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Clinton camp admits that carbon tax would disproportionately harm the poor

According to a document released by WikiLeaks, on January 20, 2015 some of Hillary Clinton’s energy advisors wrote a memo to Sec. Clinton considering the possibilities of a carbon tax. In the memo, however, Clinton’s advisors explain how a carbon tax would disproportionately harm the poor.

The advisors write:

It is important to note that any policy that increases energy costs – including the recently announced EPA regulations on power plants and methane emissions — will disproportionately impact low-income households.

These advisors understand that a carbon tax has two important economic impacts. First they understand that a carbon tax increases the cost of energy. They write, “Preliminary analysis suggests a $42 per ton GHG fee would raise average annual energy costs by $478 per household between 2020 and 2030.” Second, that increasing the cost of energy drives up the costs of other goods and services. They explain:

The cost of other household goods and services would increase as well as companies pass forward the higher energy costs paid to produce those goods and services on to consumers. Price increases for non-energy goods would be quite small (generally less than 1%), but given the number of goods effected, the overall impact on household expenditures would be material. As with the increase in energy costs, the increase in the cost of non-energy goods and services would disproportionately impact low-income households.

We agree and it’s good to see Clinton’s advisors admitting as much.

The memo includes the following chart showing the household costs of a $42 a ton carbon tax. The chart also shows a GHG rebate to alleviate the regressive impacts of a carbon tax.


In theory a GHG rebate might alleviate some of the concerns these carbon tax proponents have for increasing energy costs for low-income families, but there are a number of real-world problems with such a rebate.

A major problem is that competing special interest groups want to use the proceeds from a carbon tax for different purposes. The brouhaha over the proposed carbon tax in Washington State shows why such a rebate would be difficult.

Washington state’s carbon tax proposal would use the revenue to reduce the state sales tax, fund a rebate for lower-income households, and eliminate the business and occupation tax. This sounds like a proposal that would garner support from the left, but that isn’t the case. This plan is opposed by an alliance of groups on the left because they want to spend the carbon tax revenue on their own priorities. Dave Roberts of Vox explains:

the alliance’s core objection to I-732 is that it is revenue-neutral — it surrenders all that precious revenue, which is so hard to come by in Washington. That, more than anything else, explains why alliance groups are not supporting it.

Their calculus is simple: Properly dealing with climate change requires lots of investment, and if a price on carbon doesn’t fund that investment, what will? Given how difficult it is to raise revenue in the state, the idea, often put forward by I-732 proponents, that greens can simply find that money somewhere else is, in the alliance’s view, naive to the point of malice.

Labor groups want investments to incentivize green manufacturing and retrain displaced workers. Communities of color and low-income groups want “a share of the money to go to the infrastructure that we need to weather climate change,” says Schaefer, like affordable housing near public transit. Tax cuts and credits “are not going help the folks I work with go out and buy a [Nissan] Leaf,” Schaefer says.

As the earlier chart shows, a carbon tax would harm all Americans—especially lower-income Americans. And while a carbon tax would undoubtedly generate billions of dollars in new tax revenue, there would be no way to implement the sort of rebate system outlined by Clinton’s advisors because so many different special interests groups want a piece of the revenue.

Furthermore, even if a carbon tax rebate would set up as the advisers suggest, there is little reason to believe that it will remain that way long term. There are always competing priorities for money and over time the rebates would likely fall.


In sum, it’s good to see the carbon tax proponents admitting that a carbon taxes increases costs for all Americans and “would disproportionately impact low-income household.” As the situation in Washington state shows, the groups on the left want the carbon tax revenue, but all of the groups want to spend the money in different ways, making it incredibly difficult to set up a carbon tax that would garner enough support on the left, let alone the right.

WIRED reporter gushes over Paris agreement, but misses key facts

Wired science reporter Nick Stockton recently wrote an article praising John Kerry for his leadership on the Paris climate agreement. Stockton begins his article with a rather dramatic take on the Secretary of State’s role:

The Secretary of State is the frontal lobe of US foreign policy—managing the country’s diplomatic nervous system and its relationships with every other nation in the world. The vast majority of that work is slow and subtle: chipping away at a humanitarian crisis here, greasing the wheels of progress there. Occasionally a big one comes along, something that deals with the whole world, forcing the whole diplomatic brain to work to produce a universal agreement.

Of course the U.S. Secretary of State plays a crucial role on the global stage, but the “universal agreement” Stockton is referring to isn’t a plan to fight terrorism or bring affordable energy to impoverished people around the world. No, Stockton is referencing the Paris Climate Agreement. He continues:

The Paris Climate Agreement was perhaps the biggest of all biggies. The UN treaty [sic], drafted last December and set to go into full force this November, seeks to limit the most devastating effects of global warming through a combination of drastic emissions cuts and socio-structural adaptations. This Earth Day, John Kerry signed the treaty [sic], the first time in history the US has officially begun thinking, and therefore acting, in concert with the rest of the world on climate change.

Stockton’s first misstep comes in this paragraph when he refers to the agreement as a treaty. While other countries may be sending this agreement through the proper channels to be ratified as a treaty, the U.S. is not. For the agreement to become a binding treaty for the U.S., it must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate (Article II, Section 2, U.S. Constitution). Even though President Obama has traveled the globe to implore countries to ratify the agreement and has stressed in the U.S. he has stressed to the American people how the U.S. must “lead on climate,” he has yet to send the agreement to the Senate.

Another misstep Stockton makes is when he writes that this is “the first time in history the US has officially begun thinking, and therefore acting, in concert with the rest of the world on climate change.” In 1992, the U.S. Senate ratified the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The UNFCCC did not give the President independent authority to act on climate change, but neither does the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is non-binding and there are no penalties for non-compliance.

Stockton then lays out what the Obama administration’s plan for meeting the agreement:

Here’s what the US is in for: cutting between 26 and 28 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions (based on 2005 emissions levels) by 2025. This is going to require a massive restructuring of the country’s energy infrastructure. Nobody is quite sure exactly how it will look, but in broad strokes coal, oil, and natural gas have got to go. Meeting the Paris goals is also going to require industry-wide changes in agriculture, automotive, commercial air travel, marine shipping, construction, manufacturing, and pretty much every other way people make a living in this country.

It’s true that the Obama administration agreed to cutting between 26 and 28 percent of GHG emissions (even if it is a non-binding commitment), but Stockton fails to address the negative implications of such a plan. In fact, he casually glosses over it by simply saying “coal, oil, and natural gas have got to go.”

Stockton’s flippant remarks overlook the fact that coal, oil, and natural gas make up over 81 percent of the energy consumed in the U.S., as the following chart shows:


Moving away from these three resources anytime soon is completely unattainable. And even working towards such a goal would prove costly for Americans. For example, let’s take a look at the electricity sector.

A recent study from the Institute for Energy Research shows the cost of shutting down existing electricity resources like coal and natural gas in favor of wind and solar power. The study found that on average, electricity from new solar is 3.5 times as expensive as electricity from existing coal and four times as expensive as electricity from existing natural gas.

Even if we compare the costs of electricity from new generation sources, new solar is still 2.5 times as expensive as new natural gas. Of course, cost is just one factor. Solar power’s intermittency issues (the sun isn’t always shining) also poses a problem for Stockton’s idea that “coal, natural gas, and oil have got to go.”

Another study by NERA Economic Consulting found that the Obama administration’s so-called “Clean Power Plan”—the centerpiece of their climate agenda—could cost nearly $300 billion.

Restructuring our country’s energy infrastructure, as Stockton suggests, means Americans would pay much more for the energy they use. This would have the harshest impact on lower-income Americans, as they spend a higher percentage of their income on energy costs. Of course, Stockton fails to address this at all.

Advocates for the “Clean Power Plan” and the Paris Climate Agreement will point to the alleged health benefits of their plan. You can find AEA’s rebuttal to these claims here.

Another mistake comes in Stockton’s closing paragraph. He writes:

With the Paris Agreement in effect, the US is obligated to uphold its end of the bargain. Climate change is now a front-line global issue, affecting everything from trade to geopolitics. If the US reneges now, it loses the world’s trust—and possibly the world’s business. That should be enough to make any future president stop and think.

Stockton incorrectly claims that the U.S. is “obligated” to honor the Paris agreement. The agreement itself is non-binding and it contains no mechanism to deal with non-compliance. Furthermore, without the advice and consent of the Senate, a future administration could simply ignore the non-binding agreement—undoing President Obama’s commitments. Lastly, the world knows that this is a non-binding agreement and therefore other countries understand that any country, including the United States, can pull out at any time.

To truly lead on climate, the President needs to get the American people on board and the way to do that is to follow the Constitution and submit the treaty to Senate for its advice and consent.

Since the agreement hasn’t been sent to and approved by the Senate, the next administration could simply withdraw from the current administration’s commitments. Donald Trump has already promised that if elected he would cancel the agreement. He could do this by simply not following through with the promises made by President Obama. Of course, if Hillary Clinton is elected president she will likely try to follow through with President Obama’s commitments. But as Stockton points out, the “Clean Power Plan” is in legal limbo meaning that an important vehicle for achieving President Obama’s commitments is far from a done deal.

Regardless, it is dishonest for the media to portray the Paris agreement as a binding treaty for the U.S. because that’s simply not the case.


Stockton, along with many others in the media, have misrepresented the Paris Climate Agreement and have painted a rosy picture of the impacts of such a plan. The media’s job isn’t to champion a certain policy or carry water for an administration, but rather to report the facts and the full story to their audience. Unfortunately, Wired’s latest piece on the Paris Climate Agreement fails to do this.

AEA President Tom Pyle Talks Energy and the Election on One America News

American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle recently appeared on One America News to discuss the election and where Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton stand on energy issues. View the video below:

AEA endorsed Donald Trump for President in July.

AEA Announces 2016 American Energy Champions

Today the American Energy Alliance is pleased to announce its inaugural 2016 American Energy Champion award recipients. This award goes to members of the House and Senate who scored a 90 percent or higher on AEA’s American Energy Scorecard.

“This award goes to the members of Congress who have demonstrated a commitment to pro-growth polices that will lead to more affordable energy for American families,” said AEA President Thomas Pyle.

“Just this week, White House senior advisor Brian Deese took credit for the Administration’s war on affordable and reliable energy, which has decimated whole communities in this country and has set the United States on a path toward higher energy prices. Given this regulatory onslaught, it is vital that we grow the ranks of American Energy Champions in Congress who remain dedicated to free-market principles and will fight for less government intrusion into Americans’ energy choices,” Pyle added.

“We’re encouraged by the results of our inaugural scorecard and are confident that it will continue to be an important tool for holding Congress accountable and educating the American people about where their elected officials stand on crucial energy issues.”

On the House side, AEA scored 27 votes and cosponsored three bills, including bills to eliminate the wind Production Tax Credit and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). On the Senate side, AEA scored 15 votes and cosponsored a bill to eliminate the RFS.

2016 American Energy Champions  

(100 percent scores in bold)


Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
Sen. Benjamin Sasse (R-NE) Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)
Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-PA) Sen. David Perdue (R-GA)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID) Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. Jefferson Sessions (R-AL) Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
Sen. James Risch (R-ID)



Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY)
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA)
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-ID) Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL)
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX) Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN)
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX)
Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Rep. David Roe (R-TN) Rep. David McKinley (R-WV)
Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) Rep. Billy Long (R-MO)
Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC)
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA)
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
Rep. David Brat (R-VA) Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR)
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA)
Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)
Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC)
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) Rep. John Fleming (R-LA)
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN)
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA)
Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX)
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX)
Rep. John Carter (R-TX) Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO)
Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI)
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL)
Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) Rep. Tom Price (R-GA)
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK)
Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL)
Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX)
Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA)
Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA) Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX)
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN)
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)
Rep. George Holding (R-NC) Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)
Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI)
Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA)
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA)
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)

Click here to visit the American Energy Scorecard.



Fuel Economy Mandate Met with Congressional Criticism

At what point do federal regulations become too expensive to justify? The Energy and Commerce Committee dug into this question during a joint Subcommittee hearing on Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Turns out, CAFE standards contribute significantly to the rising sticker prices for new cars and unjustifiably hurt Americans. CAFE standards should be repealed or rapidly sunset.

Promulgated in response to the energy crisis of the 1970’s, CAFE standards were initially designed to decrease energy consumption by mandating mileage per gallon standards for a given auto manufacturers fleet. Now the Obama administration is tightening the standard by mandating that America’s fleet of new cars and trucks get on average 54 miles per gallon by 2025. In July, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released their Draft Technical Assessment Report (TAR), opening a comment period for the midterm review of the standards.

The Energy and Commerce hearing highlighted a number of issues with how current CAFE standards affect drivers and the damage the increasing standards will have. The question of cost was addressed multiple times, and for good reason. A Heritage Foundation study found that new vehicles are more than $6,000 more expensive than they would be if auto price trends remained the same since 2008.

In his written testimony, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers President and CEO Mitch Bainwol notes that NHTSA and EPA must take into account the rising cost of vehicles, especially in the context of stagnant income.




Further complicating things is the incongruencies between the NHTSA implementation of the standard and the EPA’s implementation. Several Representatives made specific note of this during the hearing. This inconsistency primarily manifests in the differences between the application of credit programs via the EPA and NHTSA. Both agencies offer credits for manufacturers who exceed fuel efficiency requirements for a given year. However, they are not implemented in the same manner, differing in terms of duration, applicability, and transferability. This leads to significant confusion and, ultimately, increased costs borne by manufacturers which are then passed onto consumers.

Representatives pressed the EPA and NHTSA to justify these regulations: what are they worth? As mentioned, CAFE standards originated as a way to reduce consumption of foreign oil during the energy crisis of the early 1970’s. However, the standards have since evolved to become a climate oriented regulatory action. The EPA claims CAFE standards are crucial for combating climate change. However, the EPA’s own analysis indicates otherwise. The administration explained that the 2017-2025 regulation would have next to zero climate impact. Per EPA, “the global mean temperature is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.0074–0.0176 °C by 2100, and sea-level rise is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.071–0.159 cm.” Any way you cut it, CAFE standards have no discernable climate impact in the real world and impose a hefty cost on consumers.

At the end of the day, CAFE standards are unnecessary. Auto manufacturers will make cars with higher fuel efficiency on their own volition because gas mileage is an important factor for consumers looking to purchase a new car. CAFE standards do nothing but drive up the cost of vehicles, forcing manufacturers to pass on costs to consumers. Congress should look to repeal or sunset CAFE standards as soon as possible.



Obama’s Fuel Economy Mandate Threatens the American Dream of Mobility

WASHINGTON – Today the American Energy Alliance released a new video highlighting the consequences of the Obama administration’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. This mandate requires that America’s fleet of new cars and trucks get on average 54 miles per gallon by 2025—if EPA’s assumptions are correct.

AEA’s video, which also features an interview with Congressman Mike Kelly, tells the story of Nelcy Grande, whose ability to buy a car allowed her to start and grow her own cleaning business and send her daughters to college. Nelcy was able to achieve her dream, but the CAFE standards could prevent millions of people from purchasing a vehicle and achieving theirs.

Watch the video below:

Research shows that the CAFE standards are already making cars and trucks more expensive. A study from the Heritage Foundation shows that new vehicles are more than $6,000 more expensive than they would be if auto price trends remained the same since 2008.

AEA is also directing its activists to submit comments to the EPA for the midterm review of the CAFE standards.


What Congress is doing about EPA’s heavy-handed methane regulations

Last week, the House Science Committee Environment Subcommittee held a hearing regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s new methane regulations. The hearing highlighted the dangers of these regulations and the Administration’s continuing attacks on domestic natural gas and oil production.

The EPA finalized new source performance standards for methane emissions earlier this spring. Unsurprisingly, the rule has a hefty price tag. EPA pegged the cost at $530 million in 2025 (using a 7 percent discount rate). The American Petroleum Institute explains that this rule could costs motorists $550 in higher gasoline costs over the course of a year and cost the average family an additional $1,337 in disposable income.

While the natural gas and oil sector has been reducing methane emissions for years, the Independent Petroleum Association of America explains that “parts of the EPA’s final rules appear to remove flexibilities for producers and could actually undermine industry’s progress” in lowering methane emissions on their own. The National Association of Manufacturers also stated that the methane rule would jeopardize access to reliable energy for businesses across the economy.

Congress seems to have gotten the message. The Subcommittee hearing focused on the intense burdens the rule would place not only on the energy industry, but ultimately on American families.

Most central to the debate surrounding the methane rule is just how little it will actually do for the environment. In reality, oil and gas production has increased 26 percent since 2005, while methane emissions from such production has decreased 38 percent. The energy sector has already made strides in reducing methane emissions on its own and will continue to do so. That’s because methane is the largest component of natural gas, and allowing methane to escape results in a lost profit opportunity. Further regulation is not only unwarranted and unnecessary, but economically damaging.

Congress has taken some strides in combatting this harmful regulation. In addition to the hearing, Rep. Jenkins introduced H.R. 5668, the Transparency and Honesty in Energy Regulations Act. This bill would prohibit agencies from using the so-called social cost of methane metric, a scientifically dubious and arbitrary metric that the EPA used to justify its methane rule. Congress should also look to introduce a Congressional Review Act bill, similar to what they did with the Waters of the United States rule.

While progress has been made in fighting the methane rule at the Congressional level, more should be done. Congress should continue to oppose the rule and fight to keep energy affordable, reliable, and accessible.

The Obama Administration’s Political Attack on the Dakota Access Pipeline

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a 1,170 mile pipeline project currently under construction in the northern plains. The pipeline, spanning four states, would transport oil from North Dakota, through South Dakota and Iowa, onto its terminus in Patoka, Illinois. However, what should be a standard, albeit significant, infrastructure project, has come into the national limelight as a hot button debate over energy transportation.

Announced in 2014, the DAP was intended to be a safe alternative to rail transportation. If completed, the pipeline would be able to safely send roughly a half-million barrels of oil every day. Dakota Access, LLP, explains that the pipeline would not only increase energy security as it disperses oil from the wildly productive Bakken production area, but would also have a major contribution to local economies. They found that 8,000 to 12,000 jobs would be created for construction and $55.5 million in state revenues in 2017 alone. Not to mention the increase in affordable, reliable energy to the entire nation.

During the permit process, the North Dakota Public Service Commission held public meetings to explain the pipeline and route, and to gain public input. Dakota Access met with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe beginning in September 2014 to explain the route and process. The Standing Rock Sioux, however, did not protest nor did they file written testimony in opposition to the pipeline. The opposition came only after the permits were issued.

After all of the public meetings and outreach, and after the permits to build the pipeline were issued, some Native American tribes claimed the pipeline infringed on sacred tribal lands. However, the Army Corps of Engineers approved permits for construction in late July, which should have assuaged any remaining questions as to pipeline compliance. While tribes have been protesting since early 2016, the construction process has continued.

After state and federal permits were issued, environmental activists started to get involved. These groups are trotting out celebrities and politicians to stop the pipeline, furthering their goal of keeping natural gas and oil in the ground. Their hope is to discourage natural resources development by limiting access. In light of the protests, the Department of Justice, Department of the Interior, and Army Corps of Engineers recently decided to stop construction as they review the permits they already issued.

This is hypocritical. As The Wall Street Journal notes:

Dakota Access went above and beyond the law’s requirements to mitigate its environmental impact. This meant devising the route to avoid sites on the National Register of Historic Places as well as those identified as potentially eligible for listing. Archaeologists conducted cultural surveys including visual reconnaissance and “shove-test probes” to examine historic sites. The pipeline was modified 140 times in North Dakota alone to avoid potential cultural resources. Around Lake Oahe, the pipeline will run adjacent to the Northern Border Gas Pipeline that was completed in 1982, which reduces the likelihood that construction would harm intact tribal features.

It does not take a legal or environmental expert to see this stoppage is the federal government capitulating to anti-energy activists. This has nothing to do with the environment whatsoever; those concerns have already been ameliorated. The WSJ further notes that, while Democrats have been harping for the need for increased infrastructure investment, that apparently does not apply to pipelines designed to more safely transport commodities. Hypocrisy abounds.

The administration’s actions are a transparently political attack on an already-approved pipeline project. If the opposition to the DAP was not enough during the comment period to convince the Army Corps of Engineers to not issue permits, then why are the protests now enough to order a stoppage? This whole saga is nothing but an attack on energy.

Labor Takes a Hit Under Obama’s Anti-Coal Policies

In 2008, President Obama famously said “…if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them…” With Labor Day earlier this week, it’s a reminder of how President Obama’s anti-energy policies have affected employment.

The Daily Caller reports that since President Obama came into office, America has 83,000 fewer coal jobs with the coal mining sector having lost nearly 11,000 jobs in 2015 alone. In addition, The Daily Caller also reports that 400 mines have shuttered during the Obama years.A study from the American Action Forum shows that the number of jobs lost could actually be much higher– estimating that over 180,000 miners have lost their jobs since 2008. While President Obama talks about helping working class families, the reality is that a torrent of regulations from Washington have stifled much needed growth and killed jobs.

These job losses come from regulations of all different shapes and sizes. AAF found that the Clean Power Plan alone could close 66 coal-fired power plants and kill an additional 125,800 jobs. Other disastrous regulations include the Interior Department’s coal moratorium, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, Regional Haze regulations, the Stream Buffer Rule, and the lingering Cross State Air Pollution Rule. Combined, all of this red tape leads to huge job losses.

Energy is an important engine of the American economy and still has the potential to power the grid and job growth in the future. Policymakers should realize this and work towards sensible regulation instead of punishing American workers by bankrupting power plants. Hopefully our next President will be serious about economic growth and will roll back some of these policies for a more reasonable approach to energy.

Paris Climate Pact Remains Non-Binding, Meaningless

President Obama will likely “join” the Paris Climate Agreement during his upcoming trip to China. What does this mean? In reality, not much. That’s because the administration knew that a binding climate treaty would need to be voted on in the Senate. Instead, they worked hard to create a non-binding agreement, which they argue would not need to be ratified by the Senate (despite President Obama’s recent attempt to portray the agreement as a treaty). However, non-binding agreements by their very nature are non-binding for future administrations.

As of now, only 23 members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change have ratified the agreement/treaty, representing a mere 1 percent of total global CO2 emissions. For the agreement/treaty to go into effect, 55 members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, representing 55 percent of total global emissions, must ratify.

The problems with the Paris agreement are legion (as noted hereherehere, and here). These problems aside, whatever President Obama agrees to in China (or elsewhere during his Pacific Rim trip) won’t be binding for the United States. Here’s how legal expert David Wirth has explained the agreement:

The Executive Branch has indicated its intention to cement President Obama’s climate legacy by submitting its instrument of acceptance for the Paris Agreement by the end of this year.  As of this writing, that has not occurred. But even if it does, the U.S.’s crucial emissions reduction undertaking is still only a non-binding aspiration not governed by international law.

As far as this and other non-binding goals articulated under the Paris Agreement, President Donald Trump, who has voiced scepticism about anthropogenic climate change, need not go through a formal withdrawal process, as required by the Agreement and international law.  Instead, he need only say, “The United States changed its mind.” [Emphasis added.]

The bottom line is, for the agreement to actually have any force, it must be a treaty. Treaties must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate (Article II, Section 2, U.S. Constitution). Any sort of legal or linguistic gymnastics have failed to assuage criticism and confusion both at home and abroad.

The Paris agreement is non-binding, carries no legal requirements for the United States, and should not be taken seriously.