Election 2014

Obama and Dems Rebuked by Electorate on Climate and Energy Policy

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Sad Obama
FredTexas

President Barack Obama had hoped to make addressing climate change and the transformation of the U.S. energy generation system one of the chief legacies of his administration. The Republican takeover in the Senate and the increased Republican majority in the House of Representatives will likely stymie the president's efforts to impose various forms of energy rationing.

Keystone Pipeline: No less than three environmental reviews have found that this pipeline that would transport nearly 1 million barrels per day of Canadian oilsands crude to the Gulf Coast for refining is adequately safe. In a perfect example of cowardly political calculation, the president has been afraid to nix the project because it would alienate the crucial union voting bloc. Now both the House and the Senate will pass legislation approving the pipeline which the president may well veto. Who's causing gridlock now?

U.N. Climate Change negotiations: The nations of the world are supposed to adopt a binding treaty limiting the emissions of greenhouse gases at the 2015 U.N. climate change conference in Paris. The president has long recognized that there was no way that such a treaty would obtain the required two-thirds vote of the Senate for ratification. Instead, the president has devised a plan in which a U.S. pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, and 83 percent by 2050 would be tacked onto the existing U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The president argues that such pledges do not need further ratification by the U.S. Senate. The new Republican majority will beg to differ.

EPA's Plan to Cut Electric Power Carbon Dioxide emissions: In June, the Obama administration proposed regulations that aim to cut carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's power plants 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The Republicans denounced this as Obama's War on Coal. The election of Shelley Moore Capito as the first Republican senator from West Virginia in nearly 55 years suggests that the war is not going so well for the president; not to mention the re-election of Mitch McConnell from Kentucky.

Environmentalist PAC Spending: Billionaire Tom Steyer's NextGen Climate PAC reportedly spent $74 million attacking Republicans he regards as climate change "deniers." The National Journal succinctly notes, "He Didn't Get Much to Show For It." The New Republic grouses that the voters have made "climate change denier" Sen. James Inhofe "the most powerful senator on the environment."

The day before the mid-term elections, The Hill reported:

Nearly half of voters in the midterm election want the federal government to adopt more policies to fight climate change, according to a new poll.

The Huffington Post/YouGov survey concluded that 49 percent of people likely to vote in Tuesday's election want stricter climate policies. Thirty-five percent opposed climate rules.

Well, maybe. But it's pretty clear that as worried as Americans might be about future climate change, they regard other issues as more pressing.

NEXT: Sandra Fluke Loses State Senate Bid

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  1. Pffft. Climate change is so important to consolidating government power to saving the world that the mere American People shouldn’t have a say in its resolution.

  2. I wouldn’t have a problem with the pipeline if no one used eminent domain to build it.

    1. So you just not want them built? They are virtually impossible to build without ED.

      Without using ED, every land owner can hold out for a premium over and above the market value of his land. Since they are not just building it across his land, the owner can hold out for a piece of the value of everyone else’ land or the cost building the pipeline around his land. So the pipeline either doesn’t get built or if it does is built in some strange and inefficient way or is built at the extra cost of paying the extortion money to various well positioned land owners.

      Most land owners don’t care or don’t think it through and are happy to take the money offered since allowing a pipeline hardly reduces the utility of their land. But a few are smart enough to extort out extra money. All ED does is tell them they can’t do that and makes them take market value.

      I understand the theoretical objections to that. But it is not as simple of an issue as other uses of ED for things like stadiums and urban renewal and such, if for no other reason than you are only taking a right away and not the entire property.

      People like you and Bo who constantly pretend it is either don’t understand the issue or are just trolling and are happy to see the pipelines not built in the name of mother earth.

      1. Maybe the feds can just give all of the farmers flying tractors. Then it shouldn’t be an issue.

        1. I’m pretty sure it’s buried.

          1. “I’m pretty sure it’s buried.”

            It looks like you are correct:

            “The pipeline will be buried about four feet beneath the ground and require a 50-foot permanent right of way along its entire course.”

            http://www.popularmechanics.co…..t-15322047

        2. Why would they? Once the pipeline is in, you can farm over it. And if they ever have to come and fix the thing, they have to pay you for any damage they do to the surface.

          We are talking about a pipeline right of way here. It means they come in and put in a pipeline and go away leaving you to use the land anyway you like, other than digging up their pipeline and they pay you for the trouble.

          It drives me nuts to think this is the same thing as tearing down people’s homes to build a football stadium.

          1. Ok, I get it now. I was just envisioning this big pipe running across the landscape. If it’s buried, what’s the big deal as long as it’s not running through your basement?

            1. There probably are some restrictions. More than likely you aren’t allowed to place any structures on the 50 foot right of way without permission from the pipeline owners.

              Generally speaking, fences and gravel roads aren’t a problem, but you can’t build a building on it.

              1. I’m sure there will be shitfits by the farmers when hunters take advantage of that 50 foot easement to get access for hunting.

                I know farmers in North Dakota who can’t stand the idea that you can walk along a railroad track that runs through their land.

                1. I’m sure there will be shitfits by the farmers when hunters take advantage of that 50 foot easement to get access for hunting.

                  As they should. Pipeline easements aren’t public rights of way. Their use is restricted to what is needed for the pipeline itself. Any hunter on your land without permission is trespassing, regardless of whether he is standing over a buried pipeline, under an electrical line, or anywhere else that isn’t a public easement.

              2. My company is building pipelines right now, and actually, asphalt roads aren’t even a problem. Nor are sheds, cabins, etc., as long as they don’t have underground electrical. No underground structure, no underground plumbing unless there is a shutoff built in off the right-of-way, and no concrete roadbeds unless they were there prior to the pipe being put in. The restrictions aren’t very onerous.

      2. every land owner can hold out for a premium over and above the market value of his land

        Uh, the market value is the price that the land owner is willing to see it (or an easement) for, not what it “should” be worth.

        1. sell, not see. John’s keyboard is contagious.

        2. Yes and no. The “market value” should be the value that the use of your land ads to the project. Instead, it becomes that value plus whatever you can extort out of the company because your single objection costs money.

          Is that market value? I would argue it isn’t because it is artificially high and higher than the actual value the use of your land is adding. It is “negotiated value” which is not the same as market value.

          Think of it this way, a company that has a government sanctioned monopoly has the right to charge whatever customers are willing to pay. Is that the market value? Well by your definition it is since customers are free to not buy the product. I would say no it is not market value since the government monopoly is allowing them to charge a higher price than they would in a normally functioning market.

          Its the same here. The nature of a pipeline allows recalcitrant owners the ability to have more leverage than they would in a regular transaction.

          1. The mere fact that the company wants it increases it’s value.

            Supply…

            Demand…

            1. But the company is prevented from using its leverage because of the public approval process. Without that, the company just tells any land owner, if you don’t want to sell, fine we will just get it from your neighbor. Because there is such a long public approval process, they can’t do that. Everyone knows where the pipeline is going and changing the route requires going back and playing mother may I with the regulators.

              So the company no longer has the leverage it should have. And this allows land owners to extort money from them. The public approval process gives the land owners an unfair bargaining position. It is nothing but a publicly mandated monopoly for those selected landowners.

              Just because something is negotiated and has a price, doesn’t mean it is the “market price”, especially when the government has stepped in and given one side more leverage.

              1. True. The government shouldn’t be involved on either side. Having them fuck both sides doesn’t really make it better.

          2. Think of it this way, a company that has a government sanctioned monopoly has the right to charge whatever customers are willing to pay. Is that the market value? Well by your definition it is since customers are free to not buy the product. I would say no it is not market value since the government monopoly is allowing them to charge a higher price than they would in a normally functioning market.

            That analogy is problematic. A company is in the business of selling its product or service. I am not in the business of selling my land. Your analogy would only work if the company in question were being forced to nationalize all or part of its holdings.

            Furthermore, a “fair market value” assumes an open and free market. If I’m a farmer and I’m selling farm land, I’m targeting other farmers and basing my price accordingly. Maybe I’m also looking at developers if there’s some value to be had there. The point is, I’ve decided to enter the market and am entertaining competitive bids with the option to withdraw from the market at will. ED cannot by its very nature establish a true FMV because there is only one buyer (the government) and the terms of the sale are forced upon the seller.

            I’m not arguing the merits one way or the other. I’m saying that we should be very clear about what this entails.

      3. Yep. True public goods like pipelines, utilities, roads, and railroads and such are the reason why the power of eminent domain was granted in the Constitution in the first place.

        There’s no doubt it absolutely sucks for the people who have to sell their homes and don’t want to, but without this power we would still be living in a pre-industrial agrarian society.

        1. but without this power we would still be living in a pre-industrial agrarian society.

          Would we? Or would the free market come up with another solution, perhaps even more innovative?

          I find the argument that if the government doesn’t do it through force, it can’t/won’t be done, to be a tremendous cop out. It’s just hard to imagine another way once it’s been done through force.

          1. Would we? Or would the free market come up with another solution, perhaps even more innovative?

            No. The only reason you need ED in this kinds of projects is because the public approval process undermines the builders’ bargaining position. So if you got rid of public approval, pipelines would get built just fine no ED needed.

          2. Without ED, we’d have home nuclear reactors and fuel synthesizers by now instead of this grid bullshit. And we wouldn’t have to worry about solar flares, EMP’s, or any of the other liabilities of communal power infrastructure.

      4. So you just not want them built? They are virtually impossible to build without ED.

        If it involves taking people’s property then, no, it shouldn’t be built. If they would like to voluntarily sell their property then, ok.

    2. If they didn’t make it so that the entire exact route has to get federal (and state and local) approval ahead of time, eminent domain could be avoided. I’d trade getting rid of the need to federally approve it at all for the eminent domain.

      If you can change the routing to go around holdouts (without incurring an extra 5-10 years of NEPA review) then you can get rid of eminent domain for the most part.

      1. That is an excellent point. The way you avoid the recalcitrant land owner problem I describe is you quietly buy the right of ways before the land owners figure out what is going on and try to extort you. The pipeline companies can’t do that since they have to come out publicly and propose the route.

        I had never thought of that but you are exactly right. This is why things like fiber optic cables can be laid without using ED. The companies don’t have to get public approval and are able to quietly by up the necessary easements without being extorted.

        1. That is an excellent point. The way you avoid the recalcitrant land owner problem I describe is you quietly buy the right of ways before the land owners figure out what is going on and try to extort you.

          Buy the option to buy the right of way along multiple routes. It gives the buyer leverage against holdouts at the cost of the options.

          1. Exactly. But the public approval process locks the building into one route and prevents him from doing any of that. He has to buy from those land owners or get the regulators to approve a new route.

            If people don’t like that ED is used in these projects, they need to get rid of the public approval process.

      2. I wonder, on balance, what would cost more, the lawyering and lobbying required or the cash to the land owners?

        1. It is not even close. It costs a fortune to get something like this approved. And the ED doesn’t save you any money. It just keeps the landowners from extorting you. But if you don’t have to go through the public process, you can keep them from doing that by not publicly announcing the route and quietly buying the easements before anyone can extort you.

          If the route isn’t subject to public approval, you can just reroute the pipeline if some land owner doesn’t want to play ball. If it is, you can’t do that without starting the process all over again.

          1. For something this big, I’m pretty sure word would get out at some point. Although it’d be awesome for them to see them do a blitzkrieg at the same time in every property it passes through so as not to allow time for it to be public.

            1. The thing is that the public approval process prevents them from easily changing the route. In a free market they would have leverage against any landowner because they could just buy from their neighbor if they didn’t want to sell at a reasonable price. But the public approval process prevents them from doing this.

      3. While you proposal would have a positive effect it is not as pure a fix as you state.

        A pipeline can’t have a bunch of 90 degree right and left turns jockeying around different landowners.

        1. That’s why you buy the easements before you start laying the pipeline. It could have gentle curves along a planned route, or a completely different route to avoid certain landowners.

  3. What? People don’t want their energy costs to ‘necessarily skyrocket’ so that some leftist ideologue can feel all puffed up about ‘saving the planet’?

    Shocking.

    1. I wonder why the People’s Climate March chose September?

  4. The Republican takeover in the Senate and the increased Republican majority in the House of Representatives will likely stymie the president’s efforts to impose various forms of energy rationing.

    Rationing

    Nice to see some one finally calling it what it really is. Yes, rationing – even in the face of increasing energy production – and even though the energy shortage crisis all the damned watermelons were predicting back in the 70’s never quite came about. Because, you see, that’s what all that bullshit was really about – making the US and the rest of the developed world make do with less.

    1. It is rationing. It is artificially reducing the supply of energy so that its price goes up and people use less of it and are poorer because the government knows what is good for them.

      And I hope finally Bailey is getting smarter on these issues. For years Bailey has supported things like carbon taxes and emissions trading on the theory that as long as the rationing is done by price and in some form of market it is okay and green energy policies are not making us poorer.

      1. Well, hell, John, they have to keep people poor – how else can they be made to accept a cradle-to-grave welfare state? People who can provide themselves a decent standard of living are not very easy to rule – they get uppity with their “betters.”

      2. This is all stupid anyway. By the time we are even close to running out of fossil fuels, we’ll have fusion. It will all be a moot point.

        Then we can get on with raping poor luna since we’ve finished with raping poor gaia. Maybe even move on to some martian rape and comet rape.

        1. I heard, the other day, Saturn, actually all the gas giants, have a lot of He-3. Let’s rape them too.

          1. I’m all about some gas giant rapin. Except for Al Gore, he’s icky.

        2. But we use hydrocarbons to do a lot of things besides heat our homes and drive our cars.

          And I hope you are right about fusion, though I will believe it when I see it. If it does happen, I have no doubt the Greens will figure out a way to argue that it is unsafe and bad for the environment. Sadly, they are likely to get a sympathetic hearing from Bailey.

          1. It will happen. I won’t predict how long before it will start becoming a major source of energy. But it’s going to happen.

            Of course the luddites will fight against it. That’s what they do.

            1. Will they label my electricity clearly as FMO (fusion modified output)?

              How else will I know I’m getting good old fashioned juice that won’t aggravate my autistic kid’s gluten allergy?

        3. Well, it’s also stupid because “carbon footprints” and associated shit are canards. That nonsense has more to do with the socialist co-opting of the environmental movement than any real concern for ecology. If the Greens really gave a shit they’d focus on things like deforestation and water quality. And guess what two problems have been aggravated by the push to biofuels. Also, the anti-GMO crowd’s rabid hate of new crops that are much easier on soil is a fun paradox.

      3. I hope Bailey gets it too, but I don’t believe I would put any money on it.

        It is his religion after all, and pretty much immune to logical argument.

    2. making the US and the rest of the developed world make do with less.

      But only the plebes, not the important people. So you see, it’s ok. No one really needs electricity.

      1. Yes, well,
        “some animals are more equal than others”

      2. “But only the plebes, not the important people. So you see, it’s ok. No one really needs electricity.”

        Well the important people will just pay for their carbon credits, much like buying indulgences in the Middle Ages. And then when they ride in their personal jet and the Limo picks them up at the airport to take them to the Environmental Conference, they can feel free to publically criticize all those rednecks destroying the environment with their trucks and SUVs.

  5. There was been a steady majority of 55-57 in favor of Keystone XL in the Senate. I say 55-57 because there’s a lot of Dems rhetorically and theoretically in favor who have never actually voted on it, because Harry Reid hasn’t let any bill or amendment about it come to a vote. (A bipartisan energy bill was sunk because he wouldn’t allow amendments.)

    Allowing a vote would mean allowing a chance that the Dems would lose. He thought that avoiding the tough vote meant that Dems in red states could stay rhetorically in favor and not piss anybody off. Instead, it looks like it just meant that the only things the Senate voted on were party line liberal instead of bipartisan votes (whether patent reform or energy or restricting pot raids anything else that passed the House), leading to a bunch of ads about how supposed moderates voted “99% with President Obama.”

    Allowing a few free votes and losing on the small things in order to have your moderate members look moderate is sometimes the wiser long term strategy. But the Reid Rule worked about as well as the Hastert Rule.

    House actually allowed a lot of free votes, which is why all those pro-states’ rights on pot bills passed with a Dem-libertarian GOP coalition.

  6. I say 55-57 because there’s a lot of Dems rhetorically and theoretically in favor who have never actually voted on it, because Harry Reid hasn’t let any bill or amendment about it come to a vote. (A bipartisan energy bill was sunk because he wouldn’t allow amendments

    I would be willing to wager that a few more Dems will now be in favor of it. Especially the ones up for the next re-election. Obama won’t sign it, so they’ll need a veto proof majority. That’s what it will come down to.

    I know it hasn’t been discussed much yet. But will Obama now move a little more to the right? No way, he’ll pucker up that sour face of his and move even further left.

    1. “I know it hasn’t been discussed much yet. But will Obama now move a little more to the right? No way, he’ll pucker up that sour face of his and move even further left.”

      This is Obama’s chance to become a Clinton style triangulator and have a legacy. I’m really not sure which way he’ll go, but clearly his inclination is to tell Congress FU. On the other hand, I’m sure at least some of his advisors will be telling him that an obviously confrontational attitude won’t go over well with the Independent vote.

      It’s interesting, because the Left has been consistently denying any Obama/Reid obstructionism and blaming everything on Republican’s. And the majority of the media has generally supported that narrative. Despite Reid’s No Minority Amendments rule & Reid going to the nuclear option for judicial appointments.

      Well, now we’ll see. It’s going to be pretty damn hard to spin a Presidential Veto (even a pocket veto) as Republican obstructionism.

      1. How many narcissists do you know that humbly back down when they lose?

        Yeah, he’s gonna come unhinged.

  7. “the president has been afraid to nix the project because it would alienate the crucial union voting bloc.”

    I think it would also wipe out $Ms in donations:
    “Billionaire hedge fund operator and “green” energy magnate Tom Steyer has pledged $100 million in the 2014 election cycle to help Democratic candidates who oppose the Keystone pipeline and who favor “green” energy over fossil fuels.”
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/a…..steyer.php

    BTW, that link points out the guy’s hypocrisy also.

    1. Steyer’s money didn’t seem to have done him much good.

      1. I love it when leftists waste their money on useless causes.

      2. And not one of the “overturn Citizen’s United,” crowd will get the fact that one of their poster children would be shut out, were they to be successful (which I highly doubt).

        1. Nor will they understand that ‘buying’ an election depends on whether the voters are selling.

    2. And the useful idiots will keep crying for more green energy and then when they get it and discover that their energy costs are so high that they now have to decide between eating and the new iPhone, they’ll be screaming at the wall and looking dumbstruck, and somehow blame Republicans.

      Progressive really are just the luddites of today. There is no real difference.

    3. “Billionaire hedge fund operator and “green” energy magnate Tom Steyer has pledged $100 million in the 2014 election cycle to help Democratic candidates who oppose the Keystone pipeline and who favor “green” energy over fossil fuels.”

      Gasp!!! Why, that sounds almost like big corporate, crony capitalism!

  8. Nearly half of voters in the midterm election want the federal government to adopt more policies to fight climate change, according to a new poll.

    Funny how choice of words can make a difference.

    “Nearly half” sounds much more impressive than “less than half”.

    1. I’d also like to see that poll.
      If it’s one of those “wouldn’t it be nice if X and BTW, it’s free” polls, I’m sure you can get ‘nearly half’ to agree.

  9. “The president argues that such pledges do not need further ratification by the U.S. Senate.”

    I’ll agree. They do not need such ratification, since they are not worth the breath it took to state them.
    Obo can “pledge” any damn thing he likes; if he presumes it obligates me in any manner at all, I’ll tell him to stuff his “pledge”.

  10. I thought the Canadians just came up with a pipeline project that eliminated the need for Keystone XL….

  11. Isn’t “nearly half of voters in the midterm election want the federal government to adopt more policies to fight climate change” just another way of saying “most voters don’t think it is important to adopt more policies to fight climate change”?

    1. Or, stated another way, “nearly half of voters in the midterm election think they have no personal responsibility whatsoever to fight climate change (such as owning fuel-efficient cars and homes), but instead believe the gub’mint can magically eliminate the negative potential effects of climate change by making MOAR LAWZ.”

  12. I love watching Tom Steyer’s money burn. I wonder what its carbon footprint is?

  13. We always get what we want, and we wanted the GOP in. C’est la vie.

  14. It must be funny for some to see everyone rushing to the right and to the left, running political campaigns and elections when they already know that everything is fixed right from the start. Why these masquerades when it is clear that Jeb Bush will be at the White House in 2016 and all the promises made by these State politicians will hold no value? Today a widespread turmoil and a growing social discontent should be viewed in a larger context and not simply within the walls of local politics. We are now experiencing one of the stages of a World conspiracy and wherever you are in the World you are also part of it. Don’t let the media fool you. The conspiracy is not a theory.

    Once you recognized the objective of the Conspiracy all the rest will be easy to comprehend and to foresee. Besides, it will make no more sense to continue to play Monopoly when somebody has already stolen all the money.

    http://www.wavevolution.org/en/humanwaves.html

  15. i am pretty amused by all this support for taking private property by eminent domain to build keystone pipeline. conoco phillips salutes you and your principled libertarian stand to take private property forcibly to give to your well-connected buddies. because freedom. never met a libertarian who didn’t have everything given to him. this is why it seem obvious that having everything given to you is the natural, unaffected order of things. because freedom.

  16. fireball

  17. Leaflet.

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