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Bill Allows IRS To Revoke Second Amendment Rights By Stealth

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Daisy Luther
Infowars.com
April 24, 2012

It looks like the power of the IRS to revoke passports is merely a drop in the tyrannical bucket.

The Senate has voted to approve Bill 1813, which is now on its way to the House.  The insidious bill has so many attacks on freedom that the most serious one has been largely overlooked.

There are two attacks on gun ownership in this bill.  The text of the bill, all 1676 pages of it, can be found HERE.

The first attack on the right to bear arms is found on page 1323.

The Secretary may modify, suspend, or terminate a special permit or approval if the Secretary determines that—(1) the person who was granted the special permit or approval has violated the special permit or approval or the regulations issued under this chapter in a manner that demonstrates that the person is not fit to conduct the activity authorized by the special permit or approval; or (2) the special permit or approval is unsafe.

In the ambiguous language that the Congress so loves to employ in all things unconstitutional, we can translate that to the parental favorite, “Because I said so.”

The second attack on gun ownership is more subtle.

There is a stream of logic that you have to follow.

First, if this bill passes, the IRS will have the authority to take away the passports of those whom they say owe more than $50,000 in taxes.  (The tax debt doesn’t have to be proven, mind you, the IRS simply has to accuse you of owing the money.)  You can find this section on page 1447 of the Bill.

When your passport is revoked by the government, you are suddenly on the “no-fly list”.

Membership in the no-fly club puts you on yet another list, as a potential domestic terrorist.

Domestic terrorists are not allowed to have guns.

Don’t believe me?  Listen to Raul Emanuel gloat of it.  He eloquently states “If you are known as maybe a possible terrorist you cannot buy a handgun in America.” (1:13 of the video)

Uploaded by gshuck on Mar 11, 2009

Terrorist Elite Rahm states that if you are on the govt watch list you have no 2nd amendment rights. There are more than a million people on the list as of 3-11-09, at least one of which is a 5 year old caucasion boy born in the US of parents or born here who’s parents were born here as well as there parents.

Emanuel, the Mayor of Chicago and former Obama Chief of Staff, makes the top of my personal treason list for this statement. In his own words, “maybe a possible terrorist” means you shouldn’t be allowed the rights guaranteed to you as an American. No proof necessary.

Bill 1813, ”Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act”, is chock full of new ways to take away our personal freedoms.  The bill would require “stalker boxes” on our vehicles, puts a huge number of restrictions on travel and transportation within the US, allows the government to revoke documents and licenses in ambiguous language and is, in essence, nearly 1700 pages of new restrictions. (You can find a summary HERE if you don’t want to read all 1676 pages).

A Call to Action

Did your Senator vote for this bill?  There’s a good chance he or she did, as only 22 Senators voted against it.  You can find out how your senator voted HERE.

The bill was sponsored by Barbara Boxer (California) and co-sponsored by Max Baucus (Montana), James N. Inhofe (Oklahoma), and David Vitter (Louisiana). For your convenience, I’ve included links to the contact information for each of these Senators.  Be sure and send an email to let them know how you feel about this new attack on freedom.

Email your Representatives and make it very clear that you consider this Bill an act of treason against the Constitution. This directory contains email addresses and contact information for all members of Congress.

Every bill that goes through Congress right now appears to hold another threat to the Constitution (if not multiple threats).  Every word needs to be carefully analyzed so we can fight these attacks.

Daisy Luther’s blog is Inalienably Yours.

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Offshore Energy Leases Fall from $10 Billion to Zero Under Team Obama

Even as the Obama administration postures on behalf of deficit reduction and job creation, it continues to advance policies that undermine energy production in the Gulf region and lower federal revenue, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has pointed out in his correspondence with top officials in Washington D.C.

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Most recently, in a letter addressed to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael Bromwich, warned of a severe revenue fall off attached to declining energy lease sales.

“Under the Obama administration’s management, revenue from our offshore lease sale program has gone from $10 billion to nothing in just three years,” Vitter said. “Revenue cannot be generated from sales that do not happen, and jobs cannot be created on leases that private industry cannot acquire. We’re in a severe fiscal crisis and we’re facing significant economic challenges related to job creation, yet the administration continues to neglect our offshore resources.”

In fiscal year (FY) 2008 revenue from bonus bids on offshore leases was approximately $10 billion, but for FY 2011 that amount is down to $0, according to Vitter’s letter. “Revenue cannot be generated from lease sales that do not occur, and jobs cannot be created on leases that private industry cannot acquire,” he continued.

Unless, the administration reverses course, Vitter anticipates “long-term economic impacts that include lose jobs, lost royalties and lost rental fees.” Companies will be reticent to own a lease if they cannot be reasonably certain that exploration plans or permits will be approved, he added.

Daniel Kish, senior vice-president of policy with the Institute for Energy Research (IER), sees an “opportunity cost” for the Gulf region that may not be recaptured anytime soon.

“The Obama administration has virtually put a stop to energy development in federal waters,” Kish said. “This is like planting seeds, if the government won’t allow to the seeds to be planted now, they are preventing future production. We are talking about a lost generation of economic activity.”

In September, President Obama rolled out a new deficit reduction plan built around income tax increases for higher income Americans.

“We can’t just cut our way out of this hole,” Obama said during a speech at the White House.  “It’s going to take a balanced approach. If we’re going to make spending cuts … then it’s only right that we ask everyone to pay their fair share.” Obama also said that would veto any deficit reduction plan that includes only spending cuts and no tax increases.

“When you include the $1 trillion in cuts I’ve already signed into law, these would be among the biggest cuts in spending in our history,” Obama continued. “But they’ve got to be part of a larger plan that’s balanced –- a plan that asks the most fortunate among us to pay their fair share, just like everybody else. And that’s why this plan eliminates tax loopholes that primarily go to the wealthiest taxpayers and biggest corporations –- tax breaks that small businesses and middle-class families don’t get.”

But the slow pace of permits for oil drilling also contributes to the deficit, Vitter explained in a previous letter to administration officials. The right mix of policies could unleash America’s abundant supply of domestic energy resources, which would in turn boost revenue into the federal treasury, Vitter argued.

“I share the frustration of Louisianians and Gulf Coast residents with the disparity between  the president’s rhetoric and the Interior Department’s actions,” Vitter said. “The administration’s policies have led to massive deficits and job losses, especially in Louisiana, and it’s time for the president to stop lecturing about job creation and allow our energy industry workers to get back to work.”

Without a higher volume of additional permits, the number of active oil rigs will continue to decline in the Gulf, Vitter warned in one of his earlier letters. The 2011 permitting rate is well below the historical average, Vitter observed.

As of early September, “there were 19 floating units operating in the Gulf, up from four in the third quarter of 2010, but down from the average of 28 recorded in the 2007-2009 period,” he wrote.

Up to 20 oil rigs could leave the Gulf, in addition to 11 that have already left, since the administration’s moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling went into effect in May 2010, according to a new report.

The future could still be there for the Gulf coast with the right mix of policies, the American Petroleum Institute (AEP) has concluded in a new study.

If U.S. companies were permitted to drill with fewer regulatory hurdles, they could boost government revenues by $800 billion and generate over a million new jobs by 2030, according to API.

But even with a change in administration heading into 2013, the Gulf region is not likely to experience a robust recovery in the short term, Kish, the IER policy expert, warns.

“It will take time to correct these policies,” Kish said. “The Obama administration has shifted the entire ground on which the Gulf of Mexico operates.”

by Kevin Mooney

Original Article

Vitter to Feds: Lower Deficit by Increasing Energy Production

Energy lease sales drop to zero as permitting remains slow under Obama administration

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Even as the Obama administration postures on behalf of deficit reduction and job creation, it continues to advance policies that undermine energy production in the Gulf region and lower federal revenue, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has pointed out in his correspondence with top officials in Washington D.C.

In a letter addressed to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael Bromwich, Vitter warned of a severe revenue falloff attached to declining energy lease sales.

“Under the Obama administration’s management, revenue from our offshore lease sale program has gone from $10 billion to nothing in just three years,” Vitter said. “Revenue cannot be generated from sales that do not happen, and jobs cannot be created on leases that private industry cannot acquire. We’re in a severe fiscal crisis and we’re facing significant economic challenges related to job creation, yet the administration continues to neglect our offshore resources.”

In fiscal year (FY) 2008 revenue from bonus bids on offshore leases was approximately $10 billion, but for FY 2011 that amount is down to zero, according to Vitter’s letter.

Unless the administration reverses course, Vitter anticipates “long-term economic impacts that include lost jobs, lost royalties and lost rental fees.” Companies will be reticent to own a lease if they cannot be reasonably certain that exploration plans or permits will be approved, he added.

Daniel Kish, senior vice-president of policy with the Institute for Energy Research (IER), sees an “opportunity cost” for the Gulf region that may not be recaptured anytime soon.

“The Obama administration has virtually put a stop to energy development in federal waters,” Kish said. “This is like planting seeds, if the government won’t allow to the seeds to be planted now, they are preventing future production. We are talking about a lost generation of economic activity.”

In September, President Obama rolled out a new deficit reduction plan built around income tax increases for higher income Americans.

“We can’t just cut our way out of this hole,” Obama said during a speech at the White House.  “It’s going to take a balanced approach. If we’re going to make spending cuts … then it’s only right that we ask everyone to pay their fair share.” Obama also said that would veto any deficit reduction plan that includes only spending cuts and no tax increases.

“When you include the $1 trillion in cuts I’ve already signed into law, these would be among the biggest cuts in spending in our history,” Obama continued. “But they’ve got to be part of a larger plan that’s balanced –- a plan that asks the most fortunate among us to pay their fair share, just like everybody else. And that’s why this plan eliminates tax loopholes that primarily go to the wealthiest taxpayers and biggest corporations –- tax breaks that small businesses and middle-class families don’t get.”

But the slow pace of permits for oil drilling also contributes to the deficit, Vitter explained in a previous letter to administration officials. The right mix of policies could unleash America’s abundant supply of domestic energy resources, which would in turn boost revenue into the federal treasury, Vitter argued.

“I share the frustration of Louisianians and Gulf Coast residents with the disparity between  the president’s rhetoric and the Interior Department’s actions,” Vitter said. “The administration’s policies have led to massive deficits and job losses, especially in Louisiana, and it’s time for the president to stop lecturing about job creation and allow our energy industry workers to get back to work.”

Without a higher volume of additional permits, the number of active oil rigs will continue to decline in the Gulf, Vitter warned in one of his earlier letters. The 2011 permitting rate is well below the historical average, Vitter observed.

As of early September, “there were 19 floating units operating in the Gulf, up from four in the third quarter of 2010, but down from the average of 28 recorded in the 2007-2009 period,” he wrote.

Up to 20 oil rigs could leave the Gulf, in addition to 11 that have already left, since the administration’s moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling went into effect in May 2010, the Pelican Institute has reported.

The future could still be bright for the Gulf coast with the right mix of policies, the American Petroleum Institute (API) has concluded in a new study.

If U.S. companies were permitted to drill with fewer regulatory hurdles, they could boost government revenues by $800 billion and generate over a million new jobs by 2030, according to API.
But even with a change in administration heading into 2013, the Gulf region is not likely to experience a robust recovery in the short term, Kish, the IER policy expert, warns.

“It will take time to correct these policies,” Kish said. “The Obama administration has shifted the entire ground on which the Gulf of Mexico operates.”

Kevin Mooney is an investigative reporter with the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. He can be reached at kmooney@pelicaninstitute.org and followed on Twitter.

Original Article

Is Mexican Gulf Energy Production Recovering?

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By Kevin Mooney on 9.16.11 @ 1:59PM

If a report in the Wall Street Journal is to be believed, energy development in The Gulf Of Mexico has staged a remarkable comeback in recent months. The Obama administration imposed a moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling last May in response to the BP oil rig explosion last year. The moratorium was lifted last October, but industry officials are convinced a “de-facto” moratorium remains in effect at the expense of the Gulf coast.

As the Pelican Institute for Public Policy has reported, the latest research shows that up to 20 oil rigs could be leaving the Gulf Coast, in addition to 11 that have already left, unless the feds get moving on the permitting process. It is difficult to see how this scenario translates into a recovery in the affected region. Nevertheless, this is how the WSJ report opens:

The Gulf of Mexico has staged a comeback as a source of oil for big energy companies, little more than a year after the Obama administration largely shut down drilling in the wake of the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history…

The burst of activity comes as the government prepares to toughen its oversight of offshore drilling. On Wednesday, federal regulators probing the Deepwater Horizon disaster issued a report that recommended numerous changes.

Robert Bluey, who heads up the Heritage Foundation’s investigative journalism unit, has kept careful tabs on the regulatory policies Team Obama has aimed against the Gulf region. As Bluey has noted in his reports on the the Foundry, deepwater permits are down 71 percent from their historical monthly average of 5.8 permits per month. Shallow-water permitting have also fallen in past few weeks by 34 percent from the historical monthly average of 7.1 permits.

The WSJ report does not seem to square with reality and should be re-visited.

Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), has commented on economic fallout associated with the depleted rig fleet in the Gulf.

“Each rig that leaves the Gulf of Mexico taxes jobs and energy away from the U.S. and sends them overseas,” he observed. “The White House now wants Congress to pass a so-called jobs bill, when its own policies systemically destroy jobs. What’s more, the oil and gas in the Gulf region are real energy, not the phony energy of Solyndra, the solar-panel manufacturer and the recipient of a $535 million taxpayer-funded loan guarantee that went belly-up last week.”

Meanwhile, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) has sent a letter to administration officials asking them to come clean the slow pace of drilling permits. He has also introduced a bill to audit federal subsidies for green jobs.

Original Article

White House bluster hides truth

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by STEVE HUNTLEY

That’s a mighty wind blowing from the east. No, I’m not talking about Hurricane Irene. It’s the blustery gusts stirred up long before Irene by the constant whining from the Obama White House: Everything but the administration’s own policies are responsible for the faltering economy.

Irene is only the latest of the “head winds” White House officials blame for feeble economic growth and persistent high unemployment. There was the earthquake/tsunami in Japan, the fiscal crisis in Greece, the civil war in Libya on top of Arab Spring uprisings in other Arab countries and, of course, Republicans refusing to go along with President Barack Obama’s spending binge, er, “investments.” One adviser even found head winds from the East Coast earthquake, though its most notable damage appeared to be cracks in the foundation of the Washington Monument.

No doubt these events did create drag for the economy. But Democrats never cut that kind of slack for President George W. Bush. They constantly talk about him inheriting a surplus from the Clinton years but ignore that he also inherited a deteriorating economy that produced a recession in March of 2011 just weeks after he was sworn in.

Liberals ignore the economic devastation of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in New York and Washington. Air traffic was grounded for days, commerce came practically to a halt. But none of that was allowed to intrude into the left’s narrative of Bush squandering the surplus.

Hurricane Katrina was a convenient cudgel to pound Bush over the failure of government to respond effectively to the disaster, though it was the Democratic-run governments of New Orleans and Louisiana, the first responders, that were the most guilty. Here again the Democratic narrative leaves out the economic consequences of Katrina.

The point is that any president has to deal with “head winds” to the economy from unexpected and uncontrollable events domestic and foreign. What’s remarkable about this presidency is the never-ending whining about them.

This finger-pointing is just passing the buck to avoid responsibility for policies that have failed to revive the economy and, worse, served to prolong the economic suffering.

There’s the nearly trillion-dollar stimulus that failed its goal of keeping unemployment from breaching 8 percent. ObamaCare and the new financial regulatory law have bureaucrats working overtime writing new regulations. That’s frozen investment by businesses large and small worried about the yet-to-be-determined costs of the new rules.

Obama and his advisers never flinch from anti-business rhetoric, further undermining investment. They rail about millionaires and billionaires but their tax proposals would hit small businesses earning far less than a million dollars.

Democrats sneer at the Texas job growth story by pointing out that a significant part of it is based in the oil and gas industry, revealing left-wing job-killing hostility to developing traditional energy resources. A study by the business analysis firm IHS Global Insight asserts increased offshore energy production could produce nearly 230,000 jobs, add $44 billion to the economy and provide nearly $12 billion in tax and royalty revenues to state and federal governments.

But documents released by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) show that the administration’s campaign against deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico caused 10 oil rigs to leave for better opportunities in waters off Egypt, Congo and other places — including Brazil where, ironically, Obama has promoted the ocean exploration he frustrates at home.

Meanwhile the administration pursues alternative energy jobs, though the New York Times reported this month that “federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed.”

All the finger pointing, whining and passing the buck can’t hide the failure of Obamanomics.

Original Article

Obama’s Real Energy Policy

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By Matt Holzmann

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann recently promised $2/gallon gas at one of her campaign functions, and a  researcher affiliated with NASA reported that aliens may destroy humanity to save the planet.  Which statement is farther off the wall?  Let’s set the stage with the facts.

Last week, the Obama administration found itself in a legal battle with Exxon over the largest find in the company’s history, a field of over 1 billion barrels off the coast of Louisiana.  This represents 5% of total U.S. oil reserves and there’s supposed to be a lot more out there.  The Marcellus Shale field in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland contains between 160 and 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.  Out in North Dakota, Montana, and Saskatchewan, the Bakken deposit is estimated to contain from 10-40 billion barrels of oil equivalent according to industry experts.  This doesn’t include large deposits in Colorado, Wyoming, and elsewhere.  Even if Bakken comes in at the low end it, represents another 40-50% increase in onshore American oil reserves.

In the meantime, the oil companies drilling in the Gulf of Mexico are still reporting incredible delays in re-opening even the inshore oil rigs.  Offshore fields have become almost impossible to develop despite the incredible size of some of these discoveries.  The government shut down even the inshore oil fields in the Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon disaster last year.  The Department of the Interior just announced the first auction of oil leases since the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in April of last year, to be held in December.  The Gulf provides 29% of America’s oil and 13% of our natural gas.

A report released in July by LA Senator David Vitter noted the departure of 10 deep-water rigs, the imminent departure of several more, and the diversion of 8 more since the moratorium was declared in May 2010.  Each of these projects ranged from hundreds of millions to billions of dollars in investment.  Many of those rigs are on their way to the vast 50- to 80-billion-bbl Lula oil field off the Brazilian coast.  It is interesting to note that the Export-Import Bank is loaning $10 billion to Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company, to invest in their offshore oil industry.  Funny timing.

The administration has also done its best to stall drilling both on the North Slope and in the Cook Inlet in Alaska.  While talking about exploration, new pipelines, and improved practices, the reality is that every roadblock possible is being placed in the way of increased production.  Last year, Fenton Associates, the public relations agency for many environmental groups, boasted that they had shut down drilling in Alaska.

Drill, baby, Drill” has been replaced by “Chill, baby, Chill.”

While having approved several nuclear power projects, all of them additional reactors at existing sites, the government has adroitly avoided offering the necessary licensing guarantees necessary to obtain funding to build them.  Another catch-22 engineered by the bureaucracy.

Ezra Klein in the Washington Post reports that the EPA is moving forward with its plans to shutter 20% of the nation’s coal-fired power plants.  While many are grandfathered in, the power will still go offline starting in the next 18 months.  The president has clearly stated on the record that he wants to put the coal industry out of business.

The real battle is being fought under the radar.  The administration is using regulatory power and permitting to choke off conventional power.  Last year, I sat in a packed conference center at China’s largest solar power conference as I listened to one of Europe’s leading solar power executives state that the industry needed to work to make conventional power so expensive that alternative energy sources can compete.  This has been a part of the plan all along and the current administration seems to be working along those lines.

This is economic and engineering Luddism at its worst.  After the farce of the carbon offset scam and many of the issues facing the industry, administrators, systems operators, and users would be well-advised to look upon many alternative energy technology providers with a gimlet eye.  Objectivity is critical to the long-term health of the energy industry.

Let’s look at the alternatives.  Test data on solar modules indicates a failure rate of between 3-7% within seven years of installation.  Failures of inverters are exceeding 10%.  None of this data is reflected in the current economic models for solar power.  The assumption is 25 years, but there is very limited data.  The business model for solar panels is becoming ever more challenging with rising materials costs globally and that of labor in China.  In North America Solyndra has gone through over $535 million in government funding and is on the edge.  Evergreen Solar, another poster child for solar power in this country, filed for bankruptcy last week.

Globally, the solar module industry will install 11-12 gigawatts of power this year, or the equivalent of 4-5 nuclear power plants.  This certainly does not keep up with demand.  As Germany and Japan have announced the phase-out of nuclear power, the great mystery is how it will be replaced.

As GM, Nissan, Toyota, and other car companies have ramped up production of electric vehicles, General Motors reported that the company had sold only 125 Chevy Volts in July.  Costco announced that the company was removing electric vehicle charging stations from most of its locations because the stations are never used.

Wind power has received a lot of press, but even there, the largest project planned for the country was canceled because of obstruction and a poor financial outlook.  Wind power is subsidized at up to 10 times the cost of conventional energy and is unpredictable.  In studies of the over 6,000 turbines in Denmark, it has been found that without heavy subsidies, wind power would rapidly fail.  Germany and Spain have withdrawn subsidies for wind power installations not because the industry has grown more viable, but rather because the difficulties and costs associated with this source of power outweigh the benefits.

And yet nowhere have I seen a coherent and objective study of the energy needs and policy of the United States, the world’s largest consumer.  As American consumption of energy stands at 27,000 terawatts, with $85-bbl oil, an economy on the verge of recession, and significant capacity going offline, it would be nice to have a policy that is not based upon smoke and mirrors, or even some kind of  sensible policy at all.

Maybe Congresswoman Bachmann isn’t so crazy after all.  Judge for yourself.  In the meantime I’ll be watching the skies for alien invaders.

Original Article

Collateral Damage: Lost Gulf Rigs from Obama Obstructionism (10 down, more to go?)

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by Kevin Mooney
August 18, 2011

“The Gulf Spill of 2010 maybe be remembered as much or more for the economic damage it did because of the Obama’s regulatory overreaction than for the environmental damage it wrought. Two wrongs do not make a right.”

Ten oil rigs have left the Gulf of Mexico since the Obama Administration imposed a moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling in May 2010 and others could follow soon, a detailed July 2011 report from Sen. David Vitter’s (R-La.) office shows.

The ten rigs named in the document are: Marinas, Discover Americas, Ocean Endeavor, Ocean Confidence, Stena Forth, Clyde Bourdeaux, Ensco 8503, Deep Ocean Clarion, Discover Spirit, and Amirante. The rigs have left the Gulf for locations in Egypt, Congo, French Guiana, Liberia, Nigeria and Brazil.

It gets worse.

Several of the remaining rigs could be relocating soon, according to the report. These include the Paul Romano, the Ocean Monarch and the Saratoga. Moreover, eight other rigs that were planned for the Gulf have been detoured away, Don Briggs, President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA), points out.

“When you have companies that would be spending hundreds of millions of dollars, or some cases, billions of dollars, they need certainty,” Briggs explained. “We don’t have that now and I don’t expect that we will anytime soon. We will be in a deteriorating position until this changes.”

Briggs has also questioned the necessityof the moratorium that was imposed in response to the explosion of British Petroleum’s (BP) Macondo oil well on April 20 of last year. The accident resulted in the death of 11 workers and caused an estimated five million barrels of crude oil to spill into the Gulf.

The federal regulatory schemes that are now aimed against Louisiana will ultimately work to the disadvantage of industry in other parts of the country, Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), has warned.

What you are seeing in Louisiana is only a small piece of larger mosaic being put together by the Obama Administration to make affordable energy as inaccessible as possible,” he said. “From the administration’s war on coal to the serious consideration it is giving to imposing a nationwide regulation of hydraulic fracturing, to its shut down of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, to its `endangerment finding” from the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], the administration is practicing its own form of selected industrial sabotage.

Sen. Vitter has called outtop Obama administration officials for issuing what he views as conflicting and misleading statements on the correct number offshore drilling permits. A U.S. Justice Department motion filed in March stated there are 270 shallow water permit applications and 52 deepwater permit applications pending.

But in testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this past March, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Interior Department had received only 47 shallow water permit applications over the previous nine months and that only seven deepwater permit applications were pending. Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, told Vitter personallythat only six deepwater permits were pending, and he publicly stated that deepwater permits would be limited because “only a handful of completed applications have been received.”

Vitter has also announced that he will block the nomination of Rebecca Wodder to serve as Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife Parks for the Department of Interior unless expiring Gulf drilling leases are extended for another year.

“Since the moratorium, oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico has been dramatically curtailed,” Vitter said. “In 2011 alone, more than 300 offshore drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico are due to expire. If these leases are allowed to expire, they will revert to the federal government, killing jobs and cutting off potential revenue from exploration and production. The U.S. economy will greatly benefit by allowing the offshore energy industry to get to work and stay working.”

Earlier this year, Vitter also blocked the nomination of Dan Ashe to the Interior Department, but lifted it after new deepwater exploratory permits were issued. In addition, Vitter has successfully opposed an almost $20,000 pay raise for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

The Gulf Spill of 2010 maybe be remembered as much or more for the economic damage it did because of the Obama’s regulatory overreaction than for the environmental damage it wrought.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

Original Article

Louisiana Remains on the Receiving End of Washington D.C.’s Worst Regulations

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By Kevin Mooney on August 12, 2011 8:21 am

Oil drilling moratorium, union favoritism, ObamaCare mandates undercut business

Louisiana is beset with some of the most economically damaging regulations that flow out of Washington D.C, according to industry representatives and public policy analysts. Moreover, some small business owners view local level licensing practices within their own municipalities as being overly costly and redundant.

Anti-Energy Policies Remain in Effect

For starters, there is the moratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling that the Obama Administration imposed in May 2010 in response to the British Petroleum oil well explosion. Although the moratorium was official lifted in October of last year, a “de-facto” moratorium remains in place, officials with the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA), have argued.

The “political uncertainty” surrounding the Gulf region has discouraged companies from making investments that could help spur economic growth, Don Briggs, the LOGA president, has observed.  As was previously reported, ten oil rigs have left the Gulf of Mexico since the moratorium went into effect and eight others that were heading into the region have been detoured away.

“When you have companies that would be spending hundreds of millions of dollars, or some cases, billions of dollars, they need certainty,” Briggs explained. “We don’t have that now and I don’t expect that we will anytime soon. We will be in a deteriorating position until this changes.”

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has announced that he will block the nomination of Rebecca Wodder to serve as Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife Parks for the Department of Interior unless expiring Gulf drilling leases are extended for another year.

“Since the moratorium, oil and gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico has been dramatically curtailed,” Vitter said. “In 2011 alone, more than 300 offshore drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico are due to expire. If these leases are allowed to expire, they will revert to the federal government, killing jobs and cutting off potential revenue from exploration and production. The U.S. economy will greatly benefit by allowing the offshore energy industry to get to work and stay working.”

Earlier this year, Vitter also blocked the nomination of Dan Ashe to the Interior Department, but lifted it after new deepwater exploratory permits were issued. In addition, Vitter has successfully opposed an almost $20,000 pay raise for Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

While Vitter’s actions have been effective, states like Louisiana that rely on cheap, affordable energy for their livelihood will most likely remain back on their heels for some time, Bonner Cohen, a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR), said.

“What you are seeing in Louisiana is only a small piece of larger mosaic being put together by the Obama Administration to make affordable energy as inaccessible as possible,” he observed. “From the administration’s war on coal to the serious consideration it is giving to imposing a nationwide regulation of hydraulic fracturing, to its shut down of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, to its `endangerment finding” from the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency], the administration is practicing its own form of selected industrial sabotage.”

Although the Obama Administration failed to pass the Waxman-Markey “cap and trade” bill, it continues to pursue the same regulatory goals through the EPA and other federal agencies, Marlo Lewis, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), has warned. As an alternative to pricing the carbon dioxide emissions from coal as part of a cap and trade program, the idea now is to simply prevent “conventional coal” from entering into competition with other energy sources, Lewis points out in “Green Watch,” a publication of the Capital Research Center (CRC.)

“Obama’s target is virtually identical to the mix of electricity fuels that would develop under Waxman-Markey,” Lewis explains. “Under Obama’s proposal, 80% of U.S. electricity would come from nuclear, natural gas, CCS, and renewable energy by 2035. Under Waxman-Markey, an estimated 81% would come from the same sources by 2030, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).”

The EPA also issued an “Endangerment Rule” back in Dec. 2009 that could have far reaching consequences for Louisiana businesses and average citizens. The rule claims that the “elevated concentration” of GHG (Greenhouse) emissions in the atmosphere “endangers public health and welfare.” This could create an enormous opening for additional regulatory mischief by misapplying and misusing the Clean Air Act (CAA), which makes no mention of “greenhouse gas” or the “greenhouse effect,” Lewis notes.
“If the Obama Administration is really were to impose the EPA’s Endangerment Rule on the nation, than the Clean Air Act could be transformed into a law that requires the United States to de-industrialize itself,” Lewis laments.

But the EPA insists it has the authority to implement new regulatory rules under the CAA under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Massachusetts v. EPA ruling in 2007.  The court concluded that carbon dioxide (CO2) was an air pollutant as the term is defined within the parameters of the CAA.

Team Obama Advances Big Labor Agenda

The EPA has a long track record of anti-business activity that is well documented and not likely to change anytime soon Mike Mitternight, the president of the Factory Service Agency, an air conditioning service and installation company based in Jefferson Parish, observed. But he is equally concerned with the “pro-union” leanings of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“We always need to be concerned about the EPA,” he said. “Businesses have historically done battle with the EPA. But right now I’m looking over my shoulder at what the NLRB is doing. The pro-unionization rulings are something we need to keep our eye on.”

Mitternight is particularly concerned about a proposal to curtain the amount of time set aside for unionization elections involving private companies. If the rule change goes into effect, the NLRB would set elections from a current median time of 37 days to as little as 10 days from the filing of an election petition. They would also set pre-election hearings for 7 days after a petition is filed; the rules would also require the employer to respond to a pre-hearing questionnaire raising any legal issues or waive its right to do so. And finally, the new rules would defer a decision on the issues raised at the hearing till after the election, putting an employer at risk if the decision is challenged.

“From the point of view of small business, this is very problematic,” Mitternight said. “It means a union could break our employees out into small groups and attempt to unionize in a piecemeal fashion.”
Mitternight also expressed concern over the “repetitive nature” of the licensing policies in Louisiana municipalities that translate into multiple fees and taxes. The total sales tax is 9 percent in Orleans Parish and 8.75 percent in Jefferson.  Therefore, if he makes a purchase in Jefferson Parish and pays the 8.75% and then subsequently installs equipment in New Orleans Parish, he must then pay the 1/4 percent difference as a use tax for installation in Orleans.

Mitternight holds an occupational license in Jefferson Parish but must also maintain an occupational license in Orleans Parish, which is used to collect the additional ¼ percent  tax. In addition, he holds a statewide Mechanical Contractors license, but is also required to have both a mechanical and a gas fitters license in Jefferson, Orleans, Kenner, Plaquemines, St. Tammany, Slidell, Mandeville, St. Bernard, and any other similar municipality or Parish where he operates.

“I have to fill out the tax report form on a monthly basis and indicate where I made an installation in New Orleans and pay them the extra tax,” he said. “It can be an expensive proposition to be an air conditioning manufacturer because you have this multi-layered licensing and I see it as an over-regulation.”

ObamaCare Could Force New Bureaucracies, Higher Costs

Unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes and rules in favor of the lawsuits that challenge the constitutionally of President Obama’s new health care law, Louisiana and other states will be forced to accommodate new layers of bureaucracy and higher costs, a report from the American Legislative Exchange Council shows.

“ObamaCare’s Medicaid mandates will bring significant fiscal damage to already strained state budgets, especially when taking into consideration the amount states currently spend on Medicaid” the report warns. Louisiana’s own Department of Health and Hospitals has produced a study that shows implementation of  ObamaCare will cost the state in excess of $7 billion over a 10 year period.

Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), who is also a medical doctor, points out that the “governmentalization” of health care has been in motion since the 1960s. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPCA), the official title of ObamaCare, accelerates a harmful trend that must be reversed, he said.

“These policies are separating the patient from the private sector by inserting government with all its bureaucracy, additional costs and regulations,” he observed. “ObamaCare just makes this worse.”

Rep. Fleming has offered up two proposals, which would help to expand choice, lower costs and expand the influence of the private sector. Policymakers should “open up state lines” so that insurance companies must compete with one another and consumers can choose the best plan for their needs, he said. Fleming also supports the expansion of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).  They come with higher deductibles, but this also creates an incentive to save and to make “wise purchases,” he said.

Fleming added:

“This is about putting consumers back in charge. Often times, we see them saving over and above what their deductible is in their Health Savings Accounts. ”

Louisiana is a plaintiff in the multi-state lawsuit that has been filed against ObamaCare.

Kevin Mooney is an investigative reporter with the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. He can be reached at kmooney@pelicaninstitute.org and you can follow him on Twitter.

Original Article

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