Natalie Johnson reports: The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that landowners can appeal to a federal court when the government subjects their property to wetlands
regulations requiring additional permits.
“For more than 40 years, millions of landowners nationwide have had no meaningful way to challenge wrongful application of the federal Clean Water Act to their land.”
The unanimous ruling determined that the Clean Water Act “imposes substantial criminal and civil penalties for discharging any pollutant into waters” covered by federal regulations without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“They have been put at the mercy of the government because land covered by the Act is subject to complete federal control. This victory guarantees the rights of millions of property owners.”
— Principal Attorney M. Reed Hopper
The decision could weaken the Obama administration’s environmental agenda.
The Corps is in charge of assessing whether a landowner’s property contains “waters of the United States” or “navigable waters,” which are protected under the Clean Water Act. Read the rest of this entry »
The bill is crucial to preserve academic freedom and the ability of faculty members to blow the whistle when they observe wrongdoing.
Joseph Cohn reports: 2016 is right around the corner, and it promises to bring good news to college students and faculty members in Washington state. When the Washington State Legislature reconvenes in January, State Representative Matthew Manweller plans to introduce HB 3055, a bill that includes items on FIRE’s wish list.
“The bill’s wide-ranging scope includes a provision that would prevent campus administrators from forcing faculty members to affix “trigger warnings” on class syllabi that caution students that certain topics might be unsettling.”
Included in the bill’s meritorious provisions is the Campus Free Expression Act (CAFE Act), similar to a new law in Missouri, which would prevent public institutions of higher education from limiting expressive activity in the open outdoor areas of campus to tiny, misleadingly labeled “free speech zones.”
“The legislation also forbids institutions from punishing students or faculty for so-called ‘microaggressions’—defined by proponents as ‘everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.’”
Another important part of Representative Manweller’s legislation is a provision aimed at ensuring faculty at the state’s public colleges have the freedom to speak out on institutional policy and matters of public concern without fear of reprisal. The bill is crucial to preserve academic freedom and the ability of faculty members to blow the whistle when they observe wrongdoing.
“Due process protections are also front and center in Representative Manweller’s comprehensive bill. Like legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support earlier this year in North Dakota, the bill would provide students accused of non-academic offenses that could result in lengthy suspensions or expulsions with the right to hire lawyers to represent them and fully participate in the campus process.”
The bill’s wide-ranging scope includes a provision that would prevent campus administrators from forcing faculty members to affix “trigger warnings” on class syllabi that caution students that certain topics might be unsettling. Under the legislation, individual faculty members would decide if and when they want to include such warnings. The legislation also forbids institutions from punishing students or faculty for so-called “microaggressions”—defined by proponents as “everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.” Read the rest of this entry »
Kimberley A. Strassel writes: When a government official (think Hillary Clinton) uses a private email account for government work (think Hillary Clinton) and then doesn’t turn over records (think Hillary Clinton), the public has to wonder why. For an example of that why, consider Thursday’s federal-court subpoena of Phillip North.
“Government workers don’t use private email because it is ‘convenient.’ They use private email to engage in practices that may be unsavory, or embarrassing, or even illegal.”
The North story hasn’t gotten a lot of attention, but it is a useful tale for clarifying exactly why we have federal records and sunshine laws. You see, government workers don’t use private email because it is “convenient.” They use private email to engage in practices that may be unsavory, or embarrassing, or even illegal. Let’s be clear about that.
“Records show that EPA officials, including Mr. North, had no intention of letting the process get that far. They set about to ‘pre-emptively’ veto the mine, before Pebble could even file for permits.”
Mr. North was, until a few years ago, a biologist at the Environmental Protection Agency, based in Alaska. Around 2005 he became enmeshed in reviewing the Pebble Partnership’s proposal to develop a mine there. Mr. North has openly admitted that he was opposed to this idea early on, and he is entitled to his opinion. Still, as a government employee his first duty is to follow the law.
“But for the EPA to so flagrantly insert itself into the process, it needed cause. This is where Mr. North and his private email come in.”
In the normal course of law, Pebble would file for permits and the Army Corps of Engineers would get the first say over approval. The EPA has a secondary role. But records show that EPA officials, including Mr. North, had no intention of letting the process get that far. They set about to “pre-emptively” veto the mine, before Pebble could even file for permits. But for the EPA to so flagrantly insert itself into the process, it needed cause. This is where Mr. North and his private email come in. Read the rest of this entry »
“Oil production gains from the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale formations are a major reason why U.S. imports of crude oil have dropped to levels not seen since the mid-1990s.”
— Benteck Director of Energy Analysis Jack Weixel
HOUSTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) — Oil production from shale basins in North Dakota and Texas are the primary reason for a decline in U.S. oil imports, data published Thursday show.
“Total U.S. crude oil production reached 8.5 million barrels per day in July, the highest monthly level since April 1987.”
Bentek Energy, the analytical division of Platts, said July oil production from the Bakken area in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford shale play in Texas increased 3.4 percent year-on-year, or more than 86,000 barrels per day.
The chart below shows the combined daily oil output in America’s three most productive oil fields — the Bakken in North Dakota, the Eagle Ford Shale in south-central Texas and the Permian Basin in west Texas — from January 2007 to June 2014, based on estimates released by the EIA. From combined output of 1 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in 2007, total crude oil production in those three oil fields will top 4 million barrels in June, based on drilling rigs data and EIA estimates of changes in production from existing wells…(read more)
“Oil production gains from the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale formations are a major reason why U.S. imports of crude oil have dropped to levels not seen since the mid-1990s,” Benteck Director of Energy Analysis Jack Weixel said in a statement Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »
HOUSTON, Texas–For Breitbart.com, Kristin Tate reports: 3 million barrels of crude oil are now being produced in Texas each day, according to new federal data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). This means that the state has almost reached the production level of Iraq, the second-largest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Texas’ oil production has been increasing rapidly in recent years: in 2009, the state only produced about 1.1 million barrels of oil. The gas and oil industry continues to explode in the Lone Star State, thanks in part to the Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin.
The EIA reported, “Gains in Texas crude oil production come primarily from counties that contain unconventional tight oil and shale reservoirs in the Eagle Ford Shale in the Western Gulf Basin, where drilling has increasingly targeted oil-rich areas, and multiple reservoirs within the Permian Basin in West Texas that have seen a significant increase in horizontal, oil-directed drilling.”
North Dakota’s oil production also saw an increase; the state produces about 1 million barrels per day. Read the rest of this entry »
For AEIdeas, Mark J. Perry writes: The chart above shows the combined daily oil output in America’s three most productive oil fields — the Bakken in North Dakota, the Eagle Ford Shale in south-central Texas and the Permian Basin in west Texas — from January 2007 to June 2014, based on estimates released this week by the EIA. From combined output of 1 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in 2007, total crude oil production in those three oil fields will top 4 million barrels in June, based on drilling rigs data and EIA estimates of changes in production from existing wells.
Oil production for each of America’s three super-giant elite oil fields are displayed separately in the chart below, with June production levels estimated at 1.068 million bpd in the Bakken, 1.42 million bpd in the Eagle Ford Shale, and 1.53 million bpd in the Permian Basin. Read the rest of this entry »
For Breitbart.com, Michelle Moons writes: Going, going, getting out of California. Struggling, unemployed Californians have been leaving for greater opportunity in other states. It has been said, as goes California, so goes the country; however, when it comes to leadership in energy policy and jobs, states like North Dakota are blazing the trail.
“The weather’s not going anywhere,” said former San Diego resident and Navy veteran Ryan Schofield, who left San Diego for plentiful job opportunities in Williston, North Dakota. Schofield also said that in 10 to 20 years he would consider returning to southern California.
“Based on the latest state GDP data, North Dakota and Texas saw the fastest pace of economic growth since the end of the Great Recession–ranking first and second, respectively. California’s economy was the 14th slowest-growing economy during the same time period.”
— Wayne Winegarden
At a time when the oil and gas industry is booming in states like North Dakota and Texas, California, and her cities, are considering moving to ban innovative practices such as fracking. Read the rest of this entry »
The expansion in volumes of oil and gas produced by hydraulic fracturing is taking experts and politicians by surprise, with profound consequences for US geopolitics, and even Europe’s reliance on Russian gas
TEXAS: For The Independent, David Usborne reports: Hector Gallegos sits in the cab of his pick-up enjoying a few hours of calm. A day earlier, workers finished carting off the huge rig that had drilled three new wells beneath this small patch of south Texas farmland and he’s now getting ready to prime them for production. He reckons that about three weeks from now each will be producing 1,000 to 2,000 barrels a day. “That’s money!” he exclaims with a broad smile.
“The United States is now poised to become an energy superpower.”
— Meghan O’Sullivan, Foreign Affair magazine
It’s also power, and not in the combustion sense. Thanks to the success of engineers like Mr Gallegos in pushing the frontiers of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, to access reserves of oil trapped in shale formations, notably here in Texas and North Dakota, America is poised to displace Saudi Arabia as the world’s top producer. With that could come a hobbling of Opec and unforeseen shifts in US foreign policy.
“We keep raising our forecasts, and we keep underestimating production.”
— Lejla Alic, an analyst with the International Energy Agency
So rapid has been the change in its energy fortunes that even some experts, as well as policy-makers in Washington, are struggling to keep up. Nor are we just talking oil. So much natural gas is being released by the shale also that for now outlandish quantities of it are simply being burned off into the atmosphere.
James Macpherson reports: North Dakota produced a record amount of crude oil in 2013 — 313.5 million barrels, about 70 million more than the previous high mark a year earlier, state data show.
The tally, up nearly 29 percent from 2012, marks the sixth consecutive record year for oil production in North Dakota, which is the nation’s No. 2 oil producer behind Texas.
Lynn Helms, director of the state Mineral Resources, said Friday that North Dakota produced an average of 923,227 barrels of oil daily in December. The monthly total of 28.6 million barrels was down from 29.2 million barrels in November due to worse-than-normal winter weather that caused the slowdown in oil production, he said. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Barone writes: The Census Bureau’s holiday treat is its release of annual state-population estimates, to be digested slowly in the new year.
The headline from this year’s release is that population growth from July 2012 to July 2013 was 0.72 percent, lower than in the two preceding years and the lowest since the Great Depression 1930s. This reflects continuing low, below-replacement-rate birth rates and lower immigration than in 1982–2007. Net immigration from Mexico evidently continues to be zero.
The nation’s economy may be growing again, but Americans — and potential Americans — are not acting like it. There’s a parallel here with poll results showing that majorities still believe we are in a recession that the National Bureau of Economic Research says ended in June 2009, nearly five years ago.
Michael Bastasch writes: The Obama administration is painting a much rosier picture of American jobs than the data supports, two researchers claim.
They have been touting their recent study showing that nearly every state has seen its private sector shrink under the Obama administration.
“Our findings show that for many states, the impact of the recession and slow recovery on the private sector has been more severe than the official economic data indicates,” Keith Hall, a senior fellow at the free-market Mercatus Center, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Hall and fellow researcher Robert Greene found that 41 states saw their private sectors shrink from 2007 to 2012. Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Idaho and Nevada have seen the largest contractions in their respective private sectors — in 2012, Nevada’s has shrunk 13 percent below 2007 levels.
As Powerline blog notes, commenting on this same article, it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish supposedly serious news sites from the Onion.
According to the ever-entertaining and self-aggrandizing Huffington Post, Nadine Schweigert married herself and “opened up about self marriage.”
A 36-year-old North Dakota woman who married herself in a commitment ceremony last March has now spoken about her self-marriage choice in an interview with Anderson Cooper.
The marriage took place among friends and family who were encouraged to “blow kisses to the world” after she exchanged rings with her “inner groom”, My Fox Phoenix reports.