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Obama will use his executive authority to impose new permanent bans on offshore drilling

An offshore oil drilling rig in Port Angeles, Wash., that had been slated for use in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast. (Daniella Beccaria / Associated Press)

Invoking a rarely used provision in federal law, the Obama administration on Tuesday announced a permanent ban on offshore drilling in broad parts of the Arctic and Atlantic coasts — a sweeping and controversial move that will help secure the president’s environmental legacy even as critics vowed to reverse it.

The ban relies on the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act of 1953, which says the president “may, from time to time, withdraw” federal waters from oil and gas development that are not already leased. It was announced as part of a joint action with Canada, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made long-term, though not permanent, commitments to protect the Arctic from drilling.

Obama cited the Arctic’s “unique ecosystem,” the risk of damage from a spill, the high cost of working in the remote and frigid region and concerns about climate change.

“It would take decades to fully develop the production infrastructure necessary for any large-scale oil and gas leasing production in the region – at a time when we need to continue to move decisively away from fossil fuels,” the president said in a written statement.

The announcement, coming one month to the day before Obama is to be succeeded by President-elect Donald Trump, is intended to help counter plans by the incoming administration to vastly expand energy extraction by fossil fuel companies.

Trump made clear his intentions for robust new drilling during the campaign, and his appointment to key cabinet posts of longtime loyalists to the oil industry has alarmed environmentalists. Major conservation groups had been pushing Obama in recent weeks to put the offshore areas off limits in perpetuity.

Past presidents, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, have invoked the law to issue temporary bans. Obama’s action appears to be the first time the law has been used to impose a permanent drilling ban – and it is almost certain to be challenged.

A senior administration official said Tuesday that the White House was “quite confident” that the decision could not be undone by Trump, noting that the law specifies no provision for reversal. The official suggested that overturning the ban could require years of legal action and the passage of a bill in Congress.

Some oil industry leaders said they believed the next administration could easily reverse it. They cited a 2008 memorandum by President George W. Bush that lifted a temporary ban in certain offshore areas imposed by President Clinton.

“Fortunately, there is no such thing as a permanent ban, and we look forward to working with the new administration on fulfilling the will of American voters on energy production,” wrote Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute.

Yet environmental groups say the 2008 reversal left intact other permanent changes Clinton made.

Under the 1953 law, a presidential order that explicitly states that it is intended to be permanent, and is designed to address an “articulated purpose,” would likely stand up to legal challenges, lawyers for two conservation groups, Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council, wrote in a legal brief on the issue last month.

The Trump transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

How much the decision might change the situation in the Arctic is unclear. Only one company, Royal Dutch Shell, has conducted exploratory drilling in the region in recent years.

Last year, after spending more more than seven years and $7 billion preparing, Shell abandoned its plan after a single summer of drilling, citing disappointing results.

On Tuesday, an administration official estimated it could take decades — and a doubling or tripling of the price of oil — to make drilling in the Arctic appealing to many companies.

The administration emphasized that oil and gas exploration have thrived in other parts of the country at far less expense. While the Arctic is believed to hold vast reserves, it currently provides 0.1% of the nation’s crude oil production. None of the companies that hold the 42 active leases in the Arctic’s Beaufort Sea is currently pursuing drilling.

Still, with Trump promising to unleash a wave of fossil fuel development, the announcement is another example of Obama moving to shield his legacy of environmental protection. If and how Trump might undo various policies have been constant questions. Some rules are fairly easily reversible; others could require years of regulatory processes to change.

Trump has suggested he could walk away from the landmark agreement on global warming Obama signed with other countries in Paris last year, as well as scrap the Obama administration’s signature effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants.

Trump has promised to champion coal power, eliminate subsidies for green energy programs and broadly relax federal environmental regulations. His pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, is a climate change skeptic who has led state efforts to resist the agency’s authority. His choice for Energy Secretary, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has also expressed doubts about human-caused climate change and is a close ally of the oil industry.

Canada’s role in the announcement on Tuesday follows a commitment Obama and Trudeau made in March to collaborate on Arctic issues as declining sea ice from climate change is stirring new interest and posing new risks in the region. While Canada also banned drilling in its Arctic region, its ban would be reviewed after five years.

The nations also pledged to work together to define “low-impact shipping corridors” to protect the Arctic’s endangered whales and other species as well as the subsistence hunting and fishing practices of indigenous people.

The announcement includes a ban on drilling in large parts of the Atlantic, from New England to the Chesapeake Bay, where the U.S. administration is seeking to protect underwater canyons, some deeper than the Grand Canyon. Many are what scientists call biodiversity “hot spots,” providing homes to corals, beaked whales, fish, sponges and crabs. Officials say preserving the canyons will ensure better health for commercial fish populations.

But the big news was in the Arctic, long a stage for conservation battles. While 3.8 million acres are being protected in the Atlantic, 115 million are set aside in the Arctic. The ban there includes all of the Chukchi Sea and the vast majority of the Beaufort off the coast of Alaska, leaving out a portion near state waters and the onshore drilling fields of the North Slope. That area, the administration noted, includes known oil reserves, and its proximity to existing infrastructure and spill-response equipment somewhat reduces risks of serious damage from a drilling mishap.

That area already had not been designated for leasing in the federal government’s upcoming five-year program for the Outer Continental Shelf, which begins in 2017. Just last month, the administration said it would not sell new leases for drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic through 2022. That announcement also blocked expansion in the Pacific, leaving the Gulf of Mexico as the primary offshore production area.

While many lawmakers on the East Coast supported Tuesday’s decision, Alaska’s three-member congressional delegation sharply criticized it and other moves by the administration that have restricted oil development in that state, including previously announced protections for a wide swath of western Alaska and Bristol Bay, home to one of the world’s largest runs of wild salmon.

The vast majority of Alaska’s budget is funded through revenue from oil production, which has been in steady decline as production on the North Slope and the price of oil have declined. Many Alaskans view offshore drilling as a potential economic lifeline — and lawmakers said Tuesday’s decision would leave them with even fewer options.

“President Obama has once again treated the Arctic like a snow globe, ignoring the desires of the people who live, work, and raise a family there,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. “I cannot wait to work with the next administration to reverse this decision.”

Finally Renouncing and Denouncing Progressivism

Perhaps a new movement to abolish Progressive government will finally stop the tide of statism.

How wonderful…

…the possibility secular humanist social justice politically correct statist progressivism which dominates the main media, the popular culture, the universities, the courts, the liberal churches, the public schools, the continuing failed legacy of the “Great Society” (stigmatizing our underclass), the continuing legacy of the “New Deal” (establishing permanent entitlement programs), the Congress, the Executive Branch (not for long), all of the obscenely bloated unconstitutional bureaucracies (especially the State Dept, Educ Dept, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Energy Dept and EPA) and the Supreme Court itself…notice the fourth branch of government, the State legislatures and Governors, are not in this list…How wonderful, the possibility, that all the “fruits” of Progressivism will be powerfully and soundly scorned, ridiculed and repudiated for all the unconstitutional devastation it has wreaked on our country…the possibility that a pajama President may be replaced by an Alpha President.

Are any Progressives acknowledging, honoring or admitting what Americans asserted last November…even with a not-so-qualified, not-so-virtuous Presidential candidate who repeatedly seemed to sabotage his own campaign?

How could Clinton have lost? Will Progressives ever admit why? Progressivism means you don’t have to take personal moral responsibility, which is totally antithetical to the definition of liberty (the power to take personal moral responsibility to wield our inalienable rights). What is your definition of liberty? I bet you don’t have one on the tip of your tongue!

Democrats are not accountable to normal Americans…they cannot hear what the people have so powerfully declared in the last November’s voting…they literally are only focused on regaining power, for power’s sake, not for the sake of democracy.

Why has America prevented a Democrat majority in Congress?

Progressives do not represent America, even though they forcefully dominate most public institutions and punish those who stray from their ranks.

Progressives may be Democrats, but they are emphatically not democratic. They do not believe in individual sovereignty. They do not uphold our constitutional republic. They do not honor “Government of the people, by the people, for the people…” (Abraham Lincoln, the virtual founder of the Republican Party.)

Because politics and social justice is their religion, even Progressive Christians like Tony Campolo who are determined to violate the will of the people attempt to expand unconstitutional government for the sake of social justice. Social justice has ruled the day since the first Progressive social justice president, Teddy Roosevelt (a Republican…like Bush 1 and 2).

President Reagan barely slowed the advance of unconstitutionally exponentially expanding government.

Maybe Trump can.


Nothing the Left Won’t Do In Their Desperation to Discredit Trump

Scorched Earth Progressive Geniuses they are.

“A group of Hollywood celebrities are calling on Republican electors in the Electoral College to disregard their states’ voting results and deny Donald Trump the presidency when the group casts their official ballots on December 19.”


The Left’s Coming Counter-Attack

By Joe Herring

 When the Soviet Union fell, all the little commies didn’t wake up the next morning and say, “You know, those wacky Americans were right all along!  Let’s go do some freedom and liberty stuff!”

No, they woke up bitter and furious…spreading out among the intelligentsia of western Europe; Great Britain; and, to a lesser extent, the United States.  They were welcomed by their fellow travelers: first and foremost, the misfit toys inhabiting the islands of academia – who were already busily nurturing bitterness and envy among their charges with the care of a master gardener.

They threw themselves into plotting and agitating, insinuating themselves into every possible position of influence they could manage – all to keep the flame of statist oppression lit, though necessarily hidden.

They found suitable vehicles in the international environmentalist movement and newly created issues that could be weaponized for use against that evil hegemon of economic and individual liberty, the dreaded victor of the Cold War, the United States.

The “crisis creation” machine went into high gear, fueled by alarmist junk science and billions of federal research dollars.

Eisenhower’s famous warning about the military-industrial complex was soon greatly overshadowed by his lesser known warning from the same speech about the potential of a “scientific-technological elite” dominating policy, creating a “rule of experts” who derive both their funding and their marching orders from government.

Case in point: “climate change,” née “global warming,” née “global cooling,” etc.  When a nation’s institutions of higher learning derive upwards of 75% of their total research budgets from government, it is an impossible task to prevent the creation of a vast echo chamber, crafted to suit the whims of the funders.

This is precisely the danger of which Eisenhower spoke.

After years of pruning, fertilizing, and watering their post-secondary gardens, the left has reaped a bountiful harvest of indoctrinated political automatons, gleefully tightening its hold on the generations destined to govern our future with each passing graduation ceremony.

These first fruits of statist insinuation naturally gravitated toward public employment, in agencies where their misbegotten fantasies of a static climate and unspoilt wilderness could be realized.  They have risen through the ranks, hiring like-minded graduates in their wake – until today, the left lies resplendent in the glory of dominance in both the social and natural sciences, waving wands made of tax dollars in furtherance of their transformative ideas of how we all ought to live.

They felt their oats fully with the election of one of their own in 2008.  They abandoned all pretense and threw open the doors to their diseased inner sanctum…baring their storehouse of wilted values and stunted virtues.

The insults came more rapidly then.  Men became women, or even little girls, merely by saying so, and those of us who dared to reproach the deviant for wishing to toilet with our children were derided as bigots and threatened with the full force of government if we didn’t acquiesce.

Foreign enemies of all we believe were imported to our cities under the flag of tolerance and rescue, and those who stood against this suicidal tide were soon awash in recriminations from our well-meaning but ill-informed neighbors, who hammered their narrative in our churches and our schools.

When we finally turned away in disgust, they unleashed their most potent weapon – our own children – whom they had taught to worship at the altar of a gray, formless morality, where rights are derived from acceptance into the collective, and justice is a relative concept subject to the whim of government.

We sent our offspring to them for an education, and they sent them back to us, spitting with hatred for the way of life that enabled their ease.  “You dare defy us?  Our soldiers are your own flesh and blood!”

They threw them at us like grenades – warped, misguided and misinformed, filled with explosive fury and lit by an impossibly short fuse.  Wave after wave, they sent them into the streets to burn, to riot, and to cloak their debauchery of liberty with the fresh face of a new generation.

And we backed down, knowing we had been gravely molested but unwilling to challenge the perpetrators for fear of ensnaring our own children in the fray.

We held elections.  We elected majorities who then refused to fight.  We listened to our “leaders,” who told us to appease the gnashing beast because the world was changing and we had to remain “relevant.”

Now, after a great while and innumerable offenses, we have elected someone who sees no value in the bureaucrat’s mantra of “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”  We explored unfamiliar electoral terrain and found someone who respects the origin of our ideals as embodied in our founding documents.  A man who brusquely (and entertainingly!) dismissed the circus-mirror image of America peddled by the left and their fawning, complicit media.  Tired of being beaten about the head and shoulders while those we elected to defend us stood by holding the coats of our abusers, we elected a brawler of our own.

Those repudiated on November 8, 2016 have not yet fully realized that voters hadn’t failed to understand what we saw when they revealed their inmost desires to us.  Rather, we understood all too well, and we turned away, revolted by the sight.

When they fully comprehend the enormousness of their rejection, we had better be prepared, because these are people who would see the whole nation brought to ruin before permitting it to succeed despite them.

This election was a modern-day Fort Sumter – the first shots of a long and brutal struggle to come.

The left will stop at nothing.  They will riot at the slightest provocation.  They will use our children as suicide bombers, blowing families apart over made up differences.  They will abuse the court system, the regulatory agencies, and every damn little ordinance in the tiniest of backwater towns to harass and beleaguer our efforts.

We must fight for our children as we fight for our future.

There are those who will counsel appeasement, as they always have.  Reject their advice without hesitation.  Compromise is possible only when both parties agree on an outcome, merely debating the best method to achieve it.  Despite what the quisling class tells you, traveling together is an impossibility when you are going in opposite directions.

The last eight years have been a dumpster fire, with the foundational timbers of our republic as fuel.  You can’t leave glowing embers behind.  By debating the demonstrable fantasies of the left, we grant them legitimacy, leaving them as glowing embers in the minds of successive generations.

It won’t be easy, and the left will ensure that it won’t be bloodless, but it’s as necessary as food and water to the health of the body.  Prime the fire hoses and disperse the rioters.  There can never be such a thing as “space to destroy.”

I tell you this not to depress you, but to alert you, so you aren’t caught off guard by the ferocity of the coming counter-attack.  History teaches that the leftist leviathan of November 9 is the same leftist leviathan of November 7.

The author writes from Omaha, Nebraska and welcomes visitors to his site, http://www.readmorejoe.com.