Clean Coal

With the talk about possibly building the Big Stone coal fired power plant here in South Dakota including all the EPA permitting issues, I find this gem about clean coal directed by the Cohen brothers quite lovely.

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More To Come?

Now that the spineless Democrats have caved and allowed big oil to drill on more offshore sites I thought that I would point out another example of what we have to look forward to.

Hurricane Ike’s winds and massive waves destroyed oil platforms, tossed storage tanks and punctured pipelines. The environmental damage only now is becoming apparent: At least a half million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and the marshes, bayous and bays of Louisiana and Texas, according to an analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

And let’s not forget Katrina which had it’s own environmental issues despite what many big oil surrogates have claimed.

In May 2006, the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) published their offshore damage assessment: “113 platforms totally destroyed, and 457 pipelines damaged, 101 of those major lines with 10 inches or larger diameter.”In all, the two hurricanes caused 124 offshore spills for a total of 743,700 gallons, including six spills of 42,000 gallons or greater.

So feel free to enjoy the few pennies in savings we will soon be seeing (like 10 years from now)…

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T. Boone Pickens Getting Into The Water Business As Well

If you thought T. Boone’s plan for getting us to substitute natural gas and wind power for overseas oil all while having huge interests in natural gas futures and wind energy companies was brilliant, you will love his entry into the water business.

It seems T. Boone owns a large ranch in Texas that just so happens to sit on one of the largest aquifers in the country, so large in fact that it reaches all the way up into South Dakota. He wanted to sell this water but ran into a problem that South Dakotan’s are intimately familiar with. How to get the water from the aquifer to where he wanted to sell it. A pipeline would be the best option of course but how could a private citizen get the right of way to run it on all those parcels of privately owned land, and how would he finance it?

T. Boone, a billionaire for a reason, figured it out. He started his own town, held an election, sold tax free government bonds, and plans to used eminent domain to run his pipeline.

Then he turned this parcel into a town, basically, with only two eligible voters — both of whom were his employees. (This required a change in Texas law in 2007 — a change facilitated no doubt by his $1.2 million in campaign contributions to Texas legislators in 2006). Then
there was an election in this district, in which both voters voted to make this 8-acre municipality a special fresh-water district.

Pickens’ wholly owned government entity now can issue tax-free bonds (meaning he can borrow at a serious discount) and use the power of eminent domain to pressure landowners to sell — or to take their land if they hold out. The eminent domain power is key to building the
pipeline that will run this water down to the Dallas area, where Pickens hopes to sell the water. If your land lies in the path of his proposed pipeline, you got a letter explaining that T. Boone wants to buy a stretch of your land — and explaining that he can use eminent domain if you resist. If this begins to sound too cutthroat to the public, Pickens just reminds journalists and politicians that following this water pipeline will be the transmission cables for Pickens’ mammoth wind farm.

Remember this if and when T. Boone sets up his proposed wind farms here in South Dakota and needs to get transmission lines run to his newly generated wind energy to market.

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It's Not All About Philanthropy With T. Boone

As T. Boone Pickens gets set to do the town hall thing this afternoon in Rapid City to promote his wind energy plan, we should be reminded that it’s not all about doing the right thing with T. Boone. The billionaire oilman who up until now was probably best known for his $1 million prize for anyone that could disprove anything his $3 million donation bought in the Swiftboating of John Kerry and then pulling it back when someone did, has a lot to gain monetarily if his energy plan is implemented.

What could an oilman gain by reducing our dependence on oil other than feeling good? To figure that out you need to know where that oilman currently has his money invested. In Pickens’ case that would be in natural gas and emerging technology hedge funds as well as wind energy companies that would see big returns if T. Boone’s plan goes forward. You see, any energy gained from wind power, much of which would be generated by Pickens’ Mesa Power, would free up more natural gas for use in other places which in the T. Boone plan would be as fuel in the next generation of automobiles.

Pickens said that the United States could generate at least 20 percent of its electricity by tapping power from the nation’s “wind corridor,” a vast stretch of territory from west Texas to the Canadian border.

That would then enable the nation’s abundant natural gas resources, now widely used to generate electricity, to be used for powering transportation. American automobile manufacturers should dramatically ramp up natural gas-powered vehicles, he said, and government vehicle fleets should be powered exclusively on natural gas.

So while under Pickens’ plan we would reduce our dependence on foreign oil by up to $230 billion a year (according to Pickens), that dependence would be replaced by a larger dependence on natural gas and who will be sitting there waiting for the money to roll in?

I am more than willing to give Mr. Pickens credit for trying to solve the problem of oil dependence especially being from a so called “wind corridor” state that will directly benefit from his plan. But the next time you see one of his feel good commercials, remember it not all about doing what’s best for the country, it’s about doing what’s best for T. Boone which this time just might benefit the country. More than enough to make any self respecting Republican proud.

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Good Corporate Citizens

Something to consider as the oilmen in the White House and the rest of the GOP continues their push for renewed offshore drilling and drilling in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge).

Remember that small little spill we had up North 20 years ago? Well the good corporate citizens from Exxon are still fighting about what their fair share of damages should be.

ExxonMobil has balked at paying $488 million in interest on punitive damages that plaintiffs say it owes for its role in the 1989 Prince William Sound oil spill in Alaska, saying “there is no good reason” for the Supreme Court to assess interest.

Interest question aside, one day they might actually even get around to paying the damages from the 1994 court judgement.

UPDATE: At least not all the news is bad for Exxon. The homophobic group Americans for Truth is recommending that you buy gas from Exxon because as they put it, Exxon “stood strong in NOT capitulating to homosexual activist lobby.” Unlike McDonalds whom is the current target of their anti-gay rhetoric.

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Drill More Holes

Yesterday President Bush removed the government imposed ban on offshore drilling so that he can now place the blame for high oil prices squarely on the shoulders of the Democrats. As any good Conservative puppet will tell you, allowing more drilling in the gulf and off the coast of California will soon give us lower gas prices and will not be of any environmental worry despite what all the tree huggers try to tell you.

The head Bush puppet and prospective GOP nominee for the President John McCain continues his push away from claims of the 3rd Bush term by spewing the same talking points as part of his “plan”. He likes to point out that even natural disasters to the extent of Rita and Katrina caused no significant spills. He even had his energy adviser, whom has made a career of protecting polluters, repeat these same claims MSNBC yesterday.

What almost every one of these claims by the right has as a basis of their talking points in favor of new drilling is a claim that hurricanes pose little threat to these platforms and that any oil spills will be minimal at best. The right even brought out Louisiana Governor and possible McCain VP pick Bobby Jindal to repeat the Katrina claims. The problem? Apparently Jindal doesn’t know what happened in his own state and the rest of the puppets either don’t know or refuse to admit that these claims are patently false.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Caused 124 Offshore Spills For A Total Of 743,700 Gallons. 554,400 gallons were crude oil and condensate from platforms, rigs and pipelines, and 189,000 gallons were refined products from platforms and rigs. [MMS, 1/22/07]

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Caused Six Offshore Spills Of 42,000 Gallons Or Greater. The largest of these was 152,250 gallons, well over the 100,000 gallon threshhold considered a “major spill.” [MMS, 5/1/06]

Putting aside the fact that the oil companies already have 68 million acres of unused leases and any oil discovered from new offshore drilling will not even hit the market until around 2017 and that the same oil will just go onto the world market likely just helping to feed the ever growing demands from China, claiming that new drilling offshore poses little or no environmental threats is an outright lie.

If the American public really wants to debate the pros and cons of offshore drilling, a real debate with all the facts should be the way it is done. Unfortunately the right knows that the WND crowd will accept anything they say making any real debate unlikely and as usual the Democrats will be seen as the bad guys again.

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In The Mood

It looks like after the FISA capitulation that the Democrats are in that “compromise” frame of mind. This time they appear ready to give the Republican’s another item on their wish list when they start debating legislation that would open up new offshore drilling.

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday that Democratic and Republican leaders are negotiating a compromise on energy legislation. Kyl declined to say who’s doing the negotiating or what results, if any, their discussions have yielded.

But Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), a longtime proponent of increased offshore drilling, said he was seeing “a big shift, a big shift in my direction,” and it was hard to find Democrats who disagreed.

Is it any wonder that Congress’ latest approval ratings are now in the single digits? We put the Democrats in power in Congress to move our country in a different direction and all they have managed to accomplished is to continue the policies that they were elected to change.

How are the Democrats able to stand up these days? You would think that it would be quite difficult without a backbone…

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If You Don't Want To Hear The Answer

Don’t open the email.

The White House in December refused to accept the Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion that greenhouse gases are pollutants that must be controlled, telling agency officials that an e-mail message containing the document would not be opened, senior E.P.A. officials said last week.

I guess that is one way to address the problem, just ignore it or as was the case here, they ignored it until the EPA rewrote it so that it met their criteria.

Over the past five days, the officials said, the White House successfully put pressure on the E.P.A. to eliminate large sections of the original analysis that supported regulation, including a finding that tough regulation of motor vehicle emissions could produce $500 billion to $2 trillion in economic benefits over the next 32 years. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

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Liberal Conspiracy: I Guess They Didn't Get The Memo

Panel of government scientists

There is strong evidence the increasing frequency of extreme rain, heat, drought and tropical storms is caused by global climate change, according to the report from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.
“Changes in some weather and climate extremes are attributable to human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases,” the study authors concluded.

And how about that, Al Gore was nowhere to be found when this was released…

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