Interesting Items 5/21 -
Howdy all, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy -
In this issue:
1. North Dakota
1. North Dakota. Last week, North Dakota passed Alaska as the number two oil producing state in the United States. Thanks to former Governor Sarah Palin and the Senate Bipartisan Majority coalition that has obstructed every single attempt to cut taxes on the producers over the last few legislatures, the producers took their investment and business to more stable, more business friendly, lower tax, and more reasonable regulatory environments in the Lower 48 states. The basic laws of economics still work and the more unfriendly business environment the politicians construct in this state, the fewer businesses end up doing business up here. We as Alaskans are blessed with more resources than we know what to do with. Yet due to the actions of state and national politicians, regulators at all levels, environmentalists, various and sundry NIMBYs and BANANAs and the courts, we can’t get any of them out of the ground. Something is very wrong here. Something must, simply must change.
2. Stevens. State Senator Gary Sevens (R, Kodiak), leader of the previously mentioned Senate Bipartisan Coalition jumped into the Pebble mine fray last week with an anti-Pebble screed printed in the local fishwrapper. Stevens, who has been redistricted into Southwest Alaska is making a play for campaign donations from out of state commercial fishermen holding permits for Bristol Bay. Stevens wraps himself in the flag by resurrecting the memory of former governor Jay Hammond, asking if the new mine will meet Hammond’s four criteria for a project. These criteria are: 1. Is it environmentally sound? 2. Do most Alaskans want it? 3. Can it pay its own way? 4. Does it meet our constitution’s mandate to manage resources for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans? Stevens then sets up all the expected strawmen and expertly destroys them all. Interestingly enough, he hides behind the â€œscientificâ€ analysis by the EPA on mining. I may be slow, but it has been decades since the words â€œscienceâ€ and â€œEPAâ€ belong in the same sentence together, as the EPA was doing junk science on day one of its formation with their DDT Ban which reintroduced Malaria in the Third World, killing tens of millions over the last 40 years. So far, this mine, like all modern mines in the state is environmentally sound. They have done the requisite 20,000 page environmental impact statement. They have spent over $107 million in permitting so far and plan on spending another $400 million before they start mining. If Pebble is incapable of taking care of the local water and habitat, then no mine is capable of doing that and should shut down. Perhaps this is what Stevens is pandering to and is his goal. After all, he has done such a spectacular job with the oil and natural gas industry while leader of the Senate majority. I would submit that most Alaskans indeed do want a mine working a mineral and metals find worth what we have extracted from Prudhoe Bay since it has been open. A potential trillion dollars of product along with the long term, high paying jobs involved in extracting it will create a lot of wealth in this state. And it most certainly can pay its own way despite the best efforts of out of state commercial fishermen and Bob Gillam to ensure it does not. It will even fund sorely needed infrastructure in the region. Finally, it most certainly does meet the mandate to manage the resources for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans. Indeed, if this is the criteria, then one could make a case that the opposition by Bob Gillam and out of state commercial fishermen violates these criteria by definition. Gary Stevens is up for reelection in November. So far, nobody has filed to oppose him either as a democrat or a Republican. Filing closes on June 2. Perhaps we can run a potted plant against him, for a potted plant will do far less economic damage to this state than Stevens has done over the last half decade.
3. EPA. The anti-Pebble forces invited the EPA into the fray last year in an attempt to get them to preemptively kill the project via regulatory fiat. And the EPA has delivered, releasing late last week a draft of their watershed impact statement. It was full of â€œwoulda, coulda, shouldaâ€ machinations and excuses not to proceed. The EPA finds that a large dam holding tailings could fail and destroy watershed habitat for salmon spawning for decades to come. Of course, the EPA finds that that it has a low possibility of happening, and that the most likely impact is loss of habitat by the mine itself. As this report was rushed through the process, the EPA did not have time to come up with actual numbers of fish in the various streams. Instead, they essentially said: â€œFish good. Mines bad.â€ Big surprise, that. The EPA noted that the possibility for a tailings dam failure (the most destructive of all their scenarios) would be 1 in ten thousand for a dam built with standard mining practices. A state of the art mine like Pebble would move that possibility down to one in a million. Pebble is not the only proposed mine in the region, and adverse action by the EPA against Pebble will impact their ability to bring all those new mines and new jobs to the state also. The Bristol Bay fishermen need to be very careful bringing the Frankenstein’s Monster that is the EPA into this state. Every single one of those fishing and guide boats are fueled with diesel, bunker fuel or gasoline. Every single aircraft is fueled with AvGas. Every single engine emits particulates into the atmosphere and pollutes the â€œpristineâ€ salmon rearing habitat of the Bristol Bay watershed. What makes them think that once finished with Pebble, the EPA will not turn right around and do to the thousands of boats and aircraft what they have been doing to Shell Oil in the Chukchi Sea, shutting them down for mythical clean air violations? The EPA, like fire is a powerful tool but a fearsome master. This monster will turn on the people who brought them into the game and there will not be a lot they will be able to do about it. When that happens, few of us will lift a finger to do anything about it.
4. Ambush. Fresh from its slap-down at the hands of a federal court, the union lawyers Obama has appointed to the NLRB are doing their level best to reinstate ambush organization elections for businesses nationwide. An ambush election is one that can be held as little as 17 days after the union organizing files its petition with the NLRB. The normal period of time is 38 days, which allows the business owner to answer pro-union organizing campaign. Ambush elections successfully organize a business over 80% of the time. Longer time frames move that success rate much closer to 50%. The NLRB was down two members in December when it passed the new rule. The vote was two to zero, with the Republican appointee refusing to participate, which did not allow the union lawyers to have a legal quorum. The court agreed and tossed the rule. Since December, Obama has illegally appointed another pair of union lawyers into the two open spots, and they promise to reconvene and pass the ambush elections rule as soon as next week. The NLRB is completely out of control and like the EPA, only serves to destroy jobs and businesses. The new rule is an attack on small businesses nationwide. Time to shut these vermin down.
5. Bribery. Obama’s racist pastor Jeremiah Wright was back in the news last week with the story that he and his church were offered $150,000 in 2008 by the Obama campaign to stay out of the news until after the election. Something must have spun Wright up to go public with the story at this late date. Perhaps he is angling for another payday. In a related story, a Romney friendly SuperPac backer suggested that there was going to be a series of ads featuring Wright’s racist, anti-American rants from the pulpit during the campaign this summer and fall. This must have scared the Obamaoids, as they went into high dudgeon, issuing a number of very loud threats and complaints against the ads. Romney himself even got into the game by publicly disavowing all connection with the SuperPac and coming out strongly against the ads. This bothers me a lot about Romney (and all moderates). They have little problem going after conservatives hammer and tong, but when it comes time to do the same thing to their democrat opponents, they absolutely refuse. Examples? Try the last three Republican presidential candidates to lose: GHW Bush, Bob Dole and John McCain. Sooner or later you are going to have to fight the left. Refusal to slap them as hard as you previously slapped conservatives only serves to damage what little credibility you have with the conservative base during the election, damaging their enthusiasm and turnout. Cowardice does not win. Belief in your principles does. The Jeremiah Wright story is a gold mine of hatred, and anti-American, anti-white bigotry. Obama and Michelle sat in that church for 20 years. It is what they are all about. It is what fuels them. Time to discuss it.
More later -