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Archive for the ‘Cap and Trade’ Category

If you missed the recent news update about the lawsuit Dave Stevenson and CRI board member John Moore filed against DNREC and former DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, you can read about it here.
While the ruling by Superior Court Judge Richard Stokes means Dave et. al. can proceed with the case because they have the standing to do so (a decision we expected- the state constitution says that on matters related to the state constitution and its interpretation any Delaware citizen has standing) they still have to win the case outright. Winning the case means tossing out the decision DNREC made last November when O’Mara was the Secretary- a decision to limit the number of carbon permits allowed to be sold to “polluters” in exchange for “permission to pollute”- a decision which has netted the state over $13.3 million this year from the private sector as of October 1. Losing the case means the decision stands- and DNREC’s action to limit the number of permits allowed to be auctioned for sale will cause electric companies to pay more for “polluting”, and they in turn will pass the buck to the consumers- all of us who live and/or work in the state. We believe what DNREC did was unconstitutional, and this is why Dave is the lead plaintiff in this lawsuit. Note: CRI itself is not involved in the lawsuit.
We need your help to make sure Delaware’s carbon tax vanishes. Please click here to open a PDF attachment with a letter asking your state representative to end Delaware’s participation in our cap-and-trade tax scheme. Then, mail or e-mail the letter to your representative. They may or may not listen to CRI, but all of us together can stop state agencies from raising taxes or fees on we the people whenever they feel like it, in direct violation of the state constitution!

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The President is scheduled to personally present new regulations requiring carbon dioxide emissions be reduced at existing power plants, and you need to see the facts below. The President couldn’t pass a national carbon tax. Enough legislators understood taking unilateral action to lower carbon dioxide emissions would not solve anything but would make the United States less competitive in global markets. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can write standards but the states must write the implementation rules.

“We have to act now as 97% of scientists agree we already face catastrophic extreme weather from manmade greenhouse gas” – The source of the 97% is vague and depends on repeating it enough that you begin to believe it. Most scientists agree man is increasing carbon dioxide levels and this will probably cause some increase in temperatures. Most do not agree there is a link with extreme weather events or we face a near term crisis. In fact, US satellite data show temperatures have not increased in seventeen years, a period that saw greenhouse gas increase 34%. The US Energy Information Agency reports US emissions have been reduced 9% since 2007 while the rest of the world is up 10%.

“The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made a thorough review” – The Administrator of the EPA has the authority to determine what science is used to calculate standards and how rules will be developed and applied so the books are cooked against using coal for electric generation.

“These Standards will cost only $10 billion for implementation but will save us a $100 billion so it’s a good deal” – Our review of recent regulations indicates the EPA will most likely exaggerate indirect benefits based on fewer premature deaths from fine particle air pollution. Using less coal incidentally reduces fine particle emission. The problem with that is Air Quality Standards are already set to a level that will not cause harm in even sensitive groups such as asthmatics and those standards are being met by a wide margin. The EPA will ignore the Air Quality Standards and assume fewer deaths from any level of fine particle reduction. Plants need carbon dioxide to grow so higher levels means tens of billions of dollars of increased crop production which should offset most of the exaggerated benefits associated with carbon dioxide reduction.

“These standards are fair” – Red states with a high concentration of coal fired plants providing power to the rest of the country will bear most of the cost. Energy importing blue states with expensive requirements for wind and solar power, and existing carbon taxes will be rewarded.

“This plan is flexible and won’t require a carbon tax” – The options will probably include switching fuels from coal to natural gas or wind and solar, requiring energy efficiency improvements, using carbon sequestration, or using a carbon tax and trade program. Electric grid reliability is already in danger during cold snaps as natural gas for home heating is given preference over electric generation. Until more pipelines are built we should avoid further fuel switching. Sequestration is unproven and expensive. Proponents will likely argue carbon taxes are the easiest solution to implement, and the revenue could be used for efficiency programs. In reality, most states will be forced into carbon tax and trade programs, the President’s real intent. Unfortunately, we have six years experience with a nine state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to prove the carbon tax and trade model doesn’t work. Our review showed RGGI had no success in either reducing carbon dioxide emissions, or in increasing energy efficiency, and will cost electric customers $3.3 billion extra between now and 2020 (RGGI, Inc estimate). Coal fired power plants closed because of other EPA regulations, and coal plants switched fuels because of lower cost natural gas, not because of RGGI. Most of the energy efficiency projects funded by RGGI had no post project audits to confirm the energy savings were real, and there was no accounting for “free riders” or the “rebound effect”. Free riders accept grants but would have done projects anyway. Rebounders might install an energy efficient heating unit but then keep their homes warmer.

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Earlier this week Secretary of State John Kerry took it upon himself to criticize “shoddy scientists” and “extreme ideologues” who are denying the “unequivocal science” and “[T]hose who refuse to believe it are simply burying their heads in the sand. We don’t have time for a meeting anywhere of the Flat Earth Society.”
 
Some of these “shoddy scientists” include the former state climatologist David Legates and Smithsonian astrophysicist Willie Soon (video presentations of there science can be seen HERE and HERE. Both have earned their credentials in the field, yet if they deny the “settled science” in any manner as determined by Secretary Kerry then they are “ideologues” and must be silenced. If groups like CRI say the science is being misused to advance a political agenda, we are “the fringe”. Yet somehow this “fringe” contains nearly half of the US adult population-at least of those registered to vote who do not believe the government needs to expand its power to keep us safe from ourselves.
Click HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE to see scientific information from CRI on this issue. In the case of Delaware, we see the same verbal grenades as those lobbed by Senator Kerry, from our own Governor and DNREC Secretary Colin O’Mara. Gov. Markell issued an executive order last year requiring all state agencies to consider Sea Level Rise when planning or developing any projects. DNREC is going further and is prepared to issue its on regulations on SLR, mainly to discourage, or even redo, development along the ocean from Lewes down to Fenwick Island, and even inland past the bays. All three counties will suffer property value loss if/when DNREC goes ahead with the recommendations of its own committee and requires property owners in the “flood zones” to purchase their own flood insurance and label their properties as being in a flood zone, which will drive their value down. This is not a coincidence; in the mind of O’Mara he is merely using “science” to “protect you” from your own bad decision. 
The reality is Delaware IS going to suffer some SLR. This is because the state is sinking into the ocean and Delaware Bay due to natural erosion processes  and someday parts or all of Delaware’s beaches may be underwater, and new beaches in other locations will replaces them . But no government regulations on your behavior or new taxes on your production will “save” you from natural erosion. Dr. Legates, who has studied this issue, recommends the state build sand dunes to prevent erosion of the soil near population areas.
The environment is complex and it is something which matters to all of us. But for  Secretary Kerry, Governor Markell, and Sec. O’mara to denigrate anyone who disagrees with their opinion is foolish, especially since they are misguided on this issue.

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For Immediate Release

Contact:

Samuel Friedman

Communications Director

Tel. 302-734-2700

E-mail: Sam@caesarrodney.org

 

Abuse of Power Lawsuit Filed Against DNREC

Agency’s new emission permit ‘fees’ violate state constitution

            Dover- The Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI) announced today that David Stevenson, Director of the Center for Energy Competitiveness at CRI, is among four plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit this week against DNREC and DNREC Secretary Colin O’Mara.

 

The complaint asserts Secretary O’Mara has not been delegated the power to reduce the agency’s new carbon emissions goals, which is the basis for raising the carbon dioxide permit fees.  The plaintiffs also believe DNREC is violating the Delaware Constitution by issuing a regulation on carbon dioxide emission permit fees without the state legislature, as required in the state constitution. This new regulatory ruling will cost Delaware families and businesses over $50 million a year in fees collected through consumers’ electric bills.

 

“Multiple parties warned DNREC this decision was a potential violation of the Delaware Constitution in public comment sessions but the comments were ignored,” Stevenson explained. ” The state constitution specifically requires that all taxes and fees must be approved by a 3/5 majority in each legislative chamber.”

 

“One of the biggest debates in the legislature this year was over a tax increase,” Plaintiff and State Representative Harold “Jack” Peterman said. “Twenty-two legislators opposed an attempt by Delmarva Power to raise electric rates, and both issues involved less money than this. Twenty-five percent of the money collected must be spent on energy efficiency projects and on helping people pay their electric bills, according to a multi-state Memorandum of Understanding.  Unlike most state spending, the legislature has no say in how the money raised from this fee increase will be spent.”

 

The other plaintiffs are: Christian Hudson, of Hudson Management and Sam Yoder & Sons in Greenwood; and John Moore, CEO of Acorn Energy in Wilmington and a CRI board member.

 

“Businesses are already struggling with high electric bills; we don’t need to add to the problem and make Delaware less competitive”, Hudson said.

 

“The regulatory change DNREC is proposing doesn’t appear to be about the environment but rather about raising more state revenue”, Moore said.

 

The case will be heard by Judge Richard F. Stokes, Superior Court judge, in Georgetown.

 

read the full complaint: http://www.caesarrodney.org/pdfs/DNREC_Lawsuit.pdf

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Whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday this season, we wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, and a joyous New Year!

In the final post for the year 2013 we conclude our series of recapping what the Sea Level Rise Advisory:

“Any strategic plan about options to prepare a state for sea level rise must consider…the need for public investment and resources essential to the plan,” wrote one individual involved in the SLR process. Other requests include “broad-based revenue raising” (i.e. all Delawareans will be subject to some sort of tax or fee, someway, somehow). “Continued research, relevant capital, and infrastructure investments.”

“The Committee’s choice to characterize its deliberations and work on Sea Level Rise adaptations as ‘options’ for ‘potential’ inclusion into a state adaption plan…feeds into a public perception that the Committee’s work might be more of an academic exercise than a serious endeavor to move forward. To me it…makes it easier for decision-makers, including elected officials, to ‘opt out’ or play down action oriented strategies. programs, policies, and the necessary investments to investing required public funds.”

The author does not want to “encourage”  SLR preparatory planning. Rather, he/she wants Executive orders from the Governor to require SLR planning (p.72)

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“Passive Solar heating and cooling can save 50% of (sic) the cost of heating and cooling from a building. It is required by law for California.  The Legislature needs to copy this law for Delaware.” The author of this letter proposes going back to a 1990 EPA proposal to require companies with over 100 employees a a site to reduce the number of cars at the site;  ideas include requiring carpooling and charging employees for parking.

“The only real solution to shoreline erosion is to retreat, as has occurred for nearly 400 years of settlement of Delaware.” Ban beach replenishment and federal flood insurance, since “taxpayers put up $3 for every $1 that the homeowner puts up”. (p.78).

Pages 80-88 were blacked out. No idea what was in them; an attempt to obtain those pages will be made. The same is true of pages 121-122.

The League of Women Voters in Delaware are on record supporting the SLR planning agenda.  “Require SLR be considered in public and private sector regional planning.”

“Develop a statewide retreat plan and update it periodically.”

Their letter talks about “Transfer of Development Rights”-this is when landowners are incentivized to not develop their land. In terms of environmentalism, this means to steer land development away from rural areas or areas with natural resources.  As an example, suppose you own farmland in one of the “endangered” zones. You would agree to sell the rights to development to one of the “good” groups, say the Sierra Club, for example. You would still legally own the land, but not the rights to develop the land. The Sierra Club would own those rights. Given their track record of being against nearly all development of any kind, basically what you have agreed to do is to receive payment in exchange for stopping further development or unapproved use of your land. This is one way anti-growth people and organizations have proposed to halt future development-rather than use  the rule of law to halt you, they convince you to stop development, and give you some money as a bonus for your troubles.

What do they recommend the state do to combat this “crisis”?

1. Consider a “coastal security tax”-

2. increase taxes on hotels, motels, and “weekend” (also monthly and seasonal) homes and apartments.

3. increase real estate transfer taxes and building permit fees for coastal building properties and homes.

4. Carbon tax-$2 per ton of CO2, increased as costs from “recovering from storms” increases.

5. Add a surcharge to Route 1 traffic; the surcharge would pay for changes to transportation and roads due to SLR.

6. Require realtors to disclose the “risks” of SLR in Delaware. It says the state, not even just the coastal areas.

7. Set up a database, via the Insurance Commisioners’s office, with up to date info on storm and flood insurance availability and costs from both private and public sources.

8. “Social justice”-have equal redistribution of reimbursement resources for all residents affected by SLR, regardless of any factors.

A group called Dover Interfaith Power & Light is also mentioned, also supporting the conclusions of the Advisory Committee. Highlights:

-they want to, by the 8th grade, teach students the “underlying science and history of weather, climate, SLR, and coastal storms.” We can speculate how the information will be taught and how many viewpoints would be presented to the students.

-they agreed with all  of the LWV proposals listed above

This group believes SLR is being underestimated-will be more than 1.5 meters, and melting ice caps will continue for at least 1000 years. At current fossil fuel use trends, Delaware will be mostly underwater in a few centuries.

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The final respondent to the survey accused the scientists behind the original 57 inch SLR projection of “scientifically unsubstantiated claims” and asked the government to not “meddle and promote a counterproductive agenda.” The author calls for letting private investment “take responsibility for purchasing low lying land”.

“Since DNREC and the EPA don’t really know ‘best’, let industries and businesses develop their own coping plans if and when such become necessary.”

The author concludes his/her criticism of the government by saying that “property rights were being eroded” and that SLR appeared to be the “new public crisis.”

135 pages of documentation from the state on SLR reveals a truth we long suspected but only now is being confirmed: those who believe that humans are the primary factors behind global warming, who believe the Arctic ice has melted, and who believe the melting ice caps will cause a large amount of flooding, are going to insist the state begin a multifaceted campaign to counter SLR, including retreating from the shores, raising taxes on individuals, businesses, property owners, and land developers who live near the shore, and asking the state to further regulate different aspects of land use from building permits to septic tanks.

Many of these people have no problem with requiring others to do things against their will and do not want to have any opposing viewpoints presented. The fact that the state hired Dr. Katharine Hayhoe to provide alarmist predictions about the future of Delaware’s weather shows the state wants to consider  future punitive action against those who are “over-developing” by the shore. They use the worst-case scenarios not merely as a possibility but as a likelihood when planning for SLR. Stricter energy mandates and carbon taxes will be the wave of the future in Delaware if not challenged.

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Just yesterday the Sea Level Rise (SLR) Advisory Committee came out with its updated report, suggesting Delaware could have between 1.6-4.9 feet of sea level rise on Delaware’s shores by the end of this century. At those predictions most of Sussex and eastern Kent County will be underwater. Needless to say, the amount of flooding “expected” will impact property owners and businesspeople downstate. Here are some of the comments submitted by the committee. Ones of particular note are in bold.

“Sussex County seems to be extremely backwards, with little ideas about science”

“Sussex County Council is an ignorant bunch. The Council… has never met a developer it doesn’t like”.

“Wait to see what happens” and “How will you implement retreat?” and “How much brainwashing do we need?” (thoughts on who would have said this)
Very Worried about insurance, both homeowner policy and FEMA”

“Local communities are essential in supporting anything you (state government) try to do. Getting them to support any initiatives is key.”

“SLR Statements included in all property sales/leases.”

“Signage in high risk areas and outreach!”

“1% hotel tax on tourism. Carbon tax is most fair.”

“Make sure someone from Sussex County Tourism is on the Advisory Committee…to combat the tears that will emerge from this discussion.”

“Giving DNREC authority to regulate development with a 100 year flood plan”

“New authority for DNREC to…manage…new lands”

“Developers should pay through permit/consultation fees”

“Provide timely consultation, set permit fees high enough especially for business/developers to sustain program.”

“I do not see much private sector involvement”

“This (SLR) seems like an insurable risk. Can a public insurance pool be set up, funded from land taxes and development permits?”

“To whom does the SLR committee report (good question)? I suggest either the governor or the committee of the state legislature.”

one committeemenber proposed a package of tax increases with more local control over how SLR actions are handled and paid for.

“We need to restrict development in sensitive areas before they start,

“I think it is only honest and fair to warn new homebuyer’s of the property’s potential future vulnerability. The potential future risk of sea level rise should be disclosed in the Delaware seller’s disclosure of real property condition report.”

“SLR predictions should be figured into…business development plans.”

“prohibit development in areas that will be flooding with SLR.”

“providing as much technical resources to businesses, industries. Land management is a critical role for the state.”

“I don’t believe public money should be used for replenishment of private beaches.”

One partially illegible comment suggested better engineering of dikes.

“Partnerships with consultants should be included. Consultants offer a wealth of expertise.”

“Most presentations suggest SLR is coming or just arrived.  Show people what damage it has caused over the past 100 years.”

“County ordinances which take care of land use in unincorporated areas.”

“Provide SLR planning to local governments…especially target Wilmington.”

“It would be helpful to have a cost estimate: Abandon, buyout, move. With some rough dollar number for the extreme we can evaluate other plans.”

The question is, what does all of this mean? From these statements, which are full quotes from unidentified names (blacked out in the document), there is a pattern which emerges: the government, possibly DNREC, should be allowed to levy taxes on landowners and land developers in Sussex County to pay for the sea level rise actions. Landowners in all three counties, but especially in Sussex and parts of Kent, will need to advise potential buyers that the property is in a “flood zone”-and the government should have the ability to either tell the potential buyers or make the landowners do so. The next step then is to decide how badly “SLR” will “devastate” Delaware’s shoreline.

Next week we will show more information obtained from these documents and explain what it means to you.

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Aaron Nathans of the News Journal published a story on the News Journal website yesterday reporting the nine Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) states co-signed a letter together to the EPA asking the governing agency to use RGGI as a base to create a national carbon tax/cap and trade law.

Nathans writes:

Collin O’Mara, Delaware natural resources director, said there will be various ways for states to fulfill the EPA requirements, but, “What we’re saying is, having an emission cap and trading program is a much more cost-effective, much more predictable way to achieve the same result.”
RGGI states boast that since 2005, participating states have cut their carbon emissions by 40 percent. The cap-and-trade program has new requirements intended to reduce emissions further, and create more revenue that the states can use to fight climate change.
RGGI does not do much for the environment. Dave Stevenson, CRI’s own Director of the Center for Energy Competitiveness has written here and here and here and here
about the foolishness of continuing RGGI and the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) which is popular in state capitals around the nation but has done little to nothing for the environment and has only raised everyone’s electricity rates.
Some key facts:
· Delaware’s electricity prices will increase by 18.1 percent by 2026
· In 2026 the RPS mandate will reduce annual wages by an average of $944 per worker
· Due to higher home energy costs, in 2025 annual real disposable income will fall by $291 million

 Delaware manufacturers are already paying 50% higher electric rates than the average state. The Delaware Economic Development Office reports these high power cost are one of the biggest threats to our economy and now we will compound the problem”.
 Delaware’s goal is to reduce emissions by 755,000 metric tons. China increased CO2 emission by 1.4 trillion metric tons from 2004 to 2008 so the Delaware decade long reduction goal is replaced by China every 68 seconds.
Instead we see Delaware joining with other states to now lobby Washington DC to take the increased electrical and total energy rates in Delaware and make this a national deal. Instead of what amounts to a regional cap and trade deal would become nationwide. Given that Congress right now is unlikely to approve of cap and trade the most likely scenario would be for the EPA to issue back door regulations to have at least some cap and trade ideas in place, thus giving us something like the carbon tax even if Congress does not formally pass one.
The state has far exceeded its goal of a 10% “dirty emissions” reduction by 2019 already. Plans already in place will further reduce emissions by 34% by the end of next year. Rather than continue with the “renewable energy investment” scheme which the state continues to advocate for, Governor Markell could choose to return money extracted from Delaware home and business electricity bills back to the consumers.

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