…Later the Texas policy expert explained the competing liberal and conservative visions implicit in the King v. Burwell Supreme Court Case.
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Michael Bastasch reports: Want to earn money while on vacation? Go work for the Environmental Protection Agency, which paid eight employees more than $1 million while they were on administrative leave, in some cases for years, according to a government watchdog report.
“EPA claimed that John Beale’s fraud was an anomaly, but EPA has allowed a number of employees to waste millions of taxpayer dollars in the last few years through lax internal controls and substandard management.”
The EPA’s inspector general found that “eight employees totaled 20,926 hours and cost the government an estimated $1,096,868” while on paid leave. Each employee “was on extended administrative leave for four or more months,” the IG reported, adding that “four of the eight employees” were on leave for more than a year.
Not only that, the employees who took huge amounts of leave time also got automatic raises — despite their being paid to do no work.
“The EPA’s major time and attendance issues and management failures are no longer surprising, just pathetic. Reforming their policy will be top of our agenda with the new conservative majority.”
— Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter
The EPA IG’s report comes after an October 2014 Government Accountability Office report that estimated the “salary cost for EPA employees on administrative leave for fiscal years (FYs) 2011 through 2013 was $17,550,100.” GAO found that 69 EPA employees used a month or more of administrative leave — 50 of these employees were on leave for more than three months and two were on leave for over a year. These 69 agency employees took 4,711 days of leave from 2011 to 2013. 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 »
Chuck Ross reports: Hydraulic fracturing conserves water compared to other energy-generation methods, according to a recent study that undermines claims by fracking opponents.
Bridget Scanlon and a team of researchers at the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas compared the state’s water consumption levels for 2010, a non-drought year, and 2011, a drought year, at the state’s 423 power plants.
Even after accounting for the water used in obtaining natural gas from the ground, natural gas-powered plants use much less water to obtain the same amount of energy as coal-powered plants.
“Although water use for gas production is controversial, these data show that water saved by using natural gas combined cycle plants relative to coal steam turbine plants is 25-50 times greater than the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing to extract the case,” reads the report, published in Environmental Research Letters.
“Natural gas, now ~50% of power generation in Texas, enhances drought resilience by increasing the flexibility of power plants generators,” the report continues. The researchers predict that reductions in water use from the increased use of natural gas will continue through 2030.