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Russian Reaction to Trump’s Energy Policies Echoes Soviet Opposition to Reagan’s Missile Defense

NEW ORLEANS—President Donald Trump’s policy of unleashing American energy through deregulation has unsettled the Russian government in much the same way Ronald Reagan’s proposed space-based missile shield panicked Soviet leaders in the 1980s, a prominent climate skeptic says.

Speaking at a conference devoted to greater freedom in the energy sector, writer and editor Marc Morano also challenged the economics behind what many environmentalists term “clean energy.”

Morano, executive editor and chief correspondent of the Climate Depot website and author of the bestseller “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Climate Change,” criticized policymakers who want to regulate energy sources that are more efficient and reliable.

“If solar and wind really are competitive and there’s so much money to be made in that industry, then all they have to do is outsource it to entrepreneurs to make money,” Morano said, adding:

Instead, so-called clean energy wants to ban energy that works. It’s an insidious agenda. If you really believe in your product and want to make money, why are you going to spend all this money and issue all these regulations, shutting down coal, oil, and gas? That’s where they fail.

Morano spoke as part of a panel discussion, “Battling Russia and America’s Big Green Machine,” …read more


Trump Administration’s Fuel Economy Proposal Bucks California in Bid to Spur New Car Purchases

American consumers who want safe, affordable vehicles will find new models with improved technology becoming less costly if a federal rule amending standards for fuel economy and emissions goes into effect, Trump administration officials said Thursday in announcing the proposal.

California has been permitted to set its own auto emissions standards under a federal waiver. But President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could seek to eliminate this waiver as part of the proposed rule change.

Twelve states, concentrated in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest, follow California’s lead with stricter emissions standards, as does closer to the White Housethe District of Columbia.

The Obama administration worked with state officials in California to set fuel efficiency standards, a key component of President Barack Obama’s efforts to address climate change.

Democratic Party officials quoted in Politico warn that the Trump administration’s proposal could create a rift between red states and the blue states that adopted California’s stricter emissions standards.

If the new proposal is implemented, California and the 12 other states would need to observe the new federal rules on emissions.

“Since California started to determine the stringency of fuel economy standards, new car prices have increased $6,800 above the pre-2009 baseline …read more


EPA: Key Air Pollutants Drop 73 Percent Since 1970

Americans who value clean air and robust economic growth do not need to make an either-or choice, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s new annual report on air quality.

The EPA report released Tuesday finds that between 1970 and 2017, the “combined emissions” of six main kinds of pollutants decreased by 73 percent even as the U.S. economy grew substantially over the 47 years.

In a formal statement, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said:

Through federal and state implementation of the Clean Air Act and technological advances in the private sector, America has achieved one of the great public-private successes of our time—dramatically improving air quality and public health while simultaneously growing the nation’s population and economy.

This report details a remarkable achievement that should be recognized, celebrated, and replicated around the world. A 73 percent reduction in any other social ill, such as crime, disease, or drug addiction, would lead the evening news.

Congress originally passed the Clean Air Act in 1970, following up with “major revisions” in 1977 and 1990. Under the law, the EPA must rely upon scientific data to create “national ambient air quality standards” for pollutants.

In response, the agency set standards for six “criteria pollutants …read more


Trump’s EPA Outpaces Obama in Cleaning Up Hazardous Sites

President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency has cleaned up more polluted or contaminated sites in less time and at a faster pace than the Obama administration did in all of 2015 and 2016, according to an analysis of government records by The Daily SIgnal.

Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the EPA’s Superfund Task Force Report, which includes a list of 42 recommendations for federally funded cleanup efforts at hundreds of polluted and even toxic sites.

An EPA press release highlights progress the agency has made in acting on the task force’s recommendations, including “more direct attention to the sites potentially eligible for partial or full deletion” from the federal Superfund list.

Since Trump took office in January 2017, EPA officials have cleaned up all or part of 13 listed sites, compared with nine sites cleaned up by the Obama administration in 2015 and 2016.

A total of 1,345 sites remain on the Superfund list, according to the EPA.

The agency released a video highlighting Superfund success stories from around the country.

In 1980, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. Widely known as the Superfund program, it provides funds for cleaning up …read more


Lawmakers Suggest Lawsuit-Happy Environmentalists Help China, Hurt National Security

Environmental advocacy groups that take the Defense Department to court appear to operate as foreign agents working to help China and undermine the U.S. Navy and America’s military readiness in the Asia-Pacific region, congressional leaders suggest.

Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., chairman of the oversight and investigations subcommittee, called on two environmental groups to submit documents that “identify any policies or procedures” the groups took to ensure compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Bishop and Westerman last month wrote the two groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity.

In a letter to Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the two Republican lawmakers expressed concern about China’s “extensive perception-management campaign” and the “NRDC’s role” in assisting these efforts.

The environmental group’s press releases and other written correspondence “consistently praise the Chinese government’s environmental initiatives and promote the image of China as a global environmental leader,” their letter says.

An aide to the House committee told The Daily Signal in a phone interview that there is “a significant level of engagement between the NRDC and Chinese government officials.”

And, the aide said, “the …read more


Groups Linked to George Soros Behind Campaign to Repeal Trump Tax Cuts

Left-wing financier George Soros figures prominently in a campaign by progressives to repeal the Trump tax cuts, according to a review of the campaign’s allied organizations and their tax records by The Daily Signal.

The campaign, called “Not One Penny,” first came together almost a year ago with what The Washington Post reported was “a seven-figure ad buy in eight Republican-held congressional districts.”

All of the districts, the Post reported, include “large numbers of white voters without college degrees, who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 but have not historically been passionate about tax cuts.”

The “direct action and activism” of the Not One Penny campaign, the Post reported, closely model the Tax March held April 15, 2017, and successful efforts to block repeal of Obamacare in the Senate.

Several organizations listed as partners by Not One Penny have tangible ties to Soros, the Hungarian-American billionaire and hedge fund manager. Soros is the founder and chairman of Open Society Foundations, an international grantmaking institution based in New York City and known for financing progressive political causes.

The Washington-based Capital Research Center, a nonprofit that examines how foundations, charities, and other nonprofits spend money and get involved in politics and advocacy, maintains …read more


Government Employee Who Beat Unions at Supreme Court Sees End to Their ‘Free Ride’

Labor unions no longer get a free ride on the backs of government employees who are forced to pay for political activism they disagree with, the man who successfully challenged the practice at the Supreme Court told The Daily Signal in an interview.

For decades, Illinois state government worker Mark Janus said, union leaders had argued that nonunion employees should pay “fair share” fees so that those workers wouldn’t be “free riders” who enjoyed the benefits of collective bargaining on their behalf without cost.

In 1977, the Supreme Court accepted that argument in its unanimous ruling in a case known as Abood v. Detroit Board of Education.

But on Wednesday, in a 5-4 ruling, the high court reversed that decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, finding that its Abood opinion was “poorly reasoned” and that mandatory union fees violate the First Amendment rights of government employees.

Janus, a child support specialist at the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services who became the lead plaintiff in the case, turned the tables on the unions’ “free rider” argument in a phone interview with The Daily Signal a few hours after the high court released its decision.

“There are two arguments on this point …read more


Supreme Court Strikes Down Mandatory Union Fees for Government Employees

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Wednesday that nonunion government workers can’t be forced to pay dues or other fees to support a public employee union, further diminishing the power of organized labor and setting up what right-to-work proponents called the “hard work” of protecting free speech rights for the nation’s government employees.

Right-to-work advocates also expressed concern about what they see as ongoing conflicts of interest between public employee unions and the government officials whom those same unions help elect into positions of influence over union contracts negotiated at taxpayer expense.

In their decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, the justices said “agency shop” laws requiring nonunion government workers to pay union fees violate the First Amendment rights of workers who object to the political agenda of public employee unions.

“Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command, and in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito, author of the court’s opinion with Chief Justice John Roberts.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Anthony Kennedy joined the majority. Dissenting were Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagen, Stephen Breyer, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Janus …read more


Court Challenges Loom as Right to Work Gathers Steam in New Mexico

Local laws that free private sector workers from union mandates continue to gain momentum in New Mexico, among other states.

The Chaves County Commission’s five members voted unanimously last month for a right-to-work ordinance that will prohibit private-sector employers from entering into agreements that make union membership and payment of union dues or fees a condition of employment.

Twenty-eight states and the territory of Guam now ban forced unionization. Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and West Virginia all became right-to-work states since 2012.

On May 21, Chaves, where the county seat is Roswell, became the fourth county in New Mexico to approve a right-to-work law.

The local trend began this year with Sandoval County, which approved a right-to-work law Jan. 19. It continued with Otero County, which did so April 12. Lincoln County followed suit May 15 with its own ordinance banning forced unionization.

With the exception of Sandoval, where the commission approved right to work 3-1 with one abstention, the other county bodies voted unanimously for their ordinances.

Organized labor is pushing back against the county ordinances.

In February, the New Mexico Federation of Labor filed suit against Sandoval’s right-to-work law. The union released a statement detailing its main arguments.

New …read more


When Congress Doesn’t OK Government Rules, Both Ranchers and Conservationists Suffer

Until the Trump administration submits Obama-era land use rules to Congress for approval, those regulations aren’t actually in effect and can’t be enforced to protect a chicken-like bird in 10 Western states, a legal group argues.

And even if a government regulation benefits the public interest, a federal agency’s unwillingness to submit it for approval as required by the Congressional Review Act places the rule on tenuous legal footing that could undermine conservation efforts, two lawyers with the group say.

So their organization, Pacific Legal Foundation, headquartered in Sacramento, California, filed separate but related lawsuits on behalf of ranchers in Idaho and a conservation program in Kansas.

Whether various interests argue an agency’s regulations are beneficial or harmful, those rules should face congressional scrutiny before going into effect, the lawyers told The Daily Signal in interviews.

To drive this point home, Pacific Legal Foundation filed both its suits at the same time in April.

Instead of allowing “unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats” to call the shots on federal rulemaking, Congress should have the final say in determining the merits of regulations that affect average Americans, the legal organization argues.

“If a court were to say that the Pacific Legal Foundation is correct and that …read more