Let The Dismantling Begin: Climate-Change Denier Scott Pruitt Trump’s Pick For New EPA Chief

DEC 8 2016 BY JAY COLE 191

Oklahoma Attorney General And Climate Change Skeptic Scott Pruitt Takes To Take Over Head Of EPa

Oklahoma Attorney General And Climate Change Skeptic Scott Pruitt Takes To Take Over Head Of EPa

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the EPA, and its battle to install fleet C02/54.5 MPG standards for 2025 before President-Elect Trump takes office, and to encourage “clean” energy sourcing and production (basically just trying to do the right thing for the health of the America people as a whole) – it does get worse.

Much worse.  The EPA as we know it has basically died.

President-Elect Trump has named Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, as his nominee for EPA administrator.

"Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime. Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435470/climate-change-attorneys-general" - Pruitt to the National Review

“Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind. That debate should be encouraged — in classrooms, public forums, and the halls of Congress. It should not be silenced with threats of prosecution. Dissent is not a crime.” Pruitt to the National Review

Why is this bad?  Without getting “into it” too much. Mr. Pruitt has sued the EPA, the organization he will now take over, THREE times to protect  the interests of the fossil-fuel industry.

And as (one assumes) as a requirement of being the ‘bad guy’ for big oil and coal, you have to cast doubt on climate change, of which Pruitt states the matter is “far from settled”.

Now Pruitt will take over the agency, and he has the full blessing of the new administration to basically tear it down.  Trump’s transition team in a news release Thursday said Pruitt “brings a deep understanding of the impact of regulations on both the environment and the economy,” and add this not-so-cryptic note:

“For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn.”

Trump said Pruitt will (via Washington Post):

“(Pruitt) will reverse this trend and restore the EPA’s essential mission of keeping our air and our water clean and safe. My administration “strongly believes in environmental protection, and Scott Pruitt will be a powerful advocate for that mission while promoting jobs, safety and opportunity.”

In a similar stomach-turning fashion, Pruitt said of his nomination,

“The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses.”

As one expects, the Democrats are none too happy.

Sheldon Whitehouse (Sen from R.I.) said that he opposes Pruitt not just because he is a climate-change denier, but that he has spent “his entire life in service” to oil and gas, and the nomination itself is a “matter of corruption”.

Meanwhile the Whitehouse said on a call with reporters that “We need rally points in our cause and this appointment ought to be a rally point.

“First for our [green] groups and for young people, who feel that climate change is a vitally important issue. And it should be a rally point for some for our corporations who talk a very good game on climate ― but none of whom take serious action [with] Congress.” (via Huffington Post)

Pruitt before a congressional committee on issues surrounding energy and the environment (via Ok.gov))

Pruitt before a congressional committee on issues surrounding energy and the environment (via Ok.gov)

Ken Cook, head of the Environmental Working Group, laid it all out fairly clearly in a blog released on his agency’s website:

The nation’s public health protection laws, including those in place to reduce pollution in our air, land and water, will be under withering assault with President-elect Donald Trump’s apparent pick of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to run the Environmental Protection Agency, said EWG President Ken Cook.

“Many of the counties and regions that voted for Mr. Trump have some of the dirtiest air and water in the country, and with Mr. Pruitt as head of the EPA, it will get even worse for those communities,” Cook said. “Nobody voted for dirty air and water – including the millions who supported Trump, but that’s what Americans will get under a Pruitt EPA.”

“There has been no bigger antagonist from the states against efforts to protect public health than Pruitt. He’s sued the EPA repeatedly over the agency’s efforts to reduce the number of children who are exposed to dangerous air pollutants that can diminish brain development or trigger asthma attacks, and he has targeted programs to protect vital drinking water sources for millions of people, mostly in rural areas of the country.”

“During the campaign, Mr. Trump regularly threatened to dismantle the EPA and roll back many of the gains made to reduce Americans’ exposures to industrial pollution, and with Pruitt, the President-elect would make good on those threats.”  

“It’s a safe assumption that Pruitt could be the most hostile EPA administrator toward clean air and safe drinking water in history,” Cook said. 

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a particularly noteworthy example. This EPA regulation, one of the most ambitious ever proposed, will shutter coal-fired power plants, significantly increase the price of electricity for American consumers, Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/435470/climate-change-attorneys-general

Pruit on President Obama’s Clean Power Plan:  “This EPA regulation, one of the most ambitious ever proposed, will shutter coal-fired power plants, significantly increase the price of electricity for American consumers and enact by executive fiat the very same cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions that Congress has rejected.” via National Review – May 17, 2016
Why should be concerned about Pruitt, here is a “Top 6” via the EWG

Why should be concerned about Pruitt, here is aTop 6 via the EWG:

  1. Pruitt’s LinkedIn profile boasts that he “is a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”
  2. Politico reported that for Pruitt’s 2014 re-election campaign, in which he ran unopposed, he raised $114,000 from energy company PACs and executives, including donations from ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and oil and coal industry interests.
  3. As attorney general, in 2014 Pruitt sent a letter to the EPA claiming the agency had overestimated the amount of air pollution caused by drilling for natural gas. A New York Times investigation found that the letter was not actually written by Pruitt, but by lawyers for one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies.
  4. In 2014, he sued the EPA over the agency’s cross-state pollution rule that seeks to curb the drift of industrial pollutants such as arsenic, mercury and other environmental toxins.
  5. In 2015, he sued the EPA again over the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants. The EPA estimates that the plan would avoid 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma cases by 2030.
  6. Earlier this year, Pruitt co-authored a National Review op-ed questioning the “degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.”

A Senate confirmation confrontation battle of sorts over this appointment is of course still to come, as several Democrat senators are on record to oppose the nomination, but realistically that is an uphill battle at best, as nominees can’t be filibustered any more, and just a majority vote is need.

From here, we basically have to assume the EPA is a shell of its former self, and is dead to those of us who are looking for EV adoption to spread throughout the US as quickly as possible, and for power generation/oil production to get markedly cleaner (or even stay ‘as is’) over the next administration’s term.

With that said, this appointment has started the first of some very ugly and high profile battles between the new administration and not only environmental groups, but also a very large portion of the US population – a group the President-Elect did not agitate to near this degree on the campaign trail, but now may well have underestimated the size and scope of…especially if Trump has hopes for a second term.

From here it will only gets worse in the short term, as one of the first targets on Pruitt’s agenda once head of the EPA is likely to “harmonized standards” between his organization and CARB – the true holder of the key to EV adoption in the US.

Washington Post, New York TimesEnvironmental Working Group

Categories: General

Tags:

Leave a Reply

191 Comments on "Let The Dismantling Begin: Climate-Change Denier Scott Pruitt Trump’s Pick For New EPA Chief"

newest oldest most voted

aw SNAP!
Here we go!!!!!

Lesson: How Repubs Fail at Government.

Regulations have a Cost/Benefit analysis to justify their existence. The Benefit has to be higher than the cost. In most cases Much Higher.

So, Repubs put into a nut job, who believes the Pollution Industry should pollute for free.

Result: Because your taking “the under”, the other side of the bet on a Cost/Benefit analysis, the ONLY Result your going to get is UNDERPERFORMANCE compared to a Democratic administration.

Repubs: Born to Fail, proven by statistics.

Omg what have you guys done to your beautiful country!

US cities can soon compete with China’s cities regarding air pollution.

This would mean Less Competition for Tesla …Competition is Good for constant improvement …Europe China etc; will be light years ahead of us in 4 years …USA will be the New 0ld China ….

FOX IN THE HEN HOUSE!!!

I think you mean: We have hired the fox to guard the hen-house.

fox news in the hen house

Thankfully I live in California, in Sacramento, and actually have regular interactions with ARB staff relative to plans and actions for this state. As President of the Sacramento Electric Vehicle Association (SacEV) our group has direct information input to CARB and other state officials relative to environmental issues. I can only sympathize with those of you who suffer under other political ethos, but here I assure you, the California “resistance” will continue and our significant political clout at least at the state level will persist in support of compassionate environmental policy and actions.

@George, I’m pretty sure that the incoming team will also try to dismantle CARB’s autonomy.

In fact, the backstabbing automakers’ association has already asked Trump to do so.

No, this will have to be a full-court press defense, not hunkering down in our Left Coast temporarily safe havens.

The Clean Air Act outlines government responsibility. The Supreme Court has ruled that CO2 is a pollutant which can be regulated.
If the new EPA Administrator refuses to enforce the law, that will be visible to everyone then court action can be taken to compel them under law.

The Clean Air Act includes a provision that enables California to establish its own vehicle emission standards. Congress can amend the Clean Air Act to remove that provision.

The Supreme Court ruled, but a new Supreme Court with a couple of Trump appointees can get another case through the courts and rule differently.

Supreme Court rulings can be overturned by future Supreme Courts. There is no laying back and pretending everything will be safe and fine because of anything that happened in the past.

“Can be regulated” is not must be regulated.

Hopefully that’s the case, but how long can the CARB survive with no Federal funding? How will EV adoption do with no Federal tax credit?

CARB is California organization and as such doesnt depend on feds.

CARB is part of CEPA which is state funded. A state can have MORE restrictive regulations than federal.

Thankfully you live in CA – OK, something tells me living in the fairytale land of North CA had fogged you vision. CA is the land of the full size SUV kiddy shuttles and gas guzzling full-size imports from MB, BMW, and Audi. The average person, outside of a dozen or so costal cities, does not want the regulation you are so happy about.

However, you are in luck that Trump’s view is that it is OK to manage at the state level the types of regulations he does not feel the EPA/Fed should manage/mandate – the only question is, if the Fed does to pay the bill will the people of CA want to? Based on the cars I see on the road every day, my guess is NO

L.A. air quality is FAR better than 50 years ago considering there are MANY more people. Without the clean air act people would be dying in the streets.

The irony, I’ll say, is that if this were an issue the majority were behind, then the majority would act responsibly without the need for government intervention.

That aside, I’m an economist at heart and I realize the external costs of polluting should be internalized to be reflected in the price of the goods causing the polluting.

That could and should be done, and if so, you largely wouldn’t need an EPA, just raise the gas tax considerably to account for the social, health and environmental costs of using that gas. $5 gas should be the floor, $10 would not be unreasonable.

Better yet, completely drop all Petrol subsidies all at once and let the price of gas hit $22.00/gal where it REALLY is.

the problem isn’t “if” the majority gets behind this issue, the problem is “when”; the when being after the effects of climate change arrive at their front doors. the problem with this is that if you wait until you see the result of climate change, it’s too late to avoid suffering the consequences.

as to raising taxes on gasoline or imposing carbon taxes, how do you thing that would happen? who do you think is the agency that would push for such legislation? that’s right, the EPA.

the reason why libertarianism fails so badly is that the general public rarely has the time (or motivation) to independently research the issues. so you need regulatory bodies that will do this kind of research so as to have an informed basis for the development of policies in the public interest.

I guess my point was more that, in reality, an EPA – Economist Political Agency – could do a lot of the same legislation from an economic theory standpoint. You don’t necessarily need a large agency like the EPA, though I’m not claiming they don’t help. But from an economist viewpoint, tax items to internalize external costs, and place import tariffs on goods made by cheap labor. In those two actions, you preserve American jobs, you preserve the environment, and you increase overall well-being on both points. Granted, that’s over-simplified. People will be upset with higher cost goods with both of these policies. But that gets to the other wrench in the gears… Economically, our society is artificially propped up to a level that can’t really be sustained. The above issues that face us from the environmental and jobs fronts actually help to keep us sustaining a level of prosperity that really isn’t sustainable. Which gets especially discouraging considering the amount of poverty we already have. I guess I’ve gone on a tangent, but I think it’s all a relevant discussion. Everything’s connected, and if you don’t try to consider all the aspects properly, the house of cards of our… Read more »

The incoming administration would argue that economically the right answer would be to kill green everything in order to get full employment in the Coal and oil/gas industries in order to make those industries great again. Just like in the old days before the “politically correct” greenie programs supported by hippie communists distorted the free market.

Your ideas only work if decisions are based upon science and math, and not on attracting voters for the next election cycle.

It’s true that it only works if you look at the whole picture from a true economical standpoint, without political bias (to the extent possible).

If done that way (utopian view perhaps) a lot of the environmental problems and job losses go away. But other problems could certainly arise, e.g. a lower standard of living for the majority of Americans.

Yes, very Utopian, I agree. Unfortunately I see the current trend being a further turn away from science and fact based governance, and more towards confirmation bias based governance.

“just raise the gas tax considerably to account for the social, health and environmental costs of using that gas. $5 gas should be the floor, $10 would not be unreasonable”

I fully agree with you and would welcome such a tax. But there is not a politician in this country that could get elected on that platform. That’s why we need to sneak things in like the tax-credit.

Yes, putting the right price on carbon – one that reflects all of the costs, not just the cost of providing the stuff to consumers, but the considerable costs associated with burning it – is the obvious best model. But like a lot of economists you seem to ignore the many and real difficulties with just ditching the system we’ve made and thereby make many innocent people suffer. If you’ve let people make their decisions about where to buy a house, where to go to work, where the kids should go to kindergarten, school and soccer practice, on the basis of how long it takes and what it costs to move between these places, you can’t just radically change the rules overnight. The social impact of solving this problem just through carbon pricing is unacceptable. Nobody would be harder hit than the single mother with the kids and two jobs who simply can’t get by without the car. Triple her travel expenses and subsidize the public transport in Manhattan! It makes perfect sense if you narrowly look at emissions, but it is the diametrical opposite of what we’d like to see happen with social and financial equity. That’s why it… Read more »

Suppose an environmentalist, who happened to Drive a Prius (100% gasoline powered) decided you should pay $1.00/ kwh tax for the electric cars you charge to pay for the very real $millions it will cost to decomission those 4 hulking seriously deteriorating Nuclear Plants ? Or put a huge demand charge on your solar panels since the capacity has to be there next month when your panels are covered in snow?

Why don’t you just rename the site “insideanti-trump”?

electric vehicles depend upon regulatory support. what is the likelihood that these trump appointments are going to advance policies that will promote electric vehicles in the market? don’t you think something like that would be relevant on a blog that is concerned with electric vehicles?

Let’s say the Congress decides to take away the tax credits for EVs. Will people take a “wait and see” attitude towards someone who says they will do us harm?

I see it this way….
IEV threw us a bone to vent our political views……lol

It’s this or we hijack a thread to 200 posts of politics. I know cuz I’m one of those that stirs up the Fecal Matter and had my hands slapped my “His Majesty Jay Cole” a few times.

:-p

Well, Trump also had a “productive” conversation with DiCaprio recently, where’s the coverage on that? hehe.

I heard he also met with Al Gore too.

But that was before he made this decision so maybe he didn’t like what Al said……lol

All the productive meetings in the world don’t amount to a hill of beans when you then appoint ExxonMobil to head the EPA.

It’s like putting a pedophile in charge of the Child Protective Service

Jay,
excellent article. and good points about CARB on thin ice.

However, is it true that California sued and ended up in supreme court over it’s right to set its own pollution standards…and was ruled OK to do so??

I true then I would think that CARB could not be dismantled.

Any dismanteling of EPA standards from an auto perspective will not be as bad as perceived as long as CARB and the states that follow it are allowed to continue doing the same…
It would be a long and ugly battle to dismantle CARB…

It would actually take just one line of legislation to instantly remove CARB’s ability to enforce any emissions regulations. It can be attached to any legislation, including must-pass legislation to stop a gov’t shutdown.

Do you think Democratic Senators across the US are willing to shut down the gov’t over keeping CARB for California?

Se my post below.

georgeS asked:

“…is it true that California sued and ended up in supreme court over it’s right to set its own pollution standards…and was ruled OK to do so??”

Not that simple. I don’t think this situation can be effectively summarized in 25 words or less. For one thing, California needed to be granted a waiver under the Clean Air Act, in order to use its own State standards (CARB) as opposed to EPA standards.

What’s not clear to me is just who decides if a State is granted a waiver or not.

See section on “Central Valley Chrysler-Jeep Inc. v. Goldstone”, summarized here:

http://www.c2es.org/federal/courts/clean-air-act-cases

The process for California getting a waiver is for the non-partisan long term employees of the EPA evaluate the waiver request. They do extensive non-partisan review of the request and produce a detailed evaluation, and their recommendation.

Then that recommendation goes to the head of the EPA who is a political appointee. That political appointee then decides to either agree with the recommendation, or reject the science and go against the recommendation.

In the case of CARB’s ZEV program, Bush’s head of the EPA rejected the recommendation from the EPA line and staff, and denied CARB their waiver saying that CO2 wasn’t a pollutant and CARB could not regulate it.

Meanwhile, another case went to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court ruled that the EPA actually must regulate CO2 as a pollutant.

CARB took that ruling to the EPA and the EPA reversed their decision and allowed CARB to have their waiver for their ZEV program.

(Somewhat simplified)

From your link, it is actually Massachusetts et al vs. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S Supreme Court, July 26, 2007) that is the key Supreme Court ruling. CARB backed Mass. in this case with “Friend of the Court” briefs.

Nix, thank you for disentangling that and explaining it so clearly and concisely (even if some nuance was lost). You have a rare gift!

I should have cited both cases since the one summary referred back to the other.

George — When Nixon created the EPA, the only state who had their own emissions regulations was California. Under the threat of more states passing their own regulations, Nixon created the EPA and gave it SOLE authority to regulate pollution.

California got an exception clause that grandfathered their ability to write their own emissions regulations. This was done through a waiver system where Cali had to prove they needed a waiver, and the EPA has to grant their waiver. (All other states were allowed to choose between the federal rules, or the CARB rules, but they can’t make their own rules).

But ultimately it is the decision of the EPA whether California will be granted a waiver, and is allowed to enact any specific program. California doesn’t have the “right” to do it outside of EPA approval

All the Congress would have to do to kill CARB’s ability to enforce California emissions standards, would be be to write a bill that strikes the waiver clause.

The entire legislation would be this:

42 U.S. Code § 7543 (b) Strike in its entirety.

That’s it. This can be slipped into any bill. Even a bill banning bestiality, forcing Democrats and green friendly R’s to vote against banning bestiality if they want to defeat it. Who wants their opponents to to be able to run ads against them saying they voted against banning bestiality?

(google it – I’m not making this up. Look up what they stuffed into the bestiality law in Ohio that has nothing to do with bestiality…)

Just re-read ur comments this AM Nix thx for the input..

glad it made sense.

This will happen.

Alright, I’ll bite and explain the conservative side of this argument.

Obama made the EPA a rotating door between groups like the Serra club and posts in the EPA. When he could not get laws passed in congress, they used obscure, and very old laws to pass rulings by fiat.

We are not talking just pollution guidelines here. The EPA redefined the rules to:

1. Signify all co2 emissions as pollution subject to regulation. Yes, including your breath that you exhale, or any animal.

2. Term dust (you know, dry earth that blows around) as a regulated pollutant.

3. Termed everything down to puddles as being “navigable waterways”, and subject to EPA fiat.

Many of the EPA rules have been struck down by the courts.

As a conservative, I am FOR many of the anti-pollution ideas (and I have owned 4 EVs, unlike many liberals who just talk).

However, agencies like the EPA were not created to rule by fiat. And this is what Mr. Pruitt was brought in to fix.

The proper place to make these rules is in congress, and with the states.

Scott,
you said:
“The proper place to make these rules is in congress, and with the states.”

So does California have the right to set it’s own pollution standards thru CARB??

Yes CA can and does set there own polution standards through CARB that all states are allowed to follow but only 10 or so actualy do…

I had no idea it was that low of a count.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_emission_standards

“States adopting the California standards include Arizona (2012 model year),[1] Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico (2011 model year), New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.[2][3] Such states are frequently referred to as “CARB states” in automotive discussions because the regulations are defined by the California Air Resources Board.”

It is not very many states but it is roughly a third of the US population…

Yogurt,
Perhaps that right will be taken away. That’s what it looks like: “harmonize standards”.

Seems a bit of a contradiction on the Republicans part. One second they are all for state rights…well except perhaps in this case.

I guessing they are using harmonize as a friendly term for eradicate…

Getting rid of CARB would not be quick or easy and CA along with enviormental groups will fight it big time and with the US court system it could take longer than Trumps term…

Side note is that Ronald Regan signed CARB into law as govenor of CA…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_emission_standards

“The EPA has adopted the California emissions standards as a national standard by the 2016 model year[4] and is collaborating with California regulators on stricter national emissions standards for model years 2017–2025.”

Harmonize, modernize, streamline, simplify are all GOP code words for scorched earth slash and burn.

It’s really interesting to see your perspective. I disagree that the government should be managing policy on pollution at the level of granularity you are describing. IMO, Pollution is not a popularity contest the government should decide the laws – like everyone has the right to breath air that doesn’t affect their health adversely and that a person or organization that profits from producing waste should in some way be responsible for that waste. With respect to your comments: Dust is a pollutant, many miners have died from silicosis and black lung, if you are going to open a mine or a dirt race track next to a school the EPA should be able to stop you because your activity will cause health problems. This should not be down to the government, 90% of the population might want a dirt race track next to the school and vote in government officials with a mandate to build it but if building it is going to make kids sick it should be blocked. CO2 is a pollutant it causes long term problems in the environment that will have very serious economic implications for future generations. Those generations won’t vote for today’s government.… Read more »
There is no question that excess CO2 in the atmosphere is wreaking havoc on the environment. One only needs to look at how that is causing acid rain which is having a severe impact on ocean life, perhaps most noticeable in the worldwide die-off of coral reefs. However, trying to redefine CO2, which is an integral part of the normal respiratory cycle, a life cycle, of both plants and animals, as a “pollutant”, is an attempt to redefine the term “pollutant” to the point that it’s meaningless. It’s as stupid, and counter-productive, as labeling things like obesity and drug addiction as “diseases”. If the EPA needs to be able to regulate CO2 — and I think most rational informed people would agree that it should — then let that be added to the list of what it can regulate. Trying to redefine “pollution” to include CO2 is not only a stupid attempt to redefine a useful term into meaninglessness, it’s also a case of bureaucracy run amuck. Much as I’d like to see the power of the EPA strengthened, the way to do that is through the legal process of getting the legislature to pass or modify laws, and not… Read more »

“One only needs to look at how that is causing acid rain which is having a severe impact on ocean life, perhaps most noticeable in the worldwide die-off of coral reefs.”

I am not aware that CO2 causes acid rain.

I thought it was sulfer dioxides that causes acid rain.

Yes, excessive CO2 causes “acidification” of the ocean. Ocean is still basic (above PH of 7). It is become more acidic but still well about neutral closer to basic as far as PH scale is concerned.

Depending on concentration, carbonated water is pH 3 or 4. But yes, there are other pollutants that SO FAR have been a bigger trigger for acid rain.

Amazingly, the opponents of legislation to stop acid rain claimed that the science wasn’t decided about acid rain, so it was premature to regulate it. And that volcano’s release the same pollutants, so they couldn’t be pollutants, they were natural. Then after it was regulated and the acid rain dropped significantly, they began using the same talking points about CO2 in the atmosphere….

“Depending on concentration, carbonated water is pH 3 or 4”

That is correct. But the current emission or projected emission of CO2 will NOT cause any acid rain at all.

Today’s acid rain are caused by sulfur dioxide emissions.

Yes, that is correct. Raised CO2 concentrations currently contribute a tiny fraction of rain acidification compared to that. Which is why the legislation to reduce acid rain was so successful.

It continues to be a major win for the environment. Hopefully it won’t be rolled back, since the new EPA head is on the record having said that the science is still undecided about the cause of acid rain. Ugh.

ModernMarvelFan said:

“I thought it was sulfer dioxides that causes acid rain.

“Yes, excessive CO2 causes ‘acidification’ of the ocean.”

Thank you for the correction, MMF. I see I have confused acid rain with acidification of the oceans. Mea culpa for using the incorrect term, but my point is that we can’t just dismiss excess atmospheric CO2 as if all it does is raise the average global temperature by a couple of degrees, which IMHO is far from the major disaster it’s made out to be by green activists. (Nobody talks about the benefits of global warming, only the negative aspects; rational debate on the subject is nearly nonexistent.)

Not sure why you put “acidification” in quotes there; it appears to be a valid term:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification

I put it in quote because often people thought the seawater has become acidic which is wrong.

The ocean is becoming more acidic (correct).
The ocean is acidic (wrong).

I agree that acidification means it is becomes more acidic. It is 100% correct but general public often thinks that means that ocean is acidic now.

It is still far more than neutral but moving closer.

+1

Technically, “endangers public health” is the language being disputed. “Pollutant” is the conclusion drawn from this finding. So, what we can look forward to is whether ingesting it is the only criteria Pruitt interprets from the language of the Clean Air Act, or if someday possibly swimming where you’re standing…

In MA vs. EPA, SCOTUS didn’t pick this up but instead left it w/EPA. I would interpret that as a precedent the SCOTUS cannot take back up. Pruitt can try to call the science bunk, or he might just claim rising seas and temperatures do not “endanger”. Then will come the proposal, the comment period (and Harold Hamm’s letter), and maybe in 3, or 4, years a slippery new “final” rule. I drafted the comments for our firm (not a lawyer), on the last one, but that was over how a carbon rule became an anti-nuclear rule.

Carbon pricing would be so much easier, but not when there’s people expecting free stuff.

He doesn’t have to get a court ruling BEFORE he does whatever he wants. Our legal system isn’t based upon prior restraint.

Under our system, he issues whatever rules he pleases. Then somebody has to sue to stop those rules. The rule would typically be blocked while awaiting litigation.

Meanwhile, the next administration can pack SCOTUS with new members who would be willing to overturn the narrow 5-4 decision, and flip it to a 4-5 decision.

The most famous case of one SCOTUS overturning a prior SCOTUS ruling is Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896) being overturned by Brown v. Board of Education, 347 US 483 (1954).

All it takes is a new legal theory being introduced, and a Court willing to take up the case.

Thank you.

The courts, including the Supreme Court, are reluctant to ignore precedent and do an outright reversal. But as you say, Nix, they are sometimes willing to use a new legal theory to allow them to make a ruling which has the result of mostly or entirely overturning a previous ruling. Indeed, in some cases they have appeared eager to use a new legal theory as the excuse they needed for judicial activism.

Don’t get me started about the Supreme Court establishing the legal fiction of a corporate “person”, and the pervasive and corrosive influence on our society which has resulted from that extremely unwise ruling!

http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/09/opinion/corporations-are-not-persons.html

Of course CO2 can be a pollutant. Something does not have to be bio-chemically toxic to be called “pollution”. Noise, light or heat are other examples of (in some cases) pollution. This is not a stretch at all. CO2 from fossil fuels qualifies because it is throwing the climate off balance, threatening the life-sustaining capacity of the planet.

“Light pollution” is a technical term referring to the negative aspects of excessive, misdirected, or obtrusive artificial lighting at night. So far as I know, it has no meaning outside that rather narrow technical meaning, and the term “light pollution” poses no danger of broadening the meaning of the word “pollution” to the point that it’s meaningless.

Contrariwise, if calling CO2 “pollution” becomes widespread, then we’ll have to find a new term for what we now call pollution, to restore needed precision of language. This will be similar to what is currently happening with the word “disease”, which is in the process of becoming a near-meaningless term due to overuse.

If you want to narrow the definition of terms, suit yourself, but the fact is that light can be pollution even for natural systems. It affects plant growth and the behavior of nocturnal species. Is it a global planetary problem? Not that I know of, but it still qualifies as pollution.

When it comes to CO2 from man-made activities, I think the EPA is on firm ground, especially considering that Congress is doing nothing to manage the crisis.

If you want your state to end up looking like Louisiana, then by all means support the Republican agenda and their appointees that are tasked with leading an agency that was designed to protect the environment.

Trumps EPA appointee is like putting the Mob in charge of picking up the trash. Go live in Naples for a while if you want to see what that is like.

As somebody who’s passed through EPA’s doors, I have a different take. 1. If you’re going to say “breath” is regulated, you probably mean as part of the agricultural emissions, limited to organizations releasing something over ~25,000 tons per year. No little guys. 2. Dust? You mean particulates? Please elaborate, because I don’t see your point to the effect EPA prevents most cities from looking like Beijing. 3. Water I probably agree with you about, in some cases. We now have an EPA that will: -Not prosecute pollution control violations by industry (think VW, “who cares” and why Audi sponsored him during election results). -Not look for the resignation of the lead water investigator, in the next “Flint” crisis… There’s much Pruitt’s EPA won’t do with regard to enforcement. What’s clear about CO2 is the Trump administration aims to either sign a Bill, or have Pruitt strip CO2 from EPA’s authority. That indirectly means reversing the CPP and CAFE. The fight AAM has on CAFE, in my opinion, is also over the political capital the rule’s advocates lost, over high gas prices. Trump’s slog got tougher, there, with EPA’s finding, but now we see them “lawyer up”. They are trying… Read more »

Or they could settle violations for a fraction of what the fine should have been.

Like when Chris Christie cut Exxon’s $8.9 Billion dollar fine for pollution down to just $250 Million, after Exxon contributed $1.9 Billion to the political organization that he headed:

http://time.com/3737280/exxon-lawsuit-billion-dollars/

I was thinking about what could happen when Trump and Pruitt will go out their mandate? Will any association of any pollution induced health victims be able to sue them for laws and regulations that they will sign during their mandate that will cause deaths by air/water pollution enabled by less restrictive regulations?

“As a conservative, I am FOR many of the anti-pollution ideas (and I have owned 4 EVs, unlike many liberals who just talk).”

LOL.

I have a theory that you just bought EV so you can talk crap on liberals..

Seriously, buying EVs don’t make you an environmentalist.

Many conservatives bought EVs because it saves them money or it helps American energy independence or it is just a good deal. But your attitude is as crappy as it gets.

Sorry, no respect for you…

I guess what annoys me is you don’t seem to see that the attacks on the “EPA” are simply the industry demanding that they pollute for free, like they did in 1920-70?

I remember the pollution from the 70’s. You don’t want to go back there. Better yet, visit China.

Every EPA regulation has to pass a benefit analysis test. And what it does is say, this industry cannot kill these many people. To stop those “negative externalities” we will regulate something, like pollution.

Do you remember coal miner “black lung”. That’s a real thing.
Did the coal industry come up with hoax-science to say black lung wasn’t real?

Global Warming is causing a global drought. It’s causing massive and rapid melts in the Arctic, Greenland and the Antarctic. It’s causing massive super-storms in the US southern states and a massive drought in California and the US southern states.

And the oil industry has 20 special tax laws written to transfer their costs to the US tax payer, so that they get to drill more and pollute more.

So, I guess I just don’t see your point.

Bravo! Well said, sir.

(Altho, to quibble with one point, there have always been periods of droughts, both short and long. So blaming that entirely on “global warming” is at best an overstatement.)

you are quite incorrect in your conclusion; the place to make regulations is the *executive* branch, that’s how agencies work. the reason why you don’t want congress passing regulations is that it would take up too much congressional time to get into the minutia of how agencies operate.

what congress *does* do is pass laws that give agencies legal authority to create regulations. if you just don’t like the regulations, you vote for another person to be president because the president oversees the executive branch. on the other hand, if you believe that a regulation has no legal authority, you challenge the agency in court. sometimes these lawsuits win, other times they don’t.

Thank goodness we live in a country with a clear Separation of Powers into three branches of government. Like Trump himself, you seem to be confusing the office of the President with the position of Emperor.

In theory at least, the legislative branch makes laws, the courts interpret laws, and the executive branch enforces laws. The executive branch does not get to both make and enforce laws.

Nixon was quite wrong when he said “Well, when the President does it, that means it is not illegal.”

what YOU don’t understand is that a regulation is not a law.

Oh, C’mon! I’m against Mercury and Arsenic pollution – that’s why, prior to shutting down about a year ago, the coal plant I’ve been downwind of most of my life removed about 90% of it. Sulfer dioxide removals approached 99%. Meanwhile, Plain as Day as polution – which I call ‘crop dusting’ happens 5 days a week by drones spraying Barium, Strontium (which incidentally is radioactive), and Aluminum to the tune of 35,000 tons per year. Yet Meteoroligists won’t breathe a word about it anymore for fear of losing their jobs, and our Pravda news media (owned substantially by only 6 megacorporations) sticks to the party line. (I didn’t mean to insult modern day Pravda in Russia – they were the butt of jokes for decades but now, in comparison with what we have in this country, they are stellar news reporters). I suspect that Trump will only be a one-term president, since the upcoming world wide depression will no doubt be blamed on him, even though he is actually trying to help the economy by keeping jobs in the states. Even this article, with the huge smoke billowing in the picture – most of which is water – does… Read more »

There are isotopes of Strontium that are radio active but they are in very, very small trace amounts. Strontium is often the main active ingredient in toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Apart from that I agree that pesticides are not good for you and their application should be controlled so as not to expose you to high levels of them. I assume this is a function of the EPA and that the new head will have little effect on the current situation, if anything he’ll shift the level of response more toward benefiting the crop dusters than the local population.

There is a fair amount of evidence that the EU’s carbon foot print is now reducing as is the level of pollution (of all types) in most of the developing world.

Balancing acute and chronic environmental effects is really tricky and, IMO, that balance should be struck in an independent agency that it not influenced by politicians.

Bill can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it is his belief that there are drones intentionally putting out chemicals for the sheer purpose of ensuring Monsanto can sell their GMO corn.

He has read websites that state this, and he believes that every trail left by airplanes in the sky is a “chem trail” not due to normal atmospheric conditions.

I do not agree as I believe sufficient lack of evidence exists. I’m not intending to argue it though, just attempting to clarify his point on the subject. (i.e. he isn’t referring to typical pesticide applications)

ClarksonCote

“Bill can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it is his belief that there are drones intentionally putting out chemicals for the sheer purpose of ensuring Monsanto can sell their GMO corn.”

It seems to be just part of Bill’s belief in the “poisonous contrails” conspiracy theory (Google “chemtrails” for details); just one of many conspiracy theories about which he regularly posts.

Let’s just ignore Bill’s conspiracy theory rants here, hmmm? Ignoring them is what they deserve.

Well, I mean no disrespect to Bill at all. If we didn’t like anyone who had a different opinion than the rest of us than we’d all be pretty lonely, haha.

I do have a different opinion, I think the information on chem trails has been debunked. But I know many people who believe the contrary and that’s okay too I guess.

My main point is that I mean no offense to Bill, and was just trying to clarify his opinion. I don’t agree with it, but I still like Bill and can agree to disagree.

Also, I’ll add that his knowledge about power transmission and distribution is phenomenal and a great topic to read when he gets into it here.

a thoughtful an empathetic reply ClarksonCote – I trust the ears that it was aimed at will perceive the difference one’s tone can make to the conversations here, particularly when they -might- just be patently ignored themselves.

I applaud your patience, thank you.

‘trace amount’. I don’t consider – even on a grand worldwide scale, to have 35,000 tons/annum be ‘trace’.

Radioactive strontium comes from bombs. There shouldn’t be any in pesticides. Barium is slightly radioactive but not enough to care about. Bananas are worse.

Soluble barium salts are quite poisonous, however.

I thought I’d add a link the toothpaste:

http://www.sensodyne.com.au/learn-more-about-sensitive-teeth/how-sensodyne-works.aspx

Let me make it quite clear, normal non-radioactive strontium is not even mildly toxic. Radioactive strontium will kill you even in small amounts.

Pesticides are bad news and I think you have every right to be upset about excessive use of these near where you live.

Excessive use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are indeed quite harmful to the environment, and we can hope the use of them will be curtailed — in some cases, sharply curtailed — in the near future. That’s a very real concern, and should not be mixed up with the nonsense, the counter-factual “chemtrail” conspiracy theory, about commercial airliners and drones being used to deliberately spread poison in the atmosphere. And while we should always respect each others’ opinions (aside from Big Lies, FUD, and other intentional disinformation strategies), we need to make a clear distinction between mere differences of political opinion, and spreading belief in conspiracy theories which are entirely contrary to fact. One only has to look at the effect of the anti-vaxxer movement to see the very real harm to society as a whole which belief in conspiracy theories contrary to science can have. The hard-won advancements of science, and the reliability of technologies based on proven science, have been the result of tireless, lifelong efforts by countless people. Let us give that the respect it deserves, and not contribute to retreating into a new Dark Age where facts are treated as mere opinion, and science based on… Read more »

“Even this article, with the huge smoke billowing in the picture – most of which is water – does the topic a disservice.”

A bigger disservice would be an image of a flu-stack emitting no steam, but instead pollutants you can’t see, like mercury and arsenic. No?

Pruitt fought the sulfur rule (SOx), and lost with the Supreme Court effectively backing up the federal purpose of preventing cross-state pollution. Much of the whole “unconstitutional”, “lawless” BS anyone can find written about EPA, is actually constitutional. Sorry, it’s where you live.
The problem is that today we’re just a country filled with yahoos, who think they can select which rulings fit their own “constitution”.

..the yahoo part is not directed at you, Bill.

Maybe the Dems in the Senate can just refuse to vote like the Pubs did on Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.

Nope. The Senate majority leader controls what’s on the Senate agenda to be voted on… and what’s not. With the GOP having the majority in the Senate, both now and when the Trumpian administration takes over, all the GOP has to do is simply never schedule a vote on the subject of judicial nomination.

There is a Constitutional provision for the President to make appointments when Congress is recessed, but the GOP is now using a legal technicality to block that, by keeping a “skeleton crew” pretending daily, albeit extremely briefly each day, to do Senate business even during weeks when the Senate is, in reality, in recess.

Sadly, the Supreme Court confirmed the GOP senators’ “right” to circumvent the Constitution even in such a flagrant manner:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-rebukes-obama-on-recess-appointments/2014/06/26/e5e4fefa-e831-11e3-a86b-362fd5443d19_story.html?utm_term=.c63682c4910d

interesting!

No? NO!! The plant next to me scrubbed out 90 % of the mercury and arsenic, and 99% of the Sulfer dioxide, as I had stated, and had also corrected Pushi 2 days ago about his confusing CO2 and So2 as far as Statues and Buildings are concerned. The big ‘acidification of rivers and streams’ turned out to be mainly rotting trees. Mercury although being a deadly poison, must be good for you since it is used in fillings and also vaacine preservative. Like that “heart healthy” high-fructose corn syrup since it doesn’t have any fat in it, or that pain killer drug VIOXX that killed 100,000 or more before Merke took it off the market. But to anticipate the next article, if ALL the ICE manufacturers are wanting the EPA rule dumped – there are not enough EV purists to change many minds. Besides, California thinks that Hydrogen is a Pure as the driven Snow (if you can find any pure snow in California which I highly doubt. I like the YouTube vids of a mother trying to get a snowball to melt and it turns into kind of a plastic goo – thats why when people here ‘kid’… Read more »

Vote with your wallet!

+$1,00.00

Visit the lovely places near your home for soon they may be gone, much like what happened in Ohio, as this song memorializes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WXcexId5s8

This is why I disassociate EV with green. Today’s EV are superior to gas cars, and that won’t change because some anti-green wonk gets in power. They are not going to ban EV; they can only take away EV subsidy which was expiring anyway.

Something they can do is to make energy cheaper, both for gas cars and electricity. Because EV are more efficient, they will always have an edge and be cheaper not to mention quicker, smoother, just better. No matter who sets policy, that fact will not change. Green is just bonus that’s not all that important, at least not to me and probably not to many (most?) others.

SparkEV said:

“They are not going to ban EV; they can only take away EV subsidy which was expiring anyway.”

That is most definitely not all the anti-EV and anti-green political forces can do, and are already doing. They have already imposed fines — er, “taxes and fees” — on EV owners and home solar power owners, in various States. In at least some cases, the imposed fines are far higher than can be justified as merely making up for lost revenue.

http://www.treehugger.com/economics/10-us-states-are-now-charging-fees-electric-vehicle-owners-ranging-43-300.html

Not paying gas tax is form of EV subsidy, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s “fee”, though EV pay “energy tax” in the form of electricity costing far more than gasoline per unit energy.

I guess we’ll see what they’ll do. Given that US leads in EV technology (Tesla + GM, some Ford), I don’t think Dump will want to dump it.

What’s needed is reminder to everyone that US made EV are superior and only takes 20 minutes to charge, green being small, secondary benefit. Too often, EV folks announce green cred before anything else, which turns off anti-green policy wonks. Especially problematic is talking about EV as if it’s the main solution to climate change. That kind of rhetoric turn people off.

Transportation in general, not just passenger cars, is a significant contributor to air pollution and excess atmospheric CO2. It’s true that there are other significant sources, such as manufacturing and power generation. But switching to a plug-in EV is something that people can do today, which will actually make a real impact on their carbon footprint.

Once the EV revolution really takes off, it will gradually spread to other forms of transportation. The Leaf of yesterday is one step on the road to tractor-trailer BEVs hauling freight across the country, and eventually even freight trains and ships powered without burning any fossil fuel.

The primary driver of the EV revolution isn’t going to be regulation, it’s going to be economics. EVs are far more energy-efficient than burning fossil fuel to power a vehicle. And when it comes to renewable energy, economics favor the far superior EROI (Energy Return On Investment) of using batteries to store electricity to power highly efficient electric motors, vs. using that same electricity to produce fuel of some sort, which then has to be burned in an inefficient manner to produce power.

As I wrote in past forum post, entire transportation is about 25% of GHG emissions with personal vehicles about 15% of total. Since electricity is still from fossil fuel, even converting all cars to EV only saves about 8%, if that. That’s not going to do much. By all, I mean all SUV and trucks you see on the road today, something unlikely to happen anytime soon (ie, within 50 years); old trucks will continue on the road for decades to come even if we have most new cars as EV today. While EV can be cheap, it’s hard to compete on cost against used cars as I show in my first blog post. Then total GHG savings from EV is going to be tiny, probably in sub percent range for decades to come. That’s why equating EV with climate change makes little sense. When the world isn’t doing much, what little we do as individuals with EV isn’t going to make much difference. GHG reduction is a small side benefit of EV, not the driving motivation. Enjoy your EV (when you get one) for being a great car, not because you’re trying to save the planet. The message to… Read more »

Jay,

I applaud your courage.

This site has always placed itself firmly in the reality-based part of the Web. And the reality is, that

1. The advent of 21st-century EVs is part and parcel of the emergence of big-time climate change worries; and
2. The question who runs the EPA will have a potentially Yuge impact upon EV adoption and production in the US.

This is the expected result from a Trump Administration backed by a fully Republican Congress.

Anyone who is surprised by this outcome has not been paying attention for the last 20 years.

Obvious things aren’t so obvious anymore…

“imagine person with average IQ, then half of the people out there are below average”.

” Let the dismantling of EPA attempts to unConstitutionally make ineffectual attempts to address climate change begin. ”
There fixed it for you. LOL!

The EPA has many more important roles than that of illegally trying to reduce our national carbon footprint. Continue to make our waterways and our air cleaner. Stay out of politics and climate gamesmanship.

I think it’s safe to say the EPA won’t be making our air any cleaner than it is, so long as the Trumpians are in power. Air quality and water quality standards will be weakened under the new administrations, not strengthened.

The Supreme Court said cutting CO2 pollution is legal, aside from absolutely necessary.

Do you work in the oil industry?
IF so, why don’t you start demanding they move into building Solar fields and putting up Wind Turbine farms.

Why do the greens get the good jobs?
Who the !@#$ want’s to work in a coal mine.

SCOTUS ruled rpthat EPA can regulare CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Actually, they ruled that the EPA MUST regulate CO2. California had to sue to overturn a Bush administration EPA decision to block California from writing emissions rules to regulate carbon emissions.

But there are many legal paths to subvert that ruling, or to simply have a future Supreme Court with new members issue a ruling on a new case that effectively overturns the old ruling.

Jay:
Just keep trying to publish the truth and it’s your blog so include your opinions as you must. We all are biased in more than one subject and in more than one way. Certainly as you can see by the posts, you have a divergence readership. But, that’s all good and for the good of all.

All too many main media publications exist for political propaganda purposes and their ‘truths’ are for sale. The wise among us question them for their purpose; the foolish don’t care.

Not surprised. News flash, Trump/Pence pick to be Labor Secretary is a fast-food executive that is against raising minimum wage.

Well, at some level, I wonder if those fast food workers that voted for Trump or didn’t bother to vote would now get the message somehow…

I will say, I generally am against legislated increases in minimum wage. The intention is good, but I don’t think reality reflects that good intention.

For example, let’s pay everyone a million dollars an hour. Great idea right, we can all be rich! Problem is the value of our money is a function of supply and demand. Pay everyone a million an hour, and your $20 dinner at your favorite restaurant just went up to a million dollars.

The same thing happens when minimum wage is increased, just not to that extreme. It also devalues the contributions of people earning more than the current minimum wage, and is another catalyst for jobs moving out of our country.

I’m all for ensuring that families or individuals have a living wage, but there are better ways to do it (namely through our tax codes). Put another way, why should an unskilled high schooler flipping burgers for a summer job earn $15 per hour? It just doesn’t make sense.

Build an absurd strawman, get an absurd result.

That’s like if I said that I was opposed to tax cuts, because if everybody paid zero dollars in taxes, there wouldn’t be any money to fund the military, and we would be overrun by the communists. You would counter that nobody said taxes would be zero, and that I was being an idiot.

Do you see where your argument went badly off track?

The analog with tax cuts isn’t quite as true. The fact of the matter remains that if legislated increases in minimum wage happen, the price of goods/services in the US is artificially inflated to compensate for that.

The end result is typically not what one hopes: Everyone pays more, the poor get poorer, the middle class gets poorer, the rich get richer. The effective income gap with the rich just widens.

That’s what happens when you try to federally mandate a minimum wage across a country that has a very diverse cost of living. I’m not suggesting there should be no floor, but too much of a minimum wage raise is not going to do good, just the opposite.

$15 an hour seems absurd to me for the whole country. Especially when not everyone working needs a livable wage.

There are much better ways (IMHO) to lift people out of poverty than to arbitrarily dictate what the value of their work is across all industries.

$15 is an opening negotiating position. If the right would like to negotiate a number that they would prefer, by all means let’s rationally discuss how much the increases should be. Sadly, the position expressed by the incoming President and the current Speaker of the House is that they have both previously stated that they want to abolish the minimum wage, and they are not willing to even consider minimum wage increases that keep up with inflation. They have obstinately refused to even talk about the issue of the impact on inflation on minimum wage, much less negotiate in good faith how much the increase should be. In the face of obstinate foot dragging, the issue will continue to escalate. If the political right continues to refuse rational economic discussion of rational periodic inflation adjustments to the minimum wage, they will face escalating resistance. We already went through this cycle in the early 1900’s and it led to violence, factories being burned down, workers being murdered in protests, company owners being murdered, protests shutting down companies, etc. When the fight to save the minimum wage from the impact of inflation, the proposals were more limited. It started with an increase… Read more »

The yearly GDP of nations without minimum wages is a fraction compared to the GDP of nations with minimum wages. Even China and India have minimum wages. Successful first world nations without minimum wages do so by accomplishing the same goals through other social programs that effectively guarantee living wages through gov’t support.

Nations without minimum wages or social safety nets to effectively do the same job are all third world nations.

Which is exactly where Trump will take U.S. if he has enough time, right into the Third World. So lets see, Fuhrer Trumpster’s picks to help him mis-govern the country so far: An Alt-Right rascist propagandist for his senior counselor http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/12/steve-bannon-films-movies-documentaries-trump-hollywood-214495 Another rascist to be Attorney General where he will gut civil rights enforcement: http://www.salon.com/2016/11/19/two-peas-in-a-racist-pod-jeff-sessions-alarming-history-of-opposing-civil-rights_partner/ An angry islamaphobe and purveyor of wild-assed conspiracy theories for National Security Advisor: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/michael-flynn-conspiracy-pizzeria-trump-232227 http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/10/how-mike-flynn-became-americas-angriest-general-214362 After accusing Clinton of being tied to Goldman Sachs and claiming to “drain the swamp” we get ultimate Goldman Sachs insider billionaire Munchkin for Treasury Secretary: https://www.thenation.com/article/the-worst-of-wall-street-meet-donald-trumps-finance-chairman/ A Tea-Bagger Health and Human Services Secretary whose goal is to dismantle and/or privatize the safety-net programs that protect Americans: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/11/tom-price-secretary-hhs-policy/509159/ http://heavy.com/news/2016/11/tom-price-secretary-of-health-and-human-services-donald-trump-appointment-nominee-georgia-house-representatives-congress-obamacare-affordable-care-act-repeal-replacement-bill-family-wife-kids/ An exploitative billionaire Labor Secretary who owns a fast food empire: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/08/opinion/andrew-puzder-is-the-wrong-choice-for-labor-secretary.html A billionairess Secretary of Education who wants to privatize education and thus destroy public education: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/12/08/a-sobering-look-at-what-betsy-devos-did-to-education-in-michigan-and-what-she-might-do-as-secretary-of-education/?utm_term=.2c754c191b51 A billionairess FAKE WRESTLING magnate and wannabe senator for the SBA!: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/03/nyregion/linda-e-mcmahon-has-spent-nearly-100-million-in-senate-races.html A totally unqualified Secretary of HUD who claims that the Egyptian pryamids were ancient graineries???: http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/06/opinions/ben-carson-totally-unqualified-for-hud-secretary-bailey/ And now an EPA director who is so far up the Koch Heads asses that he will do basically anything to gut environmental laws and… Read more »

That North Korea/ China thing, has been in the cards for over two millennia. It might the time now, for Little Kim to go toe to toe with Little Hands! Hope it doesn’t go down on my watch!

I usually save the full montage of horrors for non-EV websites. But yea, that pretty much covers it.

So what? America will be great again! Great again in particle emissions pollution, in smoggy cities, in bad water, in worse people health, in being outpacing by other big economies in technologies which are key in economic domination in the 21th century! In summary America will be great again in protecting 20th century’s stable boy jobs and horse carriage builders when the rest of the world will move to the 21th century car era, so America will be great again in killing its own economy, lagging behind in technology to protect corporative interests? Sure, thanks who voted to Trump, America will be great again in stupidity!!!

“The yearly GDP of nations without minimum wages is a fraction compared to the GDP of nations with minimum wages.”

Comparing a statistic against countries that have or do not have a minimum wage is in no way sufficient evidence to suggest raising the minimum wage is always better than not doing so. That’s a dangerous leap that first needs a lot more studying of the data.

To be clear, I’m not against a minimum wage, but I am against the notion that raising it always results in more prosperity.

Ok, we’ve reached common ground. We both believe having a minimum wage is the correct solution. Now we are just debating about how much it should be. But you drop back into rhetoric by saying “but I am against the notion that raising it always results in more prosperity.” Who is saying “Always”? Again, you are building strawmen. The facts are that the federal minimum wage was last raised in 2009, and inflation has dropped the value of those wages by 8.1%. This has repeatedly been the case over and over. Minimum wages have failed to keep up with inflation for the last 50 years!! So the reason that minimum wage is an issue that keeps coming back over and over, is because it is not indexed on inflation. So it is constantly falling behind inflation. Do you believe that the minimum wage should be allowed to deflate in value in real dollars, until it is a fraction of the original value? If so, you really don’t believe in a minimum wage, you are giving it lip service. If you understand that the minimum wage needs to be periodically adjusted to keep up with inflation, then you also (perhaps unwittingly)… Read more »

My opinion is that a minimum wage (at least a minimum wage at the higher levels currently being proposed/enacted) is something that should be left to the states. It’s not easy or appropriate to come out with a single answer for the whole country given the economical diversity of each state/region.

In general, I think a lot of federal legislation is best left to the states, and that such an approach is more in line with our Constitution.

That is a dodge. The minimum wage has to increase in order to keep up with inflation, whether it is done via state or federal laws. The question of whether it is done by states or by the feds is simply a question of implementation. It has nothing to do with the underlying economic reality that inflation mandates periodic increases in the minimum wage. Unless you think there are states that are magically immune from inflation? So again, we are down to simply debating HOW MUCH the states or feds should raise the minimum wage, not whether or not there should be a raise in the minimum wage. Do you think 8% is appropriate, to keep up with just the loss to inflation since 2009? Do you think 21% is appropriate, to make up for all the losses to inflation since 1968? Do you think 21% is appropriate for this year, plus automatic increases over the next 4 years of another 6% in total, in anticipation of inflation between today and 2020? (Total of 26%) Or how about that 26% target by 2020, plus another 8%, to account for the fact that for the real losses that minimum wage earners… Read more »

ClarksonCote said:

“Put another way, why should an unskilled high schooler flipping burgers for a summer job earn $15 per hour? It just doesn’t make sense.”

Apparently you have not watched the news since the Great Recession started in 2008? The average person “flipping burgers” is no longer a high schooler on a summer job. The average person working at a fast-food restaurant is now a bread-winner for a family, one who needs a living wage. Good paying blue collar jobs have mostly disappeared, with the result that many of those workers have had to settle for a low-waged service job, such as working at a fast-food restaurant.

Just look at who is on the picket lines for raising the minimum wage to $10-15. Hint: Very few of them are high school age!

I don’t claim the average person is high schooler flipping burgers. But I do claim that a person doing it for a living has a lot more experience and knowledge about that position than a part-time employee that is working only for the summer for a few extra bucks.

Why should that part-time employee be mandated to have a livable wage that is so disproportionate to the experience and skills they have? It’s easy to see how that results in price increases on all the kinds of goods that those same people getting a pay raise rely on to live.

The end result is they don’t get nearly as much of a benefit as one may think initially, cost of goods and services increase in the US, our competitiveness in the global marketplace decreases, imports of goods increase, exports of goods decrease, and more jobs are exported outside of our borders.

“Why should that part-time employee be mandated to have a livable wage that is so disproportionate to the experience and skills they have?” Because history repeats itself, and the nature of humanity is that when the masses are no longer able to subsist, they revolt. In France that led to the guillotine. In England it was peasant revolts. Economist Adam Smith correctly identified this problem, and applied it to tax policy, saying that it was a mistake to tax food and shelter out of the hands of the poor. Because of Adam Smith’s insights into this fact/reality, our modern Progressive Tax policy so common around the world was born. Right now in the United States we get around this problem by allowing companies to shift their wage burden to the government (you and I). Walmart employees are the largest single block of recipients of food assistance, and Walmart depends upon the gov’t to effectively subsidize their low wages. In turn, taxpayers and companies have to pay taxes to pay for those programs. We have to demand higher wages and higher prices to offset those taxes. Those taxes then make us less competitive in the world. So there is no free… Read more »

I think it’s a “suckers choice” (an actual term) to claim that one must either raise minimum wage or face revolts and a mass deterioriation of the human condition.

Those kinds of either/or stances are what get our country so politically polarized and choosing between a solution that hurts us or a solution that devastates us.

Instead of trying to face this kind of false dilemma, we should work to fully understand the consequences of not just action vs. inaction, but several different kinds of action.

My stance here continues to be that we can improve the quality of life of people in poverty far more effectively by means other than raising the minimum wage. The universal income option Jay references, or the “Pre-bate” approach to the Fair Tax concept are two ways that I feel would provide the same benefits with less of the drawbacks (like wage increases resulting in corresponding price increases, as well as losing jobs to other countries where labor is cheaper).

Whether unwittingly or not, you’ve actually made the choice of:

You can have low wages and no revolution, but taxes for social services will be high.

The fair tax works by the gov’t collecting federal taxes on wage earners and corporations, and then sending $7,236 to each typical family of 4, regardless of their wages. That money has to come from people who do earn wages or generate enough income to cover those costs.

And since none of those families pay to operate their government until they pay taxes past that $7,236 (+program overhead), everybody else has to take up that slack and pay for the operation of the gov’t.

Thanks for making your views clear that you prefer a system where there are low wages and no revolution, but taxes for social services will be high.

The Fair Tax proposal would eliminate personal and corporate income tax, as to not discourage people to work more and earn more (creating more wealth).

Tax would be collected on the sale of goods, just like sales tax is. This reduces the tracking and enforcement of taxation by a couple orders of magnitude, creating a more efficient tax collection system. (i.e. very small IRS, no tax code, no tax accounting, no tax lawyers, no lobbyists for tax advantage, etc.)

The prebate is to offset the increase in costs of goods for the economically disadvantaged. In theory you could replace more welfare systems with increasing levels of pre-bate. (i.e. medicare/mediciad and social security lumped into prebate calculation.

I think the math behind the proposed Fair Tax rate and possible economic outcomes is fuzzy, but it is an interesting concept.

I’m not saying I’m for or against it either way. We just need to understand what the impact is. For example, you said “very small IRS, no tax code, no tax accounting, no tax lawyers, no lobbyists for tax advantage, etc.) This is a false assumption. A sales tax would need to be collected and reported FOR EVERY SINGLE SALE. Complexity has actually increased from wages being reported to the gov’t once a year for each working person, to reporting every single purchase every day whether somebody has reportable income or not. That means more reporting, and more compliance. You now need enforcement to stop illegal black market sales that are done to evade sales tax. Illegal imports done to evade sales tax. You need accountants to determine what should be reported as taxed, and what shouldn’t, and to calculate those taxes. You need lawyers to interpret the law. If you buy a Yacht built by an American Yacht builder, sold by a dealer in the Cayman Islands, do you have to pay sales tax on it? As for Lobbyists, they will be on this like flies on stink. How many Congress members do you think would vote against a… Read more »

FYI —

“Before you know it, oil drilling equipment is exempt, parts companies buy to build military equipment is exempt (even if they get sold to the Saudi’s).”

Tax laws similar to these already exist in our current tax code for the oil services industry, and the military weapon industry. Requested by lobbyists, and passed into law without meaningful public debate.

Nix, I was not positing that we must either act in a particular way or face gloom. I was stating that other alternatives and then offered my opinion on what I think may work.

Giving my opinion is not the same as positing a false dilemma which was what you posed above to me, e.g. “raise wages or face a rebellious uprising”

I’ve enjoyed the conversation though. And I want the same outcome as you. I just think that raising minimum wage to something like $15/hour across the country is not a very effective way to do it.

Clarkson — Yes, thank you for the better-than average discussion. It is unfortunate that we couldn’t come to more of an agreement, but I do agree that we have similar cares for the outcome. As for the issue of why we have our Progressive-based economy, and the historical links to uprisings, criminal violence, etc, I would suggest you read some Adam Smith. Not websites about his books, but the actual books. Then I think you would understand that I’m not coming from a position of fear-mongering, but as a position of solid game-based economic theory. Where as Adam Smith often does, economic decisions are gamed out to their most likely outcomes. Smith in his writings was foremost trying to answer the question of how to keep nations from becoming failed nations. Failed economies, failed governments, failed monarchies. He was very much trying to create systems which would avoid the cycles of ruin. He ascribed such things as wealth inequality and poverty to being “always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin.” Again, it isn’t fear mongering, it is simply sound economics based upon the world’s foremost economist. You stated your wish for strong economist driven policies, and… Read more »

Oh, and I agree that $15/hr is likely not the likely solution, or even the best solution.

But as long as one party continues to ignore even rational and obvious adjustments for inflation, and continues with rhetoric about abolishing minimum wages, the protests calling for $15/hr will just continue to amplify.

Heads in the sand doing nothing but complaining about $15/hr being unreasonable, while refusing to negotiate a reasonable solution is a recipe for escalation.

“cost of goods and services increase in the US, our competitiveness in the global marketplace decreases, imports of goods increase, exports of goods decrease, and more jobs are exported outside of our borders”

It isn’t just low wage workers taking money out of a company that causes that phenomena. Anybody who takes money out of a company’s coffers does the exact same thing. That is true whether it is dividends paid to shareholders, or CEO’s take massive wages.

Minimum wage has actually DECREASED since 1968 when adjusted for inflation. Meanwhile both stock dividends and CEO pay have gone through multiple orders of magnitude increases.

So which do you think is causing all of those things you identified? Do you believe it is the wages for the very lowest paid workers, which have continually dropped vs. inflation? If so, please show your math.

I don’t like liars.
I don’t like this guy.
Don’t make no link.
Sure.

Apparently, if you say this, you are a ‘climate change denier’:

“We all understand the need for a healthy environment, but we represent a wide range of viewpoints regarding the extent to which man contributes to climate change and the costs and benefits of any proposed fix.”

a few Oklahomans aren’t real happy about the time, effort and Taxpayer monies spent on the three lawsuits against that Bad Ol’ EPA – I’d think that his record of being summarily dismissed and/or ignored by his Own Courts?
uhmm. it might make someone debate whether he is qualified for a cabinet position. MHO, summarily ignore Me as you see fit.

As they say: “Actions speak louder than words.” Let’s look at what Mr. Pruitt’s actions indicate:

Since he was elected Oklahoma’s attorney general, in 2010, Pruitt has racked up a sizable record — impressive in its number of lawsuits if not in its number of victories — of suing the EPA.

Many of these suits did not target climate-related policies. Instead, they singled out anti-pollution measures, initiated under previous presidential administrations, that tend to be popular with the public.

In 2014, for instance, Pruitt sued to block the EPA’s Regional Haze Rule. The rule is built on a 15-year-old program meant to ensure that air around national parks is especially clear. Pruitt lost his case.

Last year, he sued to block a rule restricting how much mercury could be emitted into the air by coal plants. He lost that, too.

And early in his tenure, he sued to keep the EPA from settling lawsuits brought by environmental groups like the Sierra Club. That one was dismissed.

He has brought other suits against EPA anti-pollution programs — like one against new rules meant to reduce the amount of ozone in the air—that haven’t been heard in court yet.

Full article here:
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/12/trumps-epa-pick-is-skeptical-of-more-than-just-climate-change/509960/

Elections have consequences and Trump is a big negative consequence. When Trumpers in Rust Belt have Beijing like air quality they will regret voting for a strongman. Meanwhile we can fight back by buying solar bonds from solar city.

“Meanwhile we can fight back by buying solar bonds from solar city.”

Well, the opportunity for buying 6.5% 18-month bond has passed.

Now, it will be much lower yield under Tesla due to a better reputation.

At least we now know who to sue when a child or elderly dies of respiratory illness.

NPNS! SBF!
Volt#671

Perhaps he is not a “denier”.

Perhaps he just believes different scientists:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-m09lKtYT4


2013 Volt Owner (now)
2017 Bolt Owner (future)

Interesting.
A 2007 video, reposted in 2013, and nothing else…hum, I’d say they had plenty of time to up their game.
But, no it still the same, or some of those have change their view?
Beside the conspiracy theory benefiting unknown, what have you?

Pruitt’s appointment makes me sad. I know Trump said he was going to take us back to the good old days, but this is ridiculous.

EVs don’t need to be regulated into adoption. Once they reach their full potential, the market will demand them. I have driven a Leaf for two years and am switching back to ICE until the technology is mature, but EVs are better in every way.

We’ve already reached a tipping point IMO. They can dismantle all that they want but EVs are here to stay. Even if they deregulate it won’t make as huge of an impact on sales. Hopefully the tax credits stick around at least through 2017.

FIGHT BACK BUY SOLAR BONDS

Am I the only one who saw that pic and immediately thought “what? Me? Worry?”
http://static2.comicvine.com/uploads/scale_small/0/77/236205-57083-alfred-e-neuman.jpg

Well I hope some subsidies continue for EV’s, even though I wonder, if we are ready for no subsidies. It might spur manufacturers to try and get costs down faster, but so many variables involved.

Buying foreign oil is absurd, and America has to think more about local energy production.

Without mandates, the market pressure for a small niche vehicle would be for most of the companies to stay far away while letting one or two companies do all the heavy work.

WTFudge? Now the nominee for Secreatary of State is an Exxon CEO with close ties to Putin and Russia. And now learn that Russia was involved with hacking our election?