Governors (Two) Bark Back
By Paul Chesser — American Spectator
Well, they didn’t take that very well.
The chairman (Democrat Gov. of Montana Brian Schweitzer) and vice chairman (Republican Gov. of Idaho Butch Otter) of the Western Governors Association responded sharply (PDF) to a National Taxpayers Union inquiry about WGA’s management and funding of the Western Climate Initiative, which the rest of the WGA board members — the governors of the other 17 Western states — either unknowingly or are too embarrassed to acknowledge they support.
WCI is a serious hush-hush deal among these state executives.
Read the rest here:
- Paul Chesser
Commandeered by Climate Alarmists
By Paul Chesser of Climate Strategies Watch and Special Correspondent for Heartland Institute
Did the chief executives of a few Western states hijack the staff and resources of their regional coalition, against the will of most of their fellow governors, all to promote their vision for a regional cap-and-trade agreement?
It sure looks that way. Based upon documents I obtained from Patrick Cummins, program director for climate change and air quality at the Western Governors Association, it appears that a few governors and WGA staff violated rules (which require unanimous consent by its member governors) in devoting resources and staff time to the Western Climate Initiative. WCI seeks to create a regional agreement among its member states to cap greenhouse gas emissions, in order to avert what they believe to be a pending global warming catastrophe.
No doubt you agree that, as an organization that receives tax dollars from both state and federal sources, WGA has a responsibility to operate with full transparency and public disclosure in terms of its fiscal activities, where it receives its funding and how and where it spends those funds. We also know that WGA functions on the basis of consensus among its member states, so that moneys provided to WGA by one or several states do not subsidize operations or programs that their governors oppose.
Seven states agreed to work as WGA partners, leaving the majority of WGA states not formally supporting the involvement of WGA in the WCI process. According to information we have received, no resolution was adopted by WGA endorsing WCI or authorizing WGA to provide any support to the WCI process. Given the opposition by many Governors to having any of their taxpayer-backed contributions to be used to subsidize the operations of the WCI, this is understandable.</em>
That is why we were surprised to review documents recently released by WGA that indicate deep and wide-ranging involvement by WGA staff in the WCI.
Those documents are posted at Climate Strategies Watch, and upon review you realize that WGA has total management control of WCI. As NTU stated in its letter, “It is difficult to see how tax dollars from non-WCI states did not subsidize this process.”
In a conversation I had with Cummins, he explained that some funds came from private resources for WCI. But that doesn’t explain whether or not they fully covered WCI, nor does it account for how much of his (and other WGA staff) time was diverted to WCI efforts. It also doesn’t explain why WGA secretly undertook the project — even signing contracts with consultants for the WCI project — without obtaining approval from its member governors.
Several documents posted at the WGA and WCI websites show that five governors — Democrat Janet Napolitano in Arizona (now Homeland Security Secretary); Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger in California; Democrat Bill Richardson in New Mexico; Democrat Ted Kulongoski in Oregon; and Democrat Chris Gregoire in Washington — formed WCI (.pdf) (Montana and Utah joined later) in February 2007 with no mention of WGA involvement or approval. The five signed an agreement committing their states to the WCI effort, but they make no more than a passing reference to how WGA resolved that “action is needed” on climate change.
Further evidence that everything was not on the up-and-up: WGA’s annual reports in 2007 and 2008 (both.pdfs) do not mention its extensive involvement with WCI, save a very passive reference in 2008. The same reports identify Cummins, who manages WCI (and was my contact for the records I requested), as project manager of its Western Regional Air Partnership project and its air quality initiative.
What were they trying to hide?
While the five global warming alarmist governors hijacked WGA for their own agenda, at least 10 other member governors were kept in the dark. As NTU wrote:
These facts raise serious questions about the use of taxpayer funds in this effort from states that did not agree to partner in the WCI project – including Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, Nevada and Alaska. In fact, it is difficult to see how this was not the case, given the extent to which WGA time, staff and resources were spent to support the WCI.
At least one unidentified WGA governor, interviewed by the Wall Street Journal‘s John Fund before this week’s annual meeting, expressed dismay :
One governor I spoke with points out that the WGA is supposed to operate on a consensus basis. He says the WGA’s involvement in planning climate change proposals is serious overreach. “The dues states give WGA come from tax money and I was surprised to learn just how much the WGA seems to be getting ahead of many of the states on carbon regulation,” he told me.
The secrecy with which the five WCI governors and the WGA officials like Cummins operated highlights how they have defied the will of the majority of the member governors, and likely improperly used the taxpayer funds of the states they represent. Let’s hope NTU gets a full accounting, and that governors regain control of an organization that appears to have been overtaken by environmental activists and a few WGA members who have done their dirty work.
Following up the Obama video bragging about skyrocketing electricity prices, we found this very simple explanation about just how much Cap and Trade will cost everyone from the everyday Joe Six-Pack to the EEEEVIL “Big Electric (spelled r-a-t-e-p-a-y-e-r-s):
According to Bob Zubrin, American aerospace engineer and author (The Case for Mars, 1996): “Burning one ton of coal produces about three tons of CO2. [Added weight of oxygen in combustion, I assume. - Ed.] So a tax of $15 per ton of CO2 emitted is equivalent to a tax of $45/ton on coal. The price of Eastern anthracite coal runs in the neighborhood of $45/ton, so under the proposed system, such coal would be taxed at a rate of about 100 percent. The price of Western bituminous coal is currently about $12/ton.
This coal would therefore be taxed at a rate of almost 400 percent. Coal provides half of America’s electricity, so such extraordinary imposts could easily double the electric bills paid by consumers and businesses across half the nation. In addition, many businesses, such as the metals and chemical industries, use a great deal of coal directly. By doubling or potentially even quadrupling the cost of their most basic feedstock, the cap-and-trade system’s indulgence fees could make many such businesses uncompetitive and ultimately throw millions of working men and women onto the unemployment lines.”
It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
And another easily digested tidbit (would go great with a nice Chardonnay): Earth’s atmosphere today contains about 380 ppm CO2 (0.038%). Compared to former geologic times, our present atmosphere, like the Late Carboniferous atmosphere, is CO2- impoverished! In the last 600 million years of Earth’s history only the Carboniferous Period and our present age, the Quaternary Period, have witnessed CO2 levels less than 400 ppm.
Citizens’ lobby discusses National Energy Tax with Dr. Larry Bates, national radio audience
DENVER — Jacob Leis, Regional Executive Director of Western Tradition Partnership (WTP), appeared as a guest on IRN/USA Radio Network’s “News and Views” program for a full hour Thursday , discussing the group’s campaign opposing the $2.4 trillion “cap and trade” national energy tax currently headed for the U.S. Senate.
Western Tradition Partnership is on a national drive to sign up citizens on its “No Cap and Tax” petition drive, where constituents sign electronically, but the petitions will be printed and hand-delivered to U.S. Senators at their offices in Washington, D.C. The group is also preparing an Action Plan to keep pressure up to kill what it calls “Cap and Tax.”
Leis spoke with radio CEO/host and economist Dr. Larry Bates on “News & Views”, the highest-rated program on IRN, which boasts nearly 2,500 affiliates. The interview covered WTP’s online petition available at www.NoCapAndTax.org, and the facts about the National Cap and Trade Energy Tax — and its devastating economic effects – with a national audience of politically active Americans.
Audio of the interview can be streamed through this link; portions of the interview will be replayed nationwide in IRN News updates.
WTP has learned that fifteen pages of the 1,201-page H.R. 2454 (“Cap and Tax”) concern the new “Energy Refund Program” — a redistributive welfare program based upon complex formulas regarding energy welfare eligibility.
According to Section 431 of the legislation, “The Secretary (of Health and Human Services) shall formulate and administer . . . the ‘Energy Refund Program’ . . . under which eligible low-income households are provided cash payments to reimburse the households for the estimated loss in their purchasing power resulting from the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.”
In Congresspeak, “Loss of purchasing power” equals an admission of massive cost increases. The radical environmentalists and their cronies in Congress and the White House are doing the classic three-step: 1) Jack up the cost of everything (especially energy) for everyone; 2) Subsidize the hit to the welfare class and 3) Make others (primarily the middle class) pay for it all.
Section 431 provides that households earning 150 per cent of the federal poverty level or receiving other forms of welfare such as food stamps, Supplemental Security Income (which includes such “permanent disabilities” as crack addiction, alcoholism, and having a limp) or Medicare are eligible for “energy refunds.”
Translation: if you are already ON welfare, you are AUTOMATICALLY going to receive more public largesse. Eligible households will receive their “energy refunds” monthly through direct deposits, state electronic benefit transfer systems or other mechanisms approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
For anyone else to qualify, a two-person household would have to earn $21,855 or less to meet the income threshold, while the income of a three-person household could not exceed $27,465, per 2009 federal poverty guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
We can expect more of such revelations as the details of this legislative monstrosity make themselves available to those actually inclined to READ the bill…
We can’t possibly add to this one…but note this is January 2008.
Now the Dems are selling Cap & Tax as a low-cost boon to jobs.
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American Tradition Partnership (ATP) is a no-compromise grassroots organization dedicated to fighting the radical environmentalist agenda. We support responsible development of natural resources and rational land use and management policies. Only together can we protect access, private property rights, and affordable energy for all Americans!