Stop Worrying about Drilling Bans on Federal Land

The United States actually had the right idea—several of them, in fact—years ago. Today, the Federal government “owns” around 640 million acres of land—28% of the land area of our nation. That’s way too much, and it’s the largest source of leverage the Feds have over oil and natural gas production by our private economy.

There are a couple of things Congress can do to reduce to irrelevance Executive Branch volatility regarding Executive Orders and access to Federal land for mineral extraction; both of them involve reduction of American land that the Federal government presumes to own.

A Proposed Response

Texas State Congressman Matt Shaheen (R, Dist 66 [which includes my county]) has tweeted access to a Request for Comment regarding last week’s snow and cold storm with various utilities’ associated failures to keep supplies of electricity, natural gas, and potable water flowing in major areas of the State.

Kudos to Shaheen for publicizing this RFP.

Below are my inputs.

  1. All, without exception, ERCOT board members and senior executives (C-suite equivalents and their deputies) must reside within Texas. Half of the board members, a separate half of the C-suite, and a separate half of their deputies must reside in separate rural regions of Texas. Within that last, a C-suite executive and his deputy must not reside in the same region.

What’re You Going to Do, Joe?

Iran has begun accumulating the immediate precursor to weapons grade uranium metal.

…report was given by UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to its members and states Iran had on Monday produced a small amount of uranium metal, after importing new equipment into a nuclear facility that is under IAEA inspection[.]

To be sure,

The material produced was a small amount of natural uranium metal…meaning it wasn’t enriched. To use uranium metal for a nuclear weapon’s core, Iran would need around half a kilogram, or slightly more than one pound, of highly enriched uranium metal….

However. There’s always a however.

People Like Me

President Joe Biden’s Climate MFWIC, John Kerry, traveled to Iceland to accept an Arctic Circle award for his climate “leadership.” Of course, Kerry traveled by flying in his private jet (which has a much larger per-passenger carbon footprint than a commercial jet, but we won’t mention that).

An Icelandic journalist, Jóhann Bjarni Kolbeinsson, asked him how that works. Kerry said,

If you offset your carbon—it’s the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle.
I negotiated the Paris Accords for the United States.
I’ve been involved with this fight for years. I negotiated with President Xi to bring President Xi to the table so we could get Paris.

Good Union Jobs

But not good enough for President Joe Biden (D).  Recall that Biden ran on “good union jobs,” among other causes, and that phrase—”good union jobs”—became so ubiquitous in his speeches as to resemble a tic.

But not all union jobs—labor is another area where Progressive-Democrats choose winners and losers. When Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline, he killed roughly 11,000 good union construction, construction-related, and ancillary jobs. No matter: Progressive-Democrats, led by Biden, don’t approve of those jobs.

And that doesn’t begin to address the job losses in Canada, jobs that depended on both the pipeline construction and on the subsequent flow of oil.

Reusable Grocery Bags

…and reusable shopping bags, generally. These are supposedly better for our environment than nominally single-use plastic or paper bags (though both, until they wear out, can serve other purposes than holding food or other goods—usually two or three reuses until they’re truly ready for the trash or the recycling bin).

The serious questions, though, and ones that have been missed until the current COVID-19 situation has exposed them empirically, are:

For whose environment, exactly, are reusable shopping bags better?

Who, exactly, are the ones doing the reusing?

The answer to the first is…germs.

“Clean” Cars

That’s what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D, NY) wants Government to subsidize.  He’s proposing Government spend $462 billion to pay Americans trading in our gasoline-powered cars for electric ones.  He wants to drop $17 billion on subsidies for auto manufacturers to “help” them build more electric cars along with batteries and associated parts, and $45 billion on charging stations and associated “infrastructure.”

In addition to ignoring where this money is supposed to come from, he’s also misleading on the “clean” electric car bit.  He knows, after all, where the electricity must come from to charge those batteries, whether at home or at his charging stations.

Germany…Dithers

…on the matter of helping protect freedom of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz and, presumably, up into the Arabian Gulf.

Great Britain, in an effort that parallels the US’ efforts, is proposing a European naval mission to the region to protect European oil tankers.  Germany isn’t sure.  On the one hand, Norbert Röttgen, Bundestag Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman, says

Our prosperity lives on free shipping.  And we have to make clear that we stand alongside our British friends, partners and allies who are affected. There must be joint European action.

But the US might be involved, so he dithers:

Responsibilities

Iran, as I write this (Monday), has rejected efforts to defuse the situation in the Arabian Gulf, a situation it has created with its piracy of and extended threats toward oil shipping in the Gulf and transiting the Strait of Hormuz.  Indeed, in response to a planned British redeployment of a couple of small combat ships to the Gulf to add to the protection of British tankers, Iran had this:

But Mr [Ali, Iranian government spokesman] Rabie warned Sunday that a European military deployment in the Gulf would be viewed as an escalation of the crisis. “Such moves under the current conditions are provocative,” he said, according to IRNA.