Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Waxman/Markey and the destruction of capitalism

I wrote a letter to both my Colorado Senators earlier this week. I heard back from Michael Bennet. Mark Udall was "too busy" to answer, or even have a staffer answer. I'm not impressed with either Senator, but then, I didn't vote for either one of them when I had the chance. Michael Bennet is a replacement appointed by Governor Ritter when Ken Salazar was made Secretary of the Interior - another stab in the heart of freedom.

I did get an answer back from Senator Bennet. It was straight out of the Democratic playbook, but did address my concerns. I still wouldn't vote for him for dog-catcher in East Tincup, but that's another story. Here's his email and my answer. Also note you can't email the good Senator directly - you have to go through his front page, where you can easily be ignored.
Senator Bennet,

>Thank you for contacting me regarding our nation’s energy needs
>and energy legislation in the 111th Congress.

>As you know, America has an energy problem and the
>math tells the story: the United States consumes
>about one quarter of the world's oil, but has only
>three percent of the remaining total worldwide oil

The United States does NOT have an energy problem - it has a government problem, and a lawyer problem. There is plenty of oil. This government just won't allow any US company to drill for it. Even if the government were to allow some drilling, it would immediately be blocked by scores of "environmentalist groups" filing lawsuits in any and every jurisdiction they could reach. The NIMBYs whine and complain about everything and anything, forcing the cost of doing business to excessive levels.

>Our current rate of growth puts us on track to import 70
>percent of our oil in 2020, at costs even higher than today's.

Only because government at every level puts horrendous roadblocks in the way of companies to actually produce more domestic energy. If the United States government were to announce tomorrow that it was agreeing to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Bristol Bay, and anywhere in the Gulf of Mexico more than 30 miles from the coast, the price of oil would drop $30 a barrel overnight. That would not only make domestic energy cheaper, it would take billions from the coffers of our current enemies - most notably Russia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia.

>To achieve the goal of American energy independence, we need
>innovative, home-grown American solutions. First, we need to
>encourage research and development to improve efficiency and
>find ways to get more out of our existing energy resources.

To achieve the goal of American energy independence, we need the government to get out of the way. We need a mix of coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, and so-called "green" solutions (that mostly aren't). We've cleaned up coal to the point that our air is cleaner than its been since the 19th century - possibly before. As a historian, I KNOW how polluted the air was in the Northeast, in Britain, and in most of Europe just 100 years ago. We will continue to need coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear energy, and whatever water-generated energy we can capture. These will be our mainstays for the next 50 years, until we can develop replacements that will pollute less, provide reliable energy, and remain cost-effective. Wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, and all the other "green" solutions cannot produce the amount of energy necessary to replace other sources, cost more to operate, and cause as many new problems as they purport to solve (Hydroelectric dams are a good example - the problem of silt, of species migration, and several other problems we didn't consider when we built them).

>Second, we need to responsibly expand our domestic production
>options and invest in infrastructure. Finally, as billionaire
>oilman T. Boone Pickens has recently noted, we need new ideas
>and new markets if we are to solve our energy problem,
>including developing renewable energy resources that are
>abundantly available in Colorado.

The renewable energy resources in Colorado are not enough to supply the town of Trinidad. Tripling them still won't meet then needs of Trinidad.

>As you may know, lawmakers in Congress have been debating
>energy legislation that includes the implementation of a
>market-based cap-and-trade program. This legislation aims
>to improve air quality by requiring polluters to trade
>pollution allowances. The implementation of a national
>renewable electricity standard (RES), which requires
>electricity providers to produce a percent of their
>electricity from renewable sources, is also being considered.

Cap-and-Trade is a fiasco in search of the gullible. It pretends to solve a problem that doesn't exist. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ANTHROPOMORPHIC GLOBAL WARMING. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, it is not causing runaway heating, and it doesn't need to be regulated. The entire scheme is merely a means to exert more government control, raise the price of energy, and make a bunch of millionaires billionaires. Here are three (of hundreds) of links one of your aides can run down that show this to be true:

The only "proof" for CO2-induced climate change (since "global warming is so 20th century) are computer models - models that can't even verify the past, much less predict the future.

There is one good thing to come from all the "global warming" hoopla - we've finally taken a closer look at exactly what does affect our climate. Carbon dioxide isn't it - carbon dioxide levels have been 20 times higher than they are now, and it didn't destroy life on Earth. If anything, it made life better for all those that lived in those times. Much more attention is being paid to the role the Sun has in our climate - not only by the variation in energy produced, but by the effects of sunspots, solar magnetic field strength, solar wind, solar interaction with galactic cosmic rays, solar forcing from ocean heating and cooling, and dozens of other areas that weren't given much attention by the "climate change" crowd.

We still don't know everything we need to know. In some areas, we don't even know what we don't know. The relationship between the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the El Nino/La Nina Surface Oscillation, the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Surface Oscillation, deep-ocean current flow, seawater CO2 sequestration, the effects of all of these on weather (as opposed to climate), and more than a dozen other things are just beginning to percolate in our scientific community, and haven't reached the point where scientists can definitely say that two actions are linked.

If "climate change" is caused by carbon dioxide, then why have CO2 levels always FOLLOWED temperature increases in the historical record?

Just as an anecdotal comment, there is still snow on top of Pikes Peak. Ask some of the long-term residents how often that happens in mid-June.

A vote for Cap-and-trade is a vote to add an extra $1800 or more to the cost of energy for every American, a cost that will probably triple within five years. None of your constituents are going to be happy with that, and they WILL know.

>Cap and trade was proven effective in the United States
>in the 1990s when a similar program was implemented to
>successfully curb acid rain caused by sulfur dioxide (SO2)
>emissions. Through the trading of pollution credits,
>industries that could not reduce emissions were able to
>purchase allowances at a lower cost than the cost of
>reducing their emissions, and industries that reduced
>pollution earned revenue by selling extra allowances.

Cap and trade has proven to be an horrendous disaster in Europe, and the US law is based on the European one. Sulfur dioxide was a known pollutant, and caused a very significant problem (I saw some of the acid-rain-damaged forests in Europe when I was stationed there). Carbon dioxide doesn't meet that same standard - not by a long shot. Not many people exhale sulfur dioxide - EVERY ANIMAL on the planet Earth exhales carbon dioxide. Sulfur dioxide was reduced because the EPA established minimum release levels that all industries HAD to abide by.

>Colorado has been ahead of the curve when it comes to energy
>efficiency. In November 2004, Colorado became the first state
>in the country to pass a statewide ballot referendum
>(Amendment 37) requiring a renewable electricity standard (RES)
>that requires that a portion of retail electricity sales be
>supplied by renewable sources. The majority of states in the
>country have now adopted statewide electricity standards, also
>referred to as renewable portfolio standards (RPS).

Tell me, exactly how well has Colorado met that standard? I'd say that the amount of electricity generated by "alternate" or "renewable" standards is minute, the cost several times that for energy generated by any other source, and heavily-subsidized. The only renewable energy that is cost-effective is hydroelectric power. Ninety percent of that is probably generated by the station in the Grand Canyon of the Gunnison. There are a few places where geothermal power could be used to augment (but not replace) other sources of energy. A few people use wind power to supplement their power usage, but that's all wind will ever be useful for - supplementing existing sources. The same can be said for solar power.

France did quite a bit of experimenting with alternate energy sources in the 1960s and 1970s. They ended up opting for nuclear power as their primary source, with "alternate" energy sources for supplementation. We could learn a lot from the mistakes and miscalculations the French made before the settled down to their current system.

>There are still many details to address before the President can
>sign a final comprehensive energy bill. First, Congress must ensure
>that the bill does not cause a rise in consumer energy prices.

Impossible. ANY restrictions, additional regulations, penalties, etc., that result from cap and trade will be passed on to the customer. Just satisfying the paperwork requirements will raise prices. NOTHING Congress does happens without someone, somewhere, paying more because of it.

>Second, the legislation must be carefully drafted in a way that
>limits future legal challenges.

Again, impossible. You're expecting the most litigious society in the world to accept one of the most intrusive pieces of legislation in our generation to NOT find a way to sue someone because of it. It won't happen. The only thing to do is to try to ensure that the majority of those lawsuits will be rejected for failing to provide evidence of harm. The information I've seen on the current bill doesn't even come close to meeting that requirement.

>Third, the bill must be drafted in a way that stimulates, not hurts,
>the American economy.

Again, you're talking about limiting growth of proven energy-producing operations, replacing them with pie-in-the-sky "renewable" sources THAT DO NOT EXIST, and pretending it won't hurt the economy.

Before you vote on this monstrosity, I suggest you spend some time with a true Colorado resource, Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. He is professor-emeritus at the University of Colorado. I'm sure you can find him easily enough. Spend a couple of hours with him. I think it will be well worth your time.

>Please do not respond to this email. To send another message please
>visit my website at and fill out the
>webform for a prompt response. Thank you.

I have no hope that Colorado will be adequately represented by this individual.

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