Radicals trying to disrupt N. American economies, says Canadian government

Posted on January 10, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

“Environmental and other “radical groups” are trying to block trade and undermine Canada’s economy, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said Monday,” reports CBC News in a development that would kill hopes for economic renewal here in the United States.

“Unfortunately, there are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade,” Oliver said in an open letter.

“Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.”

Oliver says the groups “threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda,” stack the hearings with people to delay or kill “good projects,” attract “jet-setting” celebrities and use funding from “foreign special interest groups.”

 

SCOTUS to hear case challenging unconstitutional EPA power abuse

Posted on January 9, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

The Supreme Court will hear today a case challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s unchecked powers to stop human activity on private property without due process.

“Based on ‘any information’—even a newspaper article or an anonymous tip—the Environmental Protection Agency can issue an administrative compliance order directing a property owner to stop discharging pollutants or restore a damaged wetland. The government says such directives, similar to stop-work orders by local zoning inspectors, allow it to respond rapidly to prevent environmental damage,” Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal reports.

Bravin reports the Court “agreed to hear an appeal…from an Idaho couple, Mike and Chantell Sackett, over their plans to build a 2,400-square-foot vacation home on Priest Lake.

“Mr. Sackett, 45 years old, says the 0.63-acre property was a gift from his wife, who bought it from a friend for $23,000. In May 2007, three days after workers started clearing the property, officials from the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers showed up to ask if the Sacketts had a permit to fill in wetlands. The officials said they were acting on an anonymous tip. Nearly seven months later, the agency sent the couple a compliance order directing them to restore the property to its original condition.  The Sacketts, who run an excavation company, disputed that the property was a wetland, noting that it is in a subdivision.”

The case centers on the EPA’s unchecked power to issue compliance orders without allowing the property owner to contest it in court, which is violates the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process.

ATP to appeal Montana high court ruling to U.S. Supreme Court

Posted on January 5, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

WASHINGTON – American Tradition Partnership Executive Director Donald Ferguson released the statement below Thursday afternoon.  ATP will be represented by lead attorney James Bopp of the James Madison Center for Free Speech.

“American Tradition Partnership will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the Montana state Supreme Court’s incorrect and contemptuous ruling last week.

“We, and impartial legal scholars, are confident these unbiased courts will uphold the First Amendment rights of Montanans to speak freely about powerholders.

“To ban political speech based on nothing more than the identity of the speaker is to strike at the very heart of the God-given rights protected by the First Amendment.  Those politicians who seek to stop Montanans from associated and speaking freely are themselves the modern equivalent of the Copper Kings, who in their time perverted law and justice to suppress voices of opposition to their policies.”

Yet another ‘green’ corporation fails, takes millions of tax dollars with it

Posted on by Donald Ferguson

“Range Fuels, the failed wood-to-ethanol factory in southeastern Georgia that cost taxpayers $70 million, was sold Tuesday for pennies on the dollar,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports today.

“The Range fiasco harkens other, failed renewable energy companies that received major taxpayer funding. California solar panel maker Solyndra got $535 million in federal loan guarantees. Beacon Power of Massachusetts, which makes energy-storage equipment, took in $43 million in federal money. Both filed for bankruptcy last year.

“Range cost U.S. taxpayers $64 million and Georgia taxpayers another $6.2 million. Tuesday’s sale netted $5.1 million, which will help offset losses suffered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Georgia’s money, which paid for some of the ethanol-making equipment, won’t be recouped outright, but state officials expect LanzaTech to use the machinery.

“The Bush administration’s Energy Department steered a $76 million federal grant to Range. The Department of Agriculture followed up with an $80 million loan guarantee. Georgia officials pledged $6.2 million. Treutlen County, one of the state’s poorest, offered 20 years worth of tax abatements and 97 acres in its industrial park.”

Locals blame California entrepreneur Vinod Khosla, who funded Range and helped it secure over $150 million in taxpayer funding.  He also just happens to be the owner of LanzaTech, which bought his own failed taxpayer-dependent company for pennies on the dollar.

“He takes government money, builds the place and takes the money and runs,” said Jeb Simons, an engineer in Savannah, Ga., “ … and now he’s double-dipping on government funds for round two. That’s taxpayer money that could go toward schools or hospitals or be given back to taxpayers.”

Sam Shelton, director of research programs at Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute, tells the AJC he was skeptical of the “green” company.

“It was too damn big a risk for an apparently unproven technology, and the due diligence I personally performed on Range would not entice me to invest in it,” Shelton said, “Government should not be in the venture capital business selecting technologies.”

Law professors: Mont. Supreme Court ruling would be overturned by SCOTUS

Posted on January 3, 2012 by Donald Ferguson

“In today’s Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General, the Montana Supreme Court upheld a ban on corporate expenditures to speak in support of or opposition to political candidates — pretty much the same sort of ban that the United States Supreme Court struck down in Citizens United v. FEC. The majority argues that Citizens United is distinguishable, because of Montana’s “unique” interests stemming from its history, its size, and its political culture,” “The Volkoh Conspiracy,” a blog run and written by law professors writes Friday.

The professors quote from the majority ruling, as well as the dissent:

“Having considered the matter, I believe the Montana Attorney General has identified some very compelling reasons for limiting corporate expenditures in Montana’s political process. The problem, however, is that regardless of how persuasive I may think the Attorney General’s justifications are, the Supreme Court has already rebuffed each and every one of them. Accordingly, as much as I would like to rule in favor of the State, I cannot in good faith do so…. I cannot agree that [the majority’s] “Montana is unique” rationale is consistent with Citizens United….

[W]hat has happened here is essentially this: The Supreme Court in Citizens United … rejected several asserted governmental interests; and this Court has now come along, retrieved those interests from the garbage can, dusted them off, slapped a “Made in Montana” sticker on them, and held them up as grounds for sustaining a patently unconstitutional state statute….”

“My sense is that the disagreement with Citizens United is so striking that it is likely that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case, and will reverse the Montana Supreme Court’s decision,” they conclude.

Campaign finance experts: Mont. Supreme Court erred badly in ruling

Posted on by Donald Ferguson

“There is so much wrong with this opinion one hardly knows where to begin,” the Center for Campaign Freedom writes.

They go on to state:

“…as the dissent by Justice James Nelson notes:

The Supreme Court could not have been more clear in Citizens United: corporations have broad rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution to engage in political speech, and corporations cannot be prohibited from using general treasury funds for this purpose based on antidistortion, anticorruption, or shareholder protected interests. The language of the Citizens United majority opinion is remarkably sweeping and leaves virtually no conceivable basis for muzzling or otherwise restricting corporate political speech in the form of independent expenditures.

… [E]very one of the Attorney General’s arguments – and this Court’s rationale for adopting those arguments – was argued, considered, and then flatly rejected by the Supreme Court.

“The MSC seems to think that Citizen’s United was a mere, as-applied, fact specific challenge, similar to Federal Election Commission v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life, wherein the Court held that a small, volunteer non-profit literally raising money through bake sales could not be subject to the ban on corporate expenditures.

“In fact, Citizens United’s holding that independent expenditures are not “corrupting” is not a statement of fact, but a statement of law…”

They then write:

“In any event, given this misunderstanding of the Supreme Court’s order in Citizens United - although unlike the poor Earl Lucan, here the MSC’s misunderstanding may have been intentional – the MSC has charged into the Valley of Death.”

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