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The New York Times Gets it Half Right on Texas Blackouts

Hey, half-right is better than the New York Times normally does whenever writing about Texas, so I suppose we should applaud the authors of the piece I’m looking at this morning, titled “Texas Power Grid Run by ERCOT Set Up the State for Disaster.” Like so many other slanted media reports over the past week on this subject, the Times gets some things right while ignoring inconvenient realities that end up causing the writers to miss the fundamental point.

While most of the facts the piece lays out are in fact accurate, the headline gets the fundamental problem wrong: The power grid itself didn’t set the state up for the disaster; the failure of the people who manage the grid to recognize the utter folly of their ways did. Of course, since the folly that those grid managers at ERCOT engaged in was to focus all their efforts over the last decade on incentivizing the building of more and more wind and solar in Texas while refusing to recognize the reality that those sources of energy would fail us in a weather emergency like the one that took place last week, the leftwingers at the Times didn’t want to focus on that reality.

Perhaps the key paragraph in the entire piece is this one, which illustrates the perilous position that the failures of ERCOT had put the state in when the winter storms began to hit the state on February 9:

One example of how Texas has gone it alone is its refusal to enforce a “reserve margin” of extra power available above expected demand, unlike all other power systems around North America. With no mandate, there is little incentive to invest in precautions for events, such as a Southern snowstorm, that are rare. Any company that took such precautions would put itself at a competitive disadvantage.

[End]

Though factually accurate as far as it goes, this paragraph is where the entire thesis of the piece falls apart. While the facts presented in the paragraph are fundamentally true, the slant by the writers in blaming it all on the evil (in any liberal’s mind) “de-regulation” is simply not correct. What the authors ignore in this paragraph is the fact that, while natural gas prices were high during the first decade under the de-regulated system, Texas had a boom in the building of new combined-cycle natural gas power plants, which have enabled Texas to retire much of its fleet of coal-fired plants and lead the nation in emissions reductions over that time frame.

See, the part of the system these authors don’t inform their readers about is the fact that ERCOT’s de-regulated system allows power providers to base their rates to consumers – which appears as a “fuel charge” on our bills – on the price for the highest-cost fuel source, which from 2000-2009 was consistently natural gas. It was that higher fuel charge that provided the incentive to build all of those new, clean, natural gas plants in the first ten years of this century.

But the fundamental failure of ERCOT came when the price for natural gas began to collapse to chronic lower levels in 2009, where it has remained ever since. When gas prices began to collapse in 2009, my own summer-time electricity bills quickly dropped from ~$500 per month to half of that. The loss of that income from millions of consumers robbed the market of the incentives to build new baseload power.

Lacking that profit incentive, and with no other incentivization being provided by ERCOT or the Texas legislature, power providers have since chosen to invest their capital dollars elsewhere. Meanwhile, ERCOT’s policies have continued to heavily incentivize the build-out of new wind and solar, both of which failed the state so miserably during this crisis, which I detailed for readers in a piece posted last night:

Just so everyone knows that all forms of power generation in Texas failed us to some extent this past week, I wanted you all to see the chart below. Here is what it shows, in terms of the % of power loss by energy source from 11:00 p.m. Feb 14 [At the peak of the chart] to 11:00 p.m. Feb 17, when 4 million Texans were without power:

May be an image of text

 

Natural Gas fell from 43 mwh to 32 mwh, a loss of 26%

Solar dropped from 1 mwh to ZERO, a loss of 100%

Wind dropped from 8 mwh to 3 mwh, a loss of a whopping 63%

Coal fell from 12 mwh to 8 mwh, a loss of 33%

Nuclear fell from 4 mwh to 3mwh, a loss of 25%

It is also key to note here that, from midnight on February 9, when the first blast of cold weather began to set in across the state, until 11:00 p.m., February 14, when output peaked, Natural Gas rose from 14 mwh to 43 mwh, or roughly 300%. Over that same span of time, Wind dropped from about 30 mwh to 8 mwh, or about 72%.

So, although a relative handful of natural gas power plants did freeze up, either due to the weather or due to lack of natural gas supply as some pipelines also lost pressure, the unarguable fact of the matter is that so-called “renewables” were utterly useless to Texas consumers during this life-threatening emergency, and that without Natural Gas, the entire state would have been left freezing in the dark.

[End]

ERCOT has known for years now – and has informed the PUC and the legislature of this on a regular basis – that the Texas grid lacks adequate reserve capacity to get us through a weather calamity such as the one just past. We don’t have enough baseload reserves, and literally everyone has known that (or should have known it), yet no one in a position of authority has had the political will to force that to chance.

Here is where the NY Times writers get the fundamental issue right, in the following paragraph:

With so many cost-conscious utilities competing for budget-shopping consumers, there was little financial incentive to invest in weather protection and maintenance. Wind turbines are not equipped with the de-icing equipment routinely installed in the colder climes of the Dakotas and power lines have little insulation. The possibility of more frequent cold-weather events was never built into infrastructure plans in a state where climate change remains an exotic, disputed concept.

[End]

Indeed, the same features of the de-regulated market that have saved Texas consumers billions over the last 20 years have created this lack of incentivization to build new capacity and to properly winterize pipelines and power generation facilities. The heavy competition by power providers to offer the lowest rates to consumers created a cost-cutting and cost-saving mania among the generators, and any costs not required by regulators have naturally been avoided.

Here’s the other fact that the NY Times writers omit: Even with the lack of adequate reserve power generation capacity, last week’s blackouts would have been avoided had pipeline operators and power generators properly winterized their plants. But, as I’ve written several times over the past week, winterization has been suggested and encouraged by regulators, but it has never been required.

Another aspect of all of this that the Times writers leave out of their story is what happened in the cities of Austin and San Antonio last week, and is continuing into this week. Both of those cities run their own, city-owned and regulated power systems, although they do purchase much of their electricity from the same power providers that generate electricity for the Texas grid. The blackouts in both of those “regulated” cities were far more severe than those across the rest of the state, and both cities are still under “boil water” advisories today due to their water systems having lost power for several days.

Bottom line: This was not a disaster that was directly caused by the liberal boogeyman of “de-regulation.” This disaster was caused by the utter failure of the managers of that system (ERCOT) and the policymakers who oversee them (PUC, legislature) to adequately deal with a dangerous situation that they have all been well aware of for more than a decade now.

Blaming the “system” is what biased journalists and regulators do to shift blame and avoid taking responsibility for their own inactions. The “system” in Texas isn’t the problem: The human beings are.

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What Really Happened in Texas Last Week

Just so everyone knows that all forms of power generation in Texas failed us to some extent this past week, I wanted you all to see the chart below. Here is what it shows, in terms of the % of power loss by energy source from 11:00 p.m. Feb 14 [At the peak of the chart] to 11:00 p.m. Feb 17, when 4 million Texans were without power:

May be an image of text

 

Natural Gas fell from 43 mwh to 32 mwh, a loss of 26%

Solar dropped from 1 mwh to ZERO, a loss of 100%

Wind dropped from 8 mwh to 3 mwh, a loss of a whopping 63%

Coal fell from 12 mwh to 8 mwh, a loss of 33%

Nuclear fell from 4 mwh to 3mwh, a loss of 25%

It is also key to note here that, from midnight on February 9, when the first blast of cold weather began to set in across the state, until 11:00 p.m., February 14, when output peaked, Natural Gas rose from 14 mwh to 43 mwh, or roughly 300%. Over that same span of time, Wind dropped from about 30 mwh to 8 mwh, or about 72%.

So, although a relative handful of natural gas power plants did freeze up, either due to the weather or due to lack of natural gas supply as some pipelines also lost pressure, the unarguable fact of the matter is that so-called “renewables” were utterly useless to Texas consumers during this life-threatening emergency, and that without Natural Gas, the entire state would have been left freezing in the dark.

That is according to the official data coming from ERCOT and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. So, next time you see the leftwingers at the Texas Tribune or Houston Chronicle or New York Times or CNN tell you it was all the fault of natural gas, you know they’re really failing to tell the real story.

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Texans Are Not Ready to Accept Freezing Blackouts as Their “New Normal”

Hey, some of you probably thought I was dead. Well, sorry, Democrats, no such luck. Didn’t have another heart event, didn’t contract the ‘rona, the website isn’t down again. So yay on all of that.

What did happen, though, is we have no power at our home. Haven’t had any since 6:00 a.m. Monday, and it now looks like we won’t have any again until Friday at the earliest. In case you hadn’t heard, the entire state of Texas looks an awful lot like Alaska right now. Ok, well, West Texas looks more like South Dakota, but you get the picture. We’re covered up in snow and ice, the low temperature where I live near Fort Worth was -1 Fahrenheit this morning, we haven’t seen a temperature at my house above freezing since last Wednesday, and won’t see one until Friday. Again, that’s if we’re lucky.

Guess what? Texas does not do a good job of preparing for this kind of weather event. Which makes sense given that we don’t see this kind of stuff but about once a decade. However, we do see it. The last time we had a similar event was exactly a decade ago, in fact, on February 2-3, 2011.

So, while it is understandable, I suppose, that the folks at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) admit that they simply do not have contingency plans for this kind of severe winter event, I can’t help wondering why not? After all, the rolling blackouts they implemented 10 years ago during that ice event caused a public uproar that resulted in a series of hearings and rulemakings that were supposed to help ensure the grid’s resiliency was fortified to withstand exactly this sort of weather.

Yet, here we are again, and no one at ERCOT or the state’s main infrastructure provider – ONCOR – appears capable of providing a coherent answer why. Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder if we shouldn’t just force ERCOT to take the “R” – for Reliability – out of its name to make it more properly descriptive of what it is the agency actually does. Or rename it “ERSCOT”, with the S standing for “semi-“.

Texans have in recent years made a sport out of making fun of California for its having faded into near-3rd world status where its power grid is concerned. Trust me, that’s a ton of fun. Rolling blackouts and brownouts have become a way of life for Californians as the Democrat policymakers there force their grid to rely far too much on intermittent energy sources like wind and solar at the expense of reliable baseload generation, which must be provided by fossil fuels like natural gas and coal, or by nuclear plants.

Unfortunately, and with little public fanfare, the Republican-led Texas government has also allowed wind power to take a steadily-growing role in the state’s power generation mix over the past decade. Last year, in fact, wind surpassed coal in terms of the percentage of electricity provided to the ERCOT-managed grid, delivering 23% of the total mix, coming in second only to natural gas power plants.

That’s all great so long as you’re willing to pay the price, much of which becomes hidden from ratepayers by ERCOT and the state’s electricity providers, so everybody can pretend to be happy about “going green.” It’s also not so great when well over half the turbines in the state freeze up in near-zero temperatures and 3-12 inches of snowfall.

In the wake of the 2011 event, which was caused mainly by coal-fired plants tripping offline as they froze up and ERCOT’s rolling blackouts including several very large natural gas compressor stations, which caused several natural gas power plants to also go offline, reforms were mandated to prevent ERCOT from denying electricity to those compressor stations. We do not yet know if those reforms worked or not, but several of the state’s natural gas pipeline companies have been experiencing deliverability issues over the last couple of days, so ERCOT’s silence on the matter does make you wonder.

Texas policymakers simply must act in the wake of this event to ensure that the state’s power grid is resilient enough to withstand this kind of severe winter weather event. It is an incredibly dangerous situation when more than 3 million Texans are without power as temperatures remain below freezing for a full week. Texas might look like Alaska and South Dakota right now, but Texans are simply not prepared to deal with this kind of weather for even a couple of days, much less for a week or more.

Californians have been conditioned by their Democrat policymakers to accept this sort of rolling blackout situation as their “new normal” so they can all virtue signal about how “green” they all are. Texans, on the other hand, would rather be warm and safe in their homes than waste time virtue signaling about the environment. Again, trust me on this: Ain’t nobody in Texas ready to happily accept this crap as a “new normal” in their lives.

The state’s policymakers had better take advantage of this disastrous situation to act to really improve the resiliency of the state’s power grid, or there will be hell to pay in next year’s elections.

This situation is simply not acceptable, even if it only happens once a decade. Enough is enough.

I’ll post more when I can.

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Fracking Ban is Just One of Many Ways for Biden/Harris to Attack Oil and Gas

Assuming that the various challenges being filed by President Donald Trump this week to election results in several states fail and Democrat Joe Biden does become the next President of the United States, the potential impacts to the oil and gas industry in the U.S. would be numerous and severe. While only one significant oil and gas-related issue was raised to high prominence during the general election campaign – Biden’s promises to ban hydraulic fracturing at various times and levels – it is a mistake to assume that that would be the only way in which a Biden/Harris Administration would impact the industry.

The first tranche of impacts will come in the form of executive orders. Like the Obama/Biden presidency before him, a great deal of President Trump’s energy-related policy has been enacted via executive orders. The obvious vulnerability of any executive order is that it usually can be easily reversed by a successor in office. Thus, the most immediate impacts of a Biden presidency will come in the form of efforts to increase regulation on the energy industry via the reversal of various Trump executive actions. Biden and Harris repeatedly promised to take these actions throughout their campaign, so we should expect a quick follow through on what amounts to low-hanging fruit.

Those likely executive order reversals include:

·        Re-entry of the United States into the Paris Climate Accords

·        Re-entry of the United States into the Obama-era Iran deal, which would free up Iran to dramatically increase its exports and potentially impact crude prices;

·        Trump’s order to end the Council on Environmental Quality’s guidance that all federal permitting decisions and NEPA reviews must consider climate change impacts;

·        Trump’s order to disband the Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases;

·        Trump’s various orders designed to eliminate delays in federal permitting processes.

We can also expect a Biden presidency to follow through on his promises to ban hydraulic fracturing on federal lands and waters, which represent a very sizable percentage of overall U.S. oil and gas production. This can be accomplished by an order from either a President Biden or from his future Secretary of the Interior, although we should also expect Interior to follow up and attempt to frame it in the form of regulations in order to make it more of a permanent change.

It is also important to remember that Sen. Kamala Harris promised to eliminate hydraulic fracturing entirely in the U.S. repeatedly during her own presidential effort in 2019, and never really backed off of that promise during the general election campaign as Biden’s running mate. On the few occasions when she was asked about it, she was always very careful to say that “Joe Biden will not ban fracking,” and no more than that.

 

Read the Rest Here

 

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America Is About To Have Its First Fracking Election

This has never happened before. The oil and gas business – the industry, its health and its impact on inflation and consumer prices – has always played some small role in presidential politics, at least since the oil shocks and embargoes of the 1970s. Most times in the past, the key issue surrounding oil and gas has related to the price of gasoline and what the candidates planned to do about it.

The issue of oil and gas has only arisen whenever gas prices were considered to be too high, never when consumers were benefitting from them being historically low, as they are today. Yet, suddenly this year, this key industry is playing a huge role in the 2020 presidential politics, and it is wholly unrelated to anything having to do with prices at the pump.

The issue in this election campaign is fracking, and whether or not it will remain legal should Democrat candidate Joe Biden become our next president. While this longstanding and well-regulated industrial process has hovered around the periphery of presidential politics since 2008, when the anti-development lobby decided to politicize it with a focused and highly-organized demonization campaign, it has suddenly become one of a handful of crucial issues that dominate the political landscape this year due to its job-creating and economic impacts in a single swing state: Pennsylvania.

How important is it? Early Monday morning, the Trump Campaign announced that President Donald Trump would be holding three separate campaign rallies that day. This is nothing unusual, given that the President has made a habit of holding multiple rallies each day during both of his presidential efforts. On Saturday alone he held rallies in the state of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin.

What is unusual about Monday, though, is that all three of the Trump rallies will be held in Pennsylvania, which has become perhaps the single most crucial swing state in the 2020 election. Biden is also paying special attention to the Keystone State, holding events there on Friday and Saturday, and sending both ex-President Barack Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders there to campaign on his behalf over the weekend.

Pennsylvania was certainly a key swing state in 2016, but its importance was equaled by Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina as the race played out. This year, though, it has become increasingly difficult to see how either major candidate can prevail in the Electoral College without having Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes included in his total.

All of which explains why the issue of fracking and its continued legal deployment has become so elevated in the national discourse this year. Pennsylvania is, after all, the fulcrum for the development of the enormous Marcellus Shale/Utica Shale resource plays, the largest natural gas reserve in the Western Hemisphere.

 

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Biden Tries Again to Clarify His Fracking Stance, and Fails Again

The Biden/Harris ticket has been the source of a great deal of confusion during this campaign related to the candidates’ stances on the subject of hydraulic fracturing. Senator Kamala Harris firmly stated several times in the past that she is absolutely in favor of banning fracking, but has been attempting to walk all of that back in recent weeks as the polls have tightened in oil and gas states like Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, has been all over the place on this issue, promising repeatedly to ban fracking in whole or in part during the primary season, and more recently joining Harris’s efforts to modify that position in order to shore up his chances in those and other crucial swing states. Biden was asked the question again by an undecided voter during his CNN town hall appearance in Moosic, Pennsylvania this week, and again attempted to modify and clarify his position. Unfortunately, a reading of the transcript of that exchange doesn’t really clarify much at all.

Here is that transcript:

QUESTIONER: Good evening Mr. Vice President, Mr. Cooper. With the abundance of natural gas in northeast Pennsylvania. Do you support the continuation of fracking safely and with proper guidelines, of course, and growing the industry (garbled) additional jobs to our region?

BIDEN: Yes, I do. I do. In addition to that, we can provide for right now, as you know, for thousands of uncapped wells because a lot of companies gone out of business. Whether they’re gas or oil facilities, we can put to work right away 250,000 people from iron workers and other disciplines, making union wages. Capping those wells that are leaking methane and their danger to the community. And so, not only do I continue to support it.

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Chesapeake Energy Finally Succumbs With Chapter 11 Filing

One of the longest-running dramas in corporate oil and gas history finally came to a climax on Sunday when management for Chesapeake Energy announced it would seek Chapter 11 protection under the U.S. bankruptcy code. The company has traveled a long and winding road to reach this point.

Rumors about the company’s pending bankruptcy have run rampant over the past year as it teetered on the financial brink. But in reality, Chesapeake’s financial troubles go back much further, to the early years of this century, when founder and former CEO Aubrey McClendon famously made a bet on natural gas continuing to be a scarce resource in high demand whose price would remain strong for decades. Based on that market view, the company then went on a buying spree for the next several years, buying up natural gas assets and companies at very high prices. In one acquisition in which the company I worked for – Burlington Resources – was the second high bidder, Chesapeake’s winning bid was $3 per MMBTU equivalent higher. That’s a lot of excess capital deployment.

None of his assumptions about the future for natural gas turned out to be accurate, of course, but it must be pointed out that McClendon certainly was not alone in making them. For example, I personally played a leadership role in a 2003 National Petroleum Council study which attempted to project natural gas supply, demand and prices through the year 2025. The study was led by ExxonMobil and Anadarko Petroleum (acquired last year by Oxy), and included participants from many other industry companies, the Energy Department, the Department of Interior and environmental NGOs.

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The fundamental conclusions and projections of that study basically supported McClendon’s view of natural gas remaining a scarce resource with pretty high commodity prices as far as the statistical models we used could project. It was in fact the prevailing common wisdom in the industry at that time.

The NPC study projected that imports of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) would in fact have to make up an increasingly high percentage of U.S. natural gas supply. That incredibly wrong projection led to the building of a series of LNG import facilities in the U.S. and helped compel ExxonMobil to invest billions in its own fleet of new LNG tankers to help supply America’s coming needs.

While other operators held similar views about the future for U.S. natural gas, Chesapeake was without doubt the most aggressive in terms of pursuing new reserves. In addition to arguably over-paying for acquisitions of other companies or their assets, Chesapeake became infamous for radically driving up lease bonus prices in every new shale play, in the process running up a prodigious level of corporate debt. At one point, Chesapeake’s corporate debt exceeded that held by ExxonMobil, a company many times its size.

As natural gas prices collapsed in the late ‘00s, McClendon next turned to sales of his own company’s assets or portions of working interests in big play areas as a means of continuing to finance and pay down that debt. He sold shares of the company’s working interests in the Barnett, the Eagle Ford, the Marcellus and the Haynesville to various other players, like BP and CNOOC, but every sale also meant less and less cash flow coming into the company itself. Many in the business during that time joked about it being a sort of a pyramid scheme in which the debts would ultimately end up outstripping the company’s income and ability to pay.

 

 

 

 

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The Shale Daily Update – 4.3.2020

Here are 10 things you need to know about oil and gas for April 3, 2020:

Trump calls on Russia and Saudi Arabia to cut oil production – Excerpt:

The Trump administration is pressing OPEC to hold an emergency meeting as early as next week to try to end the standoff in the oil market that has threatened to cripple the U.S. oil industry, three industry and government officials familiar with the talks said.

The U.S. pressure is aimed at persuading Saudi Arabia — which has also called for a meeting — and Russia to declare a ceasefire and reverse the export increases that have drowned the global market in crude even as the coronavirus pandemic has decimated international demand.

The White House has not yet decided who, if anyone, it would send to a possible OPEC meeting next week, the industry and government officials said. Candidates included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Department of Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette and Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, the people said.

Oil Extends Gains As OPEC Leaders Call Emergency Meeting To Discuss Trump Production Cuts – Well, guess the pressure from the President worked, as OPEC called a special meeting overnight. The cartel will hold its meeting next week via “emergency teleconference,” which one supposes must be more urgent than just your ordinary, everyday OPEC teleconference.

OPEC+ Debates Biggest Ever Cut as Virus Destroys Oil Demand – It’s worth noting that Russia’s oil minister denied the narrative told in this New York Times report, but Russia says all sorts of things that end up not being accurate. Let’s hope this is one of them.

 

Read the Rest at Shale Magazine

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Why Does Joe Biden Ignore Fracking Science ?

Today’s Campaign Update, Part II (Because the Campaign Never Ends)

Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats are fond of pointing fingers at others and accusing them of ignoring science. They resort to this canard whenever they are trying to avoid having to form a rational, fact-based argument around “climate change,” but they like to use it as a crutch against logic on other topics as well.

But in Sunday night’s debate, when Biden once again demonized hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – and promised his administration would invoke a “no new fracking” policy should he actually stumble into the White House next January, it was Biden and no one else who was ignoring real, actual science.

Ironically, in ignoring the actual science around the very safe, well-regulated industrial process of fracking, Biden was ignoring the advice of the senior officials who held regulatory sway over oil and gas-related activities while he served as Vice President. These officials include, but are far from limited to:

Steven Chu, Stanford PhD. Nobel Prize Winner (Physics) DOE Secretary

U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, (Juris Doctor from University of Michigan) DOI Secretary

Sally Jewell (Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington) DOI Secretary

Gina McCarthy (Master of Science in Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy, Tufts University) EPA Administrator

Lisa Jackson (Master of Science in chemical engineering from Princeton University) EPA Administrator

Each and every one of these cabinet-level appointees by President Barack Obama testified and commented on the record on multiple occasions throughout the Obama/Biden administration that hydraulic fracturing was a safe and well-regulated process that offers no threat to groundwater and produces very little air emissions. These senior Obama-era officials were literally forced to make these admissions after spending years in the conduct of a vain search for examples of fracking polluting groundwater or releasing major, harmful air emissions.

The effort at the EPA rose to such hyperbolic levels that one EPA Region 6 administrator, former SMU professor, Dr. Al Armendariz, was removed after his allegations of groundwater contamination by Range Resources were proven to be false. However, that proof did not prevent the State of New York from using Armendariz’s findings in its own doctored report that was used to justify banning fracking within its state borders.

Mr. Biden loves to talk about his years of serving as Vice President to President Obama. Yet, when it comes to fracking and the science his own administration developed and communicated during those 8 years in office, the former VEEP seems to have developed a mental block.

But no worries – we will continue to remind him – and you – of the real, extremely well-developed body of science that surrounds this safe and well regulated industrial process. Because facts are stubborn and important things, especially during troubling times such as these.

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For the U.S. Oil and Gas Industry, the Time for Alarm Has Arrived

Today’s Energy Update 

I’m no fan of alarmism, whether it be about energy, the environment or any other subject, but the situation for the domestic oil and gas industry has grown somewhat alarming over the past two months. Since early January the S&P Oil & Gas Index has plunged 32%. Investors appear convinced not just that there is oodles of oil in the world but that the spread of Coronavirus brings the risk of economic flatlining in the biggest growth market for oil — China.

With the virus set to spread and the OPEC+ group running out of options to contain the oil glut, the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crashed through the important $50 level this week, and promises to slide further. Chevron yesterday sent home 300 workers in London over virus fears. Thus, a year that began with a fairly promising outlook is rapidly devolving into one that will present a fight for survival for some domestic producers.

The statement on Tuesday by Dr. Nancy Messonnier, an official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that spread of the Coronavirus in the U.S. was “inevitable,” and that citizens here should begin preparing for an outbreak will certainly work to further inflame the markets. President Donald Trump has reserved television time for a statement designed to calm the situation on Wednesday night, but it could come too late to prevent further disruption in the commodity and financial markets.

Meanwhile, the U.S. market for natural gas remains chronically over-supplied with no real relief in sight. Although the NYMEX price per MMBtu has remained fairly stable during the first two months of the year, it is stable at a price that is far too low for many natural gas producers to remain profitable.

All of these factors now combine to create a precarious situation for heavily-leveraged companies as they head into debt re-determination season. Chesapeake Energy is a good example. When I wrote about that company’s long, difficult struggle to survive last November, Morgan Stanley had just lowered its price target for CHK stock from $2.25 per share to $1.25.

But it isn’t only independent producers who are finding the current market conditions to be challenging: Even ExxonMobil, despite its prime position in the Permian Basin and major international discoveries over the past two years, is experiencing a disturbing rate of value destruction. As noted by Bloomberg, XOM stock dropped to a 15-year low on Monday and fell further on Tuesday, “just over a week before Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods is scheduled to present the oil explorer’s long-term strategic plan to investors and analysts.” For the year, XOM is now down by almost 25%.

Read the Full Piece Here

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Democrats Present a Stark Reality for the Oil Industry in 2020 Elections

The time has come for people in the oil and gas business — especially its senior executives and those who do government affairs work within the larger companies — to wake up to the reality of the Democratic Party as it exists today, as exemplified by its current crop of presidential contenders and caucuses in both houses of Congress.

Simply put, this is not your father’s Democratic Party.

Gone are the days when there existed a subset of fairly moderate Democratic members of Congress in both the House and Senate who could be classified as strong supporters of the oil and gas industry. There are no more Mary Landrieus in today’s United States Senate, nor even a Heidi Heitkamp to be found. In the House, you still have one identifiable Democrat — Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, who can be said to be a real supporter of the oil and gas industry, but that’s pretty much it. And even Rep. Cuellar was so cowed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he cast a “yes” vote to impeach the most pro-oil and gas president in U.S. history on the flimsiest grounds imaginable in December.

Gone are the days when a startup industry trade association, America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), could be effective by hiring a former Clinton operative to be its president and hiring a raft of pro-Democrat contractors to shape its messaging. ANGA, created at the outset of the Obama Administration in early 2009, was able to quickly become a force for promoting the benefits of natural gas using that model a decade ago. A decade later, pretty much none of the Democrat senators and congressmen with whom ANGA formed effective working relationships remain in Congress. All have been replaced by Republicans, or by more radical left-wing, anti-oil and gas members.

While ANGA and other industry trade associations were able to form working relationships with many Democrats of the time — even in those years, those Democrats could not be counted on for industry support on the truly big votes. ANGA and the rest of the industry, for example, were unable to secure a single Democratic vote during the battle over the national carbon cap-and-trade bill that barely failed in 2010.

I know all of this to be true because I was intimately involved in ANGA’s work during those years when I was Director of Government Affairs at El Paso Corporation. Working to form those relationships with Democrats in Congress made sense at the time since a number of them really were pro-oil and gas, at least to some extent, and because there was a Democratic administration in place that was decidedly hostile to the industry’s interests.

Read the Rest Here

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Bernie Sanders’ Dorian Tweet Proves he is an Ignorant, Shameless Hack

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

Grand Bahama this morning looks a lot like Galveston did on September 9, 1900. – On September 8 of that year, the deadliest hurricane in American history slammed into Galveston Island with winds in excess of 140 mph – which would make it a Category 4 hurricane – and a storm surge that inundated the entire island.

Captains and sailors from ships coming into port had been warning islanders for days in advance of a large storm lurking in the Gulf, and a prominent local weather man, Isaac Cline, also tried to warn locals that a big storm was coming. But government officials assured residents that a major hit on the island was virtually impossible due to the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and other factors, and predicted that any storm in the Gulf of Mexico would be most likely to make landfall in Florida. Thus, few people evacuated Galveston in advance of the storm, and, without air travel or gasoline powered automobiles, evacuation for most residents would have been difficult if not impossible in any event.

Thus it was that more than 8,000 Galvestonians died in the resultant inundation. Cline himself lived in a two-story home near the downtown area, and was only able to survive the rising flood waters by climbing onto the roof of his house along with his family. The destruction of all but the sturdiest of buildings on the island, like the famous Moody Mansion and many of the downtown business establishments, was utter and complete.

For many months afterwards, the refuse and debris from those buildings that had been carried out to sea was washed back up onto the island’s shores, along with the rotting carcasses of human beings, farm animals and pets who had perished in the storm. The cleanup operations were grim and seemingly unending; the stench was horrible and reportedly lingered for years afterwards.

The story we see coming out of Grand Bahama this morning is similar and tragic. The island was largely inundated by the storm surge, and thousands of houses and non-sturdy buildings have been destroyed. The refuse and debris from those buildings that was carried out to sea will wash back up onto shore in the months to come.

But that debris and refuse will not be accompanied by the rotting bodies of thousands of dead human beings. Many of the island’s pets and other animals were also taken to safety and even evacuated off the island, thanks to volunteer animal rescue operations. That happy result is largely due to modern means of predicting the path these storms will take days in advance. But it is also due to the existence of modern means of travel that allowed so many of the residents there to evacuate the island.

Virtually all of those means of travel, whether by boat, by plane or by automobile in the case of mainland U.S. residents in several states who are evacuating their own homes in advance of the storm’s path, are powered by gasoline or diesel fuel. Almost 100% of them. Even the growing number of electric vehicles on the roads now obtain their charge from power stations whose electricity is generated by a U.S. energy grid that is more than 80% powered by fossil fuels, including coal.

These modern, fossil-fueled means of transportation are why, when the ultimate death toll from this very strong hurricane is totaled up, the number most likely will consist of two digits instead of four or five.

So, when you see craven Democrat/Socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders issue a tweet like this:

…remember that the deadliest hurricane in American history occurred in 1900, when Americans were traveling using horses and buggies, almost a full century before the climate change scam was invented by the global socialist political movement.

Next time you run into someone who works in America’s oil and gas industry, thank them for producing the fuels that help save so many human lives in advance of these terrible storms. I guarantee you they will appreciate the gesture.

That is all.

 

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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Is an Oil Price Train Wreck Hiding Around the Bend?

Today’s Energy Update
(Because Energy Fuels Our Lives)

The energy media has recently featured headlines that seem at odds with one another and that, when taken together, portend the possibility of a coming train wreck somewhere down the road where crude oil supply and prices are concerned. Let’s look at some of the more recent headlines as examples:

“The U.S. Shale Boom is About to Get a Major Upgrade” – Investors Business Daily, Feb. 19

“Wall Street Calls for Better Returns; Shale Gets Thrifty” – Gulf Times, Feb. 17

“OPEC Cuts Send Crude Exports to Lowest Since 2015” – Financial Times, Feb. 19

“U.S. shale oil output to hit record 8.4 million bpd in March: EIA” – Reuters, Feb. 19

That Investor’s Business Daily story begins by stating “The U.S. shale oil boom is about to get a whole lot bigger. The reason: Giant oil companies like Exxon Mobil (XOM) are leveraging their massive scale to unleash more production from the top-producing shale oil formation.”

The EIA projects that the domestic industry will push U.S. oil production past the 12 million barrels of oil per day (bopd) level for the first time in the nation’s history in March, with 70% of that coming from shale plays. Fully 1/3rd of all oil produced in the U.S. in March will come from the Permian Basin alone.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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Some Stunning New Facts About Texas and its Oil Industry

Today’s Energy Update
(Because Energy Fuels Our Lives)

#GodBlessTexas. – Last week at Shale Magazine, I put up a piece detailing some “Fun Facts” about the state of the oil and gas industry in Texas. That piece began with the following statement:

“Here’s a fun fact: If Texas were an independent country, it would now stand as the 5th-largest oil-producing nation on Planet Earth, behind only the rest of the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. According to projections by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Texas will pass Iraq in this measure of economic might later this year.”

Boy, things sure do escalate quickly in the oil industry. Here we are, barely a week later, and the truth about that little factoid has already changed again, at least if the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has its numbers right.  EIA now says that the U.S. averaged 12 million barrels of oil per day (bopd) in January, the first time it has ever reached level. The agency further projects that the Permian Basin alone will produce 4 million bopd in March, roughly 1/3rd of total U.S. production.

So, before we get to some new amazing facts about all of this, let’s do a little math.  First, roughly 85% of total Permian Basin production comes from Texas, which in March would come to about 3.4 million bopd. Next, add in EIA’s estimate that the other behemoth Texas shale play, the Eagle Ford, will produce about 1.3 million bopd, and you are at a stunning 4.7 million. Oh, and there’s also all that oil coming out of deep south Texas, east Texas and the Texas panhandle, and all of a sudden you find Texas producing in excess of 5 million bopd.

All of which means that as of today, the great State of Texas, all by itself, would now rank 4th globally in crude oil production if it were an independent country, having now blown past Iraq.  Oh, and if the EIA’s projected trend for Permian production growth holds true, Texas will in all likelihood surpass the rest of the United States in total production at some point in either late 2021 or early 2022, and become the third-largest producer in the world.

But that’s not all.

EIA’s March projection of 4 million bopd coming out of the Permian Basin alone means that single basin, were it to secede from the union, would suddenly rank as the 5th-largest oil producing nation on earth, behind Iraq as well as the other countries mentioned above. The other amazing but little known fact about the Permian is that it ranks as one of the largest natural gas plays on earth, second in the U.S. only to the mammoth Marcellus Shale play in the northeast.

How incredible is that? Look at it this way:  Just a decade ago, the Permian Basin was considered to be a “dead” oil play. Downtown Midland was basically a ghost town, and the only real oil business going on out there was a bunch of small companies buying up old, depleted oil fields and going in to rework the wells in order to squeeze a few more barrels per day out of them.

Today, just 10 year later, it is the focal point of the global oil industry, the driver of booming economies of Texas and New Mexico, the main driver of the country’s burgeoning oil and LNG exports businesses. Because industries like chemicals, plastics, fertilizers and many, many more use petroleum products and natural gas as feedstocks, the Permian is also one of the the major facilitators of our country’s manufacturing renaissance over the last few years.

Stunning. And a real blessing.

God Bless Texas, indeed.

That is all.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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Why Electric Vehicles Don’t Spell the End for the Internal Combustion Engine

The Afternoon Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

Answering reader mail. – A reader in Houston emailed me this morning ([email protected]) with an energy-related question that is very timely. Here follows the email and answer I provided:

Email:

David,

I really enjoyed listening to your appearance on the BYU podcast and reading this article:

7 Key Things To Know About Oil and Gas

Your last point contained this tidbit that caught my attention:

“The reality is that, despite the growing intervention into the auto market by electric vehicles, the demand for gasoline and crude oil in the U.S. continues to rise, and is projected to keep doing so into the future.”

  • How will the shift to electric vehicles impact the demand on Oil and Gas?
  • Roughly what % of global consumption is for vehicle fuel?
  • Do you think we’ll fully go to electric vehicles and how will this shift effect Houston’s economy in the near and far term?

I’ve got a chunk of my net worth wrapped up in my house [near Houston], and am wondering what a drop in global demand would do to all these O&G companies and the local housing market.

Your daily updates are my favorite read of every morning.  Press on!

Answer: [Edited and expanded slightly for clarity.]

The potential for EVs is wildly over-hyped in the media. The shift to EVs is far outpaced by the ongoing increases in demand for crude oil, not just in the U.S. but even moreso globally. That is not going to change anytime soon.

Why? Because that electricity to recharge them has to come from somewhere, and today mainly comes from power generated by coal and natural gas in the U.S. That’s another stark reality that is not going to change anytime in my lifetime, which I figure is another 25 years or so. [Every reliable projection – even those by the U.N. – project that fossil fuels will still account for the vast majority of global power generation in 2050.]

Here’s reality: The world has a choice where fossil fuels are concerned. First, we could burn more and more coal in power generation because it is not replaceable by intermittent power sources like wind and solar. Germany and Spain have clearly demonstrated this over the past decade, as they almost bankrupted their economies trying to do just that.

The alternative is to burn more and more gasoline in automobiles.  You cannot have a geometric leap in EVs without burning far more coal than we do today, and the alternative to burn more gasoline is a much cleaner environmental solution. It is also a far more affordable solution for consumers.

Thus, it is a virtual certainty that we will continue to burn more gasoline in internal combustion engines for the next half century, and probably beyond.

Houston’s going to be fine.

[Expansion]

Now, to expand on that a bit, here are a couple of other reasons why the world will continue to produce and consume increasing amounts of oil in the coming decades:

First, you have the fact that thousands of other products that ordinary people rely on every day are produced either in whole or in part from petroleum. From plastics to chemicals to polyester to fertilizers to makeup to toothpaste, even to the computer on which I am typing this, people all over the world are heavily reliant on a vast variety of products that use petroleum as a feedstock.

Second, look at this incredible graphic:

What amazing progress in just ten years! Here’s the simple truth: None of that progress would have been possible without oil and natural gas. The developing nations of the world need access to plentiful, scalable and affordable sources of energy in order to join modern society and elevate their people out of squalor. This can only be achieved through the use of fossil fuels.  Period.

So, bottom line, if you are worried about the oil and gas industry collapsing anytime soon, you need to find something else to worry about.

That is all.

 

 

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

 

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Was 2018 Really the ‘Worst Year Ever’? Uh, no.

Today’s Campaign Update

(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

Andrew Cuomo’s Russia Collusion manifests yet again. – On Thursday, Bloomberg reported on the arrival in Boston Harbor of a tanker filled with liquefied natural gas (LNG) that was produced in … wait for it … RUSSIA! I swear I don’t make this stuff up.

Yes, friends, the New England states have, for the second straight winter, been reduced to having to import natural gas from the Russian Bear despite their close proximity to our nation’s largest natural gas field, the massive Marcellus/Utica Shale basin. This is not only for home heating purposes, but for electric power generation as well, as most electricity in the Northeast is generated by natural gas-fired power plants.

Now, think about how utterly ridiculous this is. Our country is literally awash in natural gas. The U.S. is in fact the world’s largest producer of the commodity, and possesses by far the world’s largest reserves, with many centuries of proven supply beneath our soil.

We have so much natural gas, in fact, that the U.S. price for the commodity is far below the price that other countries lacking such reserves pay for imports of LNG. Where the U.S. NYMEX price for natural gas sits this morning at $3.30, America’s producers export large quantities of their own gas to countries like Japan and China, where they can command prices more than double that.

So, why is New England having to bring in LNG from Russia, you ask? Two words: Andrew Cuomo. Despite the fact that his state of New York obtains the overwhelming majority of its home heating and electricity needs from natural gas, Cuomo decided several years ago to take demagogic positions against the production of the commodity and the building of new pipelines to transport it in and through his state in order to enhance his prospects for being re-elected to a second term.

It is a simple geographic reality that, in order to build new pipelines from the Marcellus/Utica Basin to carry enough gas to the New England states to fill winter demands there, the pipelines must pass through the state of New York.  You don’t have to believe me – just look at a map.

Thus, for the second straight winter, tankers carrying LNG produced in Russia will now be landing in Boston Harbor.

Insanity.

The ‘worst year ever’? Seriously? – No kidding, I heard some liberal nitwit on the radio this week wail that 2018 has been the worst year ever for Americans. You can see similar sentiments coming from those on the radical left expressed all over social media at any given moment of any given day.

Look, I can understand why anyone who gets their news from CNN, MSNBC or the three major TV networks might feel that way, given the unending barrage of doom and gloom emanating from the newsfakers working at those fake news outlets every hour of every day. But the expression of this belief shows a mind-numbing lack of situational awareness and historical context.

Let’s start with some situational awareness:

  • Current unemployment rate – 3.7%, the lowest rate recorded since the 1960s, and 2% below the average rate recorded from 1948 through 2018. In 2009-10, there were months this rate reached 10%. Black unemployment, Hispanic unemployment and female unemployment all are at all-time lows.
  • Economic Growth – we’ve averaged 3% GDP growth this year, the highest this century.
  • Consumer spending – over the holidays, consumer spending – always a sign of a growing, healthy economy – reached all-time record levels.
  • Gasoline prices – in most states, the price for regular unleaded gas is below $2.00 per gallon.  Yes, there are exceptions, like the states of New York and California, but those are due to the high-tax policies of years of Democrat rule in state governments.
  • Jobs – as I predicted would be the case two years ago, the biggest problem in our economy today is that we have too few qualified workers to fill all the job openings out there right now. It’s a great problem to have.
  • Stocks – Yes, the stock market has gone all wobbly since October, but as we sit here this morning, the Dow is about 23% above where it sat two years ago. I’d take an 11.5% return each year in my IRA – wouldn’t you?

Now, let’s talk about historical context.  Compared to most of the past half century, the United States is at relative peace in the world. The biggest problem there is that the opposition to President Trump – the liberals and neo-cons who got us into 7 different civil wars in and around the Middle East during the Bush and Obama years – cannot stand that to be the case. Which explains why they’ve reacted so furiously to Trump’s proposals to end U.S. involvement in the civil wars in Syria and Afghanistan.

You want to know what all the furor among our media/warmonger establishment regarding Jamal Khashoggi was really about? It was about trying to destroy the Trump Administration’s strong relationship with Saudi Arabia, a relationship that the President is now leveraging in order to enable him to bring our American troops home from the Syrian hell-hole that Obama got us into 7 long years ago. You might also want to note that, since the Washington Post admitted that Khashoggi was in fact a shill for the Qatari government last week, the fake news media has basically quit talking about him.  Funny how that works.

The Crazy Little Fat Guy in North Korea is contained. North Korea and South Korea have normalized diplomatic relations, an amazing event no one but Donald Trump thought possible just two years ago. Russia may be exporting LNG to Boston Harbor, but it is otherwise staying within its borders. The most violence Americans have seen on their TV screens in recent months has been video of the riots taking place in Paris, which is a reaction to leftist/socialist political policies.

The worst year ever? Even America’s poor are so much better off today than they have been in the past. The poor among us in America today live lifestyles similar to those lived by America’s middle class half a century ago.

The worst year ever? Go back and read a little bit about how screwed up America’s air and water were as recently as the 1970s. Despite all the alarmist messaging coming every day from the socialist “environmental” movement, our environment is exponentially cleaner than it was just 40 years ago.

The worst year ever? In the palms of our hands, most Americans hold more computing power each day than existed on earth just 70 years ago.

The worst year ever? A century ago, few Americans owned cars and there was no such thing as commercial air travel. 90 years ago, no penicillin. 80 years ago, television did not exist. 65 years ago, no polio vaccine or interstate highway system. 50 years ago, no high-speed copiers. 40 years ago, no fax machines. 30 years ago, there was no email. 20 years ago, no text messages. 12 years ago, no such thing as an I-phone.

The worst year ever?  Shut up, you hopelessly ignorant fools.

That is all.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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It’s Long Past Time for America’s NATO “Allies” to Move out of the Damn House

Today’s Campaign Update

(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

More fireworks than the 4th of July.  – So, NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison has her work cut out for her today, as President Donald Trump (I never tire of typing those three words) meets with his counterparts at the fellow NATO member nations and follows that with a one-on-one settee with the execrable German Prime Minister Angela Merkel.

The President already lit off the first volley of bottle rockets upon landing in Brussels, where the conference is being held, telling the assembled bunch of fake international journalists that…

“Germany is a captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump said, taking particular aim at the proposed Nord Stream II gas pipeline, which he has previously criticised.

“Everybody’s talking about it all over the world, they’re saying we’re paying you billions of dollars to protect you but you’re paying billions of dollars to Russia.”

“These countries have to step it up — not over a 10 year period, they have to step it up immediately,” Trump said.

“We’re protecting Germany, France and everybody… this has been going on for decades,” Trump said. “We’re not going to put up with it, we can’t put up with it and it’s inappropriate.”

Ok, well, there you go.  That’s the U.S. relationship with NATO in a nutshell.  It actually has been the U.S. relationship with NATO for decades, but Mr. Trump is just the first U.S. president who’s been willing to state the truth of the matter publicly.  His predecessors, on the rare occasions when they even raised the subject of the European nations’ failure to live up to their funding obligations, did so privately, and obviously without effect.  This way, they avoided embarrassing their laggard counterparts and preserved the “international order” they were all so focused on preserving.

But Trump’s a businessman, and could not give a damn about preserving the “international order” about which EU President Donald Tusk (can that really be his real name?) chastised Mr. Trump on Tuesday:

“Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all you don’t have that many,” Tusk said, before reminding Trump that European troops had come to America’s aid following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

“Please remember this tomorrow when we meet at the NATO summit, but above all when you meet President Putin in Helsinki. It is always worth knowing who is your strategic friend and who is your strategic problem,” he said.

But see, the thing is that President Trump correctly identifies NATO “allies” like Germany and Turkey as every bit the “strategic problems” for the United States of America that Russia represents.  The first obvious fact is the stark reality that Russia presents no serious military threat to the U.S., yet Germany and the other NATO countries expect the U.S. to continue funding the majority of NATO expenses and spending tens of billions of its dollars every year defending an increasingly hostile Europe from a Russian invasion, just as it has done for the past 73 years.

The European “allies” demand all of this ongoing U.S. largess while at the same time levying draconian tariffs on imports of American-made goods and importing their natural gas from the very country – Russia – from which they contend they must have ongoing U.S. military protection.

The U.S. relationship with its NATO “allies” is almost perfectly analogous to the couple in upstate New York who recently  had to sue their 30 year-old son to force him to move out of the damn house.  In the lawsuit, the son contended that his parents had an obligation to just keep funding his layabout lifestyle and allow him to keep living in their home for as long as he wanted to do so.

When World War II came to a final, blessed end in 1945, Germany and much of the rest of Western Europe was in a shambles.  Meanwhile, Eastern Europe had been sadly absorbed into the communist orbit of the Soviet Union, which was, along with the U.S., one of the world’s two major military powers.  Western Europe needed the protection and support of the United States, and we gave it to them.  This was a mutually-advantageous relationship, since it also served what were at the time the strategic interests of the U.S.

Today, the Soviet Union has been dead for 29 years.  Russia remains a military power, but is also a country that hardly possesses the financial resources to mount an invasion of Crimea, much less Western Europe.  It is long past time for our NATO “allies” to stop occupying a bedroom in America’s home, go out and get a job, and pay their own way.  “Paying their own way” means ponying up 2 percent of their GDP (the U.S. currently spends about 5 percent) to pay for real military establishments to protect their own borders.  Please note that this is not a U.S. demand – this is an obligation they all agreed to live up to when they became NATO members.  They are all delinquent in meeting this contractual obligation, and they need to stop acting like spoiled children and pony up.

That’s the clear message that Daddy Donald Trump will be delivering today to Tusk, Merkel, May and the boy princes who rule France and Canada, and it’s a message they all need to heed.  Because Daddy Trump isn’t going to be impeached, most likely has another six and a half years to serve in office, and he’s not fooling around.

Ambassador Hutchison is going to have a long and difficult day.  But she’s tough, and can take it.

Just another day Donald Trump isn’t fooling around America.

That is all.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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On This Earth Day, Thank Mother Earth for the Gift of Fossil Fuels

Today’s Campaign Update

(Because The Campaign Never Ends)

Today is Earth Day, and it is the perfect time to celebrate the natural resources like oil, natural gas and coal, which are gifts to humanity from Mother Earth herself.  These indispensable drivers of modern society will no doubt be demonized today amid all the frightful doom and gloom predictions that will be launched by environmental activists and repeated by various media outlets.

All the vitriol directed at these fossil fuels by the environmental community notwithstanding, it is a simple fact that our prosperous, modern, energy-hungry society was made possible by the existence of these fuels.  Without the discovery of and ability to produce fossil fuels, it is likely that mankind would still be mired in a primitive form of existence, reliant on burning wood for heat, horses for transportation, and still living largely in the dark after nightfall.

Without the miracle of the petroleum-fueled internal combustion engine, there would be no automobiles – or primitive ones at best – dirigibles would probably still be our main mode of air transportation, there would have been no space program to drive all the technological advancement of the second half of the 20th century.  Without those things, there would be no high tech industry to speak of, no Internet, and thus no ability to read what I’m writing here.

But what about wind, solar and nuclear?  The production of modern wind turbines, solar panels and nuclear power plants is extremely energy-intensive enterprises, and is by and large powered by the burning of fossil fuels.  In other words, without the massive energy levels generated by the fossil fuel chicken, the “green” energy eggs would not have been possible.  Few of those gigantic wind turbines you see dotting landscapes across America will, in their entire useful lifetime, generate as much power as was required to fabricate them, transport them to their locations, and erect them.

And on this particular day we should all be doubly thankful for the recent discovery of the means – hydraulic fracturing, combined with horizontal drilling – of producing oil and natural gas from shale rock formations.  Because while Europe continues to struggle with failing “cap and trade” carbon trading schemes that haven’t reduced that continent’s greenhouse gas emissions, those same emissions have been reduced in the US to pre-1994 levels through increased use of natural gas in the power generation sector.  Thus, while radicals in the “green” community have done everything they can to turn “fracking” into their cause du jour for limiting or banning, the product of their boogeyman has done more to clean the air through the free market than any of the myriad command and control regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.

So on this 49th celebration of Earth Day, let’s all try to remember that one of the greatest gifts Mother Earth has ever given us is the fossil fuels that make such worldwide celebrations possible.

Meanwhile, as you will no doubt be assaulted all day today with all manner of frightful scenarios about our future environmental challenges, you might find it edifying to review similar pronouncements made by the environmental luminaries of the day at the inaugural Earth Day celebration:

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, PakistanChina and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” – Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

“It is already too late to avoid mass starvation.”  – Denis Hayes, chief organizer for Earth Day

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” — Stanford University biologist Paul Ehrlich

“Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born… [By 1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” — Paul Ehrlich

And my very favorite of them all:

“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” – Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

Have a great Earth Day today.

Just another day in fossil-fueled America.

That is all.

Follow me on Twitter at @GDBlackmon

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than ever. Whatfinger.com is my go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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