guardian reports record cold temperatures killed thousands of newborn lambs throughout the British Isles. The Alaska Dispatch saluted residents with “Welcome to Spring!” while reporting temperatures remaining below zero and threatening longtime records. The Tampa Bay Times reported an extended spell of frigid temperatures forced animal experts to rescue a South Florida manatee at a time when Floridians are usually basking on beach sands.
The Real Science climate blog noted there were 30 times more cold temperature records set in the United States this week than warm temperature records.
NASA satellite instruments reported February 2013 temperatures that were approximately average compared to the past dozen years, a time period during which global temperatures have plateaued. Temperatures have plateaued even though annual global carbon dioxide emissions have risen by approximately one-third since the year 2000.
Written by James Enstrom and Harold Calahan
from Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) , increasing their water bills by up to 20%. This Ratepayer money has been used to build in the Great Basin (Alpine, Inyo, and Mono Counties) in order to control dust from
The dust, a form of particulate matter air pollution, is blown off the dry lake bed by wind. Owens Lake has been largely dry since the was completed in 1913 by DWP’s Chief Engineer William Mulholland. This aqueduct has made possible the delivery of water necessary for the growth and survival of Los Angeles for the past century. As an organization deeply concerned about Owens Lake, DWP has worked diligently to successfully reduce the lake dust to an entirely safe level.
The Great Basin, which has a population density of only two people per square mile, is not experiencing any documentable adverse health effects from the current level of Owens Lake dust.
Then, amazingly, Schade requested in a that the Great Basin be EXEMPTED from costly dust-related regulations by claiming the dust is NOT dangerous in this sparsely populated area. Like Elmer, Ted is a hypocritical charlatan!
Instead of agreeing to the much less wasteful dust control proposed by DWP, Shade has hired $750 per hour attorneys and has demanded $400 million more for dust control done his way. His demand is so outrageous that DWP filed an October 12, 2012 federal lawsuit against Ted’s Empire.
This lawsuit has wide support from Ratepayers, the entire Los Angeles City Council, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, homeowners associations, and others.
Until Shade stops misrepresenting the dangers of the Owens Lake dust and agrees to efficiently and economically control it, a new advocacy group appropriately named IRATE (Irate Ratepayers Against Ted’s Empire) will advocate and promote an IMMEDIATE AND TOTAL boycott of the Great Basin, particularly .
IRATE has extensive expertise in the flawed PM (dust) science that is being misused by unaccountable regulators like Schade and in effective ways to do Ratepayer advocacy.
IRATE is organizing the BOYCOTT with assistance from as many Ratepayers as possible in order to stop the water waste at Owens Lake and end Ted’s billion dollar rip-off.
Alternate New York Times Headline: ‘Global Warming Saves Civilization’
If it weren't for coal and cars, how cold would we be?
Like Beauty, the interpretation of scientific data is often in the eye of the beholder. I’m an engineer with more than a smattering of book-learning in the geologic sciences. It has always struck me as appalling that the scientists who would reorder our very lives around their interpretation of climate science and its implications for our future have so little interest in earth history and the geologic time scale. The climate alarmist community seems to focus on anecdotes and anomalous weather patterns that we can observe over the course of a human lifespan but have a vauge explanation for abrupt and dramatic changes in the distant past.
But in terms of the geologic time scale, human history is the blink of an eye compared the 4.5 billion year age of the earth. The end of the last ice age, a monumental, undeniably non-anthropogenic warming event, happened about 12,000 years ago; to a geologist it may as well have happened a week ago last Thursday. Yet climate scientists rarely address the implications of that warming event on their modern-day warming theories.
But this week, a new study came out which alarmingly concludes that CO2-forced temperatures are at or near their Holocene (post ice age) maximum.
One could look at the same data and wonder how cold we might be if not for Global Warming.
(along with just about every other mainstream news outlet) this week reported the news that, for them, closes the case on Global Warming:
Previous research had extended back roughly 1,500 years, and suggested that the rapid temperature spike of the past century, believed to be a consequence of human activity, exceeded any warming episode during those years. The new work confirms that result while suggesting the modern warming is unique over a longer period.
Even if the temperature increase from human activity that is projected for later this century comes out on the low end of estimates, scientists said, the planet will be at least as warm as it was during the warmest periods of the modern geological era, known as the Holocene, and probably warmer than that.
That epoch began about 12,000 years ago, after across the Northern Hemisphere. Scientists believe the . [Emphasis added.]
“Climate change” cools off
These are not happy times for the Church of Global Warming, which has been trying to repackage its manufactured hysteria as “climate change” for several years. But according to the on Thursday, we’ve actually come full circle to where we began in the Seventies:
After some flapdoodle about global temperature spikes (in fact, not only is there no evidence connecting human activity to any such spike, most recent data says there wasn’t much of a “spike,” and what heating occurred mostly leveled out a decade ago) and quoting the ridiculous Michael Mann of “hockey stick graph hoax” fame as an “expert,” the casually drops the same narrative that global-warming cultists have decried as heresy for the past thirty years:
Though the paper is the most complete reconstruction of global temperature, it is roughly consistent with previous work on a regional scale. It suggests that changes in the amount and distribution of incoming sunlight, caused by wobbles in the earth’s orbit, contributed to a sharp temperature rise in the early Holocene.
The climate then stabilized at relatively warm temperatures about 10,000 years ago, hitting a plateau that lasted for roughly 5,000 years, the paper shows. After that, shifts of incoming sunshine prompted a long, slow cooling trend.
The cooling was interrupted, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, by a fairly brief spike during the Middle Ages, known as the Medieval Warm Period. (It was then that the Vikings settled Greenland, dying out there when the climate cooled again.)
Scientists say that if natural factors were still governing the climate, the Northern Hemisphere would probably be destined to freeze over again in several thousand years. “We were on this downward slope, presumably going back toward another ice age,” Dr. Marcott said.
Instead, scientists believe the enormous increase in greenhouse gases caused by industrialization will almost certainly prevent that.
Wait, what? Sunlight affects global temperatures? Who could have seen coming?
For the moment, leave aside those sensationalist claims about “enormous increases in greenhouse gases caused by industrialization” – a simple enough observation given that pre-industrial societies produce very little greenhouse gas, outside of human and animal flatulence, but not logically connected to any measurable shift in global climate. Aren’t these scientists conceding that man-made global warming might be… Wouldn’t that mean the people who have been trying to bankrupt Western industry with madcap environmental laws have also been ignorantly shoving us into the frozen hell of a new Ice Age?
I’ve been at my old school Malvern College all week, poisoning the minds of the young with my dangerous views on sustainability, climate change, “biodiversity” and other sacred green cows. But a lot of the time, it has to be said, my work wasn’t necessary. In one geography class specifically dedicated to climate change, the first kid to stick up his hand said: “What’s wrong with the world getting warmer anyway? It will mean we get nicer summers!”
Which is what the kids would no doubt refer to as an for all the official propaganda we’ve been fed these last few decades. The boys and girls in that particular class would have been precisely the target audience at which the Labour government aimed its , the £6 million effort in 2009 commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change to scare impressionable kids witless with tales of a hideous carbon monster which was going to drown their puppies. If the enviro loons can’t even manage to brainwash the young with their lies, spin junk science, what chance do they have with grown ups?
Delingpole goes on to review polling data that shows most of the public doesn’t care about “climate change” and never really did, even back when Western nations weren’t grinding their way through endless recessions and limp “recoveries.”
Mar 11, 2013
The foes of the California Environmental Quality Act includes developers, municipalities, land owners, the governor and assorted lawmakers in both parties. Their common refrain? That CEQA needs to be "modernized."
From the LAT's George Skelton: "Hill wants to return CEQA to what it originally was: a check on environmental degradation. It gradually veered out of control as various interests learned to use the landmark law for their own non-environmental agendas."
"It became, too often, a tool of business rivals trying to block competition, NIMBYs ("not in my back yard") attempting to thwart local projects and unions strong-arming developers for labor concessions."
"Meanwhile, project delays dragged on for years, money was wasted on consultants and lawyers, and California burnished its reputation as a lousy place to do business."
The governor's plan for putting more money into public education leaves one group out in the cold -- foster children.
From EdSource's Maya Cooper: "Governor Jerry Brown’s new funding formula for education threatens to leave more than 40,000 school-age foster children in California without the essential support they need to succeed in school."
"The governor’s proposed budget eliminates 47 of 62 “categorical” education programs, including California’s Foster Youth Services program. Local Foster Youth Services programs operate primarily through county offices of education to better coordinate with the other county agencies serving foster children. These programs work with current and former foster youth as well as school, juvenile detention, child welfare, probation department and community services agency staff to help foster youth succeed in school. Services include tutoring and mentoring, educational advocacy, data sharing, coordination, transition planning and much more."
"Under the governor’s current budget proposal, school districts and county offices of education will be funded through a “Local Control Funding Formula” that will provide a base amount per pupil and a supplemental amount for students who are English learners, low-income or in foster care. The proposal is intended to give local education agencies increased control over how to spend their funds while holding them accountable, in theory, for the academic progress of these educationally underserved groups."
Speaking of being left out in the cold, that may be what happens to Sacramento with the Kings, an NBA team that appears to be getting ready to head north from Sacramento, where it's been for nearly three decades.
From the AP's Antonio Gonazlez: "NBA commissioner David Stern said Friday night the counteroffer to keep the Sacramento Kings from moving to Seattle needs to be increased financially before the league's owners would even consider the bid."
"Speaking to reporters before the Golden State Warriors hosted the Houston Rockets, Stern said the Sacramento group's offer has some "very strong financial people behind it but it is not quite there in terms of a comparison to the Seattle bid." He added that "unless it increases, it doesn't get to the state of consideration."
"The league has scheduled a meeting April 3 in New York to avoid rushing debate on the issue. Representatives from Sacramento and Seattle will have a chance to present their case at that meeting, Stern said."
February 21, 2013
The nonpartisan has so many complaints with Gov. Jerry Brown's plan for spending new clean energy money that it produced a separate 12-page pamphlet today to detail the problems.
Thanks to voter-approved Proposition 39, the state has $450 million to $550 million annually to spend on energy efficiency projects over the next five years. Brown proposed in his budget to devote all of that money to retrofitting K-12 schools and community colleges. The initiative did not specify that funds go toward education.
The analyst's office found "many serious concerns" with Brown's plan from both a legal and economic perspective.
Legally, the analyst's office says the governor's plan invites manipulation of the state constitutional guarantee by counting the funds toward school operating budgets. The analyst's office says that approach marks "a serious departure" from how it interprets the state constitution, a view that the office says it "developed over many years with guidance from Legislative Counsel." Additionally, the analyst's office says it departs from what voters were told last year.
Brown's Department of Finance disagrees. It says that because the money is paid by corporations into the state general fund, schools have a claim on it.
"In our view it is not a gray area," Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said.
Economically, the analyst's office suggests that devoting all money to school projects may not be the best use of money. It notes that other public buildings are bigger energy hogs, such as hospitals that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The LAO also points out that Brown's plan provides money for schools on a per-student basis. Though that may be politically palatable, upgrading buildings in areas of extreme climate (desert areas in the spring and summer or Truckee in the winter) would get more energy efficiency for the buck.
California wins ruling on 2000-2001 energy crisis
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 - 8:03 am
More than a decade after the last rolling blackout, Californians could get $1.6 billion in electricity refunds because of market manipulation during the first few months of theenergy crisis, officials said Monday.
A federal administrative law judge issued a preliminary decision last Friday in California's favor against several big energy wholesalers, including a U.S. government agency that sells hydropower from the Pacific Northwest and the government of British Columbia.
If the decision is upheld by the entire Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, California ratepayers would receive $1 billion in refunds plus $600 million in interest, the state Public Utilities Commission said Monday.
The energy crisis bled billions from the big investor-owned utilities – Pacific Gas and Electric Co.,Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric – and led to substantial rate hikes for customers. Refunds would be paid through offsets on consumers' monthly bills.
Californians have already received more than $3 billion in refunds for economic damage done during the energy crisis. Another claim is pending with FERC for $1 billion worth of alleged overcharges as the crisis peaked in early 2001.
The latest decision covers the first six months of the crisis, starting in May 2000, when prices first began to explode. The judge, Philip Baten, found that more than a dozen power wholesalers engaged in manipulative bidding practices to ratchet up pricing.
FERC originally refused to order refunds for activities in the early months of the crisis. The reason was that it wasn't until October 2000 that FERC put companies on notice that it might order refunds. California officials then got a court order forcing the federal agency to scrutinize power trades during the pre-October 2000 period.
Phil Serna to be sworn in to California Air Resources Board
Published: Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 - 4:30 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 - 6:38 pm
Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna will be sworn in as the newest member of the California Air Resources Board tomorrow at 9 a.m.
The swearing in will take place in the Joe Serna Jr. Cal/EPA Headquarters Building, 1001 I St., named after Serna's late father, who was once mayor of Sacramento.
Serna was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to fill a new seat created by recent legislation to add representation for the region. The legislation was authored by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, a former Sacramento County supervisor.
"I'm humbled by the confidence Governor Brown has placed in me to represent the more than 2 million residents in our region," Serna said in a written statement.
Congress: EPA is flouting gov’t transparency laws to hide emails
12:29 PM 02/08/2013
Congressional Republicans are accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of improperly using an exemption clause under the Freedom of Information Act to redact the alias email of departing Administrator Lisa Jackson.
GOP lawmakers are asking that the EPA inspector general broaden his search to find out if the agency abused its discretion by redacting the Jackson’s account name, domain name, and server for her alias account.
“Based on documents the Committees have obtained, EPA is clearly deviating from President Obama’s openness initiative and from the letter of the law,” said a letter from Republicans Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, California Rep. Darrell Issa, and Texas Rep. Lamar Smith to the EPA’s inspector general.
“It also appears that EPA is hiding information the public has a right to know in violation of Federal law,” the letter continues, adding that the “EPA has cited Exemption 6 to redact the entire email address and the account name in every email either sent or received by Lisa Jackson’s alias email account. In doing so, the agency not only denied the public knowledge of the domain name, but also the server she used.”
The EPA used Exemption 6 to redact the email address used by Jackson in the released emails. This exemption is supposed to only be used to protect personal privacy — not Jackson’s work email address.
The letter also noted that the EPA previously used a different FOIA exemption to redact Jackson’s alias account in released documents.
The Department of Justice FOIA guidance says that “[e]xemption 6 protects information about individuals ‘in personnel and medical files and similar files,’ when disclosing such information, “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.’”
President Obama also instructed agencies that FOIA-ed information should not be withheld “merely because officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.”
Maybe Money Does Grow on Trees
Hidden funds and a failure of oversight in one-party California
18 January 2013
California attorney general Kamala Harris’s just-concluded investigation only deepens the mystery surrounding $54 million in“hidden money” discovered last year at the state parks department. State investigators interviewed 40 employees, yielding more than 2,000 pages of testimony. They found that state parks officials had intentionally concealed “only” $20.5 million held in the State Parks and Recreation Fund. The remaining $33 million was “simply obscured by long-term complexities in managing that fund.”
Harris’s report is worthy of attention for several reasons, not least because it smacks of a cover-up. Her office released the report on Friday, January 4—at the tail end of a holiday week, a great day to avoid attention. But the Sacramento Bee, which broke the hidden-money story last year, remained on the case. The Bee noted that the attorney general was “unable to fully explain how the money piled up,” declaring only that the hidden money was “unintended” and not the result of any misconduct. One witness, however, offered a different take on why the parks department would report smaller amounts to the Department of Finance: so that the state would not further reduce the parks department’s budget.
That might be a plausible conclusion. Unfortunately, the attorney general didn’t talk to some of the most relevant officials. For example, investigators had wanted to speak with former state parks director Ruth Coleman, who resigned last May—a day before the initial revelations made headlines—and has since retained an attorney. Coleman refused to be interviewed, but she offered to answer questions in writing. Incredibly, the attorney general declined to proceed even on that basis, but still claimed to find no evidence that Coleman knew about the money.
The key question for Harris had nothing to do with accounting procedures or intentions. Rather, it was whether the state employees who hid the money broke any laws. As the Bee noted, “the attorney general’s office did not even analyze what the relevant laws might be in that regard.” Worse, Harris left it to the state Natural Resources Agency, the bureaucracy that supervises the parks department, to decide whether to bring in local law enforcement. All told, it was a subtle buck-passing performance by the state’s highest law-enforcement agency, which likes to strike a tough pose with those outside state government.
E.P.A. Chief Set to Leave; Term Fell Shy of Early Hope
Published: December 27, 2012 201 Comments
Lisa P. Jackson is stepping down as administrator of theEnvironmental Protection Agency after a four-year tenure that began with high hopes of sweeping action to address climate changeand other environmental ills but ended with a series of rear-guard actions to defend the agency against challenges from industry, Republicans in Congress and, at times, the Obama White House.
Ms. Jackson, 50, told President Obama shortly after his re-election in November that she wanted to leave the administration early next year. She informed the E.P.A. staff of her decision on Thursday morning and issued a brief statement saying that she was confident “the ship is sailing in the right direction.”
She has not said what she intends to do after leaving government, and no successor was immediately named, although it is expected that Robert Perciasepe, the E.P.A. deputy administrator, will take over at least temporarily.
Ms. Jackson’s departure comes as many in the environmental movement are questioning Mr. Obama’s commitment to dealing with climate change and other environmental problems. After his re-election, and a campaign in which global warming was barely mentionedby either candidate, Mr. Obama said that his first priority would be jobs and the economy and that he intended only to foster a “conversation” on climate change in the coming months.
That ambivalence is a far cry from the hopes that accompanied his early months in office, when he identified climate change as one of humanity’s defining challenges. Mr. Obama put the White House’s full lobbying power behind a House cap-and-trade bill that would have limited climate-altering emissions and brought profound changes in how the nation produces and consumes energy.
But after the effort stalled in the Senate, the administration abandoned broad-scale climate change efforts, instead focusing on smaller regulatory actions largely though theClean Air Act.
White House and E.P.A. officials said that Ms. Jackson’s decision to leave government was her own and that the timing had been negotiated with the White House.
Mr. Obama praised her in a statement, calling her “an important part of my team.”
“Over the last four years, Lisa Jackson has shown an unwavering commitment to the health of our families and our children,” the president said. “Under her leadership, the E.P.A. has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, including implementing the first national standard for harmful mercury pollution, taking important action to combat climate change under the Clean Air Act, and playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution.”
After Republicans took control of the House in 2010, Ms. Jackson became a favored targetof the new Republican majority’s aversion to what it termed “job-killing regulations.” One coal industry official accused her of waging “regulatory jihad,” and she was summoned to testify before hostile House committees dozens of times in 2011. She was frequently subjected to harsh questioning that at times bordered on the disrespectful.
Ms. Jackson, the first African-American to head the E.P.A., brushed off that treatment as part of the territory and a reflection of the new partisan reality in Washington. More difficult for her was the occasional lack of support from environmental groups, who saw every compromise as a betrayal, and from the White House, which was trying to balance worries about the economy and the president’s re-election campaign against the perceived costs of tough environmental policies.
The White House rejected or scaled back a number of proposed new regulations from the environmental agency, most notably the withdrawal of a proposed new standard for ozone pollution that Ms. Jackson sought in the summer of 2011. Mr. Obama rejected the proposal on the grounds that it would be too costly for industry and local government to comply with at a time of continuing economic distress. Other new rules, including those for emissions from industrial boilers and cement factories, were either watered down or their introduction delayed after complaints from lawmakers, lobbyists and businesses.
Despite a number of disappointments, however, Ms. Jackson has achieved some notable firsts, including the finding that carbon dioxide and five other gases that contribute to global warming meet the definition of pollutants under the Clean Air Act. That so-calledendangerment finding, which has survived federal court challenges from industry, allowed the agency to negotiate strict new emissions standards for cars and light trucks, the first time the federal government has limited global warming pollution.
The finding also formed the basis of the first steps toward regulating greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants and, possibly, toward requiring existing ones to reduce global warming pollution. The rule governing new power plants in effect bans the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they capture carbon dioxide emissions, a technology so far unproven on a commercial scale.
The E.P.A. under Ms. Jackson also established the first standards for emissions ofmercury, arsenic and other airborne toxins from power plants, and finalized a rule reducing industrial pollution that crosses state borders. The latter rule was struck down by a federal court and is under appeal.
Ms. Jackson, a native of New Orleans who holds chemical engineering degrees from Tulane and Princeton, has spent most of her professional career at the E.P.A. She led the Department of Environmental Protection in New Jersey from 2006 to 2008 under Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who named her his chief of staff in late 2008, shortly before Mr. Obama chose her to head the federal environmental agency.
This month, the E.P.A.’s inspector general, prodded by Republicans in Congress, announced that he was opening an inquiry into Ms. Jackson’s use of a secondary e-mail account to conduct business inside the agency. Ms. Jackson has said that she used the second account because her public e-mail address was widely known and that her e-mail alias — “Richard Windsor” — derived from the name of her dog and her former home in Windsor Township, N.J.
It is not known when the inquiry will be completed.
In a brief interview on Wednesday evening, Ms. Jackson said that she hoped to decompress after four intense years running the E.P.A., which has 17,000 employees and an $8 billion annual budget. She said she would probably do some consulting and public speaking but has not begun looking for a new job. She is thought to be a candidate for the presidency of Princeton.
Asked what she considered most important in her tenure, Ms. Jackson mentioned the endangerment finding, because it was the first time that the federal government began to address climate change. She also said that although it received little notice during her tenure, she was proud of her role in expanding the environmental agenda to include voices that have been little heard, including low-income communities, Native Alaskans and American Indian tribes.
“Before me,” she said, “some people said that African-Americans don’t care about the environment. I don’t think that will ever be the case again.”
Plan for U.S. natural gas exports brings talk of economic boon, fears of failure
Published December 17, 2012
Not long ago, the U.S. was facing the prospect of spending billions to import pricey natural gas from overseas to heat our homes, fuel electrical generation and run our city buses. The industry was furiously building terminals to handle what was sure to be enormous ship traffic from places like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Now -- as a result of the ‘fracking’ revolution -- the federal government is considering 15 applications to build huge facilities to liquefy natural gas from U.S. shale deposits and send it overseas.
The ability to tap natural gas from unconventional sources has quickly made the U.S. one of the world’s leading producers. But success has a downside. The price of gas domestically is near historic lows. In some places, companies are pulling back exploration because it just doesn’t pay.
That’s why the industry is anxious to open up the export market; in particular, countries that don’t have free trade agreements with the U.S. In many of them, the price is 3-5 times what we are now paying at home.
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”
- Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute
The battle over exports has created some interesting bedfellows.
The Obama White House is on the same page as the oil and gas industry after a study commissioned by the Energy Department found exporting gas would be a boon for the economy.
The industry couldn’t be happier about the findings. Bill Cooper, of the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, told Fox News, “What we’re talking about is selling a valuable resource that we have in abundance that we can provide to other countries at a cost that brings valuable investments back into the United States – money into the United States that grows our economy.”
At the same time, an unusual alliance has emerged in opposition to exports. It includes Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the Sierra Club and Dow Chemical, which uses huge amounts of natural gas as feedstock and fuel for its factories.
'It begins': EPA imposes controversial new rule on soot pollution
Published December 14, 2012
The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday issued its first major regulation since the Nov. 6 election, imposing new air quality rules on soot pollution in what critics called evidence of a post-election "regulatory cliff."
The EPA rule reduces by 20 percent the maximum amount of soot released into the air from smokestacks, diesel trucks and other sources of pollution.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the new standard will save thousands of lives each year and reduce the burden of illness in communities across the country, as people "benefit from the simple fact of being able to breathe cleaner air."
But the new soot standard has been highly anticipated by environmental and business groups, who have battled over whether it will protect public health or cause job losses.
The American Petroleum Institute warned Friday that the new rule "is unnecessary and could drive up costs for new and expanding businesses trying to hire employees."
"There is no compelling scientific evidence for the policy decision to develop more stringent standards. The existing standards are working and will continue improving air quality," API Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Howard Feldman said in a statement. "We fear this new rule may be just the beginning of a 'regulatory cliff'."
Feldman was referring to a host of forthcoming environmental regulations. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., who for months has been warning about those regulations, called Friday's announcement "the first in an onslaught of post-election rulemakings that will place considerable burdens on our struggling economy."
"And so it begins," Inhofe said.
President Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures
It is no secret that President Obama’s and green-energy supporters’ (from both parties) foray into venture capitalism has not gone well. But the extent of its failure has been largely ignored by the press. Sure, single instances garner attention as they happen, but they ignore past failures in order to make it seem like a rare case.
The truth is that the problem is widespread. The government’s picking winners and losers in the energy market has cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and the rate of failure, cronyism, and corruption at the companies receiving the subsidies is substantial. The fact that some companies are not under financial duress does not make the policy a success. It simply means that our taxpayer dollars subsidized companies that would’ve found the financial support in the private market.
So far, 36 companies that have received federal support from taxpayers are faltering — either having gone bankrupt or laying off workers or heading for bankruptcy. This list includes only those companies that received federal money from the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy and other agencies. The amount of money indicated does not reflect how much was actually received or spent but how much was offered. The amount also does not include other state, local, and federal tax credits and subsidies, which push the amount of money these companies have received from taxpayers even higher.
The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:
1. Evergreen Solar ($24 million)*
2. SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
3. Solyndra ($535 million)*
4. Beacon Power ($69 million)*
5. AES’s subsidiary Eastern Energy ($17.1 million)
6. Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
7. SunPower ($1.5 billion)
8. First Solar ($1.46 billion)
9. Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
10. EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
11. Amonix ($5.9 million)
12. National Renewable Energy Lab ($200 million)
13. Fisker Automotive ($528 million)
14. Abound Solar ($374 million)*
15. A123 Systems ($279 million)*
16. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($6 million)
17. Johnson Controls ($299 million)
18. Schneider Electric ($86 million)
19. Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
20. ECOtality ($126.2 million)
21. Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
22. Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
23. Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
24. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
25. Range Fuels ($80 million)*
26. Thompson River Power ($6.4 million)*
27. Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
28. LSP Energy ($2.1 billion)*
29. UniSolar ($100 million)*
30. Azure Dynamics ($120 million)*
31. GreenVolts ($500,000)
32. Vestas ($50 million)
33. LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($150 million)
34. Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
35. Navistar ($10 million)
36. Satcon ($3 million)*
*Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.
The problem begins with the issue of government picking winners and losers in the first place. Venture capitalist firms exist for this very reason, and they choose what to invest in by looking at companies’ business models and deciding if they are worthy. When the government plays venture capitalist, it tends to reward companies that are connected to the policymakers themselves or because it sounds nice to “invest” in green energy.
The 2009 stimulus set aside $80 billion to subsidize politically preferred energy projects. Since that time, 1,900 investigations have been opened to look into stimulus waste, fraud, and abuse (although not all are linked to the green-energy funds), and nearly 600 convictions have been made. Of that $80 billion in clean energy loans, grants, and tax credits, at least 10 percent has gone to companies that have since either gone bankrupt or are circling the drain.
Another DOE-Backed Solar Company Goes Bankrupt
A solar company that got a multi-million-dollar grant from the Department of Energy earlier this year announced Wednesday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the second taxpayer-backed green energy company to file for bankruptcy this week.
Satcon Technology Corp. announced the decision in a Wednesday news release. “This has been a difficult time for Satcon,” president and CEO Steve Rhoades said. “After careful consideration of available alternatives, the Company’s Board of Directors determined that the Chapter 11 filings were a necessary and prudent step, allowing the Company to continue to operate while giving us the opportunity to reorganize with a stronger balance sheet and capital structure.”
Satcon received a $3 million DOE grant in January to develop “a compact, lightweight power conversion device that is capable of taking utility-scale solar power and outputting it directly into the electric utility grid at distribution voltage levels—eliminating the need for large transformers.”
“If successful,” noted DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) at the time, “Satcon would simplify the solar power conversion process and significantly reduce the cost of operating, installing, and siting a PV power system—helping to facilitate their widespread use.”
ARPA-E also stated that the grant “could create jobs for system installers, technicians, and salespeople.”
Satcon has also received smaller federal payments for various solar initiatives at DOE. The company manufactures power conversion devices for solar energy, though it does not manufacture the solar panels themselves.
Satcon is the second DOE-backed green energy company to declare bankruptcy this week. As Scribe’s Michael Sandoval reported on Tuesday, electric vehicle battery manufacturer A123 Systems filed for Chapter 11 despite receiving a $249 million DOE grant.
A123 and Satcon mark the latest in a long line of taxpayer-funded green energy failures. Heritage’s Ashe Schow lays out the full list in a new report on the Foundry.
Another Obama Stimulus “Winner”–$50 Million from Taxpayers and cutting 1600 Jobs
Gov. Romney said it best, “government picks winners and losers. Obama only picks the losers.” Solyndra, SolarPower, TESLA and more. Add a DANISH company that received $50 million in U.S. stimulus money to the long list of losers.
“A DANISH WIND TURBINE COMPANY WHOSE SUBSIDIARIES RECEIVED OVER $50 MILLION IN U.S. STIMULUS DOLLARS ANNOUNCED ON FRIDAY IT HAS CUT MORE THAN 800 JOBS IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA THIS YEAR AND MAY BE FORCED TO LAY OFF ANOTHER 800 EMPLOYEES IN NORTH AMERICA.
This is yet another green energy company that received wasteful stimulus funds and does not even have anything to show for it.
According to Reuters, Vestas, the wind turbine maker, saw its order intake go down by 24 percent during the first half of the year.
Coal is a winner and Obama says NO. Oil is a winner and Obama says no to Keystone and other efforts. Hydroelectric is a winner and the Feds are planning on blowing up dams
BET YOU DID NOT KNOW THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA WAS SO GOOD TO DANISH FIRMS AND HORRIBLE TO AMERICAN WORKERS.
BIG GOVERNMENT, 10/13/12
A DANISH WIND TURBINE COMPANY WHOSE SUBSIDIARIES RECEIVED OVER $50 MILLION IN U.S. STIMULUS DOLLARS ANNOUNCED ON FRIDAY IT HAS CUT MORE THAN 800 JOBS IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA THIS YEAR AND MAY BE FORCED TO LAY OFF ANOTHER 800 EMPLOYEES IN NORTH AMERICA.
This is yet another green energy company that received wasteful stimulus funds and does not even have anything to show for it.
According to Reuters, Vestas, the wind turbine maker, saw its order intake go down by 24 percent during the first half of the year.
“The U.S. wind industry has slowed, largely due to the uncertainty surrounding the Federal Production Tax Credit extension,” said Martha Wyrsch, head of Vestas-American Wind Technology, Inc.
Vestas said without more tax credits and stimulus funds, the company will have trouble competing.
Vestas executives, according to Reuters, told investors that “it would stop non-profitable projects,” especially in Europe and America, where demand for its products have plummeted.
ENERGY: As gas shortage hit California, refiners kept cheaper supply flowing to Nevada
Most of Nevada's gas is refined in California, but to a different formulation, one that emits more smog-producing gases when burned. But that different formula, which more closely matches conventional gas sold in the rest of the nation, allowed Nevada's gas to keep flowing despite supply problems with California's summer blend.
Combined with lower fuel taxes and more competition, retail prices were far lower ---- and increases far less ---- in Las Vegas and Reno than in California during the shortage.
Last week, California refiners were in the midst of a state-mandated transition from summer to winter fuel blends that left them with low stocks. Power problems at a refinery in Torrance slashed remaining stocks of summer blend, causing a panic among traders and sending gas prices soaring.
In one week, the average price of unleaded in San Diego County jumped 56 cents, peaking on Sunday at $4.72 a gallon, shattering a record of $4.63 set in 2008, . Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown allowed California retailers to sell winter blend three weeks early, putting supply back on the market. Prices fell slightly off their peak, but stayed high.
California refiners also make fuel for Phoenix, Nevada, and southern Oregon. Last year, refiners sent 47.3 million barrels of gasoline out of state, 12.5 percent of their annual production, according to the California Energy Commission. Even though most of Nevada's gas comes California, its prices are typically lower, and that trend continued during the recent increases.
By Michelle Malkin • October 8, 2012 10:20 AM
If it’s a day that ends in “y,” it’s a day of trouble for an Obama green loan recipient somewhere in America. Like Mitt Romney said during the debate last week, the crony-in-chief doesn’t just pick winners and losers, he picks the losers:
Doug Powers and I continue to chronicle the world of failed, federally-funded eco-boondoggles for you — including Colorado’s own Solyndra, Abound Solar. Two weeks ago, the bankrupt firm went to auction. Now, its shady finances are investigation by local authorities — and Congress may be enlisted as well:
The bankrupt Longmont-based company that received $68 million in stimulus money is under investigation by the Weld County district attorney’s office.
7NEWS has confirmed Abound Solar is under investigation.
Abound made solar panels which it sold across the country, Europe and India.The Department of Energy approved nearly $370 million in federal stimulus money for Abound. The company received $68 million before payments were stopped in 2011.
Sources tell 7NEWS that the company’s finances are under scrutiny.
7NEWS obtained internal documents from 2012 that show orders for tens of thousands of replacement solar panels. The orders cite different reasons for the replacements including, “low performance,” “under performance” and “catastrophic failures.”
The orders are for replacements requested after the Department of Energy stopped stimulus money payments to Abound.
“These are solar panels we are now seeing reports that said they worked as long as you didn’t put them in the sun,” said Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo. “Now the question is did the (Department of Energy) — did they know something that the rest of should have known? Did Abound not tell the DOE something? These are questions that need to be answered.”
Gardner represents northern Colorado in Congress. He confirmed with 7NEWS that he will be sending a letter to the Department of Energy seeking records and information about what it knew while providing money to Abound. Gardner sits on the Energy and Commerce committee which oversees the Department of Energy loan program that provided money to Abound.
MARCH 9, 2012
Hope-a-nomics: Colorado’s own green loan sinkhole
by Michelle Malkin
Colorado’s own green loan sinkhole
by Michelle Malkin
There’s no escaping Solyndra Syndrome. Here in my home state of Colorado, citizen journalists have uncovered our own gaping government green loan sinkhole. The stench of Chicago-on-the-Potomac is fouling the fresh Rocky Mountain air.
Meet Loveland-based Abound Solar, the lucky winner of a $400 million federal loan guarantee from the Obama administration. Earlier this month, the thin-film cadmium telluride solar module-maker announced layoffs of nearly 300 employees (70 percent of its workforce). In addition, the firm froze plans to build a new factory in Indiana. Abound says it will ride out bad market conditions and “hopefully” survive until the market recovers.
But White House hope-a-nomics is what got Abound and taxpayers into trouble in the first place.
Back in 2010, President Obama promised America in his weekly radio address that Abound would “manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants, creating more than 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs.” Energy Secretary Steven Chu waves his green pom-poms, too. “Not only is this investment creating thousands of jobs, but it is also increasing our renewable energy manufacturing capacity and putting us on the path for our future prosperity.”
Like the rosy projections Obama and Chu used to justify pouring half-a-billion dollars in eco-subsidies down the now-bankrupt Solyndra solar drain, Abound’s financial outlook was based on mathematical make-believe. Hope plus change equals fail. Turns out Abound raked in green government funds despite big red flags from Fitch Ratings.
GOP House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa wrote: “Fitch describes Abound as lagging in technology relative to its competitors, failing to achieve stated efficiency targets, and expecting that Abound will suffer from increasing commoditization and pricing pressures. DOE’s willingness to fund Abound, despite these concerns, calls into question the merits of this loan guarantee.”
The financial mess was reported by ABC News, but the Obama administration has so far escaped real scrutiny of his crony venture socialism.
How were Fitch’s warnings ignored? Thanks to the intrepid investigative work of Colorado’s Todd Shepherd at CompleteColorado.com, Amy Oliver at the Independence Institute and Michael Sandoval at the People’s Press Collective blog, the crass political science driving this latest Department of Energy loan scandal has been exposed. The loan deal appears to be textbook “pay-for-play” between Team Obama and one of Colorado’s wealthiest progressive activist scions, Pat Stryker. She’s the billionaire heiress whose family founded a medical device and software company. Her investment firm, Bohemian Companies, dumped nearly $500 million into Democratic coffers between 2008 and 2012. Bohemian also invested considerably in Abound.
Colorado Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey, a backer of job-killing cap-and-trade policies and other stifling environmental regulations, pushed for the massive Abound DOE loan. As CompleteColorado.com noted, Stryker donated personally to Markey’s campaign, and Abound ran ads thanking Markey for her eco-radical voting record. Like Solyndra chief investor George Kaiser, Stryker has visited the White House on more than one occasion. Like Kaiser, Stryker is a top Obama bundler.
This week, CompleteColorado.com obtained a new set of documents revealing “that Abound Solar created an unexpected, and previously unreported 10 day production shutdown over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and then went on to tell employees, ‘Don’t let the rumor mill create false purposes for this shutdown.’ The shutdown was announced to employees just after Thanksgiving by company president Craig Witsoe.”
On Thursday, Chu refused to tell House lawmakers and the public how many more DOE solar boondoggles are at risk of going under. He couldn’t “recall the exact number.” Funny how fraudulently exact they can be in cooking up jobs numbers, but how chronically amnesiac they are when it all blows up.
Hope-a-nomics: It’s every green bundler’s paradise and every taxpayer’s nightmare.
By Andy Wright, Bay Citizen, 10/8/12
Last month The Bay Citizen reported on two ridesharing companies, Lyft and Sidecar, that use mobile apps to connect drivers with passengers who need a ride.
Concerns have been raised over the companies’ insurance policies and by cab drivers who consider them illegal taxi services. Both companies attracted the attention of the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates limos, and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates taxis.
Although a PUC spokesman told The Bay Citizen at the time that the commission was still investigating, in fact it had sent out cease-and-desist letters on Aug. 15. The San Francisco Chronicle reported today that the companies had received the letters.
The letters call on the companies to halt operations because they lack the license needed to operate a charter-party carrier of passengers. In September, lawyers and insurance experts told The Bay Citizen that the companies’ insurance requirements wouldn’t adequately protect drivers and passengers in an accident.
Shortly after that story ran, the companies announced that they would provide up to $1 million in insurance coverage for drivers and passengers.
For both companies, drivers use their own vehicles, and suggested donations take the place of fares. Lyft cars can be spotted by the fuzzy pink mustaches affixed to them.
The founders of Lyft responded to the cease-and-desist letter in a blog post, saying the letters are “part of the CPUC’s effort to understand how these new services and technologies fit within the existing framework” and that the company “carefully designed the service to be in full compliance with the law.”
Proposition 39 seeks to tax out-of-state companies to pay for energy upgrades
Published: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 - 12:13 am
Whenever Allen Young walks into his office at The Met High School, he gets a reminder of his teenage years.
Look up, the principal says at the cozy downtown campus. Pristine wood planks lining the entryway ceiling once lived as bleachers at his alma mater.
"My wife and I both went to Sac High, so our butts graced this stuff," muses Young.
The Met, a Sacramento City Unified charter school, had a $7.5 million renovation last year driven by green energy guidelines. Insulation consists of recycled blue jeans. Countertops were once glass jars. Bathrooms have high-tech "airblade" dryers, and nary a paper towel is found.
Environmentalists say Proposition 39, which hikes California taxes on companies based elsewhere, would help aging schools upgrade their campuses as the Met has.
The initiative provides about a half-billion dollars annually for five years to retrofit schools and government offices, as well as help private building owners access green energy loans. Legislators decide how to spend the money under loose job-creation and cost-benefit guidelines, in consultation with state energy regulators and with review by a "Citizens Oversight Board."
IRS says ‘tax avoidance’ at heart of Solyndra bankruptcy plan
The Washington Times
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
- Chapter 7 Means TestDetermine If Chapter 7 Is an Option for You, Complete a Free Evaluation www.Chapter7.com
The Internal Revenue Service urged a bankruptcy judge to reject solar panel maker Solyndra LLC’s bankruptcy plan Wednesday, saying it amounts to little more than an avenue for owners of an empty corporate shell to avoid paying taxes.
“The undeniable conclusion is that tax benefits drive this plan,” attorneys for the IRS wrote in a bankruptcy pleading.
Arguing that the bankruptcy court ought not confirm a plan “whose principal purpose is tax avoidance,” attorneys said in filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware that the tax breaks would be worth more money than funds set aside for creditors.
Taxpayers are on the hook for more than a half-billion dollars after the company filed for bankruptcy last year, just two years after winning a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy.
“The only reason for the shell corporation to exist post-confirmation is to enable its owners to exploit these tax attributes, which would be lost in liquidation,” the IRS argued in court papers.
One owner valued the so-called tax attributes at $150 million, dwarfing the $7 million to $8 million set aside by the reorganization plan for unsecured creditors, according to the government’s objection, which was filed by the Justice Department on behalf of the IRS.
Under Solyndra’s reorganization plan, two big investors in the company, Madrone Partners LP and Argonaut Ventures, together would own nearly all of a shell company formed in the wake of Solyndra’s bankruptcy reorganization.
But the IRS said in court papers that there was little reason for the shell company to exist other than to help the owners avoid taxes. Argonaut is the investment arm of a family foundation headed by Oklahoma businessman George Kaiser, a fundraiser for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Madrone has ties to the family that owns Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
Even as company officials negotiated a restructuring deal with the Energy Department to keep Solyndra afloat, the company’s owners were “intently focused” on how to preserve their ability to use net operating losses as they privately prepared for the possibility that Solyndra would go broke, according to the government attorneys.
In one email, dated Dec. 7, 2010, Steve Mitchell, a managing director at Argonaut who served on Solyndra’s board, told attorneys that there was a “decent likelihood” that Solyndra would go bankrupt within 10 days.
“We need to discuss appropriate course of action in the event of filing and trustee appointment,” Mr. Mitchell told the attorneys. “The company has a significant NOL, potentially as high [as] $750 million, and George [Kaiser] has a high interest in understanding any manner in which we can preserve the NOLs.”
A spokesman for Mr. Kaiser was not immediately available Wednesday.
The government attorneys said that while the reorganization plan had “some marginal benefits,” there was no doubt that the most important priority was to “preserve a shell corporation to be able to reduce future tax liabilities by hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Read more: IRS says 'tax avoidance' at heart of Solyndra bankruptcy plan - Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/oct/10/irs-says-tax-avoidance-heart-solyndra-bankruptcy-p/?page=1#ixzz292KgPhcJ
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
In a deposition taken after Solyndra’s bankruptcy, Mr. Mitchell was asked whether the survival of Solyndra’s net operating losses was “an intended outcome,” according to a transcript included in the court filings.
“You know, if I have stock for 363 days, and if I decide to sell it three days later so I can take advantage of that situation, it’s not the reason I sold the stock, but it’s an outcome, right?” Mr. Mitchell replied.
“Why wouldn’t I get capital gains in a situation where money was lost,” he said. “It’s an asset there. We’re paying these dollars to deal with other situations, which is to deal with the liabilities. But the asset is there, why not preserve it?”
In a separate deposition, Jamie McJunkin, a managing director with Madrone, answered “no” when asked whether one of the key components of the Solyndra restructuring was to preserve the company’s net operating losses. At the same time, he said he didn’t see a reason why the operating losses would be destroyed.
“They do have potential value at some point in the future,” Mr. McJunkin said. “Size unknown.”
Once a poster child of the Obama administration’s stimulus program and Mr. Obama’s efforts to encourage clean energy, Solyndra turned into a big political headache after its bankruptcy. Republicans have seized on Mr. Kaiser’s political ties to Mr. Obama, but administration officials have said politics played no role in the loan deal and that investment decisions were made on the merits.
Read more: IRS says 'tax avoidance' at heart of Solyndra bankruptcy plan - Washington Times http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/oct/10/irs-says-tax-avoidance-heart-solyndra-bankruptcy-p/?page=2#ixzz292KVQXSv
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
READ BELOW TODAYS NEWS FOR INFO ON WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STOP CAP AND TRADE IN CALIFORNIA
CALIFORNIA BECOMES FIRST STATE TO ADOPT CAP-AND-TRADE PROGRAM
The California Air Resources Board, in a unanimous vote, adopts landmark regulations of greenhouse gas emissions to curb climate change and meet targets for reducing pollution.
The California Air Resources Board, in a unanimous vote, adopts landmark regulations of greenhouse gas emissions to curb climate change and meet targets for reducing pollution.
Greetings! From The Coalition of Energy Users
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend CARB's cap and trade hearing and present the committee with 642 signatures opposing their costly auction. Our side had huge numbers of folks with everyone from concerned citizens to business owners to union members there..
While Mary Nichols threw tantrums in response to comments with which she disagreed, CARB refused to listen to input and is moving forward with the auction. Now, only action by Governor Brown can save our jobs and economy.
Will November 14th be CARBageddon?
Despite such widespread opposition from folks concerned about our jobs, Mary Nichols continues to insist billions in new energy taxes will not harm the economy, and in response to our comments was emphatic that small business owners will pay nothing to CARB directly ... for now.
Of course, regardless of when we are forced to buy carbon credits, the cap and trade auction is a hidden energy tax that will cost California businesses and consumers billions of dollars in higher energy costs and higher prices for food and other essential goods and services.
The auction is a tax on California businesses that their competitors in other states will not have to pay. This will hurt the economy, and lead to even more businesses fleeing California for other states, taking jobs and tax revenues with them.
CARB plans to launch its costly auction on November 14th. With large numbers of legislative Democrats calling on Jerry Brown to stop the counterproductive and unnecessary plan, we still may win. Whatever the outcome, we will do everything we can think of to help save California from CARBageddon.
Growing the Facebook page more important than ever
CARBageddon, or the day of the auction, is slightly less than two months away. Between now and then we need to spread the facts to our fellow citizens. Most don't know what is coming and at this time many that are more engaged are distracted by the upcoming election.
Facebook offers us one effective way to spread our message, but we need your help. Click here to go to our page and "like" the Coalition of Energy Users on Facebook. If you are already a fan of our page, click here to suggest the page to your friends.
Join us on Thursday for the Defend Rural America Summit
If you're in the Fresno area, you don't want to miss the Defend Rural America Summit. Defend Rural America meetings have begun occurring around rural parts of California, where people are beginning to speak out against the extreme job-killing laws that have plunged once flourishing communities into poverty. The meetings are so popular that they have to limit attendance to 1,000.
When: 9:00 am, September 27, 2012
Where: Clovis Veterans Memorial Building, Liberty Ballroom, 808 4th Street, Clovis, CA
If you would like to attend, please click here to pre-register for free online and guarantee yourself a seat.
Coalition of Energy Users
by Stephen Frank on 09/23/2012
Want to make lots of money? Two requirements—raise money for Obama and his buddies—then create an energy company—even if it fails, the taxpayers will give you money.
“Further, it is generally known that George Kaiser, an Oklahoma billionaire and another Obama bundler, was a 35 percent owner of Solyndra. In 2009 (at a Rotary Club event), Kaiser admitted he, “…was trying to get as much of Obama’s giant stimulus payout as possible.” It turns out that Mr. Kaiser made multiple visits to the White House in the months before the company was granted that huge September 2009 DOE loan. Also, top Solyndra officials made their fair share of visits to the White House (20 visits between March 12, 2009, and April 14, 2011), as reported by The Daily Caller in August 2011.
An insulting aspect came when we found out that then-CEO Chris Gronet bragged, “The Bank of Washington continues to help us!” –– reports The Heritage Foundation this year. However, Solyndra executives didn’t have much to say two years later, as they invoked their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and did not answer any questions asked by the House Energy Committee.:
There are five other companies, almost two billion worth in the same situation. Took tax dollars, went belly up and fund raisers for Barack. Bernie Madoff must be proud of the Obama campaign Team and Administration.
Grimes: Scientists LIE About Polar Ice–It is GROWING
California is about to rip off a billion dollars a year from business, killing jobs, based on a KNOWN fraud.
“Goddard also has been following the Antarctic sea ice growth, and the lack of reporting on this phenomenon. “Not only is Antarctic sea ice area at a record high, and more than seventeen thousand Manhattans larger than the highest Arctic ice area ever recorded – but it is has been above normal every day during 2012,” Goddard wrote today.
However, the National Snow and Ice Data Center is rather quiet about this good news.
“NSIDC does not mention the record Antarctic cold or ice on their web site, choosing inside to feature an article about global warming threatening penguins,” Goddard wrote.”
AB 32 is based on this fraud—yet our illiterate (they have to be illiterate if they can not read facts or understand economics) Democrats in charge of Sacramento demand policies that raise the costs of energy, products and services, while doing little to fix even the phony problems that real scientists prove do not exist.
Katy Grimes, Calwatchdog, 9/20/12
Katy Grimes: Is man-made global warming just a lot of hot air?
Speaking of hot air, somebody should tell Al Gore that the Antarctic sea ice has set another record… because it is growing.
That’s great news for that large, ferocious, furry white bear that global warming alarmists, and teachers, keep lying to children about. (snort)
According to Steven Goddard, “Day 256 Antarctic ice is the highest ever for the date, and the eighth highest daily reading ever recorded. All seven higher readings occurred during the third week of September, 2007 – the week of the previous Arctic record minimum.”
Goddard has a blog called “Real Science,” in which he has been following and disputing the global warming data tampering, hype, and government lies, and he does this with real data.
Goddard also has been following the Antarctic sea ice growth, and the lack of reporting on this phenomenon. “Not only is Antarctic sea ice area at a record high, and more than seventeen thousand Manhattans larger than the highest Arctic ice area ever recorded – but it is has been above normal every day during 2012,” Goddard wrote today.
However, the National Snow and Ice Data Center is rather quiet about this good news.
“NSIDC does not mention the record Antarctic cold or ice on their web site, choosing inside to feature an article about global warming threatening penguins,” Goddard wrote.
Forbes online just published a story about this as well, and noted that a recent NPR story about the arctic failed to mention that Antarctic sea ice has been growing steadily for more than 30 years.
“National Public Radio published an article on its website last month claiming, ‘Ten years ago, a piece of ice the size of Rhode Island disintegrated and melted in the waters off Antarctica. Two other massive ice shelves along the Antarctic Peninsula had suffered similar fates a few years before. The events became poster children for the effects of global warming. … There’s no question that unusually warm air triggered the final demise of these huge chunks of ice,’” Forbes reported.
I Googled “Antarctic sea ice growing,” and found only three subtle references to this. Most of the other featured stories led to doom and gloom reports about the diminished arctic because of man-made global warming.
For real news on climate change and global warming, I follow Anthony Watts, a Meteorologist who publishes a great website called “Watts Up With That.” Watts regularly dispels global warming hysteria while providing accurate climate data and information. And he’s a real conservationist, not just a elitist enviro-greenie.
Watts recently reported that the latest ICEsat measurements for Antarctica “melted, now that a continent wide tally has been made,” because totals show significant ice gains. Watts found that the “ice-free Arctic by the end of summer 2012″ prediction has now gone up in flames (s0 to speak), once the total arctic ice measurements showed substantial increases.
Good news for the polar bears and penguines–bad news for global warming hysterics, and anyone trying to make a buck off of Al Gore’s doom and gloom circus act.
Maybe the California Air Resources Board will stop with the world-class AB 32 implementation scam, and allow employers to get back to work doing business cleanly and smartly, as most already do.
Pfffft. I can’t believe I said that.
With the recent news that California’s air is significantly and measurably cleaner already, is there really a need to continue pursing such drastic policies for carbon emission reductions, to 1990 levels, as required by the business-and-job-killing landmark legislation, AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act?
The purpose of AB 32, and cap‐and‐trade, was to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not raise billions of dollars in new tax revenue for the state’s big-spenders.
But don’t bother mentioning that to the state’s bureaucrats who have figured out how to impose even more hefty taxes on private sector businesses — just as Al Gore did when he discovered global warming.
(Note: The author knows that polar bears don’t actually live in Antarctica…tongue in cheek)
Academic Idea for CA: Dry Farming—Kill Most of Farms and Jobs—Raise Cost of Food
Over the years government has held back water needed for farming, changed the rules on pesticides needed to provide quality farm goods. Government has raised the cost of gas and diesel, as well as taxes. Farmers are selling their land for development and solar “farms”. Growing food is not a good business in California. Now we are about to close down farming by “voluntarily” creating “DRY FARMING”.
Wow, now they will “voluntarily” demand farmers dry farm—a sure way to raise the cost of food for the poor and middle class. Some people get too smart—smart enough to hurt families.
“The Oxnard resident, who holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago, wondered if there was a better way. She began to research agricultural water use and stumbled upon the concept of dry farming — which uses only precipitation to grow crops.
“I found out that even here, amidst all these irrigated farms, there are a few people dry farming, growing wheat, olives, even apricots, with limited water,” she said.
Ramirez, whose friends aptly call her “Flo,” is now turning her anger at water waste into action. She’s writing a book aimed at consumers on how to “Eat Less Water,” a trademark phrase she uses to explain the concept of conserving the natural resource through farming practices and grocery-buying habits.
And they want to change what we as consumers can buy.
By Hannah Guzik, California Health Report, 9/13/12
Nearly every afternoon this summer, Florencia Ramirez drove past the strawberries and lima beans growing in the Oxnard plain, and each time she grew angry about what she saw.
As the plants gulped in the Southern California sun, high-powered sprinklers ricocheted over the fields, spraying water into the air during the heat of the day, when evaporation was at its peak.
In an area plagued with water shortages and droughts, some of the largest agricultural producers in the nation seemed to be using water with abandon, Ramirez observed.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “We live in what is technically a desert and I pass thousands of acres of farmland everyday that are wasting a tremendous amount of water.”
The Oxnard resident, who holds a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago, wondered if there was a better way. She began to research agricultural water use and stumbled upon the concept of dry farming — which uses only precipitation to grow crops.
“I found out that even here, amidst all these irrigated farms, there are a few people dry farming, growing wheat, olives, even apricots, with limited water,” she said.
Ramirez, whose friends aptly call her “Flo,” is now turning her anger at water waste into action. She’s writing a book aimed at consumers on how to “Eat Less Water,” a trademark phrase she uses to explain the concept of conserving the natural resource through farming practices and grocery-buying habits.
Dry farming doesn’t work in all locations or for all crops, but it can work successfully even in relatively dry climates, such as Southern California’s, she said. And many of the principles of dry farming, such as paying close attention to the weather and soil composition, can be applied to conventional farming to help save hundreds of thousands of gallons of water a year, Ramirez said. Those plants that require more water, such as lettuce or many vegetables, can be drip irrigated, instead of watered with sprinklers or by flooding a field.
Ramirez says water experts predict that by 2025, two-thirds of the world will be experiencing water scarcity.
“We live in this illusion that we have enough water, but most places, like right here in Oxnard, are experiencing water deficits, which means we are using more than is naturally replenished each year,” she said. “It’s not sustainable.”
The average American household uses 100 to 150 gallons of water daily, a huge amount compared to the four or five gallons an African family uses each day, Ramirez said. “But what we use on a daily basis really is a drop in the bucket compared to industrial use and the virtual water footprint of what we eat, drive and wear, which is 1,100 to 1,300 gallons per day,” she said.
Seven out of every 10 gallons of fresh water on the planet are used to grow food, “so if we’re going to have a true conversation about water usage, we have to talk about what we eat,” Ramirez said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic certification doesn’t include any stipulations on water usage, something Ramirez would like to see changed.
Dry farmer John DeRosier grows primarily wheat, spelt, corn and a number of other grains on five parcels in Paso Robles. He said the key is creating rich soil by rotating crops and conserving moisture.
“That’s absolutely paramount to the whole flow of the operation,” he said. “Although it’s called dry farming, it’s ultimately water management. Instead of rainwater being stored in reservoirs or piped down from the delta, it’s all stored in the subsoil.”
Although dry farming sometimes results in smaller yields than conventional farming, DeRosier said his crops, particularly his tomatoes and watermelons, are much tastier because the sugars are concentrated and they’re not waterlogged.
About 80 percent of the state’s developed water supply goes to agriculture, said Katy Mamen, program director for Ag Innovations Network, a nonprofit that remains neutral on water usage but holds forums for farmers to dialogue on the issue.
Although oftentimes curbing water runoff from farms can help conserve water and prevent pesticides from traveling, it can also have negative effects, altering nearby ecosystems, and resulting in less water seeping into the deep soil to recharging the ground water, she said.
“It’s complicated and real solutions have to be tailored to each individual farm,” Mamen said. “When we talk about water stewardship, there’s not a one-size fits all approach.”
Ramirez says her goal is to get consumers to push for water conservation by buying from dry farmers and growers at farmer’s markets to cut down on water usage. From her kitchen in Oxnard’s historic district, Ramirez serves meals made with ingredients grown on dry farms, and she’s teaching other local residents to do the same. She holds regular cooking classes and has a blog, eatlesswater.com.
At a recent pizza making class, she told the dozen women gathered that 321 gallons of water are used to produce the ingredients in a typical Margherita pizza. That’s 40 gallons a slice.
Adding toppings increases the water footprint even more, so Ramirez recommends adding in-season organic vegetables and other foods produced with limited amounts of water. She also encourages consumers to buy grains grown on dry farms and buy organic food, which doesn’t leach pesticides into groundwater,
Ventura resident Sheri Ward learned how to bake bread using dry-farmed wheat and olive oil in Ramirez’s class this year.
“It really made me think about how much water we actually use and how much we take it for granted,” Ward said. “So often it’s just automatic when we go to the grocery store, so it’s nice to interrupt that pattern and think about ways we can make a change for the better.”
Ward now uses Ramirez’s tips to make bread with her two daughters in her own kitchen, she said.
Throughout 2012, Ramirez is visiting dry farms across the country and writing about her experiences in her book, which she expects to be published in the coming year. The granddaughter of farm workers, Ramirez says she feels that caring about land and water use is in her blood.
“I want to be a part of rewriting what our current story is when it comes to water on the planet,” Ramirez said. “I want to do it for my kids, who are going to inherit this world.”
‘Green’ Policies Depriving CA Cities of Energy Industry Jobs
Spain is a nation that Arnold claims is a “green economy” we should imitate. They have a 24% unemployment that they admit. That is a green economy in action.
“Such inattention to California’s resources may be popular in wealthy precincts of Silicon Valley, San Francisco and west Los Angeles, but the state’s green approach has helped place traditionally manufacturing-oriented communities such as Oakland, east Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Stockton in deep distress,” Kotkin writes. “Despite central California’s vast deposits of oil and gas, unemployment rates in some oil-rich areas there are over 15 and sometimes even 20 percent.”
Arnold and Jerry prefer unemployment to prosperity—both love the green economy. How soon does California reach the level of unemployment as Spain?
by Tony Lee, Big Government, 7/17/12
Much has been written about how public sector unions, bloated pension plans, government waste, and poor fiscal planning led to California cities like Stockton, Mammoth Lakes, and San Bernardino to end up bankrupt. Many other California cities — especially in the Inland Empire area — are on the verge of fiscal insolvency.
What has not been discussed as much, though, has been how California’s green energy and environmentalist policies may have contributed to pushing these cities closer to bankruptcy and depressing their economies.
Joel Kotkin at The Daily Beast writes that many of California’s most energy-rich cities are among its poorest because they are shackled by laws and regulations that prevent them from capitalizing on their energy reserves.
Kotkin writes that “nowhere is the element of choice inherent in energy policy more evident than in California, where green energy elites and their environmentalist policies have stunted California’s energy production even though the state “has double-digit unemployment, a collapsed inland economy and a series of bankrupt municipalities.”
“Such inattention to California’s resources may be popular in wealthy precincts of Silicon Valley, San Francisco and west Los Angeles, but the state’s green approach has helped place traditionally manufacturing-oriented communities such as Oakland, east Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Stockton in deep distress,” Kotkin writes. “Despite central California’s vast deposits of oil and gas, unemployment rates in some oil-rich areas there are over 15 and sometimes even 20 percent.”
The Green Energy Myth
Last week, another subsidized company, Abound Solar, joined Solyndra in bankruptcy. Taxpayers lost $70 million.
Sterling Burnett, of the National Center for Policy Analysis, lists other companies you funded. 6 went bankrupt:
- Solyndra: (awarded $528 million)
- Beacon Power ($39 million)
- EnerDel ($118 million)
- Babcock & Brown ($178 million)
- Solar Trust of America ($2.1 billion)
- Abound Solar ($400 million)
Many more struggle:
- Johnson Controls ($299 million): When Obama spoke at this company's headquarters in Michigan last August, he said this company builds high-tech batteries that help America lead the world in manufacturing. But now they shut down a US plant.
- SunPower ($1.2 billion): This company hired the son of the Congressman who helped it secure a government-backed loan. At one point, it was the sixth most shorted stock on the New York Stock Exchange. It was sued for a variety of reasons, including "gross mismanagement, breach of fiduciary responsibility, unjust enrichment and abuse of control."
- BrightSource ($1.6 billion): This company spends more than half a million dollars on lobbying, and hired Joe Biden's former Chief of Staff. It admits that its cash condition is "perilous," spent millions of dollars on relocating turtles, and cancelled its IPO because of "poor market conditions."
Unlike private investors, bureaucrats aren't guided by profit and loss. Your tax money pays for daydreams, and for projects backed by the bureaucrats' friends.
Sadly, the loan guarantees will continue. Both parties support crony capitalism.
Welfare for the rich is good politics.
But it sure is bad for America.
Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/stossel/blog/2012/07/03/green-energy-myth?intcmp=obinsite#ixzz21NDxr4r7
Anti-democracy bill guts California open-government laws
July 18, 2012
By Katy Grimes
Buried deep within the new state budget lies a bill so evil, so corrupt and so illegal, a state agency is now being declared an official “enemy of the people” by weary taxpayers. The little jewel, secretly placed into a trailer bill in the recently passed state budget, will allow the California Air Resources Board to conduct state business without any of that pesky transparency stuff.
California’s Legislature now relies on the surreptitious passage of legislation, rather than the open, transparent democratic process for new laws.
California’s legislative process has largely become the equivalent of a show trial. Legislators still conduct committee hearings, as required by the state Constitution. But the real legislation is passed at the end of the legislative session, when lawmakers sneak damaging language into budget trailer bills. These are passed by legislative leadership without the usual committee hearing process, and are usually bills which legislators could not get passed by colleagues during the previous session.
It’s underhanded, and makes a mockery of our Representative Republic.
While both parties are guilty of abusing the trailer bill process, Republicans have traditionally used the process to provide pork-laden goodies to friends back home.
But Democrats use the trailer bill process to whittle away at Democracy.
Whittling away at open government
According to legislative staffers, the California Air Resources Board, with help from Democratic Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, figured out a way to exempt itself from the state’s open meeting act.
This is yet another blatant example of California Democrats doing whatever they can to operate in secret. Because if they were as transparent as they constantly blather about, they’d never be able to implement their extreme agenda.
Government Code 11120, the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, is explicitly exempted in the language of budget trailer bill SB 1018. ”That was the final nail in the coffin of transparency,” a Capitol staffer commented.
The latest government cover up is transparency issue specifically with WCI, Inc., the corporation created by California Air Resources Board to manage the upcoming cap and trade auctions. The problem is that Western Climate Initiative Inc. was formed in Delaware. However, Delaware is not subject to California state open meeting or sunshine laws, leaving many questioning why CARB opted for such secrecy. The only reason to register the corporation in Delaware is the lack public or legislative scrutiny on any of their meetings or actions they take.
Farm Bureau says: Farmers seek air quality in Farm Bill
Special to the Daily News
Updated: 07/14/2012 07:34:39 AM PDT
Having succeeded in the Senate, a coalition of agricultural organizations led by the California Farm Bureau Federation is urging the House of Representatives to include funding for an air quality improvement program in its draft of the 2012 Farm Bill.
The Air Quality Initiative in the 2008 Farm Bill allows farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to participate in a cost-share program to help them upgrade equipment, decrease emissions and address federal air quality regulations. So far, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has partnered with more than 1,100 of the state's farmers and ranchers to reduce emissions an estimated five tons per day-the equivalent of taking 408,000 cars off of California highways.
The program is not included in the current House version of the new farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee will begin markup on the bill tomorrow, where Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, is expected to introduce an amendment to continue the Air Quality Initiative.
"This program has been important in helping farmers enhance air quality and address new regulations," California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said. "The Air Quality Initiative directs money to farmers in regions with the greatest air quality concerns, which adds to the value of the program." In California, the Air Quality Initiative received between 1,500 and 2,000 applications from farmers each year, but was only able to fund 300 to 350 per year. The farm coalition said continuing the program would benefit air quality in California and throughout the country.
"We still have important work to do in complying with federal regulations," the coalition said in a letter addressed to leaders of the House committee. "By including this air quality language in the Conservation Title, farmers will be better able to meet federal, state and local air quality regulations."
In addition to the California Farm Bureau, other members of the coalition include the Agricultural Council of California, American Pistachio Growers, Arizona Cattle Growers Association, Arizona Farm Bureau, Associated California Loggers, Association of California Water Agencies, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, California Cattlemen's Association, California Citrus Mutual, California Cotton Ginners and Growers Associations, California Forestry Association, California Grape & Tree Fruit League, California Poultry Association, California Strawberry Commission, California Women for Agriculture, Far West Equipment Dealers Association, Fresno County Farm Bureau, Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers, Kings County Farm Bureau, Nisei Farmers League, Raisin Bargaining Association, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, Texas Farm Bureau, Tulare County Farm Bureau, Utah Farm Bureau, Ventura County Agricultural Association, Western Agricultural Processors Association, Western Growers, Western Plant Health Association and Western United Dairymen.http://www.redbluffdailynews.com/ci_21076282/farm-bureau-says-farmers-seek-air-quality-farm
The Non-Green Jobs Boom
Forget 'clean energy.' Oil and gas are boosting U.S. employment.
So President Obama was right all along. Domestic energy production really is a path to prosperity and new job creation. His mistake was predicting that those new jobs would be "green," when the real employment boom is taking place in oil and gas.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that the U.S. jobless rate remains a dreadful 9%. But look more closely at the data and you can see which industries are bucking the jobless trend. One is oil and gas production, which now employs some 440,000 workers, an 80% increase, or 200,000 more jobs, since 2003. Oil and gas jobs account for more than one in five of all net new private jobs in that period.
The ironies here are richer than the shale deposits in North Dakota's Bakken formation. While Washington has tried to force-feed renewable energy with tens of billions in special subsidies, oil and gas production has boomed thanks to private investment. And while renewable technology breakthroughs never seem to arrive, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have revolutionized oil and gas extraction—with no Energy Department loan guarantees needed.
The oil and gas rush has led to a jobs boom. North Dakota has the nation's lowest jobless rate, at 3.5%, and the state now has some 200 rigs pumping 440,000 barrels of oil a day, four times the amount in 2006. The state reports more than 16,000 current job openings, and places like Williston have become meccas for workers seeking jobs that often pay more than $100,000 a year.
Or take production in Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale formation, which the state Department of Labor and Industry says created 18,000 new jobs in the first half of 2011. Some 214,000 jobs are now tied to a natural gas industry that barely existed in the Keystone State a decade ago. Energy firms are also rushing to develop the Utica shale in eastern Ohio, and they are expanding operations in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, among other places.
For vets returning to US, green energy jobs await
Saturday, November 26, 2011
(11-26) 09:28 PST Columbus, Ohio (AP) --
Ben Noland served in the U.S. Marine Corps for eight years, then spent 18 months looking for a job.
"I've probably put my resume in to 300 places in the past year," the 33-year-old Kenton resident said.
"The farthest I've ever got was a phone interview."
Noland finally landed a job installing solar panels at Tipping Point Renewable Energy, a Columbus-based solar power company that is hiring only military veterans for its installation crews at a time when unemployment among former service members is outpacing that of civilians.
Tipping Point's efforts echo those of companies and groups nationwide to hire veterans in the green energy industry. Denver-based nonprofit Veterans Green Jobs is one of the largest, having trained or placed 370 veterans in the last four years.
And a pilot program by five of the nation's largest energy providers, called Troops to Energy Jobs, provides training and credentials to military veterans, as well as college credit for their military training and experience.
About 240,000 veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have returned to the U.S. and are unable to find work. They make up a growing chunk of the 850,000 veterans overall who are out of work. The White House expects an additional 1 million service members to return to civilian life by 2016.
The veteran unemployment rate in October was 12.1 percent, compared with 9 percent for the U.S. overall. For veterans ages 18-24, that rate was 30.4 percent.
The renewable energy industry is growing fast — solar and wind energy have grown more than tenfold in the last decade — and military veterans often make good fits for green jobs.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/11/26/national/a092645S26.DTL#ixzz1evlqNbES
EDITORIAL: What others are saying
Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2011 5:00 am | No Comments Posted
State GOP's problem isn't unfair districts
California is a decidedly blue state, but the state Supreme Court is no Democratic stronghold. Six of the seven justices were appointed by Republican governors. But that didn't change the outcome of the state GOP's blatantly political challenge to new congressional and state Senate districts.
The districts were drawn by the Citizens Redistricting Commission, the independent panel established by voters to take over the decennial process of updating boundaries to reflect population changes. ...
Taking control of reapportionment from the people with the most at stake in the outcome ---- elected officials themselves ---- is an overdue reform. Much of the credit goes to the California Republican Party, an enthusiastic supporter of the ballot measures in 2008 and 2010 that created the commission.
But principle gave way to partisanship once the lines were drawn. A lawsuit filed by the state GOP alleged that the congressional and state Senate lines violated the Voting Rights Act ---- an ironic claim considering the usual Republican antagonism for efforts to protect the interests of racial and ethnic minorities. ...
But the problem for the Republicans isn't unfair boundaries. The problem is a shrinking party.
GOP registration in California has declined to about 5.3 million from 5.4 million a decade ago. That's barely 30 percent of registered voters.Democratic registration, meanwhile, has increased from about 7.1 million to 7.6 million. ...
-- The (Santa Rosa) Press Democrat (Nov. 23)
Congress divided over continuing subsidization of wind power
By Rob Hotakainen | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — Washington state sometimes has too much of a good thing: power. In a state that relies heavily on water and wind for its electricity, Mother Nature can be too generous, and it has been causing headaches for energy producers.
Wind producers are irked that the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency, can cut off wind generation when there's a surge in river flows, resulting in too much hydropower — that happened last spring.
Against this backdrop, one of the state's Republican congressmen, Rep. Dave Reichert, wants to extend tax credits for more wind power through 2016. Unless Congress acts, the subsidies will expire at the end of 2012.
But with Congress facing a big test in cutting the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion in coming weeks, Reichert's plan is causing division within his own party. Opponents say it's time for the federal government to stop subsidizing all energy projects and to let the marketplace decide which ones succeed.
Reichert rejects the argument.
"This bill isn't about picking winners or losers," he said. "This bill is about giving America every opportunity we can give those businesses out there to innovate and to surge ahead in this race for the next new energy."
Reichert called it "a big issue for the country" and particularly for his state, where "we're very sensitive to clean, renewable, environmentally friendly energy."
Dana Williamson, who was PG&E's director of public affairs, "will be responsible for working with members of the Governor's cabinet especially on projects requiring cross functional collaboration," Brown's executive secretaries, Nancy McFadden and Jim Humes, said in an email to staff on Tuesday.
Williamson, 39, will also oversee the governor's external affairs operation and the administration's Washington, D.C., office.
Like Brown, Williamson is a Democrat. She is to be paid $147,900 a year, the governor's office said.
McFadden and Humes said in the email that Williamson "brings 15 years of political, policy and communications experience in government, campaigns, non-profits and business."
McFadden also came to the administration from PG&E, where she was a senior vice president.
Luring renewable energy is a tale of fits and starts
By Greg Lucas | 11/03/11 12:00 AM PST
Back in 2005, Oakland-based BrightSource Energy had what it thought was a bright idea – a solar array in the Mojave Desert that would generate 440 megawatts of electricity – nearly doubling the amount of solar thermal electricity being produced in the United States.
The $1.3 billion project, initially designed to cover over 4,000 acres near the dry Ivanpah Lake on the California-Nevada border, would also help California meet its goal at the time of 20 percent of electricity sold by investor-owned utilities coming from renewable sources.
An application was submitted in December 2007 to the California Energy Commission and subsequently to federal regulators. The project is sited on Bureau of Land Management property in eastern San Bernardino County.
Construction, which at its peak is estimated to create 1,000 jobs, began just over one year ago October 27, 2010.
Along the way, environmental studies had to be conducted. A cooling system designed to use less of the area’s scarce water supply. Lawsuits were filed against the project that are still winding their way through the courts.
BrightSource agreed to pay $44 million to mitigate any adverse impact on endangered desert tortoises. That averages out to nearly $250,000 for each of the 177 tortoises found on the site.
To protect tortoise habitat, the project’s total acreage was whittled down to 3,600 and megawatts generation fell from 440 to 392. The tortoises also halted construction briefly earlier this year as a new headcount by federal wildlife officials required more environmental safeguards from BrightSource.
“You can’t describe it as getting done fast but we were the first ones through this process so it did take a little longer than the project that came after us and the projects we now have before the commission,” said Keely Wachs, a BrightSource spokesman. “But now the state is really making headway.”
Joe Desmond, BrightSource’s senior vice president for governmental affairs and communications, said, “there was a lot of information the commission had to get up to speed on” because it hadn’t sited a solar thermal energy plant in 30 years.
NOV. 2, 2011
By WAYNE LUSVARDI
There it was. A short, possibly historic, email on the website for the Coalition of Energy Users. It was from CEU’s founder, Eric Eisenhammer. The email read:
“Warren and Pam Duffy’s southern California chapter of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT SoCal) has found a legal team who seeks injured parties as potential Plaintiffs in an Anti Cap and Trade-AB32/CARB lawsuits. CFACT will set up teleconference interviews with the attorneys to determine qualifying criteria.”
Duffy was seeking injured parties from businesses affected by the new Cap and Trade that’s part of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law (picture above). Last month, the California Air Resources Board announced it was implementing Cap and Trade beginning on January 1, 2012, but enforcement will be postponed until 2013.
The affected businesses include:
1. Cement production
3. Glass production;
4. Hydrogen production;
5. Iron and steel production;
6. Lime manufacturing;
7. Nitric acid production;
8. Petroleum and natural gas systems
9. Petroleum refining;
10. Pulp and paper manufacturing;
11. Self-generation of electricity;
12. Stationary combustion.
Affected first deliverers of electricity:
1. Electricity generating facilities: the operator of an electricity generating facility located in California;
2. Electricity importers;
3. Suppliers of Natural Gas;
4. Suppliers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas;
5. Carbon Dioxide Suppliers.
Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
October 21, 2011
Air Resources Board on Thursday unanimously adopted the nation's first
state-administered cap-and-trade regulations, a landmark set of air pollution
controls to address climate change and help the state achieve its ambitious
goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The complex market system for the first time puts a price on heat-trapping pollution by allowing California's dirtiest industries to trade carbon credits. The rules have been years in the making, overcoming legal challenges and an aggressive oil industry-sponsored ballot initiative.
The air board met in Sacramento for more than eight hours in a packed hearing room. Board members listened to sometimes scathing comments from union workers fearful of losing their jobs and a parade of industry representatives who likewise characterized the regulations as anti-business. Other speakers called the proposal historic and groundbreaking.
Late in the day, as the eight board members voted to approve the regulations, to scattered applause, Chairman Mary Nichols looked up and said, "We've done something important."
"Cap-and-trade is a new tool that for the first time allows us to reward companies for doing the right thing," she added.
Cap-and-trade is the centerpiece of AB 32, California's historic climate change law that mandates a reduction in carbon pollution to 1990 levels by 2020. Beginning in 2013 the state's largest carbon emitters will be required to meet the caps or buy credits if they cannot.
A second phase of compliance begins in 2015 and is expected to include 85% of California's emissions sources.
"Today's adoption of a cap-and-trade program is a major
milestone for California's continued leadership on reducing the world's
greenhouse gases. As I said both when we signed the legislation in 2006, and
when we fought to protect it last year when Texas oil companies attempted to
overturn it with Proposition 23, the most critical phase in the fight against
climate change is diligently, aggressively, and correctly implementing this
The vote was closely watched by other states and, if the program is deemed successful, it will likely serve as a model for future markets. The U.S. Congress has rejected a similar national program.
"If California gets it right, others will see it's possible to regulate greenhouse gas emissions while protecting its economy and while fostering a new green economy and industry," said Gary Gero, president of the L.A.-based Climate Action Reserve, a nonprofit that runs North America's largest carbon offset registry. "People watch what California does and do emulate it. Future cap-and-trade programs are going to pick up a lot of the design features we are implementing here. You'll see regional programs develop. They will put pressure on the federal government. It will send out ripples around the country."
Many of the details of the cap-and-trade mechanism have changed since the board adopted the plan in 2008.
Industry heavyweights sought to temper some of the policy's more stringent requirements and succeeded in some cases. In March a judge ordered the air board to more comprehensively analyze alternatives to the market-based trading system, such as a carbon tax or direct regulation. The board in August adopted a revised analysis.
Environmental justice groups oppose aspects of the program, arguing that cap-and-trade's market allows refineries, power plants and other large-scale facilities to continue polluting poor neighborhoods as long as they purchase credits or offsets.
California's cap-and-trade program
How does cap-and-trade work?
Emissions caps were established by collecting three years of emissions data from the state's largest industries. Those businesses were grouped into sectors and assigned an average emissions benchmark. Businesses are allowed to emit up to 90% of that amount in the first year. Companies that operate efficiently under the cap may sell their excess carbon allowance on the market; companies whose emissions are above the benchmark must either reduce their carbon output or purchase credits or offsets.
What are carbon offsets?
Offsets are a way of turning carbon "savings" into tradable equities. For instance, a forestry company may change its practices so that its forests store more carbon. That increase in carbon storage can be turned into a marketable credit. An independent entity would verify that the carbon savings are real. That additional storage must be maintained for at least 100 years. No carbon offsets may be purchased from non-U.S. sources.
Who will run the carbon trading market?
The California Air Resources Board will operate the market and hire an auction host and monitors. By 2016, about $10 billion in carbon allowances are expected to be traded through the California market, which will be the second-largest carbon market in the world behind the European Union.
What is leakage?
One meaning is leakage of jobs to other states should businesses find the new regulations onerous and shut down. Another meaning of leakage refers to pollution shifting out of state as refineries and other emitters move out of California.
What will this mean for consumers?
The cost of energy is expected to rise, although economists debate the magnitude. The Public Utilities Commission allowed investor-owned utilities to pass on the cost of compliance to customers. The Air Resources Board has a mechanism to protect consumers from price spikes by capping the auction price and releasing credits onto the market to drive down prices.
What effect will this have on California's economy?
The independent Legislative Analyst's Office concluded that jobs probably will be lost because businesses can move elsewhere. Other business leaders applaud the regulations, arguing that the plan gives industry some certainty and a mechanism to reduce carbon emissions. Proponents and the Air Resources Board say the increase in "green" jobs will outweigh short-term negative effects.
Thanks to Janet Lehr for the research!
Want to Kill Jobs in CA? Go Green
May 05, 2011, 12:57 AM
Democrats hate people,. They prefer folks to be on government assistance instead of being productive, doing real work.
• The study calculates that since 2000 Spain has spent €571,138 to create each “green job,” including subsidies of more than €1 million per wind industry job.
• The study calculates that the programs creating those jobs also resulted in the destruction of nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy, or 2.2 jobs destroyed for every “green job” created.
• Each “green” megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs on average elsewhere in the economy: 8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy, 5.05 by mini-hydro."
Want to kill jobs? Look at Spain or California's AB 32. Guaranteed to harm families--government is NOT your friend, it is your enemy.
WHAT IS AB32?
Assembly Bill 32, "The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006" is a sweeping energy "management" agenda by the state of California to dramatically reduce our output of carbon dioxide. This bill handed an UNELECTED board unprecedented policy making and enforcement powers to make these reductions a reality.
WHO IS CARB?
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is the unelected body that is in charge of implementing AB32. They have the power to make laws and policy and decide and enforce penalties and punishments. The taxpayers have almost no recourse against their actions. Get familiar with the name "Mary Nichols"...she holds more power over your life, business and future in this state than the Governor or any elected law maker.
HOW MUCH POWER DOES CARB HAVE?
Carb has proposed a regulation that will "forbid" anyone with an opposing view. "Penalties" are included in this regulation. Jon Coupal reports that the, "resolution, which CARB dubs, 'prohibition on false statements,' is frightening in that it would actually sanction communications to the agency during hearings or in the presentation of studies that CARB disagrees with. Apparently, CARB’s legal staff missed that whole bit on the First Amendment. In America, we don’t jail people for making “counter-revolutionary statements."
CARB plans to institute “feebates” (taxes) on vehicles they deem to cause global warming. Trucks, minivans, SUV’s, and sports cars are likely to be targeted.
CARB proposed regulations requiring that your car tire pressure be checked to make sure they are at a state-mandate pressure. Before this proposal was withdrawn, CARB’s proposed punishment for noncompliance was a $1000 fine and 6 months imprisonment.
CARB has enacted regulations beginning next year that will put programmable thermostats into every new home and into the homes of those who choose to replace their furnace.
Family-run Nor-Cal produce in West Sacramento did nothing but fail to file a report with CARB. The business was socked with $43,400 in penalties. CARB eventually reduced the penalty to $32,550 because of the business’s “cooperative actions.”
HOW LEGITIMATE IS CARB AND ITS BOARD MEMBERS?
CARB used a $57 million legislative appropriation to adopt regulations rationing greenhouse gas emissions, but is unwilling to account for how these funds have been used. A bill was introduced to find out how $30 million in unaccounted for funds were spent, but it was defeated by CARB’s political allies.
CARB has 1176 employees, and the average salary is over $85,000 a year. While teachers are being laid off and nearly all agencies face cuts, CARB has added hundreds of new employees
WHAT WILL AB32 ACTUALLY DO?
CARB has already outlined a long, LONG list of regulations for every business in California. All of the UNFUNDED MANDATES for companies (i.e. employers). Everything from equipment modifcations, energy usage reporting, new fuel standards (higher gas prices)...you name it...if it uses energy of ANY kind, CARB is in charge of it and plans to make it more expensive to use. See a full list of their "programs" here: http://www.arb.ca.gov/html/programs.htm
The most draconian policies are set to go into full implementation in 2011. They even have an "environmental justice advisory committee."
AB32 IS ALSO CAP & TRADE
Included in AB32 is a Carbon Trading scheme. Expect this to be a company and job killer.
WHAT IS CAP & TRADE?
Wikipedia: "A central authority (usually a governmental body) sets a limit or cap on the amount of a pollutant that can be emitted. The limit or cap is allocated or sold to firms in the form of emissions permits which represent the right to emit or discharge a specific volume of the specified pollutant. Firms are required to hold a number of permits (or carbon credits) equivalent to their emissions. The total number of permits cannot exceed the cap, limiting total emissions to that level. Firms that need to increase their emission permits must buy permits from those who require fewer permits (Stavins 2001, p 4.). The transfer of permits is referred to as a trade. In effect, the buyer is paying a charge for polluting, while the seller is being rewarded for having reduced emissions. Thus, in theory, those who can reduce emissions most cheaply will do so, achieving the pollution reduction at the lowest cost to society"
Too bad the "caps" are set by arbitrary bureaucrats and is a job killer and fails everywhere it is tried. The wealthiest investors in the world stand to profit handsomely while the California tax payers will suffer with higher costs and fewer jobs.
WHAT WILL AB32 COST MY FAMILY?
According to Cal State Sacramento AB32 will:
- Cost California up to 1.1 million jobs
- Cost the average family $3,857 a year in greatly increased expenses for housing, transportation, food and energy
- Cost $49,691 per small business
- Result in a total loss of output of $182.649 billion
- Devastate budgets of California social services agencies through massive losses in tax revenue
WHAT ABOUT THE GREEN JOBS THAT ARE PROMISED?
The truth is that the only growth in green jobs is state jobs. Actual "green" companies are leaving California...along with the federal subsidies they've earned. Learn more:
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Please take action by visiting Suspend AB32 and learning more. Sign up for their email alerts. And contact your California Law Makers and demand that AB32 be suspended...at least until we are out of the current economic crisis. Californians cannot afford higher costs and job loses.
Calif. Delays Cap And Trade Until 2013
UPDATED: 6:50 am PDT June 30, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO -- California regulators on Wednesday said they would give power plants, refineries and other major polluters another year to comply with a new state program that provides financial incentives to emit fewer greenhouse gases.
Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the Air Resources Board, said in testimony before a state Senate committee that the government is giving California's major polluters until 2013 to comply with its cap-and-trade program.
Most polluters previously were to have begun cutting emissions under the program in 2012. The program was passed in December by the board, which said it hoped other states would follow suit since Congress had failed to pass national climate change legislation.
"This would not affect the stringency of the program or change the amount of emission reductions that the program will achieve, keeping us on track to meet the 2020 target required by AB32," Nichols said.
Cap and trade is the key piece of the California's 2006 climate law - called AB32 - and will cover 85 percent of the state's worst polluters.
Nichols said the state would still initiate the regulatory framework for cap and trade in 2012, pending the outcome of an appeal of a lawsuit challenging the program.
In general terms, California's cap-and-trade program works by requiring companies that produce pollution, such as a utility or a refinery, to buy permits from the state that allow it to send a specified amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air each year. Those permits could then be bought and sold by the polluters in a marketplace.
If a company in Long Beach is 20 percent under its pollution allowance, for example, it can sell the unused portion to a company in San Francisco that has exceeded its quota.
Read more: http://www.kcra.com/news/28406120/detail.html#ixzz1QmM8jzQM
Water for Central Valley farms plentiful, but drought signs remain
BY GOSIA WOZNIACKA, The Associated Press | Tuesday, Jun 28 2011 07:00 PM
Last Updated Tuesday, Jun 28 2011 09:31 PM
Jaclyn Borowski / The Californian
Signs protesting the water cut to Central Valley farms are posted off I-5 at Stockdale Highway. Though these were posted in a empty lot, many have been spotted alongside farms both on I-5 and Hwy 99.
Jaclyn Borowski / The Californian
Signs protesting the water cuts to Central Valley farmers are posted at an empty lot on Stockdale Highway just off Interstate 5. Similar signs are posted at farms along Highway 99.
FRESNO -- Drive on Highway 99 or Interstate 5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and you will see plastic banners scattered among wine tasting ads and billboards hawking the latest pesticide.
"Man-made drought," the banners draped across fences and cotton trailers proclaim in large, bold letters. "Congress-created dust bowl" and "Food grows where water flows."
The signs in the Central Valley, which provides many of the nation's fruits and vegetables, are a reminder of California's decades-old water war, a conflict stemming from large numbers of people living and farming in areas where the resource is scarce.
Some signs, put up by farmers long ago, are weathered from rain and faded from sun. Several hundred others went up in recent weeks, courtesy of an advocacy group for farmers.
But in a year of heavy rains and a formidable Sierra snowpack, with California's three-year drought officially over and most farmers getting all their contracted irrigation water, the signs strike some as odd.
"I just drove on the highway and those signs have a backdrop of green fields, green grasses," said Jim Metropulos, an advocate at Sierra Club California. "I said wow, these fields seem to be planted with a commodity crop, farmers seem to be irrigating. Where is the drought?"
New climate change case headed to Supreme Court
BY MARK SHERMAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS
SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2011 AT 5:21 A.M.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration and environmental interests generally agree that global warming is a threat that must be dealt with.
But they're on opposite sides of a Supreme Court case over the ability of states and groups such as the Audubon Society that want to sue large electric utilities and force power plants in 20 states to cut their emissions.
The administration is siding with American Electric Power Co. and three other companies in urging the high court to throw out the lawsuit on grounds the Environmental Protection Agency, not a federal court, is the proper authority to make rules about climate change. The justices will hear arguments in the case Tuesday.
The court is taking up a climate change case for the second time in four years. In 2007, the court declared that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. By a 5-4 vote, the justices said the EPA has the authority to regulate those emissions from new cars and trucks under that landmark law. The same reasoning applies to power plants.
Basic guide to paying for solar power
BY JEN LEBRON KUHNEY
THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2011 AT 9:44 A.M.
Installing solar panels on the roof of a house might make homeowners feel good about the environment, but paying for it can be a roadblock for many.
A system costs about $30,000 for an average-sized single-family home, and the price can increase quickly depending on how powerful the system needs to be and what types of panels are purchased. Also, if a system doesn’t produce enough power, solar owners will still get an electricity bill, adding to the costs.
In a lot of ways, paying to install solar panels is like getting a car: the three main options are to pay for it in cash, finance it or lease it. There is one alternative option, though, a power purchase agreement.
The federal government is giving a carrot to anyone thinking about purchasing solar panels. Anyone purchasing a system can receive a 30 percent uncapped tax credit. For a $30,000 installation, that’s $10,000 back during tax time.
Also, state subsidies give purchasers a credit of 35 cents per watt, which is a measure of a system’s capacity. A typical system has 4,500 watts, which would equal a $1,575 rebate.
Even with kickbacks, not everyone can afford to buy a solar power system, so companies are offering alternatives in the forms of leases and power purchase agreements.
Here are some of the major ways to pay for solar panel installation and their pros and cons
Green energy law will increase rates for Californians, utilities say
By Rick Daysog | The Sacramento Bee
California consumers could see sharp electricity rate increases under sweeping new legislation that would require them to ramp up their energy supplies from wind, solar and other green sources, local utilities said.
On Thursday, the state Assembly voted 55-19 to approve a measure requiring power companies to obtain up to 33 percent of their energy supplies from green sources, up sharply from the current 20 percent. The state Senate already has passed the bill.
The measure, which requires the approval of Gov. Jerry Brown, aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California while boosting jobs in the state's fast-growing green economy.
But utilities say they face steep cost increases to comply with the measure.
"We're looking at (an additional) cost over $120 million by 2020," said Michael Bloom, Roseville Electric's assistant electric utility director.
Bloom said Roseville Electric, which gets about 20 percent of its supply from renewable sources, would have to increase rates for its 55,000 customers as much as 5 percent over the next two years. By 2020, Bloom estimated, the utility would have to raise rates a total of 15 percent.
Read More . . .
UC Merced hosts green energy trade conference
Six businesses inducted into group's hall of fame
By YESENIA AMARO
Hundreds of green industry leaders gathered at UC Merced on Friday for the inaugural International Green Industry Hall of Fame conference.
Six green businesses were inducted into the Hall of Fame for their efforts to improve the quality of life by reducing their carbon footprint.
The six businesses are: the American Council on Renewable Energy; Duke Smart Home Program; Grundfos; Josh Dorfman, The Lazy Environmentalist; Drip Tech; and the city of Fresno's recycling program.
"To me, we are still right at the very beginning of it," Dorfman said of the green industry. "This is the starting moment."
He said leaders must be more creative and innovative to advance the green energy industry.
Rod Diridon, executive director for the Mineta Transportation Institute, was the keynote speaker. The United States, he said, has a long way to go to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions.
"America is way above other countries (in emissions)," he said. "We are not doing a lot better yet."
Diridon said it's going to be up to the current generation to fix the problem.
"Global warming is occurring seriously," he said, and used the Himalayas as an example. The mountain range has lost a significant percentage of its glaciers since 1950, he said.
Diridon said California has an opportunity to become more sustainable with its high-speed rail project. The first phase of the project will connect Borden and Corcoran in the San Joaquin Valley. "We've got to expand it quickly," he said.
Read more: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/03/26/1826945/uc-merced-hosts-green-energy-trade.html#ixzz1HkutMWKB
Feds: Taxpayers Pay for Electric Car Energy, NOT Car Owners
Feds: Taxpayers Pay for Electric Car Energy, NOT Car Owners
Written by CA Political News on February 20, 2011, 11:35 AM
More Government Interference in the Automobile Industry
Capitol Commentary, 2/19/11
Economics electric cars Liberals market distortions power grid
Where all that "green" energy comes from... coal.
Electric cars have been slow sellers. The new term for our age is “Range Anxiety.” That’s where you’re tooling around in your battery powered car and aren’t sure you’ll have enough juice to either make it there or home. Range Anxiety will surely worry male electric car drivers more than Erectile Dysfunction. This is why few people want to buy such a car. The Government thinks it should get even more involved. That’s why many cities are installing free charging stations. Electric car drivers would pay $25.00 and get all the juice they need for six months. Who pays the bill? You guessed it… the taxpayer.
Of course there are several problems with this approach. The biggest problem is that the taxpayer foots the bill so somebody else can drive for free. In Kalfiornia for many years hybrid car drivers could cruise the carpool lanes sans passengers and many people chose to buy such a car just for the sticker. In fact, I remember several people who paid more money for their used hybrid just because it had the sticker on it.
The second problem with the $25.00 fee is that it’s only going to work while few people choose to buy an electric car. If these types of vehicles ever take off the charging stations will be so swamped that the program will most likely end and the entire “I drive with free electricity” plan comes crashing down.
The third problem is that our wonderful roads are paid for by taxing gasoline and diesel. If you get a lot of people driving cars which don’t use gasoline or diesel this will reduce the amount of money available from fuel taxes to pay for the roads we all take for granted. Where will the shortfall come from? The taxpayer. And states won’t be too happy about it, either
California and the International Green Energy Racket
Last week, the premier of British Columbia, Gordon Campbell, paid a visit to the California State Legislature. He spoke at length about his province’s green energy partnership with California in supplying California with electricity while helping the state meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals.
I listened to the leader of the Western Canadian province of 4.4 million people and I found myself asking, “What is he selling?” So, I decided to follow the money. What follows is a summary of an international green energy scam that costs California taxpayers millions while robbing California of jobs due to higher electricity costs and electricity imports.
Decades ago, the West Coast began exchanging electricity. During the summer, when air conditioning use spiked in California, Washington State and British Columbia would ship hydropower down to the Golden State. Later in the year, during California’s mild winters, when rivers levels were low in the Northwest, California would return the favor. The power exchange worked well for everyone.
During California’s 2000-2001 energy crisis, our northern neighbors took Enron-like advantage of us. BC Hydro, a state-owned utility, through its marketing and trading subsidiary, Powerex, aided in the rampant market manipulation that ended up costing California consumers millions. Bill Lockyer, then California Attorney General, sued. In March 2005, Powerex settled and refunded a fraction of the profits they made at the expense of California ratepayers.
The current version of this energy scam is breathtaking in its scope. Further, the victim, California, actually knows most of what’s going on and either doesn’t care or doesn’t want to know the messy details.
California has become America’s largest electricity importer. With 37 million people producing about 13 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, California imports about 23 percent of its electricity. This situation is compounded by the state’s environmental laws which, if a power plant can be built at all, typically consume seven years for permitting and construction vs. three years in competing Texas.
Complicating matters are a trio of California energy policy laws passed in 2006: AB 32, SB 1368, and SB 107. AB 32 mandates a 30 percent reduction in California’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 (BC Premier Campbell was particularly enthusiastic about this law). SB 1368 outlaws the renewal of coal-fired electricity contracts—imported coal energy powered about 16 percent of California’s grid in 2008. While SB 107 accelerated the requirement that California derive 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources this year, renewable being defined as small hydro, geothermal, wind, solar, and biomass (we missed the target, meaning utilities, read ratepayers, get dinged).
Enter government-owned BC Hydro and its Powerex subsidiary. With abundant hydro power potential, British Columbia is seeking to become the Saudi Arabia of “green” energy. California environmentalists don’t see the irony in British Columbia damming rivers to provide power to California, while in California, environmentalists fight to demolish dams as unsightly threats to salmon.
The irony gets even deeper, though. British Columbia, perhaps due to Premier Campbell’s business-friendly tax and regulatory policies, is growing. That, combined with a severe drought (yes, when California gets a good water year, British Columbia often sees a drought) means that BC Hydro will be importing $220 million more electricity than it did last year. You read it correctly, hydro energy colossus British Columbia will be importing almost a quarter billion dollars more electricity this year than last. In fact, BC Hydro has imported more energy than it has exported in 10 out of 11 years. And, from where does this energy come? Washington State and Alberta Canada. And, what is the source of this electricity? Brace yourself. Coal and gas-fired plants.
Electrons in a grid, like dollars in an account, are fungible, meaning that “clean green” electrons cannot be separated from “dirty coal” electrons and both are mixed in with electrons from nuclear power plants. So, when the Premier of British Columbia comes to California to urge us to continue to make our state even more dependent on his province for electricity as we strive to make the planet better we shouldn’t fool ourselves. The fact is, BC Hydro is buying “dirty” power and then, in an act I’ll dub “electron laundering” is repackaging it for the silly, naïve, environmental-minded Californians as pristine green hydro power—with a nice mark up, of course (Canadians have to pay for their national healthcare after all).
If Canadian reselling of coal power to California wasn’t enough of an insult to common sense and the environment, then here’s one more. Many British Columbians oppose their government’s push to make their province an energy colony of California by submerging more tree-lined river valleys. From a greenhouse gas perspective, they’re probably right. Some studies suggest that hydro electric dams built in forested valleys aren’t a great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is because the dams drown carbon-impounding trees, which, in turn, rot when they are submerged, releasing large amounts of methane, a gas that is 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide in the greenhouse effect.
Rather than practice electrical grid colonialism, simply importing power while sending jobs and emissions elsewhere, Californians need to get serious about generating more of their own affordable and reliable power. In many places around the world, this means modern nuclear power. California needs to lift the state moratorium on building new nuclear power plants signed into law by then-Governor Jerry Brown in 1976.
Chuck DeVore is a California State Assemblyman. He is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army (retired) Reserve and served as a Reagan White House appointee in the Pentagon. He co-authored the novel China Attacks. He can be followed on Twitter @chuckdevore and his Facebook account is facebook.com/DeVoreForCalifornia.
Cutting Corners in Ocean Protection
Written by Jim Martin
August 4, 2010
Jim Martin is a trustee of the California Fisheries Coalition and the West Coast Regional Director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.
Environmental groups, long the champions of upholding the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), have instead been working to short-cut environmental protection.
That's correct: environmental groups actively sought to sidestep environmental law which requires openness in analyzing negative environmental impacts of projects.
Usually, these groups fight to ensure complete compliance with CEQA - they repelled numerous legislative attacks by developers, and even Governor Schwarzenegger, already this year. But ironically, some have apparently decided CEQA doesn't apply to projects they favor.
Recently, the legally required CEQA review process got underway in Southern California in connection with adopting new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). And many expected this scientific analysis to be completely transparent.
Instead, the Department of Fish and Game decided it didn't need to hold an open "scoping" meeting. It didn't need to allow other public agencies, special districts, or interested public the opportunity to discuss and share ideas surrounding the range of issues that must be covered in an Environmental Impact Report (those famous EIRs).
But fortunately, the law is clear; projects affecting the coastal zone are projects of statewide significance, and projects of statewide significance require at least one CEQA scoping meeting.
New language ordered for initiative to suspend state climate change law
By Rick Daysog
Published: Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010 - 12:53 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010 - 2:22 pm
A state judge today ordered the attorney general's office to change its wording of a ballot initiative to roll back the state's landmark climate change law.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley agreed with measure proponents charging that California Attorney General Jerry Brown used misleading language when his office drafted the initiative, Proposition 23.
Frawley said use of the term "major polluters" in election materials carried negative connotations with voters and ordered Brown's office to use the less loaded term "major sources of emissions."
Frawley also said the state inaccurately described the proposition as "abandoning" California's climate change law, or AB 32, and ordered it to substitute the term "suspends."
"My concern is that the word 'polluters' suggests something that comes out of a smokestack. That's where the prejudice lies," Frawley said.
Proposition 23 seeks to suspend California's global greenhouse gas reduction law until the statewide unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent for a year. Supporters of the measure say AB 32, which aims to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, will lead to job losses and higher energy costs
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/08/03/2933928/new-language-ordered-for-initiative.html#ixzz0vejQpP2h
Poll Shows Support for Climate Law
July 28, 2010 • Posted By Craig Miller • Filed Under Air, Economics, Policy
An expansive new poll on environmental attitudes suggests that despite the recession, Californians are holding fast to their environmental priorities.
Among the findings in the report released this week by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California is that support for the state's climate change strategy remains strong, even in the face of a well-financed campaign against the law known as AB 32. Two-thirds (67%) of the respondents support the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in California--about the same level as when PPIC polled the question last year.
What's different this year, though, is that opponents of AB 32 are ramping up a statewide campaign to suspend the act's regulations until the state unemployment rate drops to 5.5% or less and remains there for a year. It's currently more than 12%. The question will appear on the November ballot as Proposition 23.
The PPIC poll did not ask directly about Prop 23, as the measure was not yet officially titled when the polling began earlier this month. Proponents of Prop 23 have filed suit against the state, claiming that the planned ballot description overstates the measure's intent. The current language was chosen by Attorney General (and gubernatorial candidate) Jerry Brown, who supports AB 32.
According to PPIC President Mark Baldassare, the state's climate legislation could become a key issue in the campaign for the statehouse between Brown and Republican Meg Whitman:
Opinion: Green chemistry program must be strong, efficient and open to public
By Bill Allayaud | 07/29/10 12:00 AM PST
California’s Green Chemistry Initiative, launched by AB 1879 (Feuer, 2008) has been touted as an innovative move toward more effective regulation of chemicals in consumer products. It is intended to protect consumers, workers, and the environment while spurring development of safer alternatives that will be the foundation of a vibrant green economy.
But the Department of Toxic Substances Control’s draft regulations to implement the Initiative fall far short of meeting its worthy goals. In their current form, these regulations would perpetuate the worst flaws of an ineffective regulatory system: too weak, too slow, and stacked against the public in favor of industry.
In comments on the draft, nearly 50 environmental, public health, consumer, and worker safety advocates strongly objected to the lack of public participation and oversight, and the dominant control industry will have over the process. Their concerns were echoed by the Green Ribbon Science Panel, a group of technical experts in chemical science and policy set up to advise the program, and from a group of prominent scientists, including the author of the landmark University of California white paper that set the Initiative in motion.
The draft regulations will allow chemical companies and consumer product makers to keep hidden, as “trade secrets,” much valuable data on chemical hazards and safer alternatives. Companies, or their hired consultants, will be allowed to conduct their own assessments of safer alternatives. The completed alternatives assessments will not be made public. If a hazard determination is made, companies themselves will suggest the appropriate regulatory response.
Climate law adds jobs to state payroll
By Rick Daysog
Published: Monday, Jul. 26, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Monday, Jul. 26, 2010 - 7:28 am
The state's landmark global warming law has yet to create the promised bonanza of green jobs, but it has boosted payrolls in another sector of the economy: state government.
At a time of budget cuts and state worker furloughs, the state agency primarily responsible for regulating global warming has bulked up its staff as it prepares to enforce AB 32, the climate change law signed in 2006 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Since 2007, the California Air Resources Board has added more than 150 employees, an increase of 12.5 percent. The additions include dozens of scientists, engineers, technicians and other air pollution experts.
Other state agencies, such as the California Energy Commission and the Department of Resources Recycling Recovery, have added 29 positions as part of the climate change initiative.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/07/26/2914294/climate-law-adds-jobs-to-state.html#ixzz0uomG7Glr
Excloo: Powerhouse Dem donor puts $5 million in -- and joins GOP icon George Shultz -- to save AB32
The election year battle over California's groundbreaking climate change law AB32, already expensive and combative, just got more intense with news that powerhouse Democratic donor Tom Steyer will put in $5 million and join forces with Republican icon George Shultz to beat back the November ballot measure which would suspend the landmark law.
The Chronicle has learned that the two San Franciscans -- Steyer, the Democratic billionaire hedge fund manager and Shultz, the Republican former Reagan Administration Secretary of State -- have formed a bipartisan team to co-chair Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs, the effort to fight Prop. 23 on the state's November ballot.
The collaboration is a political first for two men who have often been on opposite sides of the battleground. Steyer, who founded San Francisco-based Farallon Capital Management, has used his money to donate millions to philanthropic causes and his political muscle to back Democratic presidential candidates including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Kerry; he's now supporting Democrat Jerry Brown for governor and Barbara Boxer for U.S. Senate.
Shultz, who backed 2008 presidential candidates John McCain and George W. Bush, as well as Republican Tom Campbell for U.S. Senate, is now the co-chair of GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's campaign.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/nov05election/detail?blogid=14&entry_id=68625#ixzz0uopStwzb
On 7/17/10 there was an editorial in the San Diego Union "Air Board Still Scandalous" that discussed how CARB staff ignored scientific evidence submitted to them http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jul/17/air-board-still-scandalous/
On 7/24/10 James Goldstene, the Executive Director of CARB responded with this scathing editorial http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jul/24/letters-california-air-resources-board-responds/
You may wish to write to the Union in response to Goldstene's editorial, especially if you have a science background, which Goldstene does not (here is his bio - degree only in Government, no formal science background)
If you wish to write the San Diego Union in response to the editorial, here is the link to the letter's policy and guidelines (it is on right side of page). We encourage everyone to respond... http://recall.uniontrib.com/news/op-ed/letters/index.html
Air board still scandalous
Contrary evidence on diesel rules seems to be ignored
BY UNION-TRIBUNE EDITORIAL BOARD
SATURDAY, JULY 17, 2010 AT 12:02 A.M.
In December 2008, this editorial page reported that Hien Tran – the lead California Air Resources Board scientist on a study used to justify sweeping, costly new rules on diesel emissions – had lied about his academic credentials. The scandal seemed to unfold in slow motion. Finally, 10 months later, two members of the air board – Fresno cardiologist John Telles and San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts – denounced the regulatory agency for not disclosing Tran’s dishonesty before the vote to adopt diesel rules based on his work. This helped prompt the suspension of the rules.
Now, 10 more months have passed, and something extremely curious is unfolding.
Contrary to promises made by air board Chairwoman Mary Nichols, the accuracy of Tran’s central premise – that PM2.5 (tiny soot particles from exhaust, smoke and dust) causes thousands of premature deaths each year in California – has been found wanting. In February, a CARB-commissioned outside study was released that found no evidence for his claim. This corroborated independent scientists who said Tran’s theory was flawed because it was based on studies from Eastern states, where sulfates are common and may interact with PM2.5 to harmful effect.
Yet this finding doesn’t seem to have had any effect on regulators, who have informally made clear to industry groups that they still want to impose Tran’s rules even though they will bankrupt hundreds of small businesses that can’t afford expensive new engines or engine retrofits.
This isn’t right. Roberts’ spokesman said Friday that the supervisor plans to raise questions at a board meeting next week about the air board staff’s reaction to the contrary evidence. In disturbing ways, the reaction parallels the staff’s reaction to confirmation of Tran’s deceit and its decision to pursue a cover-up. It may be time for Telles and Roberts to give another lecture to Nichols on honesty and professionalism.
'Climategate' fallout may impact legislation
David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, July 19, 2010
Five investigations into the "Climategate" scandal have now cleared a group of scientists accused of twisting data in an effort to prove the world is getting warmer.
But many environmentalists and climate researchers fear the damage has already been done.
The scandal spawned big headlines and heated blog posts when it erupted last fall after hackers released a stash of unflattering e-mails from a climate research lab in Britain. In one message, a scientist wrote of using a "trick" to "hide the decline" in temperature-proxy data from tree rings. Global warming doubters claimed vindication.
British and American investigations have now largely exonerated the scientists, saying they did not warp their studies to reach a pre-determined end. But the public may not buy it. Some polls show the public's belief in the reality of climate change has ebbed, although other surveys disagree.
"Despite multiple denials from people in the field, this has really hurt," said Daniel Kammen, a UC Berkeley professor who contributes to reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The accuracy of the IPCC's reports, long considered the most authoritative on global warming, came under fire during Climategate.
"Even though the science of climate change hasn't changed, the public perception of it has," Kammen said. "You have less than 50 percent of people strongly believing in something that 99.99 percent of climate scientists agree on."
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/19/MNNS1EFLDU.DTL&feed=rss.news_pageone#ixzz0u9a3ED2s
Noted environmental advocate to speak at mayor's monthly 'green' meeting
By Ryan Lillis
Published: Monday, Jul. 19, 2010 - 9:46 am
Last Modified: Monday, Jul. 19, 2010 - 11:59 am
Author and environmental advocate Van Jones will be the featured speaker at Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson's monthly green initiative meeting on Tuesday.
Jones, author of "The Green Collar Economy" and co-founder of three nonprofit organizations, will discuss the national green movement and ways he says it can help break down social and economic inequalities as well as work to protect the environment.
The monthly Greenwise meeting will be at the California EPA building in downtown Sacramento. Cal EPA secretary Linda Adams and Assembly Speaker John Perez also are scheduled to speak.
The Greenwise initiative, started earlier this year by Johnson, is meant to promote the region's green technology sector.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/07/19/2900150/noted-enviromental-advocate-to.html#ixzz0uA1xB7Jt
California's pioneering e-waste program a model gone wrong
By Tom Knudson
Published: Sunday, Jul. 18, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Sunday, Jul. 18, 2010 - 9:40 am
It seemed a perfect symmetry: California, the world's high-tech capital, would lead the way in recycling the debris of our digital revolution.
But five years after its launch, the state government-run electronic waste program stands out not as a model of the green innovation for which California is famous but as an example of good intentions gone awry.
By paying more than $320 million to collect and recycle computer monitors and televisions, the state has built a magnet for fraud totaling tens of millions of dollars, including illegal material smuggled in from out of state.
"I don't think anybody could have forecast the greed that has poisoned the program," said Bob Erie, chief executive officer of E-World Recyclers north of San Diego and once an enthusiastic supporter of the state effort.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/07/18/2897609/californias-pioneering-e-waste.html#ixzz0u3Wwo5LS
Saving the environment and the economy
BY CARY LOWE
SUNDAY, JULY 18, 2010 AT MIDNIGHT
Environmentalists and business interests are battling over whether efforts to promote renewable energy sources and “green” jobs are stimulating or undercutting the state economy. Actually, with the right focus, we can save both the environment and the economy.
The top issue on the environmental front is climate change. Reports from virtually every scientific organization confirm that global warming is worsening, yet efforts to combat climate change are stalled. The recent Copenhagen climate summit produced no international agreement. Congress can’t coalesce around even the pallid legislation proposed to date. And California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) is threatened by a pending ballot initiative.
The other looming environmental challenge concerns water supply. The Sierra Nevada snowpack and rainfall throughout the state have been shrinking steadily and cannot adequately replenish our rivers and reservoirs. Water deliveries from the Sacramento Delta have been slashed. Access to Colorado River water has been reduced. The resulting shortage is blocking new real estate developments, causing agricultural areas to be fallowed and forcing domestic water use reductions.
At the same time, the state economy is struggling.
There is, however, no need for despair.
The answer lies in our residential and commercial buildings, in particular the ones built before contemporary energy efficiency standards came into effect. California currently has approximately 13.4 million homes and about a half million commercial buildings. Two-thirds of the homes and a majority of the commercial structures were not subject to any energy efficiency requirements at the time of construction, though some have been upgraded since then. The California Air Resources Board estimates that residential and commercial buildings are responsible for about 22 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, not counting the emissions associated with water delivery.
Simply retrofitting residential structures built before 2006 to current efficiency standards would slash their share of those emissions, without even taking into account other potential gains, such as from converting to solar and other sustainable energy sources. Similar calculations for retrofitting commercial buildings are more difficult, because of the great variation in the standards to which they have been built and renovated. However, the Air Resources Board calculates that adherence to the state’s Green Building Standards Code, expected to become mandatory next year, would result in a 35 percent reduction in the carbon footprint of commercial buildings, far more than is required by AB 32.
(THIS IS THE RHETORIC WE WILL CONTIUE TO HEAR ABOUT THIS ISSUE)
PG&E opposes initiative to block state climate law
By Rick Daysog
Published: Wednesday, Jul. 7, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 6B
California businesses are beginning to pick sides in the initiative battle over the state's landmark climate change law.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on Tuesday said it will oppose the November ballot initiative, which seeks to suspend Assembly Bill 32, a law that mandates statewide reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
PG&E joins corporations such as Levi Strauss and Co. and eBay Inc. in opposing the rollback.
"Studies show that unchecked climate growth could cost California's economy alone tens of billions of dollars a year in losses to agriculture, tourism and other sectors," said Peter Darbee, PG&E's chairman and CEO.
"Thoughtful and balanced implementation of AB 32 is one of the most important opportunities we have to avoid this costly outcome while spurring new clean-tech investment, innovation and job creation in California."
But a coalition funded by Texas oil companies and California manufacturers wants the law's implementation suspended until the state unemployment rate, now at 12.4 percent, drops to 5.5 percent. Proponents of the initiative, Proposition 23, say implementing the climate change law will cost the state 1.1 million jobs.
A PG&E spokeswoman said it's too early to say whether PG&E will contribute financially to the initiative debate.
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2010/07/07/2872971/pge-opposes-initiative-to-block.html#ixzz0t0sOyFT9
CALIFORNIA TAKING NEXT STEP ON GREEN CHEMISTRY INITIATIVE
by Greg Lucas
Thu, Jul 08th 2010
California is a step closer toward creating the nation’s most ambitious program to regulate toxic substances in consumer products after publicly releasing in late June the mechanics of how its so-called Green Chemistry Initiative would work.
“Study after study have shown that many consumer products are not safe, resulting with more and more being recalled,” said Maziar Movassaghi, acting director of the Department of Toxic Substances Control, which will implement the program. “This draft regulation is the first of its kind in the nation and it essentially shifts the way government, industry and the public think about the products that end up in our homes,” Movassahi said in a statement announcing the release of the 61-page document called “Draft Regulation for Safer Consumer Products.”
Settling on exactly how the program operates is a contentious issue between environmentalists and manufacturers. Businesses urge the state to move slowly in creating a list of carcinogens, neurotoxins and other harmful compounds found in everything from toys to turbines. Environmentalists and other advocacy groups like the Breast Cancer Fund seek swifter declarations about a chemical being harmful, and speedier removal of the chemical from whatever product contains it.
Nearly two years have already passed since the 2008 passage of the two bills dubbed the Green Chemistry Initiative – an idea initially proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration. The central focus of green chemistry is to find safer alternatives to toxic substances, ultimately shifting the focus of environmental protection from how to sequester those toxic substances at the end of a product’s life to creation of safer products that no longer contain the toxic compounds.
Feds pull plug on cities' green home loans
ROBERT SELNA, CHRONICLE STAFF WRITER
WEDNESDAY, JULY 7, 2010
San Francisco's new, $150 million program to help property owners finance solar and other energy-saving programs is all but dead, according to city officials, after a federal agency announced Tuesday that the program and others like it across the state are potentially risky and inadvisable for mortgage lenders.
The programs have been widely championed as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy bills and to create green jobs. Generally, the programs allow a property owner to obtain a low-interest loan from local governments that are backed by bonds. The property owner then repays the loan over 20 years through a tax assessment, which is attached to the home, even if it is sold.
Several Bay Area cities embraced the energy retrofit plans, which originated in Berkeley and are made possible by 2008 state legislation. Fourteen additional California counties planned to embark on similar endeavors later this year and cities and counties in other states have pursued similar proposals.
The Department of Energy also has said that millions of dollars in stimulus funds should go to installing the energy-saving systems under the programs, which are referred to as Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE.
San Francisco launched its version of the idea, called GreenFinanceSF, with great fanfare in April and $150 million in financing, making it one of the nation's most ambitions efforts.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/07/MNCI1EA8OI.DTL&feed=rss.news_pageone#ixzz0t0seonkr
PG&E installing SmartMeters across Marin; Fairfax balks
By Richard Halstead
Posted: 07/06/2010 11:09:23 PM PDT
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. is beginning to install trademarked SmartMeters throughout Marin this month, but when the Fairfax Town Council meets this week it will consider a moratorium and other action to block installation of the devices there.
The digital meters, which use wireless radio signals to transmit data on power usage from individual homes, caused a minor uprising in late 2009 when PG&E began using them to replace analog meters in the San Joaquin Valley. Ratepayers complained that their bills increased dramatically after installation of the meters. PG&E insisted the bill spikes were caused by hot weather, which increased use of air conditioners.
"There was a lot of controversy down that way, and it's just been percolating up through the community," said Fairfax Councilman Larry Bragman, who put the SmartMeter issue on the council's agenda for Wednesday, July 7.
Paul Moreno, a PG&E spokesman, said the investor-owned utility is installing SmartMeters at homes throughout the county this month and expects to finish the rollout by February 2011. He said PG&E more than a month ago began installing devices on Marin County streetlight arms that will gather data broadcast from homes and businesses and relay that data to PG&E.
The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates PG&E and approved installation of the SmartMeters at a cost of $2.2 billion, has reacted to questions regarding the billing accuracy of the technology by commissioning an independent
NEW: Lawmakers Push Backdoor Climate Change
JUNE 29, 2010 By KATY GRIMES
Just in case California’s global warming legislation is suspended in November with passage of California Jobs Initiative 2010, California’s Democratic legislators are leaving nothing to chance. They’ve been busy pushing through plenty of other climate change and green legislation through the Capitol’s backdoor.
SB 1006, currently traveling through legislative committees at the capitol, would further expand the subsidized greening of California through local governments and state agencies, by requiring the Strategic Growth Council to address climate change impacts in its” coordination role” and to “provide information” to local and regional government agencies on climate adaptation strategies.
Legislators continually reference the council as an information-only council, but what information is the group imparting on state agencies?
The purpose of the Strategic Growth Council, (a cabinet level committee), is to “improve air and water quality, improve natural resource protection, increase the availability of affordable housing, improve transportation, meet the goals of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, encourage sustainable land use planning, and revitalize urban and community centers in a sustainable manner,” according to the council’s website. “Existing law requires the council to support the planning and development of sustainable communities, to manage and award financial assistance to a city, county, or nonprofit organization for the preparation, planning, and implementation of a specified urban greening project.”
This goes way beyond mere “information.”
Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, the author of SB 1006, referenced the need for more California “sustainability” in her testimony. Her bill would require the council to take actions to coordinate programs to address the various list of climate change impacts. One bill summary reads, “The bill would require the council additionally to provide, fund, and distribute information to local governments and regional agencies regarding climate change adaptation strategies, projects, or activities, as described.”
Streetlight project radiates savings
Efficiency upgrade in SDG&E region
BY MIKE LEE, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010 AT 9:24 P.M.
SOURCE: CleanTech San Diego
Replacing streetlights might not seem to make a serious dent in pollution, but a regional initiative to install high-efficiency models could eventually do just that.
The goal: to lower emissions of carbon dioxide by 40,000 tons annually and reduce electricity consumption by 60 million kilowatt hours each year.
Potential financial savings also are eye-popping: $10 million annually in energy and operating costs if roughly 145,000 streetlights are replaced throughout the San Diego Gas & Electric service territory in San Diego and southern Orange counties.
Such lofty goals could take more than a decade to realize, but several cities and other organizations are off to a fast start thanks to money from the federal stimulus package and additional sources of public financing. About 13,000 eco-friendly streetlights will be installed from Carlsbad to El Cajon starting this summer, and at least 10,000 more trade-outs in the county are planned for the next year.
June 18 ,2010
AB 32 and CARB
CARB GETTING READY TO IMPOSE TAXES ON VEHICLES THEY DON’T APPROVE OF!
The California Air Resources Board recently spent $800,000 on a study concluding they want to go ahead with a "feebate" plan. A feebate is AB 32 bureaucrat speak for a tax on vehciles CARB doesn't approve of.
CARB intends to use taxes to force us from buying vehicles they deem to contribute to global warming. Trucks, minivans, SUV's and sports cars are all likely to be targeted under this draconian scheme.
The feebate plan is just one stark illustration of the way AB 32 bureaucrats will infringe on your personal freedom if not stopped. Let's not let the government tell us what we are allowed to drive!
New CARB Fact Sheet now available!
Our fact sheet is a great overview of the unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy that is taking away our freedoms and destroying our economy.
CARB does so many shady things that limiting the fact sheet to one page was difficult.
The fact sheet is a great resource for you to distribute to meetings of activist organizations and to share with your family, friends and neighbors who are not yet informed. Our success rests on our ability to educate the folks we know. Every person who's informed is one more vote for freedom and jobs.
Please download the fact sheet today, print them out and distribute them far and wide!
FACEBOOK FAN PAGE NOW APPROACHING 2200 FANS!
The Fan Page is a great way for us to show the strength and power of our movement. Our page currently is nearly three times the size of the page supporters of AB 32 set up. However, we have to remember that far left forces recently built a fan page of over 200,000 in a single campaign.
If we are to win we must disseminate the love and logic of Suspend AB 32 across the internet to everyone we know. The internet is great in this respect. We can quickly and easily send out vast amounts of powerful information through cyberspace and reach citizens with the truth whether the establishment media likes it or not. Please help in this fight right now and:
1. “Like” the California Jobs Initiative
2. Click the “Suggest to Friends” link beneath the awesome truck in the upper left hand corner of the page
3. Invite everyone in your friends list
4. Give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back for helping spread the message of jobs and freedom!
Now fellow patriot, go to the fan page! http://www.facebook.com/californiajobsinitiative?ref=ts
State attorney general demands ex-professor's files from University of Virginia
By Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post, 5/4/10
RICHMOND -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II is demanding that the University of Virginia turn over a broad range of documents from a former professor to determine whether he defrauded taxpayers as he sought grants for global warming research.
The civil investigative demand asks for all data and materials presented by former professor Michael Mann when he applied for five research grants from the university. It also gives the school until May 27 to produce all correspondence or e-mails between Mann and 39 other scientists since 1999.
The actions by Cuccinelli (R) -- who has sued the federal government over its regulation of greenhouse gases and has become a leading national voice in alleging that scientists have skewed data to show evidence the Earth is warming -- were cheered by those on the right, who have long targeted Mann as a leading proponent of the theory.
Opponents of AB 32 argue it is a job-killer
By Onell R. Soto, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Monday, May 3, 2010 at 1:14 a.m.
When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed his administration’s signature environmental law in 2006, he spoke of it as a jobs measure.
“Unquestionably, it is good for businesses,” he said then. “Not only large, well-established businesses, but small businesses that will harness their entrepreneurial spirit to help us achieve our climate goals.”
The measure, Assembly Bill 32, put California at the forefront in the effort to fight global warming, calling for the state to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a reduction of roughly 25 percent.
Four years later, the measure is under attack from some quarters as a job-killer that will make it difficult for the state to compete economically.
Today, opponents plan to submit signatures for a proposition on the November ballot that would suspend the law’s provisions until the state’s unemployment rate — at 12.6 percent in March — drops to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters. That has happened only twice in the past 11 years: from April 2005 through August 2007, and from April 1999 through July 2001.
MAY 2, 2010 SUSPEND AB 32 HAS QUALIFIED FOR THE NOVEMBER 2010 BALLOT!! WE WILL OVERTURN THIS JOB KILLING REGULATION!
**** 1.11.2010 The vote came down along Party lines on Monday January 11,2010 with all Democrats on the Natural Resources Committee voting to keep the failed plicy of AB 32 in place.
Voter Support for AB 32 Shrinks
By Bill LaMarr
Executive Director of the California Small Business Alliance
Fri, February 5th, 2010
A new poll by the AB 32 Implementation Group showed voter support for California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) has dramatically declined. After hearing arguments for and against the measure, 56% of voters approved of AB 32 and 40% opposed.
The fact AB 32 won’t have any measurable impact on reducing global warming, its price tag of billions of dollars in higher energy costs and hidden tax increases, and its impact on jobs drove voter opposition to the measure.
Voters were particularly concerned about the conclusions from the California Small Business Roundtable’s study of the impact of AB 32 on small business in California. This study found that AB 32 would cost the average small business in California about $50,000 per year and would destroy more than one million California jobs. http://foxandhoundsdaily.com/blog/bill-lamarr/6396-voter-support-ab-32-shrinks
The latest on California politics and government
February 5, 2010
Schwarzenegger turns more critical of environmental laws
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger prides himself on trying to balance environmentalism with economic considerations, but he has grown more critical of environmental obstructions in this recessionary period, especially as he pushes for a jobs package in the Legislature.
The governor twice this week portrayed environmental regulations as a barrier to job creation, at one point Tuesday suggesting that some environmentalists "become fanatics and they go overboard" when they object to green technology projects. Schwarzenegger has asked lawmakers to give his administration more authority to expedite projects once they have undergone an environmental impact study.
Could Californians finally be serious about turning around their sputtering economy? One hopeful sign is a ballot initiative that would repeal the Golden State's version of a cap-and-trade carbon tax.
This feel-good law to reduce the state's carbon footprint was enacted with great hoopla by the Democratic legislature and Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006 when the state's economy was growing and the jobless rate was 5%. The law requires that starting in 2012 the state must ratchet down its carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The politicians and green lobbies told voters this energy tax would create jobs—the same fairy tale many in Washington are repeating today.
We all know that AB 32 ( CA’s failed Cap and Trade policy) is killing our economy in CA and that suspend or halting it will allow a more satisfactory environment for our businesses.
Natural Resource Committee Members who will be hearing AB 118 @ 1:30 Committee Hearing:
Good morning, my name is __________________, and I live in (name your city of residence).
I am asking the Assemblymember to please vote yes on AB 118 at the Monday afternoon committee hearing. Thank you!
Nancy Skinner – Chair-(916) 319-2014, 916-319-2114 fax
Danny D. Gilmore - Vice Chair- (916) 319-2030, 916-319-2131 fax
Julia Brownley-(916) 319-2041, 916-319-2141 fax
Wesley Chesbro- (916) 319-2001, 916-319-2101 fax
Kevin de Leon- (916) 319-2045, 916-319-2145 fax
Jerry Hill- (916) 319-2019, 916-319-2119 fax
Jared Huffman- (916) 319-2006, 916-319-2106 fax
Steve Knight- (916) 319-2036, 916-319-2136 fax
AB 32, the “Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006” :
AB 32 will cost our state up to 1.1 million jobs, cost the average
family $3,857 annually, add nearly $50,000 a year to the average
small business’s costs and will result in a total loss of output of
California’s unemployment rate has now reached 12.1%, one of
the highest in the nation. With jobs leaving the state, AB 32 is
yet another burdensome regulation that will cause more
businesses to relocate.
Scientists agree that because California contributes less than 2% of
the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, AB 32 will do NOTHING to
stop global warming, even if it is caused by human activity.
The loss of tax revenue that will result from AB 32 will devastate
the budgets of California agencies including those responsible for
providing health care to those in need and protecting the
AB 32 will put government in control of what have traditionally
been individual choices. We don’t want the government telling us
what we drive or where we live.
*Assemblyman Dan Logue has introduced AB 118 to REPEAL AB32
**Tell your state lawmakers to support AB 118
VISIT www.SuspendAB32.org for updates and petition
Board delays diesel rules
Buzz up!By Jim Downing
Published: Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009 - 8:02 am
The California Air Resources Board gave truckers a break Wednesday on the state's tough diesel emissions rules, acknowledging that the bad economy has both improved the state's air quality and made anti-pollution upgrades unaffordable
Air board previews emission strategy
Business association pans ‘cap and trade’
Milken report praises Texas and pans California for Business
Water Bill May Never Deliver Water
Written by CA Political News on November 06, 2009, 10:47 AM
Water overhaul looks like win for Valley farmers
By E.J. Schultz, Fresno Bee, 11/04/09
SACRAMENTO Valley farmers scored big wins in the package of water bills state lawmakers passed Wednesday, but most of the benefits are years away if they come at all.
Voters still must approve a key provision an $11 billion bond for water projects, potentially including money for a dam east of Fresno. And a planned canal to move water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the Valleys west-side farms faces regulatory and legal hurdles.
But on Wednesday, farm leaders were all smiles as they celebrated passage of proposals they had pushed for years without success.
This legislative package establishes a clear path for the construction of water-supply infrastructure that is necessary to sustain the economy of this state, said Tom Birmingham, general manager of Westlands Water District, whose 600 farms in western Fresno and Kings counties have struggled in the midst of the drought and pumping cutbacks at the delta.
Westlands was a key player in weeks of closed-door talks that led to Wednesdays approval by the Legislature of the five-bill package. The measures include the bond, new mandates for conservation and groundwater monitoring, and creation of an agency to oversee the environmentally troubled delta, the states water hub.
The bills squeaked through the Assembly and Senate shortly before 6 a.m., after marathon sessions Monday and Tuesday that included arm-twisting and last-minute amendments to satisfy various interest groups.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders touted the deal as a historic compromise that ends decades of gridlock on state water policy that the governor called a holy war.
This is a very bold vision that we have put forward here, said the governor, who is expected to sign the bills next week.
But the deal likely will do little to solve the states immediate water challenges, and some of the long-term solutions in the bills bring as many questions as answers.
The biggest uncertainty is the fate of the bond that voters will take up in November 2010. More than double the size of the largest water bond in state history, the measure includes money for new storage, underground water banking, water recycling, regional projects and environmental upgrades in the delta.
Opposition is likely to come from some fiscal conservatives who say the proposal is laden with nonessential spending and unions, who fear the borrowing will rob money from other programs. Some environmental groups also are expected to fight it, including the Sierra Club, which opposes dams.
At its peak, the bond would cost the state up to $809.3 million in annual debt service, assuming a 30-year payment schedule, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analysts Office.
Supporters likely will look to the Valley for votes because the bond potentially includes money for a new dam at Temperance Flat near Millerton Lake, a long-sought goal of east Valley farmers.
The project would compete for a chunk of $3 billion along with other storage projects, including other dams and possibly even ground-water banks. The bond would pay only for the public benefit portion of dams such as the recreation provided by a reservoir with users picking up the rest. If the bond passes, key decisions on the dam funding would be made by the governor-appointed California Water Commission.
Sen. Dave Cogdill, R-Modesto, who wrote the bond bill, said he was confident the money would go to the dams, including Temperance Flat, which would take years to build and has an estimated price tag of $3 billion to $4 billion.
I think its closer to a reality today than it has ever been, assuming this bond passes, he said.
Sen. Jeff Denham, R-Atwater, a lieutenant governor candidate, was the only Valley lawmaker voting no on the bond. He said he wanted dam earmarks in the legislation, a concept long opposed by Democrats who control the Legislature.
Theres no dam guarantee, he said.
The policy changes in the bills do not require voter approval, but will likely take years to implement.
A new conservation mandate a top goal for environmentalists calls for a statewide per-capita urban water use reduction of 20% by 2020. Individual agencies have until July 2011 to set their targets. New requirements to monitor groundwater levels wont kick in until 2012.
One bill establishes a seven-member council appointed by the governor and lawmakers to oversee the delta. The proposal was pushed by Democrats. Republicans and farm groups initially fought it, fearing the new agency would add roadblocks to planning for a canal to move water around the delta southward to Valley farms and Southern California cities.
Farm deliveries have been curtailed because the water is now pumped through the delta and courts have found that the system hurts fish.
In a compromise, lawmakers required the council to incorporate the canal into its long-range plans only if it meets environmental standards and is approved by an ongoing effort called the Bay Delta Conservation Plan.
But the proposal was written vaguely enough that competing interests view it differently, each to their benefit.
Birmingham, of Westlands, said the canal was more of a reality today than yesterday, although he added that lawsuits over the project are inevitable.
Water users say they will foot the bill for the canal, which will cost in the $10 billion range, according to the state Department of Water Resources. Birmingham estimated that in the best case, the canal would be built by 2018. He said it would bring more water to farmers.
But Cynthia Koehler, an attorney with the environmental group Environmental Defense Fund, which supported the deal, said: I dont think this bill makes a canal any more or less likely to occur, adding theres not one thing in this bill that provides any additional water to exporters.
Bribes Help Pass $22 Billion Water Bond
Written by CA Political News on November 06, 2009, 10:44 AM
Billions in earmarks helps ease passage of water deal
By Anthony York, John Howard, 11/05/09
As the sun rose over Sacramento Wednesday morning, Democrats and Republicans came together to reach a major deal on water, including sweeping changes in water policy and an $11 billion bond that must be approved by voters.
The package includes new rules for water conservation -- with most localities being asked to reduce water use by 20 percent over the next 10 years -- and a new system of governance for the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta.
Passage of the package was eased by the $11 billion bond, which will be on the November 2010 ballot. The bond contains billions in earmarks for projects up and down the state, including the state conservancies which are dependent on voter-approved funding.
The bond contains more than $1.7 billion in water quality and watershed protection funding all of which is earmarked for specific agencies and groups. The bond includes $100 million for the Lake Tahoe Conservancy, $100 million for Salton Sea preservation and $250 million for a dam removal project near Lake Shasta.
The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is in line to receive $75 million to protect the Los Angeles River watershed, and another $25 million for Santa Monica Bay watershed projects. In Speaker Karen Basss backyard, the Baldwin Hills Conservancy is set to receive $20 million if the bond is approved.
Theres also $125 million earmarked for the California Department of Forestry for forest restoration and to provide for climate change adaptation.
In short, the bonds got a little something for everyone.
Thats sure to be highlighted by the bonds opponents in next years ballot fight. This is definitely a Christmas Tree bond, said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, campaign director for Restore the Delta, one of the groups opposed to the water plan.
The deal was approved after an all-night session, an increasingly familar scene in the world of the California Legislature. The major breakthrough came Tuesday night after leaders agreed to add $1 billion into the bond package at the request of the Los Angeles delegation. In return, Republicans won a major concession as Democrats agreed to sever an enforcement bill from the water package that cracked down on illegal diversions of water, boosted fines and increased the power of the state water boards -- provisions long demanded by environmentalists.
The water-rights enforcement bill had been linked to the reform package of several other bills dealing with conservation, groundwater monitoring and governance of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta.
Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, agreed to the change amid fears that opposition to the measure could sink the entire water package.
The change led to concern that environmentalist lawmakers might abandon their support for other pieces of the water deal. Ensuring the bills passage had been a tool to ensure some more liberal Democrats supported other parts of the water policy and bond package. But in the end, the bill was radically altered, changing the water rights language and scaling back the fee structure for illegal diversions of water. The changes were enough to get the bill approved along with the rest of the water package.
Over the protests of environmentalists, connections between the policy proposals were severed from the omnibus proposal following a closed-door meeting of legislative leaders and an array of water interests. The move marked a political victory for farm-belt lawmakers and Bay Area water districts that fought the tougher provisions.
The action, called de-linking in the Capitol, means the water-rights bill can be rejected on the floors of both houses without disturbing the other pieces of the larger, still-developing water plan. Identical versions of the bill await action in the 7th Special Session - AB 11 7x by Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, in the Assembly and Steimbergs SB 5, 7x in the Senate.
Assembly Republican Leader Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo opposed the water-rights bill, in part because of the tough enforcement provisions that sharply increased the authority of state water boards, according to Capitol sources in both parties familiar with the negotiations. Blakeslee was not immediately available to comment.
The bill also included fines of $5,000 or more per day for illegal diversions and allowed the water boards to initiate their own investigations rather than act on complaints. One provision allowed fines pegged to the market value of water, which environmentalists said could result in daily penalties far exceeding $5,000.
Part of the water-reform package is a multibillion-dollar bond that is aimed at the statewide ballot next year. The Senate on Monday approved a $9.9 billion plan, but on Wednesday, that price tag grew to $11 billion because of the addition of $1 billion sought by Los Angeles for conservation and monitoring.
The additional money for Los Angeles was only part of the scramble throughout the day Tuesday, as a variety of water interests sought funding for pet projects. But leaders in both houses feared that adding to the water bonds size could jeopardize its passage in the Legislature or its ability to win voter approval.
The water policy proposals are not linked to the bond and do not authorize the construction of a delta canal that would move more water south to the Central Valley and Southern California. But supporters of the package, including the influential Westlands Water District and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, say the package paves the way for the canal.
Join So Cal Tax Revolt Coalition to receive important updates related to the San Diego Tea Party, action alerts, and events throughout the region...
Please help the SOCALTRC team continue to bring these "awareness" events to you!
SOCALTRC is not backed by any BIG money funding, only by the kindness and generosity of you, our FELLOW PATRIOTS! We are a California 501(c) 4 , however, donations are not tax deductible.
Proceeds of any merchandise sales go to help So Cal Tax Revolt Coalition, Inc cover event and on-line operating costs. SoCalTRC earns 20% of net sales from Cafe Press items. Thank you for your support...we could not operate without your generous donations!