Monthly Archives: February 2011

Louisiana delegation presses White House on drilling permits

By Ben Geman – 02/18/11 04:56 PM ET

Louisiana lawmakers are boosting pressure on the Obama administration to
resume permitting for deepwater oil-and-gas drilling projects.

The bulk of the state’s congressional delegation sent President Obama a
letter Friday seeking a meeting with White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley to
discuss the matter.
“[T]he current decision to limit [outer continental
shelf] drilling has paralyzed an important domestic industry, cut thousands of
jobs, and stifled economic investment and growth at a time when job creation is
paramount,” the letter states.

Permitting for deepwater Gulf of Mexico projects was halted after the BP
spill and has not resumed despite the formal ban being lifted in October.
Drilling advocates are also upset by a slowdown in permitting for shallow-water
projects.
Here’s the entire letter:

Dear Mr. President,

We write regarding the loss of economic activity and jobs as a result of
the de facto moratorium on energy production in the Outer Continental Shelf
(OCS) of the Gulf Coast. The moratorium on drilling was expected to end on
October 12, 2010, but that date has passed and our constituents in Louisiana
continue to be impacted by this decision. While our constituents were among the
hardest hit, the “ripple effects” of this moratorium have had an impact far
beyond the oil and gas industry in the Gulf Coast.

Analysis provided by your Administration indicates that the economic
impact of the moratorium led to nearly $2 billion in reduced industry spending
and a loss of up to 12,000 jobs. Studies commissioned by business and industry
leaders independent of the government report even higher figures. As we work to
restore US manufacturing jobs, offshore energy production can be a driver for
national independence and innovation. Instead, the current decision to limit OCS
drilling has paralyzed an important domestic industry, cut thousands of jobs,
and stifled economic investment and growth at a time when job creation is
paramount.
Most obviously, the decline in domestic oil production has
contributed to higher gasoline prices for all Americans. As gas prices increase,
our economic recovery will continue to be inhibited. It has been reported that
one-fifth of the current price increase of oil is related to a weaker dollar.
Clearly, increased domestic oil production mitigates this effect and should be
supported by your Administration.
But the energy industry in the Gulf Coast
doesn’t just supply gasoline for our cars, heat for our homes, or employment for
those in the oil and gas business. It powers key industries throughout the
country that are essential to our economic recovery. Typical are boat builders
who manufacture the ships that service and maintain rigs at sea employing
thousands directly and indirectly. For example, in Louisiana, just one boat
building company spends an average of $35 million per boat. To build these
boats, the company purchases $40 million of steel, $50 million worth of engines
from Caterpillar (a major manufacturing employer in Illinois), and hundreds of
millions more from other companies. The current regulatory slow down has led to
cancelled orders for many of these boats. Put differently, the regulatory slow
down has cancelled the jobs for these Americans who manufacture these products.
Please note that these are well paying jobs with good benefits. These jobs are
only replaced, if at all, by lower wage service jobs. This keeps unemployment
statistics down but does not create a brighter future for those who have been
forced into them.
As Congress prepares to enact major cuts in spending aimed
at reducing our deficit, we should not deny royalties and other revenue from oil
and gas development that could assist in paying down the deficit. Wood
Mackenzie, a highly respected energy research and consulting firm, recently
released a study showing that a 1-year delay in the permitting process will
likely result in a loss of nearly $10.8 billion in government revenues, further
exacerbating our problem.
As you know, we strongly opposed the original
moratorium on deepwater drilling, and were encouraged to see it formally
rescinded by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. However, the de facto moratorium
which replaced it has created a new climate of uncertainty. There is now a
confusing and cumbersome permitting policy on drilling, with nothing being
approved. 
 
Like you, we are interested in restoring America’s economic
vitality. As such, we believe this is best accomplished by resuming domestic
energy production in the OCS and stimulating the affiliated manufacturing base
simultaneously.

We would appreciate the opportunity to discuss with you as a delegation
how this can most effectively be done to benefit all stakeholders. We
respectfully request to meet with Chief of Staff William Daley to further
discuss this matter.
Sincerely,
US Senator Mary Landrieu US Senator
David Vitter
US Representative Bill Cassidy US Representative Jeff
Landry
US Representative Charles Boustany US Representative Rodney
Alexander
US Representative Steve Scalise US Representative John Fleming

( Original Article)

Louisiana delegation presses White House on drilling permits – The Hill’s E2-Wire.

Industry Progress Contrasts with Federal Foot-dragging

A coalition of ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and Shell completed a Marine Well Containment System capable of plugging wells more than a mile below the ocean’s surface. The new system – which can be deployed in a day to seal off or direct hydrocarbons from an uncontrolled well blowout – represents a significant technological breakthrough and an investment on the part of the industry’s safest producers to ensure that any future spills, no matter how unlikely, are contained before large volumes could be released into the environment.

This fast paced progress in the private sector stands in stark contrast to the snail’s pace work being done on the federal government’s side.

Over ten months into the President’s ‘six month’ deepwater drilling moratorium, the only activity we’ve seen in the Gulf is an extension of the Administration’s ban to include shallow water as well. The Interior Department has gone forward with changes to offshore regulator MMS. The new regulatory body, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEM), has drawn up plans to divide where fees and payments are processed from the actual inspectors and has talked about plans to hire new inspectors for over seven months now. Meanwhile, offshore permitting has come to a virtual standstill.

BOEM head, Michael Bromwich, defends his new agency and has touted its issuance of 31 new shallow water permits since June. The rate represents an alarming decline from previous years even though the drilling ban wasn’t meant to cover shallow water operations. This federal foot dragging has caused a great deal of uncertainty around U.S. drilling operations going forward. The new, inefficient agency being spawned inside the Interior would be wise to take a hint from the private sector in this case and get the ball rolling.

BOEM has blamed a lack of funding. This shouldn’t be a surprise since it receives a portion of its funding from the very offshore activity it has stalled. But for Gulf residents, money problems are the last thing they want to hear from federal regulators.

Thousands of companies in the energy sector are nearing the point of collapse after almost a year of inactivity. Seahawk Drilling, a major player in Gulf shallow water drilling, is the most high profile victim of this policy, filing for bankruptcy just last week. Houston Chronicle columnist Loren Steffy reported that the company had 11 drilling projects stalled “in various stages of the permitting process.” Now local residents and state politicians alike are using it as a rallying cry to restart the energy industry so vital to the region.

That is where the Marine Well Containment System comes in.

The new well sealing system is the guarantee many have been looking for to quiet the opponents of the oil and gas industry who are using the spill to hammer the false argument that drilling isn’t safe. Current industry best practices rely on a massive hydraulically powered sheers on well Blowout Preventer’s (BOP) to pinch a pipe shut and seal it as the final defense from losing well control. BOPs have been used numerous times to successfully handle gas kicks like the one that caused a fireball to erupt aboard the Deepwater Horizon. The Marine Well Containment System is the industry’s guarantee to the country that technology will be available to address the issue.

( Original Article )

Energy Tribune- Industry Progress Contrasts with Federal Foot-dragging.

The 5 Most Dangerous Muslim Brotherhood Front Groups Working to Destroy America from Within

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by Lisa Graas
Posted on February 20 2011 3:30 pm

According to the Team B II Report by a who’s-who of top, national security experts at The Center for Security Policy, “most Muslim organizations in America are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood or a derivative group.” Meanwhile, the Obama Administration engages in “willful blindness-induced failures” to address “as great a threat as any enemy the nation has ever confronted.” The Muslim Brotherhood, also known as the Ikhwan, supports armed struggle against non-Muslims and has itself identified the Islamic Movement in America to be a part of the “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated….” This “stealth jihad“, referred to as “civilization jihad“, is based in Islamist hatred for Western civilization, hence their unwillingness to conform to American standards of jurisprudence. It is through the “legal, political, military doctrine known within Islam” as Shariah that these organizations are engaging in a non-violent, “for the moment,” campaign to undermine and destroy America.

Here are the five most prominent organizations named specifically by the Muslim Brotherhood as like-minded groups of “friends” in the mission to re-establish a global Islamic caliphate.

#5 — Muslim Students Association

The first organization created by the Muslim Brotherhood was the Muslim Students Association [MSA].

As the Muslim Brothers “settled” in North America, they did so according to their stated bylaws.  At the University of Illinois in Urbana, the Ikhwan created its first front organization in North America, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) in 1963.  Today, MSA chapters are present on many college campuses across the country, serving as recruiting nodes for the MB and, in some cases for violent jihadist organizations […]

[…] [O]ut  of  the  MSA came  nearly  every  Muslim  organization in America today.  Initially, as MSA chapters sprang  up on American campuses, they presented Islam in public as an acceptable alternative to other religions, never mentioning its revolutionary aspects.  In recent years, MSA members have  become  ever  more  aggressive  in  their demands for accommodations and  silencing those who oppose them. [Team B II Report]

We have seen the MSA’s Jew-hatred and silencing tactics on full display in their treatment of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at UC-Irvine and support for a second Holocaust at UC-San Diego. Abdurrahman Alamoudi who was arrested in 2003 for terrorist fundraising, is a former President of MSA. Alamoudi, a financier of Al Qaeda, is a compatriot of conservative infiltrator Suhail Khan. You may remember Alamoudi also for his role in starting the Roxbury Mosque. Other former members include Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S. government’s most-wanted terrorist; Aafia Siddiqui, arrested for attempting to kill U.S. officers in Afghanistan;  Ali Asad Chandia, arrested for conspiring with the Kashmiri terrorist group Lashkar-i-Taiba; and Wa’el Hamza Julaidan, founder of Al Qaeda.

The Muslim Student Association pledge of allegiance, as stated in the video below, is in sync with the credo of the Muslim Brotherhood. The MSA claims 150 groups in 25 cities in America. Despite these horrifying truths, common ground with the Left in an anti-Israel agenda clearly helps to ensure the extremist MSA’s continued status as a “mainstream” organization in America by many universities giving them safe harbor for years.

#4 — Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)

Born from the ranks of the Muslim Students Association, the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA] is the largest organization of Muslims on the continent and, as such, surely counts as a key partner with the Muslim Brotherhood in engaging in civilization jihad. ISNA has admitted to their ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and also to Hamas which is responsible for terrorist attacks on Israel. It was through ISNA that the Muslim Brotherhood was able to build hundreds of mosques in America with Saudi funding, and it is ISNA which has focused on providing extremist Wahhabi teaching materials to these mosques. Wahhabism, according to former CIA Director James Woolsey, is “the soil in which al Qaeda and its sister terrorist organizations are growing.”  Though this is clearly the case, ISNA President Ingrid Mattson characterizes Wahhabism as being “analogous to the European Protestant Reformation” and has made the clearly ludicrous claim that “right-wing Christians are very risky allies for American Jews, because they [the Christians] are really anti-Semitic. They do not like Jews.”

Despite the threat to America’s security that ISNA poses, and despite the fact that  the lies of Ingrid Mattson are so easily researched, ISNA and Mattson are considered allies by many in positions of power, including President Barack Obama and some American Catholic bishops. This is how subversion works. The fact that she is female may give some credibility in the eyes of some, but as the Team B Report on the Threat of Shariah explains, Mattson is really no more than a pawn.

Even a cursory examination, however, of the views of the current ISNA president, Ingrid Mattson, and former MSA President Hadia Mubarak reveals their  philosophies are right in line with Muslim Brotherhood doctrine.  And, in both organizations, the male leadership within the  Brotherhood continues to make operational decisions, despite the title conferred upon such women.

Perhaps it’s not so difficult to understand how the president, who was a Muslim in his youth and spent his formative years steeped in Marxism, lends support for radical Islamists like Ingrid Mattson, but one would not expect Catholic bishops to join with her in pulling the wool over the eyes of their flock.


#3 — Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the main Muslim Brotherhood front group for propaganda. CAIR is featured in the Team B II Report as an organization that engages in “dual messaging” in the advancement of “stealth jihad.”

A particularly telling indication of the stealth jihad agenda comes from Omar Ahmad, one of the founders of the Brotherhood’s Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial for funding international terrorism from the United States.

Ahmad made a reference to the MB’s dual-messaging, a form of esoteric communication in which words seem innocuous to the uninitiated, but which have definite meaning to those duly indoctrinated:  “I believe that our problem is that we stopped working underground.  We will recognize the source of any message which comes out of us.  I mean, if a  message is publicized, we will know… the media person among us will recognize that you send two messages: one to the Americans and one to the Muslims.”

Note the Muslim Brotherhood operative’s differentiation between “Americans” and “Muslims,” as if presuming that Muslims are not or should not be good Americans. This differentiation is clear in CAIR’s own name. In short, it is the enemy among us, working out in the open but disguised by deceit, that poses the greater long-term threat to our legal system and way of life.

This “dual message information campaign against America” stems from Islamic teaching on “Taqiyya“.

It is permissible for a Muslim to lie, especially to non-Muslims, to safeguard himself personally or to protect Islam.

So it is that CAIR can tell blatant lies, even lies designed to impede protection of Americans from terrorism and remain within the standards of “morality” within Islam. Anyone paying even cursory attention should have no doubts about the ultimate goal of CAIR.

In 1998 Omar Ahmad, CAIR’s co-founder and longtime Board Chairman, said: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

Imagine what the New York Times would say if the head of the USCCB expressed similar sentiments about the Bible and Catholicism. It should be noted that the mother of American Conservative Union board director Suhail Khan sits on the board of CAIR.

#2 — Fiqh Council of North America

The Fiqh Council of North America [FCNA] is the Muslim Brotherhood’s board of Islamic interpretation for the continent. It might loosely be called the Muslim version of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. An off-shoot of ISNA, its eighteen members interpret the teachings of Islam for Muslims in America and answer questions about Islam for the general community. An example of this is their report that Muslims are forbidden by Islamic law from going through full body scanners at airports. Apparently we have to spare Muslim feelings. The answers provided by FCNA to questions cannot be trusted for accuracy, however. A prime example of this is that the signers of their oft-praised “Fatwa Against Terrorism“ was Fawaz Abu Damra, who once led the mosque attended by the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. An FBI transcript reveals Damra’s true feelings about Jihad and the Jews.

“Donate to the Islamic Jihad! Nidal Zaloum from the Islamic Jihad held a dagger and stabbed four of the Jews in the courtyard of Al-Haram Al-Qudsi … For the Intifadah, for the Islamic Jihad, I say it frankly for the Islamic Jihad. The Jihad is still erupting in Palestine from village to village, I tell you it is not for the organizations with respect to everyone but for the Jihad. The Jihad! One of them would leave his house with a knife to stab the Jews — twelve Jews after the events of the Gulf War. Brothers, the Intifadah calls you. Five hundred dollars! Who would add to five hundred dollars? Who would add to five hundred dollars? If you write a check, write it for the Islamic Committee for Palestine … [Muslims should be] directing all the rifles at the first and last enemy of the Islamic nation and that is the sons of monkeys and pigs, the Jews.” — Fawaz Abu Damra

The Executive Director of FCNA is Zulfiqar Ali Shah whose hatred of Jews has been made publicly clear.

Shah stated at one Chicago gathering of Muslims, “If we are unable to stop the Jews now, their next stop is Yathrib [the holy city of Medina], where the Jews used to live until their expulsion by Prophet Muhammad. That’s the pinnacle of their motives.”

To be sure, my jaw frequently drops open as I write these details and consider the depth of Islamic extremism and anti-Semitism in America….but alas, the list goes on.

#1 — Islamic Circle of North America

The Islamic Circle of North America [ICNA] which is made up mostly of Pakistani and Indian Muslims, like many other groups named as Muslim Brotherhood front groups, is an off-shoot of the Muslim Students Association. Terrorism expert Yehudit Barsky has identified members of the Pakistani terrorist group Jamaat-e-Islami operating within ICNA. My most recent article here at NRB discussed ICNA’s proposal for a children’s camp in New York in which non-Muslim children will be invited to participate. Like other Muslim Brotherhood front groups, ICNA’s hatred of Jews is manifest.

Terrorism analyst Steven Emerson claims that ICNA has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological forebear of all radical Islamic movements — including Hamas and al-Qaeda. Documents show that Hamas officials have participated in previous ICNA events. “The ICNA’s hatred of the Jews is so fierce,” writes Emerson, “that it taunted them with a repetition of what Hitler did to them.” In his bookAmerican Jihad, Emerson expounds: “The ICNA openly supports militant Islamic fundamentalist organizations, praises terror attacks, issues incendiary attacks on western values and policies, and supports the imposition of Sharia [Islamic law].”

At CPAC, David Horowitz clearly laid out the perils facing America today.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which is the fountainhead of political Islam and has spawned 12 terrorist armies including al-Qaeda and Hamas is a political force in Egypt that is also willing to participate in elections and in the civil institutions of society. The Holy Land Foundation, a creation of the Muslim Brotherhood was the largest Islamic charity in America until it was raided by the FBI and put on trial in Texas for funding Hamas. One of the documents seized in a concealed basement at the Foundation headquarters and put into evidence by the FBI was the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan for America. The stated goal of this plan was to “destroy the American civilization.”

The plan called for building a secret leadership in America and for the creation of a series of Brotherhood front groups that would appear to be participants in America’s democracy until the time came when and where force would be necessary to accomplish the Brotherhood’s goals.

Mr. Horowitz explained how this threat even exists within the conservative movement, and that the solution for this problem is education, continued awareness and for everyone, particularly conservatives, “to be vigilant against its spread into the ranks of the conservative movement and the government of the country they love”.

I, for one, am honored to join Mr. Horowitz in this effort.

Source

Energy: The remedy that’s plausible

By V. K. Mathur, Ph.D; P.E.
Durham
Sunday, February 20, 2011

To lay the foundation for what he called “winning the future,” President Obama has chosen to concentrate attention on clean energy. He has set an ambitious goal — that by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from low-carbon energy sources.

If his purposes are to reduce dependence on Middle East oil, combat climate change, or create jobs, those purposes are handicapped by the administration’s own energy policies.

Obama said a switch to renewable sources, nuclear power, clean coal and natural gas is essential. But despite large federal subsidies and state mandates, the promise of renewables like wind turbines and solar arrays is unfulfilled. Wind and solar energy combined supply less than 5% of the nation’s electricity.

Nor can we rely on nuclear power’s comeback in view of the high cost of building new plants and the scarcity of funds for federal loan guarantees. Carbon capture-and-storage, which looks good on paper, has yet to be tested in a full-scale demonstration at a coal plant to determine whether it’s safe or practical.

Right now natural gas is the remedy that’s plausible. It has less than half the carbon content of coal, and it has the potential to provide an increasing share of America’s energy needs over the next several decades, doubling its share of the energy market to 40 percent, from 20 percent. The potential for natural gas has grown with the development of new drilling technologies that are enabling energy companies to reach gas deposits such as those in shale that previously were inaccessible.

The problem is that natural gas is not getting the support it needs from either the administration or Congress. No one seriously questions there are vast deposits of natural gas below ground. The politics above ground are quite another matter.

President Obama said he wants to raise taxes on the oil-and-natural gas industry. But the industry is a major employer in the United States. It supports more than 9.2 million jobs, and it’s an indispensable part of the economic recovery and putting millions of Americans back to work. Oil and gas industry jobs, however, are only as strong as the policies that support them.

The Administration needs to promote policies that will enhance, rather than hold back, domestic production. But it has done exactly the opposite. Although untapped offshore areas have potentially sizable deposits of oil and natural gas that could be produced to stimulate the economy and reduce dependence on the Middle East, the Administration has imposed a moratorium on drilling off the Atlantic Coast and in the eastern Gulf of New Mexico. To make matters worse, the Interior Department has delayed drilling in shallow waters operations for months. As a result, many rigs are idle, some have moved to other countries, and thousands of workers have been laid off.

Similarly, shale-gas drilling is hampered by opposition from environmental groups, especially in the Marcellus shale, one of the world’s largest deposits of natural gas that underlies 50,000 square miles in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. The Marcellus shale holds an estimated $1 trillion worth of natural gas — its energy content exceeds that of Iran’s oil. Shale gas is a potentially huge source of jobs, tax revenue, economic activity and energy security.

Aside from a few minor spills involving the disposal of waste water from hydraulic fracturing, drilling has been done safely and efficiently. Regrettably, there is a move by some environmental groups concerned about possible pollution of groundwater systems to ban shale-gas drilling altogether. Short of that, they want shale-gas regulation turned over from state governments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but that isn’t necessary. The states do an effective job.

So far opponents have succeeded in interrupting shale-gas production in New York, where a moratorium on drilling was imposed, and then lifted, but whose future is uncertain. They are now trying to stop natural gas production in Pennsylvania. West Virginia could be next. A strong statement from the White House in support of natural gas production is not a perfect remedy, but it would help. At stake is our nation’s supply of natural gas not only now but for many decades into the future.

V. K. Mathur is a professor emeritus at the University of New Hampshire, Department of Chemical Engineering.

( Original Article )

Energy: The remedy that’s plausible – Fosters.

USA: Initial Well Containment Response System Completed and Ready for Use

The Marine Well Containment Company today announced the completion and availability of an initial well containment response system that will provide rapid containment response capabilities in the event of a potential future underwater well control incident in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

(read more)

USA: Initial Well Containment Response System Completed and Ready for Use | Offshore Energy Today.

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