Archive for November, 2012

Dover-The Caesar Rodney Institute, a non-partisan, non-profit think tank dedicated to providing scientific and economic analyses to public policy issues, is pleased to announce the affiliation of two well-known academics to our ranks: Willie Soon, PhD and David R. Legates, PhD.

Dr. Soon will join CRI to provide research related to public policy issues impacted by the climate.

Soon is an astrophysicist and a geoscientist based in Salem, Massachusetts, doing research for the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA.  His area of specialty is in solar and stellar physics for New Astronomy. He is the author of the book “The Maunder Minimum and the Variable Sun-Earth Connection” and is a co-author of the textbook “Introduction to Astronomy”.  He has provided expert testimony in front of the United States Senate and was recognized for “detailed scholarship on biogeological and climatic change over the past 1000 years” by the Smithsonian Institution.

He received his PhD  from the University of Southern California. Dr. Soon was awarded the Rockwell Dennis Hunt award from Southern California University in 1991. He was given the Petr Beckmann Award from the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness for “courage and achievement in defense of scientific truth and freedom.”

David R. Legates, PhD will become a member of CRI’s  Advisory Council and will collaborate with Dr. Soon in developing and presenting CRI’s positions on public policy issues influenced by climate.

Dr. Legates is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware and served as the Delaware State Climatologist from 2005 to 2011. He also is an adjunct faculty in the Statistics Program. He received his Doctorate in Climatology in 1988 from the University of Delaware.  He has been invited twice to appear before the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and has given more than 120 invited professional presentations. He is recognized as a Certified Consulting Meteorologist by the American Meteorological Society.

For more information contact:

Samuel Friedman

Communications Coordinator


(302) 734-2700

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Limited Liability Laws

Cronyism and corporate welfare are two problems our government has created which weakens our security. Two stimuli were passed that granted over a trillion dollars of public money to campaign contributors, special interest groups, preferred businesses, labor unions, and those businesses who were deemed “too big to fail”, among other things. “Corporate Welfare” as it is known is the practice of subsidizing business interests with public funds for any reason. One little talked about provision of corporate welfare are the limited liability laws (the LLL’s).

These laws cap expenses a corporate entity must pay out in the event of catastrophe to a combination of factors, such as how much the original capital investment was and how much money the entity has. An example of how the LLL’s can be abused is in the case of the 2009 BP Oil Spill. Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, BP’s liability to fishermen, property owners and other individuals and businesses was  capped at  $75 million for all claims. BP also paid out about $4.5 billion in criminal and security settlements, and they spent close to $18 billion in environmental cleanup. However, the US Government was legally on the hook for any liability claim damages past the first $75 million.

Now BP to its credit did offer  to pay liability claims past the required $75 million, but any company not suffering as bad PR as BP was at the time might not feel the pressure to accept responsibility for its damages. This is an issue with the LLL’s that allows business entities, especially those close to the entrenched federal and state bureaucracies, to escape full financial responsibility by shifting the financial responsibility onto taxpayers. We need economical modifications to our existing federal and state laws, and requiring business entities to own up to their errors is a good start.

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from the Caesar Rodney Institute:


Lawsuit against the Bloom Energy Deal to be Heard Next Week

Wilmington- The lawsuit against the Bloom Energy deal approved by Governor Jack Markell and five members of the Public Service Commission will be heard at the US District Court on Wednesday, November 14, at 2 PM. The hearing will be in Courtroom 6C on 844 North King Street in front of Judge Christopher J. Burke. The hearing is open to the public, and all are encouraged to attend.

The plaintiffs are John Nichols and Fuel Cell Energy of Connecticut. Mr. Nichols is a citizen who believes his rights as a taxpayer and local resident are being violated as a result of a government-backed deal to provide over $600 million in taxpayer stimulus. Fuel Cell Energy believes they were unable to sell their products in Delaware because Bloom Energy had already been chosen to take the deal offered by the government.

The plaintiffs are being represented by Cause of Action, a non-profit which works to protect the public and taxpayer interests in favor of government accountability and transparency. The Caesar Rodney Institute provided expert testimony in Mr. Nichols’ hearing at the Coastal Zone Industrial Control Board on June 13 of this year. CRI’s testimony and research data on the Bloom Energy deal will be considered as part of the lawsuit.

Please contact:

Barrett Kidner

Chairman and CEO

(302) 734-4935


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