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Obama exploits oil spill to boost support for climate bill
By Michael Fumento
"President Obama tried Wednesday to channel public outrage about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill into support for a climate-change bill, seeking to redefine an issue that threatens to tarnish his presidency," according to the Washington Post.
Brain-eating amoebae, brothels struggle, cannibalism, circumcision in decline, Earth to explode, earth upside down, football team migration, Garden of Eden wilts, invasion of king crabs, Italy robbed of pasta, killer cornflakes, Loch Ness monster dead, mammoth dung melt, opera house to be destroyed, seals mating more, spiders invade Scotland, squid larger, squid tamed, UFO sightings, Vampire moths, violin decline, witchcraft executions.
Now it appears absolutely anything can be used as an excuse to pass climate change legislation. I think we should all help our president by coming up with even more reasons! I'll start it off and you can send your contributions, which I can then post and subsequently hand deliver to our Chief Executive. The best will probably be those that relate in some way specifically to Obama.
June 3, 2010 10:32 AM · Permalink
Obama's two-faced nuclear energy policy, my article in the Philly Inquirer
By Michael Fumento
President Obama fully supports expanding the U.S. nuclear-energy industry - or so he'd have us believe.
Obama got lots of publicity with his recent promise of more than $8 billion in federal loan guarantees for two Georgia nuclear plants, which would be the first built in more than three decades. He also announced that his budget would triple loan guarantees for nuclear plants, declaring that, "to meet our growing energy needs and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we'll need to increase our supply of nuclear power. It's that simple."
But it's not that simple. Antinuclear activists continue to score points by observing that we have no place to store the 2,200 tons of nuclear waste that our approximately 100 nuclear sites produce every year, much less a 66,000-ton backlog. Nevada's Yucca Mountain was the nation's designated nuclear-waste storage facility, but it was torpedoed by none other than Obama.
Read why Obama has tried to kill the Yucca Mountain project (yes, you know it's political) and why we desperately need it, in my Philadelphia Inquirer article.
March 7, 2010 09:11 PM · Permalink
One cheer for Obama on nuclear energy
By Michael Fumento
Obama has done something right concerning nuclear energy; credit where credit's due. But he also did something very wrong, which we'll get to.
The president has promised $8.33 billion in federal loan guarantees for a pair of Georgia nuclear reactors, saying it would give new life to the U.S. nuclear power industry. These would be the first new U.S. nuke plants in more than three decades.
More through symbolism than anything else, he's right about the new life. It's a liberal Democratic president saying, "Hey! Nukes are okay!"
He also offered words of wisdom. "If we fail to invest in the technologies of tomorrow, then we're going to be importing those technologies instead of exporting them," he said. "We will fall behind. Jobs will be produced overseas instead of here in the United States of America. And that's not a future that I accept."
Nuclear power already provides about 20 percent of this nation's energy, even with the same plants that once only provided about 10 percent. They've gotten more efficient a lot faster than wind turbine or solar power technology has. Nobody has ever died from a nuclear accident in the U.S., and yet the newer generation of power plant is much safer than, say, Three Mile Island. France gets about 70 percent of its energy from nukes and I've been to European cities like Berlin where they have nukes right in the middle of town.
The GOP has called for building as many as 100 new such plants and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) called it a "good first step."
But that's all it is.
Heritage Foundation fellow Jack Spencer told the Washington Post, "Loan guarantees do not a nuclear renaissance make." They don't fix "the problems that have plagued nuclear energy for 30 years: the regulatory structure and nuclear waste [disposal] and too much government dependence."
Right. And one major contributor to the problem has been Barack Obama. Opponents of nuclear power say the president shouldn't be supporting the building of more power plants that will produce even more radioactive material, so long as the government hasn't figured out where to put it all. Thing is, it had been figured out and Obama killed it.
Over many years and spending billions of dollars, the government decided the best place was caverns in Yucca Mountain, Nevada. But Nevada Sen. Harry Reid wrapped himself in the mantle of demagoguery and declared "Not in my backyard, you don't!" As he knew it would be, it was popular with the voters. Obama, in what from a scientific viewpoint appears to have been nothing more than a sop to Reid, who faces a tough re-election bid, canceled the project.
Notwithstanding that the vast majority of nuclear waste is incredibly low-level, nevertheless it continues and will continue to have to be stored on site. To the extent it is dangerous, we don't want that. There was a solution and Obama squelched it.
So fine. After the November elections are settled, it's time to revisit Yucca Mountain. That will show real support for nuclear power.
February 17, 2010 06:05 PM · Permalink
Indians Objecting to Paleface Wind Farms
By Michael Fumento
Despite massive subsidies, wind power still only provides about two percent of U.S. energy. Part of the problem is inherent. It takes a lot of turbines to produce the power that a single coal-fired or nuke plant can produce. So wind farms are going to comprise a lot of turbines. And that causes problems, as we've been seeing in a 10-year fight over constructing a 130-turbine offshore wind farm near Martha's Vineyard.
It would be the first offshore wind project in the country and furnish about 75 percent of Cape Cod's energy.
Ian Bowles, the Massachusetts energy and environmental affairs secretary, has called the project "symbolic of America's struggle with clean energy. Its symbolism has risen above the number of megawatts."
Although some protests have been dealt with, including potential hindrance to navigation and fishing and harm to birds, Indians are still against it. (I used to say "native Americans" until once when I was interviewing two of them and I kept saying "native Americans" and they kept referring to themselves as "Indians.")
The Indians in the area practice a sunrise ritual on the sound and also say they may have artifacts buried beneath the seabed, according to the Washington Post. They've gotten the sound qualified for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, which could restrict its commercial use.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says that although his department is trying to broker a deal between the tribes and Energy Management, the company seeking to build the farm, "I'm not holding my breath for a consensus." If both sides can't settle on a compromise by April, he says, he's going to just lay down the law himself in April and probably tick off everybody.
Michael Moynihan, director of the Green Project at NDN, a centrist think tank, told the Post, "It is emblematic of the difficulty of getting wind online, anywhere in America, with a system designed a century ago that is frankly hostile to renewable energy."
Right. If it were just a few tightly-bunched turbines, it wouldn't be a problem. But these farms, in addition to things like chopping up birds and bats have a big and obvious footprint.
Compare that with the nearest power plant to my home, which I often pass on my bike rides. It's small, but probably provides more power than hundreds of turbines. Nonetheless, being coal-powered it drew the ire of a number of local residents. So the owners did something really smart. They built a wooden wall around the plant, then painted a very nice mural on it depicting local history.
This being the land of George Washington, the murals include such as Washington's crossing of the Delaware. The wall isn't that high, yet it's enough so that if you didn't already know the plant was there you wouldn't know it was there. It has smokestacks, but you never see anything come out of them. The only ugly aspect was the coal pile, and it's now obscured.
Out of sight, out of mind. But you can't do that with wind. Solar has its own problem, also based on inefficiency, in that it requires huge tracts of land for all the panels needed.
But if you're looking for new facilities that don't produce greenhouse gas emissions there is a fourth solution. Nuclear power. A natural gas-burning power plant under construction has just exploded, killing five people. Every year, American coal miners die violently in mines or slowly from exposure to coal dust. Nuclear power in this country has never killed anybody. No birds, no bats, and most importantly no humans. That's also true in France, where 70 percent of their power comes from nukes.
And today's nuke plant designs are less prone to accidents than ever.
The writing is on the wall. Go nuclear.
February 8, 2010 12:51 PM · Permalink
Obvious answer to electric car "range anxiety" - gov't handouts!
By Michael Fumento
What's the greatest fear of the owner of a purely electric car? Running out of juice, of course!
On Monday, reports the Washington Post, a coalition of companies including "Nissan, FedEx, PG&E and NRG Energy issued a report calling for billions of dollars in government aid to support the transition of the U.S. vehicle fleet to cars that run on batteries. The group is asking for $124 billion in government incentives over eight years including $13.5 billion for tax credits to build public charging stations."
What shock! (Pardon the pun.) Aren't government handouts, including corporate welfare, the answer to all problems? And everybody knows about the big fat surplus the Obama Administration is running. Meanwhile, buyers of electric cars are already getting a fat $7,500 write-off.
Message to electric car sellers and buyers about "range anxiety": Sounds like a personal problem.
November 18, 2009 11:12 AM · Permalink
Windmills for spite
By Michael Fumento
"Clean Energy Splits France: It's Carbon vs. Countryside in Environmental Battle Over Plan for Windmills Near Coastal Shrine." So reads the Washington Post headline.
The article concerns three windmills that some fear will obstruct the view of the awesome Mont St. Michelle Abby on the French coast, which becomes an island at high tides. Yet the article also points out that France is very accepting of nuclear power, which provides about 80% of the nation's energy needs. Another 10% comes from hydro. And the number of windmills in question, three, provide less energy than the smallest nuclear plant made - which is to say those on naval warships.
No, this isn't really about energy. It's about politics. It's making a statement. And quite literally, an ugly one.
October 11, 2009 08:57 AM · Permalink