In this episode of Voice for Liberty Radio: Dwight D. Keen is former chairman of the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association. He spoke to the Wichita Pachyderm Club on the topic “Hydraulic Fracturing: A Conjured-up Controversy” on August 8, 2014. In the shownotes for this episode you can find the link to the short video that was shown as part of his talk. Also, you will find links to the handouts he distributed.
Here’s Dwight Keen at the Wichita Pachyderm Club on August 8, 2014.
A big “thank you” to Mike Smith for his rebuttal to an op-ed printed in today’s Wichita Eagle. In the commentary, which was signed by more than 60 members of the clergy from across the state, the writer states: “As people of faith, we believe it is our moral responsibility to care for all that has been entrusted to us.” I think the moral responsibility of people of faith is to refrain from telling lies. And while we’re at it, people of faith should stop using the coercive power of government to force others to conform to their prescriptions for life. God doesn’t do that, and neither should they.
Here’s what meteorologist Smith has to say:
Today’s Wichita Eagle has a terribly unfortunate editorial letter from the Kansas Interfaith Power & Light, an advocacy group on the subject of global warming. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, the quality of the science in the letter is dreadful. So, let’s compare the assertions to the science.
To the extent that global temperatures are rising, and the extent that mankind is the cause, we should be concerned about global warming. Climate change I meant to say, please excuse me.
It’s no wonder that the term global warming has been replaced by climate change. As the following two charts show, the models that are in common use by climate scientists have predicted rising temperatures, but actual observations of temperatures have not conformed to predictions. Temperatures have been level in recent years.
Here’s a simplified chart of the temperatures predicted by climate scientists compared to actual temperatures. A more complicated version follows. Click on either chart for a larger version.
As you can see, actual temperatures have not risen as they should have, if only the Mother Earth would conform to the predictions of climate scientists. Despite this lack of predictive power, global warming alarmists (oops, I meant climate change alarmists) insist we should radically restructure our economy in order to accommodate the predictions of climate models that have been shown to be not very predictive — if we are concerned about accuracy.
The story was based on my research and opinion that in some cases, recycling is an economically beneficial activity. But for the household setting, it is not.
(One point I meant to make, but forgot to, was that how wonderful it is that we have enough wealth that we don’t have to recycle household waste. We are free to recycle if we want, but also free to make a personal decision to spend time on activities other than recycling.)
Comments left to the story illustrate just how difficult it is to think about and debate issues of public policy. Here’s one example:
It takes absolutely no extra water to rinse cans for recycling. Just rinse them in your dishwater after washing your last dish. After all, if one is truly concerned about water conservation, handwashing uses less water than a dishwasher. As for the abundant landfill space, I suggest we open a landfill in Mr. Weeks’ backyard. Most people would object to a landfill next door, but apparently Mr. Weeks would welcome it.
This writer has a good idea — if you want to wash dishes by hand. For me, a dishwashing machine is a sign of tremendous progress by civilization, reducing drudgery and producing cleaner dishes. And, it’s a machine that nearly everyone can afford.
After that, the writer makes a ridiculous argument about landfill space. I note that this writer uses a profile name that is anonymous. While anonymous speech is important, it leads to people making patently ridiculous statements that they probably wouldn’t make if their friends and neighbors knew they said that.
Here’s another comment:
I would have to disagree with Mr Weeks. The benefits far outweigh the “costs” he was mentioning. It only take a moment to look up evidence that recycling is not only beneficial for our planet but also as a business model. Single stream recycling has made this process very easy.
A point I made in the article is that households have to pay for people to collect their recyclables. Using scare quotes around “costs” is inappropriate, as the costs are real and large. This is a clue as to the economic value of recycling, which is that it works in certain instances, but not for households.
Part of another comment is this:
And Mr. Weeks’ comments this morning on the air regarding having plenty of landfill space in places like Kansas just made me angry. Landfills the size of Sedgwick County? —- Seriously.
In the article, I mentioned that someone calculated that a landfill 100 yards tall and 30 miles on a side could hold all trash for the entire country for the next 1,000 years. How someone makes a leap from that to multiple landfills the size of Sedgwick County shows that people just aren’t thinking closely.
In January, as FrackNation was being released, I interviewed McAleer. You can read my report at FrackNation to tell truth about fracking. I asked this question: “So why are progressives and liberals opposed to fracking?” Perhaps tellingly, McAleer replied “Fracking brings economic boom to rural America, and many people view rural America as a backdrop, as something to be used.” The elitists don’t really like farmers, he said. But they will gladly use them to make a political point. The idea that they would become independent from their largess is their concern.
Following is McAleer’s article as it appeared in the New York Post.
This was supposed to be a column about “Gasland 2,” the sequel to the anti-fracking documentary by activist Josh Fox, which premiered Sunday afternoon at the Tribeca Film Festival. Instead, it’s about my exclusion, along with maybe 20 farmers from upstate New York and Pennsylvania, from the screening despite having tickets for a theater with lots of empty seats.
Our mistake was to believe the Tribeca Film Festival’s claims to want diversity of opinion and people who are passionate about film.
As a journalist who made a documentary looking at the factual deficiencies in the first “Gasland,” I put some inconvenient questions to Josh Fox as he was speaking to the media on the red carpet.
The farmers milling around nearby decided to join in with pointed but respectful questions of their own. After all, they know their land better than anyone, and they felt aggrieved that their lives and communities had been misrepresented by the first “Gasland.”
They asked Fox if he now accepted that the water in Dimock, Pa., is clean. He’d claimed that Dimock was one of the most contaminated areas in the United States because of fracking. But state scientists and then the EPA investigated and found the water clean.
The farmers asked Fox if he’d accept the science and apologize for calling their community a wasteland. He didn’t reply.
There was silence also when they asked Fox if he’s going to withdraw his claim that fracking has caused a spike in breast cancer. That’s been debunked by the country’s top cancer experts, but Fox has remained silent, allowing the fears to linger.
Given that Josh Fox had misrepresented their lives so badly in the past, the farmers were interested in what was going to be in “Gasland 2.” Many got up at 4:30 a.m. to travel to New York.
Sherry Hart, a mother of three and the wife of a gas worker, was particularly excited to be there. She lives in Pennsylvania and had never been to New York City, but she felt that it was important to make the journey to see what was being said about her and her life.
But she was not to find out. As the red carpet cleared and the farmers went to take their seats, they and I were informed that we weren’t being allowed in. No amounts of appealing or complaining did any good.
It seems that inconvenient questions aren’t welcome at the Tribeca Film Festival.
It was devastating for the people who’d traveled so far. They were upset and bewildered.
Several hours after the media became interested in the exclusion, the Tribeca Film Festival issued a statement claiming that the screening was at capacity; the problem was simply a lack of seats.
But the farmers, like everyone else these days, have cameras, and they recorded film festival staff giving very different reasons for excluding them from the screening.
One staffer said they were not allowed in “because you’re making trouble.” Another was more honest: “We just don’t feel comfortable letting them into the movie,” she explained.
The festival organizers called the police just in case the farmers didn’t get the message that they weren’t welcome.
Julia Mineeva, a Russian journalist who’s covered the film festival for five years, thought she’d stumbled across a great story and started interviewing the various groups. When she went in to see the movie she was asked to leave, followed, put in handcuffs, arrested and charged with trespassing.
It seems that covering both sides of a story is an arrestable offense at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Festival founder Robert De Niro says he wants a festival that is controversial, but there was nobody more passionate than those farmers who made a round trip of hundreds of miles just to see a movie. But the message Sunday was that their passion was not welcome.
And at the first sign of real controversy from real people, the festival closed its doors and called the cops.
The message is clear: They want “controversy,” but only of the kind they agree with, and it can only come from people who look and sound like them.
The rest of America can just stay on the sidewalk.
Fracking — short for hydraulic fracturing — is a method of oil and gas production by injecting pressurized fluid into rock formations. Along with horizontal drilling, this technology has lead to a rise in the production of natural gas, leading to much lower prices for consumers, and to the possibility of U.S. exports.
FrackNation, the film that McAleer and McElhinney made, is set for premier on AXS TV on January 22, 2013 at 9:00 pm eastern.
I spoke to McAleer on the telephone last week. I asked is fracking really a big deal for America? He answered:”The word game changer is much overused, but this really is a game changer. It’s going to make America an energy producer. Natural gas is no longer tied to the price of oil. Anywhere there’s fracking in America, there’s no recession.”
“I’d almost go as far as to say fracking is maybe the reason President Obama was reelected. The reason he won Ohio because there’s a fracking boom going on there. People have money in their pockets. … If you live in a fracking area or near where there is going to be fracking you’re feeling good.”
So why are progressives and liberals opposed to fracking? “Fracking brings economic boom to rural America, and many people view rural America as a backdrop, as something to be used.”
The elitists don’t really like farmers, he said. But they will gladly use them to make a political point. The idea that they would become independent from their largess is their concern. He added that opposition to fracking is anti-fossil fuel, anti-progress, and anti-modernity, but above all it is anti-American.
Those opposed to fracking spread fear of environmental damage such as spilling the chemicals or polluting ground water. Is this fear real? McAleer said fracking has been going on since 1947. How long can you fear something that hasn’t happened, he asked.
On the new Matt Damon movie Promised Land, described by the New York Times as “an earnest attempt, sometimes effective, sometimes clumsy, to dramatize the central arguments about fracking and its impact,” I asked what’s wrong with that movie?
McAleer said “It’s not fair, I suppose, to fact check a work of fiction. Having said that, it is pretending to be in a real world situation. There are lots of allegations, lots of multimillion dollar lawsuits, but no scientific evidence. There’s no scientific evidence about what Matt Damon talks about in promised land. The biggest lie of all is that the fraudulent environmentalists — of which there are many — are somehow in the pay of oil and gas companies to smear environmentalists. That’s just ludicrous. Yes there are fraudulent environmentalists — many of them — but they work for the environmental movement, not for oil and gas.”
I mentioned an incident in an advertisement for the movie that shows a family receiving the results from testing their water. The tests showed that the water was clean and not dirty, like illustrated in a dirty brown milk jug. The reaction of the family was anger. McAleer explained that these people were suing the oil and gas companies. They demanded that the EPA come in and test their water, and the EPA said their water is safe. They watched their multimillion dollar lawsuit flushed down the drain, along with their celebrity status.
Your movie FrackNation that’s coming out in January: What will it tell Americans?
McAleer said the film will show there is absolutely no evidence that fracking has ever contaminated groundwater. But there is plenty of evidence that people have lied, exaggerated, and misrepresented fracking.
I asked about the famous example in the movie Gasland of a family being able to light their drinking water on fire, the implication being that this was possible due to methane gas leaking into their water supply, with fracking being the cause. McAller said that people have been able to like their water on fire for many years before fracking started. Native Americans called certain places “burning springs.” These are naturally occurring events. The director of Gasland knew that, but he told me he left it out because it wasn’t relevant. It’s unethical journalism.
Another inconvenient fact is that if the Canadian oil is not sold to the U.S., it will be sold to and consumed in China. If we are concerned about greenhouse gas emissions leading to climate change, it should be noted that it doesn’t matter where the greenhouse gases are produced. The effect is worldwide. But as we know, the radical environmental movement cares nothing for facts in their war on capitalism and human progress.
Facts Refute Environmentalist Claims About Keystone XL Pipeline
Protesters are gathering on the Wichita State University campus this weekend for a Sierra Club-sponsored Occupy Koch Town protest against the Keystone XL oil pipeline and Koch Industries, Inc. Koch and its subsidiaries are involved in a wide array of manufacturing, trading and investments including petroleum refining and distribution.
Many Keystone XL opponents have focused on Koch, claiming its Flint Hills Resources Canada subsidiary’s status as an intervener in the regulatory approval process in Canada proves Koch is a party to the pipeline project. Keystone XL would carry petroleum from Canadian oil sands to the U.S. Gulf coast.
In a Jan. 25 House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, California U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-District 30, demanded that the Koch brothers, Charles and David, or a representative of Koch Industries appear before the committee to explain their involvement in the pipeline.
Philip Ellender, president of Koch Cos. Public Sector, which encompasses legal, communication, community relations and government relations, responded to Waxman on a Koch Industries website:
Koch has consistently and repeatedly stated (including here, here, here, and here) that we have no financial interest whatsoever in the Keystone pipeline. In addition, this fact has been verified by TransCanada’s CEO here.
Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada, owner and builder of the Keystone pipelines, addressed criticism of the pipeline and supposed collusion with the Koch brothers in a Nov. 1 conference call to discuss TransCanada’s earnings. “I can tell you that Koch (Industries Inc.) isn’t a shipper and I’ve never met the Koch brothers before.”A March 2010 document from Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) approving the pipeline does not mention Koch or its subsidiary, Flint Hills Resources Canada, on any of its 168 pages.
The report does note that on June 16, 2009, TransCanada Corporation became the sole owner of the Keystone Pipeline System, acquiring ConocoPhillips’ interest in the pipeline.
A map of the existing Keystone and planned Keystone XL pipelines shows that Koch’s two refineries in the 48 contiguous states at Pine Bend, Minn., and Corpus Christi, Texas, are not on or near the pipeline routes. Koch also has a refinery in North Pole, Alaska.
Koch does have substantial interests in Canadian oil though, including the thick oil sands mined in Alberta. Those interests are precisely why Flint Hills Resources Canada requested intervener status in the pipeline approval process in 2009.
Critics have claimed that statement is a smoking gun proving Koch is a party to the pipeline or will benefit from its construction.
Greg Stringham, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) vice president of markets and oil sands, told KansasWatchdog, “Their intervention itself is not a trigger that says aha, they have a commercial interest or are a shipper on this pipeline.”
The US Legal, Inc. definitions website says an intervener is, “A party who does not have a substantial and direct interest but has clearly ascertainable interests and perspectives essential to a judicial determination and whose standing has been granted by the court for all or a portion of the proceedings.”
US Legal, Inc. provides free legal information, legal forms and help with finding an attorney for the stated purpose of breaking down barriers to legal information.
Stringham said anyone — business, organization or individual — can be an intervener in NEB regulatory proceedings as long as they can show some potential impact, good or bad, from the proposed action. “Then they make a decision whether they’re going to actively engage through evidence and cross examination or whether they’re just there for interest, to get materials and monitor the situation.”
Like Koch, Stringham said CAPP is an intervener in the pipeline approval process, because the pipeline will have a direct impact on the Canadian oil market. Stringham said:
The fact that it’s an intervention for interest does not mean that there is a financial ownership or shipping interest. It’s really to make sure that they understand what’s going on in the process and that they have some connection to the project that can be either positive and beneficiary or potentially negative to them. That’s why I believe Koch has intervened in this process.
The Canadian pipeline company Enbridge, Inc.; Marathon Oil Corp. and Britain’s oil giant BP are also among the 29 interveners in the pipeline application. So is the environmental activist organization Sierra Club.
Keystone XL would compete with the Enbridge pipeline that carries the thick bitumen oil from Hardisty, Alberta, for delivery to Koch’s Pine Bend, Minn., refinery. If supplies prove insufficient for both pipelines, Stringham said, Koch could be at a competitive disadvantage since it is not a shipper on the Keystone pipelines.
The National Energy Board’s approval document noted:
Keystone XL shippers have indicated that they are seeking competitive alternatives, and by providing access to a new market, Keystone XL would be expanding shipper choice. The Board places considerable weight on the fact that Keystone XL shippers have made a market decision to enter into long-term shipping arrangements negotiated through a transparent competitive process. New pipelines connecting producing regions with consuming regions change market dynamics in ways that cannot easily be predicted.
What’s been left out of the ferocious debate over the pipeline, however, is the prospect that if President Obama allows a permit for the Keystone XL to be granted, he would be handing a big victory and great financial opportunity to Charles and David Koch, his bitterest political enemies and among the most powerful opponents of his clean economy agenda.
Former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olsen, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, highlighted the political dimension of attacks on the Kochs and recent attempts to compel their testimony before Congress.
When Joseph McCarthy engaged in comparable bullying, oppression and slander from his powerful position in the Senate, he was censured by his colleagues and died in disgrace. “McCarthyism,” defined by Webster’s as the “use of unfair investigative and accusatory methods to suppress opposition,” will forever be synonymous with un-Americanism.
In this country, we regard the use of official power to oppress or intimidate private citizens as a despicable abuse of authority and entirely alien to our system of a government of laws. The architects of our Constitution meticulously erected a system of separated powers, and checks and balances, precisely in order to inhibit the exercise of tyrannical power by governmental officials.
Market and environmental realities
Canada produces about 2.7 million barrels of oil per day with about 1.6 million going to the United States. “About a million of that comes from the oil sands,” Stringham said. “All of that moves through the existing pipeline systems.”
Two Kansas refineries, the Holly Frontier refinery in El Dorado and National Cooperative Refinery Association’s facility in McPherson, refine Canadian oil, including from oil sands, delivered over existing pipelines.
With or without the Keystone XL, oil from Canada’s oil sands will continue to go to markets, according to Stringham. “We have been investigating a number of alternatives. Keystone XL clearly is the most direct route to get to the gulf coast and that’s why the market really spoke up and said this is what we want,” he said.
He said Canada’s oil market is looking at diverse opportunities beyond the United States. “We are looking to the West Coast, which could move it on to tankers. We looked at Asia, it is one of the options, but once it gets to the West Coast, it can also move to the California market,” he said.
Stringham said a proposal for Enbridge to build a pipeline carrying oil to the West Coast has more than 4,000 interveners.
Occupy Koch Town promotional materials say they’ll also protest against the Kansas Policy Institute. KPI helped launch KansasWatchdog.org in 2009 but is no longer affiliated with this site.
Americans are just starting to become aware of the tremendous potential of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a method of producing oil, and especially, natural gas. Kansas has recently seen a flurry of activity in this area, and fracking is expected to provide many thousands of jobs for Kansas, along with cheaper energy.
Filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer produced the 2009 film Not Evil Just Wrong that uncovered the myths and misinformation spread by radical environmental extremists.
Controversial filmmakers announce crowdfunding campaign for documentary to “expose the truth about fracking”
“FrackNation” investigates the alarming and apparently misleading claims made about fracking, and looks at the benefits the process can bring to some of the poorest communities in the U.S. and across the planet.
Los Angeles (February 8, 2012) — Controversial filmmakers Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer announced a crowdfunding campaign today for their new documentary, FrackNation.
The feature-length film looks at the process of fracking for natural gas, demolishing much of the scaremongering surrounding the process and featuring the millions whose lives have been positively transformed by this emerging industry. FrackNation investigates the health claims surrounding the process, and reveals the startling lack of scientific evidence to substantiate them.
Controversially, McAleer and McElhinney are fundraising for FrackNation on Kickstarter.com.
“Normally, Kickstarter projects are pro-radical environmentalism,” said McAleer. “FrackNation will be the first documentary funded through Kickstarter to challenge the environmental establishment. It will appeal to the workers and small farmers who know the truth, but never see it represented in modern documentaries.”
In a unique fundraising move, McAleer and McElhinney, a husband and wife filmmaking team, have announced that everyone who helps pay for FrackNation will become an executive producer on the film. “This will be a documentary funded by the people for the people,” said McAleer.
FrackNation comes on the heels of a new anti-fracking film is due to be released by activist filmmaker Josh Fox. Fox made Gasland, an Oscar-nominated film, which propelled fears about fracking into the public arena. Fox is now planning a HBO-funded Gasland sequel. Fox has received $750,000 to make the new documentary.
“The Hollywood/environmental establishment has wheeled out big bucks to tell its story,” said Ann McElhinney. “We’re just asking for $150,000. Ours will be a grassroots film telling real stories about real people across America and the world.”
The filmmakers say the documentary was inspired when they encountered journalistic censorship. McAleer questioned Fox at a Q&A following a screening of the film, during which Fox admitted the people could light their tap water long before fracking was introduced. The “lighting water” scene is one of the most famous parts of Gasland, and led to many of the scares surrounding the process.
“I was shocked when Fox said he this had existed in these areas decades before fracking. However, I was doubly shocked when Fox’s lawyers contacted me to take down my video of our Q&A which I posted on YouTube,” said McAleer. “Fox was trying to censor another journalist and that got me interested: What was he trying to hide?”
McAleer and McElhinney have already filmed in Pennsylvania, New York, California, Poland, and the U.K.
“FrackNation will feature small farmers, the working class and others who are benefiting from this economic boom. We will also look at the backgrounds and motives of those opposing fracking,” said McElhinney.
Contact: Mary Elizabeth Margolis
The following piece by Kansas Representative Dennis Hedke (district 99, Andover and parts of far east Wichita) illustrates another way in which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overreaches. Hedke is a geophysicist by training and profession.
Every citizen on the planet bears a responsibility toward stewardship of the environment. In the United States we have been blessed by much improved air and water quality over many decades of dedicated effort. There are, however, practical limits as to how far to push the envelope of “clean.”
The article presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Wichita Eagle on December 4, 2011 spoke to newly created rules placed on utilities, primarily targeted at coal-burning power plants. These new regulations fall within the “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule,” or CSAPR.
EPA claims it will “protect hundreds of million of Americans, providing up to $280 billion in benefits by preventing tens of thousands of premature deaths, asthma and heart attacks, and millions of lost days of school or work due to illness,” due to the cleanup of mercury, sulfur and nitrogen oxides, and other emissions.
Exactly where did the EPA come up with these incredible health benefits?
According to a Wall Street Journal citation on December 6, 2011, “… the EPA estimates that the benefits to society from mercury reductions in the utility rule max out at $6.1 million, total, while imposing $11 billion in compliance costs annually.”
Can the EPA cite for me, and the rest of Kansans who wish to know, evidence for any individual living within a 25 mile radius of the Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Mary’s, KS, who has experienced respiratory illness as a direct result of the emissions coming from that plant? Has there been a single lost day of school for any student in the St. Mary’s district due to the emissions coming from that plant? Has anyone lost a day of work as a direct result of emissions coming from that plant?
If and when EPA conducts an epidemiologic study to answer those questions, I predict the answers will be no, no, and no. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has confirmed that no such studies have been conducted anywhere in Kansas.
Yet, the EPA would have us believe that they will be protecting hundreds of millions of Americans from multiple hazardous substances being emitted, and carried ‘downwind’ to Chicago, Pittsburgh, and of course New York City and EPA Headquarters in Washington, DC. I submit they would love to have our air quality. There is something very wrong with this picture.
Jeffrey Energy Center (through Westar ratepayers) has invested in excess of $600 million within the past decade to retrofit and materially reduce sulfur oxides by 82% and nitrogen oxides by 48%, and other particulates that may be in some way challenging the health profiles of residents proximate to the plant. Not enough according to the EPA.
Behind the scenes, EPA claims their models conflict with models of other entities, and that rolling brownouts and blackouts won’t happen next summer, as a result of mandatory plant shutdowns. That’s not what has been publicly reported by Westar and many others.
But not everyone agrees with the governor’s rosy assessment of wind power. Paul Chesser of American Tradition Institute offers a rebuttal of Brownback’s article, which first appeared in a Bloomberg publication.
Chesser writes: “Apparently Gov. Brownback has overlooked the horrid results of efforts in recent years to spur the economy and employment with government renewable energy ‘stimulation’ from taxpayer dollars. … The lessons of failure with government mandates in pursuit of a renewable energy economy are not hard to find.”
Following is Chesser’s response to Governor Brownback.
Kansas Gov., Former Sen. Brownback Incorrect on Promise, Economics of Renewable Energy
By Paul Chesser
American Tradition Institute today called attention to the many fallacies in a column written by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and published yesterday in the Bloomberg Government newsletter (subscription required), in which the former U.S. Senator touted the “long-term benefits” and “job creation” ability of renewable energy, predominantly with wind power.
Apparently Gov. Brownback has overlooked the horrid results of efforts in recent years to spur the economy and employment with government renewable energy “stimulation” from taxpayer dollars. He wrote for Bloomberg, “Experience has taught us that investments in the renewable energy economy is creating jobs across all employment sectors, including construction, engineering, operations, technology and professional services, in both rural and urban communities.”
“Unlike most of his fellow Republicans, it sounds like the governor continues to support President Obama’s failed initiatives to create ‘Green jobs’ in a hopeless attempt to save the U.S. economy,” said Paul Chesser, executive director of American Tradition Institute.
While those who advocate cap and trade legislation charge that conservatives, particularly Charles and David Koch, have outspent them, a study finds the opposite.
According to American University Professor Matthew Nisbet, in 2009 environmental groups spent $394 million on climate change and energy policy efforts such as promoting cap and trade. Opposition groups spent $259 million. Information like this helps place the reports of conservative spending, including that of Charles and David Koch, in perspective. Without this, we’re left with the one-sided reports from Greenpeace and the New Yorker magazine, in which numbers are mentioned without — or with little — context.
The report also looks at expenditures on lobbying. In this area, it’s less clear how much was spent lobbying for or against cap and trade legislation, as companies and organizations report their total spending on all lobbying activity, not the amount spent on specific bills. In this light, Nisbet reports that “environmental groups were able to forge a network of organizations that spent a combined $229 million on lobbying across all issues. In comparison, the network of prominent opponents of cap and trade legislation spent $272 million lobbying across all issues.”
Spending on elections is mixed. Considering contributions to members of Congress, proponents of cap and trade legislation outspent opponents. But in independent expenditures, the situation is reversed. But on Proposition 23 in California, environmental groups spent the most.
In conclusion to its chapter on spending, the report states: “… propelled by a wealthy donor base and key alliances with corporations and other organizations, the environmental movement appears to have closed the financial gap with its opponents among conservative groups and industry associations. Indeed, the effort to pass cap and trade legislation may have been the best-financed political cause in American history. The effort also demonstrates not only the vast revenue base and organizational capacity of the environmental movement, but also the movement’s enhanced ability to coordinate activities among its constituent members and to build partnerships.”
Climate Change Advocacy: Revenues, Spending, and Activities
By Matthew Nisbit
After the failure of the Senate cap and trade bill in August 2010, many commentators blamed the bill’s demise on the massive spending by fossil fuel companies, industry associations and their conservative allies. Others, however, noted that environmental groups—joined by dozens of leading companies and organizations—had devoted record amounts of financial resources in an effort to pass the bill. As an unnamed Obama administration official said about environmental groups, “They spent like $100 million and they weren’t able to get a single Republican convert on the bill.”
To better understand the influence of spending in the cap and trade debate, in this chapter I review the nature, composition and funding sources of the U.S. environmental movement and compare these factors to the opposing coalition of conservative think tanks and industry associations. Then, analyzing data compiled from tax returns, annual reports, and other sources, I systematically compare the revenue and forms of spending by both sides in the debate.
Though most environmental groups are limited in how much money they can devote to direct lobbying, in the debate over cap and trade, they were able to spend heavily on efforts to educate the public and policymakers on the need for a mandatory emissions cap, hiring the country’s top political consultants. They also invested in partnerships with corporations and other organizations in a strategy aimed at counter-balancing the amount spent on lobbying by opposing industry associations and companies.
As the analysis indicates, the environmental movement has made sizable gains in closing the spending gap with their conservative and industry opponents. Indeed, the effort to pass cap and trade legislation may have been the best-financed political cause in American history. The effort also demonstrates not only the vast revenue base and organizational capacity of the environmental movement, but also the movement’s enhanced ability to coordinate activities among its constituent members and to build alliances.
This time it’s Robert Redford caught in a few “do as I say, not as I do” moments. He opposes environmentally-friendly development near a vineyard he owns, as reported in the New York Times: “Robert Redford, the actor and environmental superhero, is a vocal supporter of renewable power and sustainable growth — but it seems that doesn’t include a proposal for an ecofriendly housing development in his corner of the Napa Valley.”
The motives of global warming alarmists, who insist that mankind must ratchet back economic progress in order to save the earth’s climate: Are these motives pure and scientific, or are there other forces in play?
Many have suspected that the global warming battle is more a war against capitalism than anything else. Now new information is revealed that reinforces these suspicions. As Investor’s Business Daily tells it: “Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change (say that twice), told the Neue Zurcher Zeitung last week: ‘The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.’ After all, redistributing global wealth is no small matter.”
The Climate Cash Cow
Investor’s Business Daily
Hoaxes: A high-ranking member of the U.N.’s Panel on Climate Change admits the group’s primary goal is the redistribution of wealth and not environmental protection or saving the Earth.
Money, they say, is the root of all evil. It’s also the motivating force behind what is left of the climate change movement after the devastating Climate-gate and IPCC scandals that saw the deliberate manipulation of scientific data to spur the world into taking draconian regulatory action.
Left for dead, global warm-mongers are busy planning their next move, which should occur at a climate conference in relatively balmy Cancun at month’s end. Certainly it should provide a more appropriate venue for discussing global warming than the site of the last failed climate conference — chilly Copenhagen.
Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist and co-chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change (say that twice), told the Neue Zurcher Zeitung last week: “The climate summit in Cancun at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.” After all, redistributing global wealth is no small matter.
Edenhofer let the environmental cat out of the bag when he said “climate policy is redistributing the world’s wealth” and that “it’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization.”
Here’s an article full of important observations about the drive to produce more of our electricity from wind power. For example, promoters of wind (and solar) say we can use it to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. But this article points out that only one percent of our electricity is generated from oil.
Another important observation has to do with the high cost of electricity generated by wind: “Along the way, yet another claim has been made: that wind energy is low cost. This is surprisingly bold considering that if that was really true, then why would any RES be necessary? For some reason all ‘calculations’ showing wind to be low cost conveniently ignore exorbitant subsidies, extra backup and balancing costs, additional transmission costs, etc.”
That’s a simple and brilliant observation: if electricity from wind is so cheap to produce, why do utilities have to be forced — and subsidized — to produce it?
Fifteen Bad Things with Windpower–and Three Reasons Why
By John Droz Jr.
Trying to pin down the arguments of wind promoters is a bit like trying to grab a greased balloon. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it, it squirts away. Let’s take a quick highlight review of how things have evolved.
1 — Wind energy was abandoned well over a hundred years ago, as it was totally inconsistent with our burgeoning more modern needs of power, even in the late 1800s. When we throw the switch, we expect that the lights will go on — 100% of the time. It’s not possible for wind energy, by itself, to ever do this, which is one of the main reasons it was relegated to the dust bin of antiquated technologies (along with such other inadequate sources like horse power).
2 — Fast forward to several years ago. With politicians being convinced by lobbyists that Anthropological Global Warming (AGW) was an imminent threat, a campaign was begun to favor all things that would purportedly reduce CO2. Wind energy was thus resurrected, as its marketers pushed the fact that wind turbines did not produce CO2 in their generation of electricity.
Last year’s disclosure of email correspondence between climate scientists was a wake-up call to the world. The emails showed leading climate scientists exhibiting “professional misconduct, data manipulation and jiggering of both the scientific literature and climatic data.”
Since then, there have been several reviews of this episode, each finding there was no untoward behavior by the scientists. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Patrick J. Michaels takes a look at these reviews and finds that their purported independence is not as advertised.
The Climategate Whitewash Continues
Global warming alarmists claim vindication after last year’s data manipulation scandal. Don’t believe the ‘independent’ reviews.
Last November there was a world-wide outcry when a trove of emails were released suggesting some of the world’s leading climate scientists engaged in professional misconduct, data manipulation and jiggering of both the scientific literature and climatic data to paint what scientist Keith Briffa called “a nice, tidy story” of climate history. The scandal became known as Climategate.
Now a supposedly independent review of the evidence says, in effect, “nothing to see here.” Last week “The Independent Climate Change E-mails Review,” commissioned and paid for by the University of East Anglia, exonerated the University of East Anglia. The review committee was chaired by Sir Muir Russell, former vice chancellor at the University of Glasgow.
This Friday (June 11) the Wichita Pachyderm Club features Mike Smith, C.C.M. of WeatherData Services, Inc. as its guest presenter. His topic will be “An Atmospheric Scientist Looks at Global Warming.” I have seen this presentation, and it is very informative and should not be missed.
This special presentation will end at 1:15 pm instead of the usual 1:00 pm ending time.
All are welcome to attend Wichita Pachyderm Club meetings. The program costs $10, which includes a delicious buffet lunch including salad, soup, two main dishes, and ice tea and coffee. The meeting starts at noon, although it’s recommended to arrive fifteen minutes early to get your lunch before the program starts.
The Wichita Petroleum Club is on the ninth floor of the Bank of America Building at 100 N. Broadway (north side of Douglas between Topeka and Broadway) in Wichita, Kansas (click for a map and directions). You may park in the garage (enter west side of Broadway between Douglas and First Streets) and use the sky walk to enter the Bank of America building. The Petroleum Club will stamp your parking ticket and the fee will be only $1.00. Or, there is usually some metered and free street parking nearby.
Climate change — its reality (or not) and man’s response to it — is an important topic and deserves serious discussion. The actions of one of the most prominent and vocal groups promoting a radical global warming agenda, however, aren’t fostering greater understanding of the issue, much less an informed debate.
As people become aware of the shaky foundation of the climate science promoted by groups like Greenpeace, we can expect more attacks like this recent report. Groups that promote an extremist view of climate science as does Greenpeace need to deflect attention from the facts. Personal attacks are one way to accomplish this.
Another example of this deflection using personal attacks, and one that does nothing to advance debate or discussion, came from Greenpeace yesterday. Greenpeace has labeled Charles and David Koch “climate criminals,” and has produced a video of an “investigator” sniffing around New York City trying to find David Koch. While productions like this can be amusing or funny — although this attempt fails in both regards — it does succeed in deflecting attention from the really important issues and facts.
Deflecting attention is one thing. Presenting false information is another matter, and far more serious. The video ends with an enactment of a crime scene of a dead polar bear, implying that man-made global warming is killing polar bears. The reality is just the opposite.
If Greenpeace was interested in facts rather than scoring quick and easy points through character assassination, it might note that Koch Industries has a good, and improving, environmental record. The Koch and the Environment page tells of Koch Industries’ commitment to the environment, and lists awards the company has received.
At Reason.com, the underwhelming nature of the report’s revelations is noted: “The Greenpeace noise machine managed to persuade the Guardian to publish a ‘shocking’ article detailing the amazing fact that donors tend to support groups that advocate points of view with which they generally agree.”
The article also notes the tremendous amount of money given to causes purported to support environmental issues: “In 1999, individuals, companies and foundations gave an average of $9.6 million a day to environmental groups.”
To place that number in context, Greenpeace is creating an issue over Koch donations of $25 million given over three years.
A Scientific American article contains a statement from Cato Institute (an organization that receives Koch funding) founder and President Edward Crane that shows how Greenpeace is deflecting attention from the real issue:
“I’m concerned that Greenpeace appears to be more interested in our funding sources than in the accuracy of the research that is being funded,” he added. “Climategate (not to mention peer-reviewed publications) would vindicate that accuracy.”
Curiously, that article finds it necessary to use apologetic quotation marks when mentioning the term “free market,” as though this concept is something readers of that publication may not have been exposed to, or may not believe exists.
In the article Greenpeace Report : Koch brothers and Exxon deserve medals at Mens News Daily, we see that we ought to be offering thanks: “If Charles and David Koch and ExxonMobil are playing even a fraction of the part in public education as Greenpeace claims, then we owe them our thanks.”
In Global Warming: Who’s funding the fight?, Environmental Policy Examiner notes the Koch’s long-time support for free markets and institutions that support economic freedom: “The Greenpeace story doesn’t mention how long Koch (and Exxon, for that matter) have been funding organizations like this. That’s because their funding predates any controversy about global warming.”
Greenpeace calls the Manhattan Institute a “climate denialist” organization because they hosted Bjorn Lomborg twice in the last two years. So they are sliming Koch Industries for providing some funding to the Manhattan Institute, whose “climate crime” is hosting Bjorn Lomborg. They say Lomborg “challenges and attacks policy measures to address climate change.” …
Greenpeace appears to have lost its collective mind. Lomborg is not a denialist. He understands climate change and anthropogenic contributions to it. He supports actions to alleviate it. He just doesn’t agree with Greenpeace on specific policies. His real sin, in the eyes of Greenpeace, is that he wants us to remember the other problems facing this planet, such as poverty and disease. But it is absolutely straight jacket insane to call him a “denialist.”
This week’s release of a report by the extremist environmental group Greenpeace on Wichita-based Koch Industries contains claims that exaggerate the nature of the information contained in the report. These over-hyped “findings” are used to advance Greenpeace’s global warming alarmist agenda, but should give us cause to examine Greenpeace and its agenda.
The title of the report — “Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine” is the first exhibit. The peculiar use of the term “climate denial” — used in the report’s title and repeated many times in the report — makes it look as though the organizations named in the report deny the existence of climate itself, which is, of course, nonsense. Even the term “climate science denial,” which is also used, is misleading. We’ve seen in recent years the shaky foundation on which modern climate science rests — at least the science cited by environmental extremists and global warming alarmists like Greenpeace.
The accusatory language used in the report and its accompanying promotional materials — “secretly funding,” “quietly funneled,” “expose the connections,” — is misleading in two ways. First, it accuses Koch Industries and Koch Family Foundations of attempting to hide connections to the organizations named in the report. But these connections are not hidden. Instead, they are widely known.
For example, David Koch’s biography on the Koch Industries website notes that he serves on the board of directors of the Cato Institute, and that he is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. The role of Charles Koch in the founding of the Cato Institute is widely known as a matter of history and is mentioned in documents on Cato’s website.
Second — and here’s where Greenpeace really exaggerates — the information the Greenpeace report characterizes as “uncovered” can be found by reading IRS form 990 documents. These are freely available at several locations such as Guidestar. They show how charitable foundations spend money, including contributions made to the organizations named in the Greenpeace report.
It’s not just the Greenpeace report itself that is way over-the-top in its sensationalism. Personal attacks are used too, as when a Greenpeace blog writes about the Kochs: “They are the dons of a massive climate crime family.” This type of demonization doesn’t help advance debate.
Then there’s the report’s accusation that a conservative “echo chamber” exists to spread misinformation about climate change — as though such things don’t exist among left-wing organizations like Greenpeace itself.
We must first recognize that the claims made in the Greenpeace report about climate science are far from settled, and that many scientists disagree with Greenpeace’s views. Many would say the report itself is full of misinformation about the state of climate science. For example, Greenpeace claims that the “ClimateGate” emails from last November casts no doubt on the scientific consensus regarding climate change.
As to charges of an echo chamber, the accompanying material to the report encourages the very type of “echoing” that the report denounces. It suggests a hashtag (a method of categorizing or tagging communications) to use on Twitter, for example. And it encourages linking the word “Koch” to the report: “Put up as many links as you can, everywhere and anywhere you can put up links. Help us make sure that when someone Googles ‘Koch,’ the top search result will be our report.”
This blatant push by Greenpeace to create the appearance of interest in the report is ironic when we realize the report accuses groups like Americans for Prosperity of “Astroturfing” — the alleged effort to create a false impression of grass roots interest in an issue or cause.
We have to wonder what Greenpeace is trying to accomplish with this report. The exaggerated claims of uncovering previously “hidden” information, the insistence that only Greenpeace’s radical global warming agenda is correct and everyone else is wrong, the character assassination of Charles and David Koch — all this should lead us to seriously question the credibility of Greenpeace.
Wichita’s Koch Industries has come under attack from an environmental extremist organization for its support of open debate and dialog about the science of climate change.
A report issued by Greenpeace uses inflammatory language and a one-sided view of the facts surrounding climate change in order to attack those it disagrees with. This comes at a time when scientists and the public are becoming increasingly skeptical of the claims of extremist organizations like Greenpeace — and with good reason, too.
Revelations such as the emails from the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, for example, have peeled back the veneer and revealed extremists who have more than the pure pursuit of science as their agenda. This Greenpeace report is another example.
As an example of the way the report presents facts in an attempt to make its case, here is the report’s criticism of one public policy foundation that received Koch funding: “… [it] has hosted Bjorn Lomborg twice in the last two years. Lomborg is a prominent media spokesperson who challenges and attacks policy measures to address climate change.”
There are those who have broken free from groups like Greenpeace, and the remarks of one give us insight into the true nature of these groups. Patrick Moore, who at one time was President of Greenpeace Foundation in Canada, has said this on the environmental extremists’ need to continually invent disasters: “At the beginning, the environmental movement had reason to say that the end of the world is nigh, but most of the really serious problems have been dealt with. Now it’s almost as though the environmental movement has to invent doom and gloom scenarios.”
Moore shows that he totally understands the harm of radical environmental groups like Greenpeace: “The environmental movement has evolved into the strongest force there is for preventing development in the developing countries. I think it’s legitimate for me to call them anti-human.”
This reveals the true anti-human, anti-progress agenda of environmental extremist groups like Greenpeace. They deny the tremendous progress and benefit to humans that industrialization — propelled by capitalism wherever it is allowed to thrive — has produced. They don’t want to let the debate and discussion proceed.
Koch Industries has provided this response to the Greenpeace report:
In a consistent, principled effort for more than 50 years — long before climate change was a key policy issue — Koch companies and Koch foundations have worked to advance economic freedom and market-based policy solutions to challenges faced by society. These efforts are about creating more opportunity and prosperity for all, as it’s a historical fact that economic freedom best fosters innovation, environmental protection and improved quality of life in a society.
The Greenpeace report mischaracterizes these efforts and distorts the environmental record of our companies. Koch companies have long supported science-based inquiry and dialogue about climate change and proposed responses to it. Koch companies have put tremendous effort into discovering and adopting innovative practices that reduce energy use and emissions in the manufacture and distribution of our products.
We believe the political response to climate issues should be based on sound science. Both a free society and the scientific method require an open and honest airing of all sides, not demonizing and silencing those with whom you disagree. We’ve strived to encourage an intellectually honest debate on the scientific basis for claims of harm from greenhouse gases. We have tried to help bring out the facts of the potential effectiveness and costs of policies proposed to deal with climate, as it’s crucial to understand whether proposed initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases will achieve desired environmental goals and what effects they would likely have on the global economy.