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On Jared Kushner, Whose Anonymous Sources Are We To Believe?

Today’s Campaign Update

(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

  • Anonymous sources everywhere, but never a one to believe.:  Fox News reports this morning that an anonymous source “familiar with the situation” has told their reporter that Jared Kushner did not in fact raise the idea of opening a back channel of communication with Russian officials last December, contrary to all the fake reports all over the fake news media the last few days, reports that were also based solely on anonymous sources.  The subject was, according to Fox’s anonymous source, actually broached by Russian officials, and would have resulted in a single telephone conversation regarding the Obama Administration’s atrocious, utter failure of a Syria policy, not a permanent back channel, as the NYTimes and WaPo have claimed.  So whose anonymous source is to be believed – the ones that resulted in the Weekly World News-like, sensationalist reports in the Times and Post, or the one that results in what sounds like a far more likely scenario at Fox News?  In today’s America, the lines of belief will no doubt break down largely along partisan lines.
  • Today’s Required Reading.:  Kurt Schlichter pens a fantastic piece at Townhall.com titled, “Liberals Are Shocked To Find We’re Starting To Hate Them Right Back.”  Seriously, just read it.  You’ll be glad you did.
  • That’s the way it has always been for communists in America.:  In a rare bit of real news at its site,  Politico has a report out about how tough it is for Bernie Sanders supporters these days, as it seems that his supporters are finding it darn near impossible to capture actual levers of power, even within the commie-friendly confines of the Democrat Party.  Gosh, I just feel so, so bad for these people, victims as they are of their own brand of nitwittery.
  • Still prosecuting the last war after all these years…:  Terry Frei, a sports reporter for the Denver Post, was fired within two hours of the end of the Indy 500, after he tweeted that he is “uncomfortable” that a Japanese driver had won the race on Memorial Day.  Some will moan about the Post’s cow-towing to the Gods of political correctness, but dang, man, World War II ended 72 years ago. Can’t we all just get along at long last?  Holy cow.
  • But hey, WWIII could be just around the corner, if John McCain gets his way.:  The Senator From The News Media, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Company, said that “[Vladimir] Putin is a bigger threat than ISIS.”  The tirelessly warmongering Senator was unfortunately not asked by the interviewer where he would place himself in that same ranking, but most informed observers would put him way up there.
  • That escalated quickly.:  When Texas Republican state representative Matt Rinaldi called ICE after he was threatened by some in a very large and loud group of pro-sanctuary city protesters who had gathered in the state capitol building while the legislature was in session, Democratic state rep. Pancho Navarez threatened to kill him.  This is what the Democrat Party of today refers to as peaceful debate of the issues.
  • Meanwhile, in the realm of winning…:  While the Democrats and the fake news media continue their tireless efforts to distract the American people from reality, the Trump Administration keeps on winning, systematically erasing huge chunks of the Obama “legacy”, such as it is.  This includes progress on building the promised wall along the southern border, where, as the DC Examiner reports, planning is well underway, contracts are being bid out, and there is, despite fake media reports to the contrary, plenty of money in the budget to start construction.

Just another day in fake news media America.

That is all.

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Fareed Zakaria’s Moment Of Accidental Self-Awareness

Today’s Campaign Update

(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

  • Huh.  Guess he actually looked in a mirror.:  Fareed Zakaria, one of the fake news media’s best examples of an utterly intolerant, closed-minded, anti-free speech liberal, actually said the following on CNN yesterday:  “Liberals think they are tolerant but often they aren’t…Freedom of speech and thought is not just for warm fuzzy ideas that we find comfortable, it’s for ideas that we find offensive,” Zakaria said. He added that while there was a strain of anti-intellectualism on the right, “there is also an anti-intellectualism on the left. An attitude of self-righteousness that says we are so pure, we are so morally superior; we cannot bear to hear an idea with which we disagree.”  We should expect Mr. Zakaria to be fired by his utterly intolerant, closed-minded, anti-free speech #fakenews superiors at CNN any day now.
  • That brimstone aroma you are smelling is emanating from Chappaqua…:  Axios reports that friends of the Most Corrupt Woman in America say their heroine “seething with rage & haunted by losing to someone she considers a soulless manipulator.”  So, just a normal day in the Clinton marriage, then.
  • This is how you know President Trump’s meeting with the G7 leaders was a rousing success.:  The fake reporters at the Washington Post are reporting that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is highly distressed about her interactions with President Trump over the past weekend, and is now telling her peers in other European nations that “Europe must now fend for ourselves.”  The fake news media and the useful idiots who infest the #NeverTrump world are tearing their hair out over this because they still don’t understand why Trump was elected President in the first place.
  • So, it was just like when he meets with the House Republican caucus?:  When House Speaker Paul Ryan visited a DC middle school last Friday, more than half of the 8th graders there – encouraged by their idiot parents – refused to pose for a group photo with him.  But then, it’s hard to imagine why he would have expected any other outcome, given that 97% of DC voters are Democrats.
  • Because they’re just as easy to murder as anyone else.:  Rahm Emmanuel, Mayor of Murder City, er, Chicago, told CNN fake news host Dana Bash that illegal immigrants are welcome in his city, and that “they are part of the Chicago family.”  He failed to warn those “family members” that members of Chicago’s “family” are gunned down on streets by other “family members” at an increasingly alarming rate, thanks largely to his own failure of leadership.
  • What is it with Democrats and pedophilia?:  An assistant to communist New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, Jacob Schwartz, was arrested Saturday on charges of trafficking in kiddie porn, involving victims as young as six months of age.  Mr. Schwartz was recently described as a “rising star” in the Democrat Party by CNN, where he has appeared on panel discussions in the past.  We can bet the fake news media will do everything in its power to completely ignore this story.
  • Something is about to hit the fan.:  Meanwhile, multiple news outlets – some fake, like CBS, but also some real, like One America News – are reporting that investigators have identified three White House staffers as being the sources for many of the leaks we have seen in the press in recent weeks.  Supposedly, those three staffers will be arrested and publicly identified later this week.  If these reports are accurate – which of course is a real crap shoot these days – then sh*t is about to get real.

Just another day in sh*t hitting the fan America.

That is all.

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Indonesian Monkey Mafia Emulates Clinton Foundation

Today’s Campaign Update

(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

  • The Monkeys learned this by observing how the Clinton Foundation works.:  New Scientist reports that a “monkey mafia” that has been stealing stuff from tourists in Indonesia has now learned to sell the stolen stuff back to the same tourists for ransom.  Which of course is a lesson Bill and Hillary Clinton learned early in life, and have now passed onto Chelsea.
  • Body-slamming his way to congress.:  Despite breathless predictions of a “neck and neck” race by fake pundits all over the fake news media leading into election day, Republican Greg Gianforte, who apparently has a promising future in professional wrestling, easily defeated his Democrat opponent, nudist colony entertainer Rob Quist, in Thursday’s election to fill Montana’s vacant congressional seat.  No word yet on how the fake reporters in the fake news media will spin this into a moral victory for the tiny, dying Democrat Party.
  • From our Historic Presidential Quotes file:
    • John F. Kennedy, 1961:  “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
    • Bill Clinton, 1998:  “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.
    • Barack Obama, 2009:  “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”
    • Ronald Reagan, 1988:  “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
    • Donald Trump, 2017:  “NATO members, pay your damn bills.”  Ok, that’s not exactly what President Trump told the gathering of pompous NATO members on Thursday, but it’s what they heard.  That’s good enough.
  • He never really did have much of a sense of self-awareness or irony.:  Speaking of Barack Hussein Obama, he pontificated in Germany yesterday that “In this new world that we live in we can’t isolate ourselves.  We can’t hide behind a wall.”  Photos from the event show that he gave his talk from behind a ten-foot security wall.
  • And then there’s Katy Perry…:  Tone-deaf pop star Katy Perry created a minor wave on Wednesday when she told an interviewer that the way to solve the whole Islamic terrorism problem is “Just love…no borders, no walls.”  For the record, Ms. Perry’s multi-million dollar home is surrounded by a 12 foot security wall.
  • Wait.  You want me to substantiate my reports with documentation?  But that’s real work.:  Real journalists John Solomon and Sara Carter have a report out at Circa News detailing how James Comey’s FBI illegally shared unmasked intelligence information with outside third parties hundreds of times during the Barack Obama Administration.  Their report is based on hard data and actual documents.  Because it was based on real information, the story was missed by the NY Times and WaPo, whose fake journalists prefer to base their stories entirely on claims by unidentified “sources”, most of which are later proved to be completely false.  We can also be absolutely certain that this information will be completely ignored by Special Counsel and long-time Comey crony Robert Mueller.
  • They make their projections using the “broken clock” method.:  The fake climate “scientists” at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted on Thursday that this year’s hurricane season will produce an “above average” number of tropical storms.  This marks the 12th consecutive “above average” prediction from NOAA since 2005, which was the last time we actually experienced an “above average” number of such storms.   Climate alarmism at its finest.  NOAA is a part of the DC swamp that desperately need draining.

Just another day in Monkey Mafia America.

That is all.

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CBS News Is Infested With Ghouls

Today’s Campaign Update

(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

  • And That’s The Way It Is…:  Shortly after last night’s bombing of the Ariana Grande venue in Manchester, England, CBS reporter David Leavitt, who is such a “professional” fake journalist that he has often bragged about how he is a proud part of the “resistance” against President Donald Trump, sent out the following Tweet:  “Multiple Confirmed Fatalities at Manchester Arena.  The last time I listened to Ariana Grande I almost died too.”  If you watch CBS to get your news, you are getting your news from a bunch of ghouls.
  • Oh, Noes!  Who cut off Maxine’s Mike????:  California’s African American Caucus is looking for answers right now about why the power to the mike was cut off right in the middle of an anti-Trump diatribe being delivered to their group by the supreme nitwit of today’s U.S. congress (which is saying an awful lot), Maxine Waters.  But no worries – Maxine could never be shut up just because the mike went out, as she told the crowd that “they try to shut me up all the time.”  No word on who “they” is, and why “they” are so damned ineffective at their job.
  • Of course, once you’ve sold your soul to the Clintons, “crazy” becomes a relative term.:  Well known spirit cooker and former campaign manager for The Most Corrupt Woman in America, John Podesta, gave an interview to a fake journalist at Politico in which he called President Donald Trump “absolutely crazy.”  He then went home to sacrifice his weekly goat.
  • Wait.  Someone needed Elton John to tell them this?:  In an interview with Variety, pop legend Sir Elton John told a fake journalist that the MTV era “produced many untalented musicians.”  In other news, water is wet.
  • Now that a special counsel is investigating, it’s the only reasonable action to take.:  Fake journalist heads all over the fake news media exploded on Monday when Mike Flynn’s lawyer notified the Senate Intelligence Committee that Gen. Flynn will not testify before that committee, exercising his fifth amendment rights.   It’s fair to remember that, when IRS scumbag Lois Lerner exercised her fifth amendment rights in live testimony, the very same fake journalists who condemn Gen. Flynn basically ignored the Lerner story.  Radio silence.  If fake journalists working for all these fake news outlets want us to stop referring to them as fake, the rank double standard by which they conduct themselves must end.  No one should hold their breath waiting for that to happen.
  • Speaking of Mike Flynn…:  Everyone does realize that Gen. Flynn is a registered Democrat, right?  Just thought that was worth repeating at this moment in time.
  • Meanwhile, in the realm of winning…:  President Donald Trump flew in Air Force One from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to Tel Aviv, Israel, marking the first time any plane has flown that route.  A truly historic moment in global history, which about 98% of the fake news media in America studiously ignored.   Pathetic.

Just another day in ghoulish fake news America.

That is all.

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Today’s Campaign Update (Because The Campaign Never Ends) – 5.13.2017

  • I’ve written this several times, but it deserves repeating today in light of President Trump’s telling Fox News Host Jeanine Pirro that he is considering cancelling the daily White House press briefings and instead taking and answering questions in writing, and holding periodic press conferences himself:  The President of the United States has no obligation whatsoever to hold daily press briefings.  He has no obligation whatsoever to legitimize specific media outlets, especially those that serve – as almost all major national media outlets serve today – as nothing more than propaganda arms for the opposition party.
  • The President of the United States does have an obligation to inform the public about his administration’s priorities and activities.  Typically in the past, this has been accomplished through interviews and open press availabilities with a press corps that for the most part used to take seriously its obligation to accurately inform the public.
  • However, the Republic somehow managed to survive and thrive without the rubric of daily White House press briefings for more than 190 years, until Richard Nixon became the first POTUS to establish this model of communication.  Those briefings have continued since, for better or for worse.
  • Back in January, I wrote that this daily press briefing model would be a lousy model for this particular President to continue, and that he and his staff should seriously consider changing it up, implementing instead a model in which the press, since it has chosen to be nothing more than an arm of the Democrat Party, is dealt with in a more arm’s-length fashion, and in which the President communicates more directly with the American people.  It now appears that President Trump is having thoughts along these very lines.
  • That’s a positive thing, something he should follow through on implementing.  Yes, the fake news media would wail and demonize him and scream like stuck pigs and do all of its “reporting” about the administration with stories based on nothing but unidentified leakers.  In other words, the status quo would prevail.  So what?  The current process is not good for anyone, not the White House staff, not the President, not the fake news media, not the public.  There has never been a situation more in need of radical change, something President Trump is good at.
  • To do that, though, will take a shake-up in the President’s communications team, which I advocated in this space yesterday.  Sean Spicer is a trooper – figuratively and literally, given his National Guard service – but he is not cut out for this particular role.  He needs to be reassigned.  Much of the rest of the communications team also needs to go, given the awful advice they have been giving the President.
  • A new team needs to be brought in, a new model established.  Let the fake journalists who coordinate daily narratives and talking points with the DNC scream about it all.  It doesn’t matter.  What are they going to do?  Call you a fascist?  Hell, that happens 50 times a day on CNN alone anyway.  Doesn’t matter.  Are they going to accuse of suppression of the press?  Hell, that happens 50 times a day on MSNBC alone anyway.
  • The press has uniformly abandoned its intended role in our society, the role of the independent watchdog of the public interest, in favor of becoming nothing more than talking points monkeys for the increasingly radicalized Democrat Party.  It really is time for the Trump Administration to stop this Kabuki dance, and stop legitimizing people who have voluntarily de-legitimized themselves and their industry.
  • Today would be a good day to begin the process.

Just another day in fake news media America.

That is all.

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Today’s Campaign Update (Because The Campaign Never Ends) – 5.11.2017

  • Tired of winning yet?:  The Border Patrol reports that border crossings are down by 76% since the first of 2017.  No wall, no new laws, no big increased budget, no deployment of new technology.  Down 76% simply on the news that we have a president who will enforce the nation’s immigration laws.  If you’ve wondered in the past when I’ve said on numerous occasions that former President Barack Hussein Obama used doing nothing as a strategic weapon, now you know part of what I mean when I say that.  Where illegal immigration is concerned, he raised doing nothing to an art form.
  • Can we go ahead and nominate him now?:  Actor Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, told GQ Magazine that “it’s a very real possibility” that he will run for president in the future.  Lots of observers recoiled in horror at the prospect, but my reaction is that I hope he’s telling the truth.  Seriously, look around at the collection of radical nutjobs, career criminals and hopeless nitwits the Democrat Party otherwise has available to offer for the nation’s highest office, and you have to inevitably conclude that The Rock would be a gigantic upgrade.
  • Here’s what I wonder about the Democrats and their fake journalist agents in the fake news media this morning:  How are you going to sustain this outrage for eight years?  Seriously, how are you going to do that and retain your physical health?  Your emotional health, such as it is?
  • No kidding, Donald Trump is most likely going to be a two-term President – he is well on his way to ensuring his re-election already.  There is not going to be any impeachment, not over the firing of James Comey, or anything else.  Impeachment is a very specific thing, a thing that requires the commission of “high crimes and misdemeanors” by the President, and there aren’t any such things present now, and won’t likely be any in the future.  And honest to goodness, it really does not matter what nitwits like Maxine Waters say about it.
  • You people are living in a fantasy world in which firing the Director of the FBI is, for whatever reason you wish to make up out of whole cloth – like he did it at the wrong time, or he didn’t deliver the message to Comey in the right way, or he did it for nefarious reasons – is an impeachable offense.  Here’s news for you:  You’re wrong about that, and James Comey agrees with me, not you.  Indeed, Mr. Comey himself, in a farewell note to FBI employees yesterday, acknowledged that “a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all.”  You folks can whine, or yell, or pull your hair out, or post nasty notes to me on social media all you want, but you’re wrong, and James Comey agrees with me, not you.
  • Really and truly, you people need to get a grip on yourselves.  I know you have all been systematically brainwashed by your heroes in the fake national news media to believe Donald Trump is somehow an illegitimate president, but he isn’t.  I know you’ve been brainwashed to believe that the Trump campaign somehow conspired with the Russians to steal the election, but they didn’t.  I know you’ve been brainwashed to believe that Donald Trump is a flaming moron who is destroying America, but he isn’t – he’s actually extremely intelligent and thinks way ahead of you and all the people who say that about him.  I know you’ve been brainwashed to believe that only your thoughts and opinions matter in this society, and that people who don’t think exactly as you think are evil people who should be tossed on prison or executed, but that’s wrong, too.
  • Honest to God, you are wrong about everything.  Literally everything.  I know the fake news media keeps telling you otherwise, but they’re wrong too, because most of those people are just like you and have been brainwashed just like you have been.  They’re so brainwashed, in fact, that they don’t even understand that they’re now the ones doing the brainwashing.
  • The fact that you are wrong and I’m right is why the Republican Party currently holds the Presidency, both houses of congress, 2/3rds of state governorships, and majorities in 2/3rds of state legislative bodies.  The crazier you get, the faker the fake media becomes, the fewer people vote the way you do.  If you represented the majority of thought in this country, those numbers of office-holders would be reversed, especially after having your overlord and savior, Barack Hussein Obama, ensconced in the White House for eight long years.
  • I know you’re hopelessly outraged by all of this, but this is the truth of your situation.  Donald Trump is going to be President for four full years, because you simply do not have the votes to take over congress in 2018 and execute an impeachment.  He is also very likely to serve a second full term in office after being re-elected President in 2020, because despite what your heroes in the fake news media keep telling you, he is keeping his promises made during the campaign in a very big way.  Again, they’re lying to you because they know you prefer it that way.
  • By the way, this preference for being lied to in order to support the fantasy world in which you live is the very same reason why you keep voting for pathological liars to be your party’s presidential nominees.  Think about it:  your last five presidential nominees have been Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  This is like the murderer’s row of pathological liars.  It will take a change in your preference for being lied to before that ever changes.
  • So, how are you going to sustain this outrage for eight years?  How long can you go on waking up each morning with smoke pouring out your ears at the thought that Donald Trump still sits in the White House?  How long are you going to keep carrying some cardboard sign with something stupid or obscene written on it out to the local freeway to block traffic?  How long are you going to keep putting on black ski masks and vandalizing college campuses?  More to the point, how much longer is your grandma going to be willing to put you up in her basement and cook supper for you?
  • Eight years is a long time to be angry, a long time to be outraged, a long time to continue alienating everyone you used to call a friend and family members with profane and borderline insane rants on Facebook, not to mention those three dozen 140-character outbursts on Twitter you post each day.  At some point, the nature of human existence requires all of us to grow up and either make an effort to become a productive member of society or doom ourselves to a lifetime of failure.
  • Waking up outraged for eight years – or even just four – will pretty much doom you to the latter path.  How long can you keep it up with the knowledge that Donald Trump isn’t going anywhere?  It’s a question you’re all going to have to answer, because he really is not going anywhere.

Just another day in Perpetually Outraged Liberals America.

That is all.

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Today’s Campaign Update (Because The Campaign Never Ends) – 5.10.2017

  • Well, yesterday was a very slow news day, so I think I’ll just take a day off from the Campaign Update….what?  There was a firing?  Comey?  James Comey?  How did I miss that one.  Ok, well, that was probably non-controversial, right?  I mean, after all, every Democrat in America was calling for Comey’s head barely a week ago, blaming him for the loss by their hero, The Most Corrupt Woman in America, last November, so surely no one raised a fuss when Trump fired such a universally-detested public figure.  Right?  No?  Ok, better go check the news, dang it.
  • Ok, just kidding.  By now, we all know that Democrats went even crazier than usual at the news of Comey’s firing, doing yet another 180 on their view of our former bi-polar FBI Director, who has done more to starkly reveal the abject intellectual dishonesty of every day Democrats than any public figure in American history.  As I posted on Facebook last night, Democrats were for James Comey (July 5, 2016) before they were against him (October 28, 2016) before they were for him (November 6, 2016) before they were against him (May 3, 2017) before they were for him (today).
  • Another Facebook post from last night:  This is the Democrats, furiously deleting every Tweet and Facebook post they’ve made demanding Comey’s firing since last October 28:

 

  • Someone pointed out that I should have added fake journalists to that caption, but all fake journalists are is Democrats with by-lines, so it was already implied.
  • What else to say about Comey?  Look, he did this to himself.  He had a chance last July 5 to make himself a true American hero.  He and he alone had a chance to demonstrate that no one in this country is above the law.  He could have done that by making a criminal referral to the Attorney General in the case of Hillary Clinton and her illegal email server, a case he himself very publicly made before then refusing to make the referral.  Last week he claimed he did that because he (correctly) believed the Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, was hopelessly corrupt and would not take appropriate action on his referral.  Regardless of whether that is true or not, that was not his judgment to make.  His job was to make a criminal referral when he had found criminal activity.  Everything that has happened to and with Mr. Comey since that time has simply been a natural extension of the wrongness of his decision that day.
  • I just flipped over to Morning Joe, and I’m pretty sure Mika is about to have a nervous breakdown.  Come to think of it, she looked exactly the same way the morning after Election Day, so maybe it’s just how she looks whenever justice prevails in America.
  • Fake journalist Mark Halperin is badgering Sarah Huckabee Sanders (who is a superstar) about why the President felt an urgency to act on the firing as soon as he had received that recommendation from the Justice Department.  While Sanders gave a very non-confrontational answer, the real, true answer is that he had to act as quickly as possible so that scumbag Obama holdovers in the Deep State weren’t able to leak the information to fake journalists like Mika, Joe and Mark Halperin.  This is really not rocket science here.
  • While the fake news media is spinning the Comey firing as somehow “unprecedented”, and an “abuse of presidential power,” the same fake media outlets cheered in 1993 when Bill Clinton had his people dummy up an ethics complaint against then-FBI Director William Sessions and fired him because he had allegedly used his government jet a few times to visit his daughter.  Again, if you’re expecting intellectual honesty or consistency of thought from those on the political left, you are doomed to a lifetime of disappointment.
  • Other than the Comey firing, the big news yesterday was that the fake journalists at the NY Times published an editorial that was actually critical of abortion.  Surely, someone will be getting fired over that decision, given that the leaders of the Democrat Party have repeatedly said there is no room for diversity of thought on that subject in their party anymore.

Just another day in Perpetual Liberal Outrage America.

That is all.

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What A Difference An Election Makes – World Oil Magazine

APRIL 2017 ///Vol 238 No. 4

FEATURES

What a difference an election makes

The upstream oil and gas regulatory structure has been turned upside-down on the federal level, and what was once thought nearly impossible, in terms of certain projects, now seems far more likely.

David Blackmon, Contributing Editor

A Clinton administration would have meant increasingly heavy-handed efforts to control every aspect of the oil and gas development process from Washington D.C.; more stringent emissions requirements; a rapidly-expanding bureaucracy at the EPA—especially in the area of water enforcement in the wake of the implementation of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulations; rapidly rising regulatory costs; and more and more withdrawals of federal lands and waters from the realm of oil and gas leasing. Even to those of us who believed that Donald Trump had at least an even chance to win, the conventional wisdom dictated that the best advice was to prepare for a Clinton administration while hoping for a big surprise to take place on Nov. 8.

Lo and behold, the big surprise came about, and the whole world of federal regulation of the oil and gas industry has been turned on its head. Upon assuming office in 2009, and embarking immediately on his campaign to vastly increase the federal bureaucracy and regulatory reach, Barack Obama famously said, “Elections matter.” That statement was completely true then, and it remains true today.

Let’s take a look at some of the many ways that this election matters in the realm of regulatory policy toward the oil and gas industry.

LET THE PIPELINES BE BUILT

Just four days after he assumed the office of the presidency, Donald Trump demonstrated conclusively that his proposed “America First Energy Plan” was more than just campaign rhetoric, as he signed executive orders designed to ensure the completion of two major oil pipelines—Keystone XL and Dakota Access—that had been held up for purely political considerations by former President Obama.

Keystone XL. The President’s order on Keystone XL invited the operator, TransCanada, to re-apply for its cross-border permit, and directed the U.S. State Department to “take all actions necessary and appropriate to facilitate its expeditious review.” The order further gave the State Department 60 days, from receipt of TransCanada’s new application, to issue a final decision.

That’s all very positive, and after suffering through six years of delays lacking much, if any, merit from the Obama administration, it no doubt seemed like a breath of fresh air to the company’s executives. Indeed, the company confirmed, later that same day, that it had already begun preparing its new permit application. That application was submitted several days later, and the State Department approved it in late March.

While some conflict groups continue to mount court challenges to the pipeline, and various state-level approvals will still need to be obtained by Trans-Canada, there is no doubt that the November election completely changed the equation related to this important pipeline project.

Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The President’s order on DAPL (Fig. 1) was directed not to Energy Transfer Partners, the builder of the pipeline, but to the Army, ordering the Corps of Engineers to “take all actions necessary and appropriate,” to conduct this review and approve the pipeline “in an expedited manner… to the extent permitted by law and as warranted.” Within a few weeks, the Army responded affirmatively, withdrawing its requirement for conducting a full environmental impact study, which the Obama administration had forced in December for political reasons, and issuing the final easement necessary to allow the line’s final segment to move ahead to completion.

Fig. 1. The Dakota Access Pipeline is now a reality, after being held up for months on end. Photo:  Energy Transfer.

Fig. 1. The Dakota Access Pipeline is now a reality, after being held up for months on end. Photo: Energy Transfer.

That all had taken place by mid-February, and the completion of the final segment of the pipeline took less than a month, after having been held up for a half-year by the political machinations of the Obama administration in support of an often-violent and destructive protest action. Oil began flowing through the DAPL a week after a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected an appeal by the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes on March 18.

All of which proves that, despite all information to the contrary, the federal government can move pretty rapidly when it is motivated to do so.

WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES REGULATION

When I last wrote about this atrocious expansion of the EPA’s regulatory reach (Fig. 2) under the auspices of the Clean Water Act in 2016, it had suffered an adverse decision in a federal district court, which had issued a nationwide injunction, prohibiting the EPA from moving ahead with its enforcement. The rule was still awaiting a hearing before an appellate court when President Trump assumed office on Jan. 20.

Fig. 2. The WOTUS went too far in defining what would be covered by the Clean Water Act, as exemplified by this stream and wetlands rendering.  Source:  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Fig. 2. The WOTUS went too far in defining what would be covered by the Clean Water Act, as exemplified by this stream and wetlands rendering. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

On Feb. 28, the President issued an Executive Order, directing his EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt—who, as Oklahoma’s attorney general, had filed the lawsuit that resulted in the injunction on this rule—along with the Army Corps of Engineers, which also has jurisdiction to a lesser extent, to conduct a review of the rule and issue a revised rule that would bring it in line with the language of the Clean Water Act.

A key piece of this order, as NPR points out, is that:

Trump said that in any future proposed rule, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should consider Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in a 2006 Supreme Court ruling, which focused on the scope of the Clean Water Act. In that case, Scalia stated that the “waters of the United States” are limited to “only relatively permanent, standing or flowing bodies of water.” He added: “The phrase does not include channels through which water flows intermittently or ephemerally, or channels that periodically provide drainage for rainfall.”

An adherence to this guidance from the President would result inevitably in a dramatically scaled-back regulation which, in its proposed form, would effectively give the EPA and Corps the right to exert federal authority over pretty much any body of water, no matter how small, man-made, ephemeral or temporary it might be, in the entire country. At that point, the rule truly would become what EPA, in its initial talking points on the matter, claimed it was: a rule largely intended to clarify jurisdictions between the EPA, Corps of Engineers and state regulators in specific circumstances. Heck, it could even turn out to be a regulation worth the industry’s support.

EXPANDED FEDERAL LEASE SALES

On March 6, the Interior Department announced that it would hold, on Aug. 16, a regionwide lease sale, which will include all available unleased areas in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Although most acreage within 125 mi of the Florida coast remains off-limits through 2022, the proposed Lease Sale 249 will include blocks in waters adjacent to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. All told, more than 73 million federal acres will be offered in the sale.

“Opening more federal lands and waters to oil and gas drilling is a pillar of President Trump’s plan to make the U.S. more energy independent,” said Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, “The Gulf is a vital part of that strategy, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

The Trump administration also promises that expanded onshore lease sales related to federal lands will follow in the near future, as a part of its America First Energy Plan.

ONRR ROYALTY VALUATION REGULATIONS

Another controversial last-minute act by the out-going Obama administration was the effort by the Office of Natural Resource Revenue (ONRR) to change the valuation requirements for royalty payments related to oil and natural gas produced from federal lands.

The regulations would essentially require lessees to value federal royalties on the same basis as they value Indian royalties. The problem here is that Indian leases contain provisions—the so-called “major portion” and “dual-accounting” clauses—that enable Indian lessors to collect royalties on a higher valuation standard than the federal government can demand from its leases, which lack these important clauses. Thus, this new ONRR regulation is a clear violation of federal lease terms.

The regulation went into effect on Jan. 1, but it was suspended by the Department of Interior on Feb. 24, due to concerns that the rule is, indeed, inconsistent with federal lease terms and would likely run into trouble in the federal courts, where it has been challenged by various industry groups.

The rule also had run into serious pushback from congressional Republicans. House Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) issued the following statement upon learning of DOI’s decision to suspend the rule:

“The Trump administration made the right decision to suspend this illogical and legally dubious rule. It is already causing uncertainty for future investment and development on federal and tribal lands, and increasing electricity rates for rural communities, including those in my district. The next step is to do so permanently, and avoid Congress having to do it for them.”

A permanent pulling of the rule would, indeed, be an ideal final solution, but this temporary suspension is a good start, and yet another bit of proof that, as President Obama said, elections really do matter. wo-box_blue.gif

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