Friday, 22 March 2019

Obama Judge Blocks Oil Exploration for “Climate Change.” Seriously.

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President Donald Trump's energy-independence agenda may be on the verge of collapse. Unable to impose their ideology at the ballot box or through the American people's elected representatives, “climate change” activists have turned to the courts and the bureaucracy — and with much better results. Just this week, a radical Obama-appointed federal judge temporarily blocked oil exploration across some 300,000 acres of land in Wyoming. The reason: The Trump administration did not properly consider the hypothetical impacts of CO2 emissions on “climate” when granting permission to explore for energy there. Sensible voices have expressed hope that the bizarre ruling will be overturned. But critics of the ruling said the Trump administration must take urgent action or risk further rulings like this.

The suit against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, brought by fringe “environmental” groups WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility, could unleash a domino effect. If left unchecked, it could jeopardize U.S. energy extraction across the West, dealing a devastating blow to the economy and government coffers. And the radical activists behind the lawsuit are bragging about it. WildEarth Guardians “Climate Program” Director Jeremy Nichols described the March 19 decision as “the Holy Grail ruling we’ve been after, especially with oil and gas.” Among other claims, Nichols said it meant the “entire oil and gas drilling program” is “moving forward illegally.” He added: “It calls into question the legality of oil and gas leasing that’s happening everywhere.”

And indeed, it does. Another fringe group involved in the suit, the Western Environmental Law Center, was similarly ecstatic about the ruling's implications for America's ability to power its economy. “Every acre of our public land sold to the oil and gas industry is another blow to the climate, making this ruling a powerful reality check on the Trump administration and a potent tool for reining in climate pollution,” said attorney Kyle Tisdel, attorney and “energy and communities program director” for group, dishonestly demonizing the gas of life as “pollution.” Citing alleged science supposedly showing that “we need to aggressively rein in greenhouse gases,” Tisdel said the “ruling is monumental.”

The author of the controversial ruling, Obama-appointed U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras, relied on an absurd finding by federal bureaucrats claiming that CO2 — known to scientists as the “gas of life” — is actually pollution. “Given the national, cumulative nature of climate change, considering each individual drilling project in a vacuum deprives the agency and the public of the context necessary to evaluate oil and gas drilling on federal land before irretrievably committing to that drilling,” the judge, a man-made global-warming theorist, wrote in his decision.

A spokesman for BLM was quoted in media reports saying that the federal agency was reviewing the ruling and “determining a path forward regarding the implications.” But President Kathleen Sgamma with the Western Energy Alliance, one of the defendants in the case, was much less diplomatic, slamming the judge and his ruling. “This judge has ignored decades of legal precedent in this ruling,” she told the anti-Trump Washington Post, which has become the personal propaganda megaphone of climate alarmist and Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. “The judge is basically asking BLM to take a wild guess on how many wells will be developed on leases, prematurely.”

Of course, the entire premise of the judge's ruling is ludicrous. Not one person on the planet knows what the exact “climate” impact of anything would be. Human emissions of CO2 represent a tiny fraction of 1 percent of all the so-called “greenhouse” gases present in the atmosphere, so more than a few leading scientists have suggested that the impact on the “climate” of those emissions is so tiny as to be imperceptible. But if it is true that man's insignificant emissions impact the climate, then even breathing would have some effect — after all, every living person on the planet exhales around two pounds of CO2 each day. Will the judge rule that breathing may not be permitted without a new “climate” assessment?

Climate skeptic Marc Morano, who edits ClimateDepot.com, placed some of the blame for this ruling on Republicans — including on the Bush and Trump administrations. “This is inevitable — and what I mean by that is the George W. Bush administration did not push back or try to change anything,” he told OneNewsNow. “They rubber-stamped United Nations reports and they never challenged the underpinning of this science that claims that our oil and gas are creating a climate catastrophe.” While Obama made it worse, President Trump has not yet done what needs to be done to prevent this sort of ruling, added Morano.

“The Trump administration has not challenged the endangerment finding that the Obama administration implemented that says carbon dioxide is a danger to our atmosphere,” Morano continued, adding that the Trump White House has still not appointed the much-anticipated Presidential Commission on Climate Security to re-examine the science. “Who can blame a judge? It's amazing more judges haven't come to this ruling. The time has come to officially start challenging the scientific claims of the United Nations and pushing back on this nonsense — and until that happens, I'm not even confident that, if this goes to the Supreme Court, it will go our way at this point.”

Morano also called on the administration to get busy. "It's long past time for the U.S. federal government to start examining and rejecting the climate claims of the UN and the National Climate Assessment," he told The New American. "These reports cannot dictate judicial mandates on U.S. economic and energy policy."

One crucial action the Trump administration could take is to proceed with the proposed Presidential Commission on Climate Security (PCCS). According to documents, the PCCS would be tasked with reviewing the science on climate and advising the president. It would be led by Dr. William Happer, an internationally renowned physicist from Princeton University who has pointed out that CO2 is hugely beneficial, that the planet is starving for more, and that man's insignificant emissions of this essential gas are not going to cause dangerous climate change. “CO2 will be good for the Earth,” he told The New American.

Once the commission wraps up its work exposing the problems with the alarmism coming from federal agencies, it would be much easier to reverse the EPA's ludicrous finding that CO2 is “pollution” that must be regulated. And once that unconstitutional bureaucratic decree is knocked down, even the most unhinged activist on the federal bench would be unable to take these lawsuits seriously. The alternative is to cripple the U.S. economy and drastically curtail liberty while doing literally nothing for the “climate.” Even if it were true that CO2 drives climate change — and the evidence shows it is not — emissions from the Chinese and Indians are surging anyway.

Wyoming will be especially hard hit by this court ruling if it is not quickly quashed. “If we look at our state government and our state economy, obviously we are relatively dependent on minerals in general, including oil and gas and coal, of course,” said Sven Larson, a senior fellow with the non-profit Wyoming Liberty Group. “The immediate problem I see in this is that the Wyoming state government, as a result of this, is going to suffer from this as tax revenue is going to decline or ... go stagnant, at least as far as federal lands are concerned.” And the state is already facing fiscal troubles, he added.

Obviously, the totalitarian-minded environmental movement — funded by what a Senate report described as the “Billionaires Club” — is not interested in the havoc it is wreaking on people's lives. Indeed, Deep State money men such as the Rockefeller dynasty have been showering their oil money on the “green” movement for decades in pursuit of centralized control over humanity and quashing their competitors to boost their bottom line. Late Rockefeller patriarch David even boasted in his Memoirs of “conspiring” with a “secret cabal” against the best interests of America to form a “one world” political and economic order. The man-made warming hypothesis is at the heart of that push.

Meanwhile, as The New American reported last year, Congress recently revealed that the Kremlin has been pouring money into the American “environmental” movement. The goal is very simple: help destroy the booming U.S. energy sector and keep the world dependent on energy from Russia, Venezuela, Iran, and other foreign powers hostile to liberty. German Chancellor Angela Merkel even suggested this month that the children ditching school to demand “climate action” were being manipulated by the Russian government as part of an irregular warfare scheme.

It is way past time for the Trump administration to put an end to this absurdity. The simplest way to do that is to properly investigate the pseudo-science, propaganda, and fraud coming out of the sprawling federal bureaucracy weaponized by previous administrations. Advocates for science and proper governance are calling on Trump to move ahead with the executive order creating the Presidential Commission on Climate Security. The future of science, American prosperity, and even liberty itself may be at stake.

Photo: grandrive/E+/Getty Images

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, regularly attends UN climate summits, including the COP21 in Paris. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or through Liberty Sentinel Media. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU or on Facebook.

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