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Carbon Dioxide Emissions Dip Slightly in Trump’s First Year, EPA Says

Greenhouse gas emissions have declined across multiple sectors since President Donald Trump has been in office, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday.

The EPA collects emissions data from industrial sources on an annual basis. Those sources include power plants, oil and gas production plants, refining facilities, iron mills, steel mills, and landfills.

The latest figures show total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions dipped by 2.7 percent during 2017 compared with 2016, President Barack Obama’s last full year in office, the agency said as part of its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.

“Thanks to President Trump’s regulatory reform agenda, the economy is booming, energy production is surging, and we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions from major industrial sources,” Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, said in a press release, adding:

These achievements flow largely from technological breakthroughs in the private sector, not the heavy hand of government. The Trump administration has proven that federal regulations are not necessary to drive CO2 reductions. While many around the world are talking about reducing greenhouse gases, the U.S. continues to deliver, and today’s report is further evidence of our action-oriented approach.

Environmental activists link greenhouses gases to what they consider man-made climate change, or global warming.

Other “key findings” identified …read more


Legal Watchdog, Citing Secret Material in Clinton Emails, Presses State Department in Court

In federal court hearings this week, a watchdog legal group keeps the heat on the State Department for answers about the exposure of classified information during Hillary Clinton’s use of unsecure email to conduct official business when she was secretary of state.

A hearing is set Friday in U.S. District Court in the nation’s capital to address a request from Judicial Watch for Clinton, longtime top aide Cheryl Mills, and other current or former State Department officials to testify under oath.

Judicial Watch wants them to address how the department responded to its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking information about the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

“It is frankly unbelievable that the State Department is still protecting Hillary Clinton and her aides from being asked basic questions about her illicit email system,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a prepared statement.

“The courts were misled and obstructed by Hillary Clinton’s email scheme, and we hope to get some more answers about this scandal,” Fitton said.

The court hearing Friday follows on the heels of a separate one Thursday where the watchdog group reported on the estimated number of Clinton documents the State Department continues to withhold.

The …read more


ACORN Veterans Among Those Harassing Public Officials in Kavanaugh Fight

Remember ACORN?

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010 after a series of high-profile scandals involving undercover video investigations and allegations of voter fraud led to a loss of public and private support.

But ACORN’s former staffers and some if its chapters have found a new home within a left-leaning network of progressive activists that includes the nonprofit Center for Popular Democracy and its sister organizations, Action for the Common Good and the Center for Popular Democracy Action Fund.

Two staffers of the Center for Popular Democracy were the women who shouted at Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., last Friday at a Senate elevator in a widely reported confrontation over his expected vote in favor of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, National Review columnist John Fund reported.

Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are among senators who have been shouted down by anti-Kavanaugh protesters as they spoke to reporters during the final days of the heated confirmation process.

An article on the Center for Popular Democracy’s website about the “People’s Convention” in downtown Pittsburgh in July 2016 said the nonprofit progressive advocacy group was “trying to fill the vacuum left …read more


Meet 12 Tea Party Activists Who’re Busy Improving Their State

RICHMOND, Va.—Go in search of the tea party movement that rose up in opposition to the policies of President Barack Obama, and you won’t get the full picture if you fixate on political rallies and protests.

That’s because many tea party activists have been burrowing into state legislative houses across the nation, where their membership has developed expertise on a wide range of public policy questions.

With an eye toward the Virginia General Assembly session that begins in January, about 200 Virginia Tea Party members who gathered here at a downtown hotel Sept. 22 describe how their movement has “morphed” since its inception in 2009.

Instead of staging rallies in front of the Capitol in Washington or various statehouses, the tea party is focused on legislative initiatives that will have a more lasting impact, attendees of the Virginia Tea Party’s fall summit meeting told The Daily Signal.

Mark Daugherty, a retired Wall Street financial analyst who resides in Augusta County, was there at the moment of creation when the tea party coalesced into a real movement.

Daugherty, 63, recalls the first statewide meeting in October 2009 in Hanover County, and a larger rally of about 3,000 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in October …read more


Ratepayers Get Cold Shoulder as Green Energy Gets ‘Preferential Treatment’ in Delaware

Delaware residents are the victims of deceptive business practices associated with a green energy scheme resulting from elected officials’ sweetheart deal with a fuel cell company, policy analysts and academics argue.

Bloom Energy had pledged to create 900 full-time jobs in Delaware by Sept. 30, 2016, and to continue employing these workers for at least seven years.

But a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from Bloom Energy’s initial public offering in June shows that as of March, it had only 277 full-time employees.

“Bloom has been able to milk Delaware taxpayers and ratepayers for massive subsidies, gain preferential treatment on multiple fronts, and avoid rules that are rigorously applied to other industries,” energy researcher Paul Driessen said during an event Friday at The Heritage Foundation’s headquarters on Capitol Hill.

The Delaware General Assembly extended financial inducements to Bloom Energy through legislation in 2012, a major topic during the panel discussion at Heritage, as was what Driessen and other speakers called preferential treatment from state regulators and other government officials.

The Sunnyvale, California-based company manufactures solid oxide fuel cells that use an electrochemical reaction to transform natural gas into electricity.

Bloom Energy traces its roots to 2002, when a Silicon Valley venture …read more


Virginia Governor Set to Bypass Legislature to Join State-Based Climate Agreement

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is poised to implement a new regulation without legislative approval to join 10 other states in a climate change agreement based on restricting carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants.

But lawmakers, policy analysts, and tea party activists in Virginia who oppose what they consider costly regulations of industry are raising questions about the economic and scientific arguments underpinning the proposed rule.

They say the Virginia General Assembly should have a straight up-or-down vote on Northam’s plan, in part to ensure that any revenue the governor raises from “carbon trading” is collected and dispersed in a manner consistent with the state Constitution.

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, is a multistate agreement that currently includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. In addition to Virginia, New Jersey may rejoin the pact.

The public comment period for a draft version of Northam’s proposed regulation ended in April. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality is expected to introduce a final version in November.

The seven-member Air Pollution Control Board then will be responsible for making a decision. Board members, appointed by the governor, operate independently from the Department of Environmental …read more


New Batch of Strzok-Page Emails Suggests FBI Use of Unsecure Devices

Email messages between two FBI officials suggest widespread use of unsecure communications by the bureau, according to records obtained in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

Judicial Watch, a Washington-based nonpartisan government watchdog organization, announced Thursday that it received 47 pages of records from the Justice Department that show FBI officials used “unsecure devices” while discussing a matter involving the European Union.

The records include emails between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, two FBI officials who were close to investigations of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Neither remains with the bureau.

Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit after the Justice Department declined to respond to the organization’s Dec. 4, 2017, request asking for:

All records of communications, including but not limited to, emails, text messages and instant chats, between FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page; all travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Peter Strzok; and all travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Lisa Page.

Both former FBI officials made disparaging remarks about Trump in text exchanges when he was the Republican candidate for president, facing Democratic nominee Clinton in the election Nov. 8, 2016.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton ordered the FBI …read more


Trump Aims to Clarify Rules for Protecting Endangered Species

Lawmakers who passed the Endangered Species Act four decades ago inserted a “degree of ambiguity” in key terms that led to most legal controversies surrounded enforcement of the law, the Interior Department’s No. 2 official said in a presentation at The Heritage Foundation.

To resolve such questions, Deputy Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said, the Interior Department joined with other agencies to propose changes aimed at providing “clarity and predictability” to regulations covering endangered or threatened wildlife.

“We are intent on maintaining our environmental standards, but we are equally intent on leaving a reliable, efficient, and defensible regulatory regime in place that better serves the American people than what we found when we walked into the department, and I’m confident that we’ll be able to do this,” Bernhardt said in his speech Monday.

Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service teamed with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service on overhauling the regulations.

The Trump administration announced proposed revisions in July that primarily address two sections of the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

One of them, Section 4, involves procedures for listing species, recovering species, and designating critical habitat, the term for areas identified as essential to conserving a species. The other, Section …read more


Government for Hire? Emails Show ‘Climate Industry’ Funding Special Interests Inside Governor and Attorney General Offices

California Gov. Jerry Brown is host of a three-day “Global Climate Action Summit” in San Francisco organized by an “activist donor network” that has burrowed into state government agencies, a climate change skeptic says in a new report.

Chris Horner, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is the author of two reports detailing how a well-endowed “climate industry” steers donor money through nonprofit organizations into the offices of state governors and attorneys general.

The relationship between governors and environmental activists who are using governors’ offices to advance the climate change agenda of certain donors is the subject of a report by Horner released Tuesday by CEI, a libertarian think tank in Washington.

“A particular theme slated for the San Francisco event is that President Trump’s promise to withdraw from the Paris climate treaty is isolating the United States from what is otherwise and elsewhere a doable, successful, and economically beneficial adoption of this agenda,” Horner writes.

The new report highlighting Brown, a Democrat, builds on Horner’s report last month describing how these same special interests work with compliant state attorneys general.

It highlights the actions of Brown in California as a case study, examining how elected officials and other …read more


Watchdog Eyes Classified Material as Deadline Looms on Clinton Emails

The classified material Hillary Clinton sent and received using an unsecure, private email server included correspondence with foreign leaders, according to documents obtained from the State Department by a government watchdog group.

Judicial Watch, which has called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to order “an honest criminal investigation” of Clinton’s email practices while she was secretary of state, now awaits a federal judge’s Sept. 28 deadline for the State Department to finish sorting through the emails.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton last month said the classified information in Clinton emails uncovered by his team shows that then-FBI Director James Comey and other top FBI officials conducted a “sham investigation” into Clinton’s misuse of email as secretary of state.

“These classified Hillary Clinton emails that she tried to hide or destroy show why it is urgent that the DOJ [Department of Justice] finally undertake an honest criminal investigation,” Fitton said in a press release Aug. 16. “It is past time for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to order a new investigation of the Hillary Clinton email scandal.”

Comey, apparently without consulting then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, told reporters in July 2016 that Clinton was careless in using her private email account for official business and transmitted …read more