Category Archives: Energy

Rule Five Mining Road Friday

I am fond of using three words to describe Alaska: Vast, wild, and free.  Another big thing Alaska is, overwhelmingly, is roadless.  There are vast portions of the state that are accessible only by air, boat, or (in winter) dogsled.  There are also a lot of small “bush” communities out there – and a lot of resources, including not only gas and oil but also metals like copper and zinc.

Some of those metals are found in an area south of the Brooks Range, and now the Biden administration is stomping the brakes on a project to build a road into an area in a work known as the Ambler Road project, which will allow not only mining for those strategic resources but also recreational access.

The 211-mile-long Ambler Road was initially approved under the previous administration, which issued a 50-year right-of-way permit to build the road just days before President Donald Trump left office.

But the project has faced strong opposition from tribes in interior Alaska as well as hunting and angling groups who argue it will hurt subsistence resources, including caribou migration patterns and some of Alaska’s most important salmon and sheefish spawning streams. The industrial access road would cross hundreds of rivers and streams, 26 miles of Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, and the tribal lands of several Alaska Native communities — allowing for approximately 168 truck trips a day.

The area south of the Brooks Range—a patchwork of wetlands and densely forested wilderness—is one of the largest roadless areas in North America.

The many native communities in the area initially opposed the road, but now several of them have changed course – almost certainly because of the good-paying jobs that the mining development will bring to this remote Alaska plain.

The Tanana Chiefs Conference, which represents 42 villages in interior Alaska, many of which are near the road, sued the Interior Department in 2020 over its handling of the environmental analysis, arguing that it did not adequately address impacts to their way of life. Since the lawsuit was filed, though, three of the villages have switched sides and now say they support the road because of its purported economic benefits.

There’s a fair amount to deal with here.

First, I’m inclined to give the native communities a lot of slack here.  While they seem anxious for the jobs, and justifiably so, they are also concerned for their traditional lifestyles and, yes, the Ambler Road will bring not only mining development to the area but other kinds of development as well, including tourism and recreational users.

Granted there’s a lot of money in tourism, too; the small town of Talkeetna, not too far from where I sit as I write this, is heavily dependent on tourism; it is supposedly the town on which the fictional Cicely, Alaska of the television program Northern Exposure was based, and the main street is lined with eating places and gift shops specializing in native arts and crafts, along with the usual t-shirts and so on.

Even so: The natives live there. It’s their home. Just as I would expect to have some say in any major development project in our little corner of the Susitna Valley, I expect them to have some say in any development in what has been and still is their tribal land.

Bear in mind that tribal lands in Alaska aren’t like the reservations in the lower 48.  Most are managed by tribal corporations, they seem to be much more integrated into the mainstream of Alaskan life than the reservation residents in the 48.

But none of that excuses the Biden administration’s heavy-handedness here.  If there are problems with the permitting process, address them.  If the native communities have more to say about this, listen to them.  Slamming the door on a project that could be worth a great deal to these folks, in a decision that is almost certainly influenced by urban elite “environmentalists” who will never come within a thousand miles of the affected area, is just too much.

Rule Five Climate Rule Friday

Well, sometimes there’s cause for hope.

In Kentucky, a judge, one Benjamin Beaton of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, slapped down the Biden administration’s rule clamping down (again) on emissions from motor vehicles.

In a sweeping judgment late Monday, Judge Benjamin Beaton of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky ordered the Federal Highway Administration to stand down on the rules, which the agency finalized in November. The ruling represents a major victory for the State of Kentucky, which challenged the regulations alongside 21 other states.

“President Biden’s radical environmental agenda has lost touch with reality, and Kentucky families, farmers and workers are paying the price,” Republican state Attorney General Russell Coleman said on Tuesday. “Like all Americans, Kentuckians love our trucks, cars and vans. With this victory in court, we’re slamming the brakes on the Biden administration’s politics that make no sense in the commonwealth.”

It’s a start.  And the basis of the suit is that the Biden administration’s rule exceeds statutory authority, nothing new for this administration.

Kentucky filed the lawsuit in December, one month after the FHWA finalized the regulations. According to the lawsuit, the FHWA overstepped its legal authority in attempting to regulate vehicle emissions since it attempted to force states to implement federal regulations.

Beaton agreed in his ruling, declaring that the regulations exceed the FHWA’s statutory authority and are “arbitrary and capricious.” Instead of granting plaintiff states’ motion for preliminary injunction – which would have blocked the rule during litigation – he granted their motion for summary judgment, vacating the rule immediately.

OK, that’s great, and it’s a step in the right direction; the Biden(‘s handlers) administration has been ignoring any statutory limitations since, well, the day they took office.  But there’s a bigger issue: What about the constitutional issues?  Why is nobody talking about those?

Here.  Show me anywhere in there where the federal government is authorized to pass laws or make regulations governing the emissions of privately owned vehicles.  Go ahead, have a look; I’ll wait right here.

Back already?  OK.  You didn’t find it, did you? That’s because it’s not there.  Now, square that lack with the 10th Amendment:

Amendment X: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Why is nobody bringing this up?  Why is nobody – well, almost nobody, since obviously here I am talking about it – talking about this callous disregard for the Constitution, which is supposed to be the highest law in the land?  We can amend it, but we cannot ignore it – and yet the federal government has been ignoring it since at least 1860.

This ruling is a good start.  But at some point, it has to come back to the Constitution.

Animal’s Daily Nuclear-Powered News

Before I get into this, check out the latest chapter of Barrett’s Privateers: Unrepentant Sinner over at Glibertarians.

Now, I don’t mean the kind of nuke that goes BOOM, but I did run across an interesting piece on the next possible wave of nuclear power.

Although solar and wind energy installations are increasing at an accelerating pace, they are inherently unreliable due to their intermittent nature. Unlike traditional power sources, such as fossil fuels or nuclear energy, solar and wind technologies cannot generate electricity consistently throughout the day and night. In today’s interconnected and technologically reliant world, there is a pressing need for dependable, dispatchable electricity generation facilities to ensure continuous power supply.

Advanced nuclear energy is essential in our energy portfolio, and TerraPower’s plant represents cutting-edge innovation in this exciting industry. It will be the world’s most advanced nuclear facility, paired with a molten salt energy storage system that is capable of increasing output for over five and a half hours during peak demand periods. This project, with an estimated cost of around $4 billion funded by both governmental and private sources, marks a significant step towards sustainable energy solutions built on a foundation of nuclear power.

Read the entire piece; it’s got some great information on not only the nature of nuclear power and how it is essential to the continuation of our modern, high-tech society but also some neat stuff on some ground-breaking new reactor designs.

There is still and likely always be a need for natural gas and gasoline. There are just too many places where electric vehicles aren’t practical or even possible.  But nuclear power is an essential part of our energy future.  It’s time to streamline the regulatory process and get cracking on building reactors.

Goodbye, Blue Monday

Goodbye, Blue Monday!

Thanks as always to Pirate’s Cove, Bacon Time, The Other McCain, The Daley Gator, and Whores and Ale for the Rule Five links!

Now, to answer what appears to be a rhetorical question: No, it’s not only suckers that buy electrical vehicles (EVs) but a large number of suckers do buy electrical vehicles.

The latest evidence that electric vehicles are nothing more than environmental snake oil can be found in a recent Wall Street Journal article pointing out that these “clean” cars are actually more polluting than their gasoline-powered brethren.

By polluting, we mean actual pollution, not carbon dioxide emissions – which is not pollution but plant food.

The Journal was highlighting a study from 2022 that, naturally, was ignored by the mainstream press at the time. What the study found was that “brakes and tires on EVs release 1,850 times more particle pollution compared to modern tailpipes.”

Why? Because EVs are as much as 30% heavier than gas-powered cars, which means more stress on their “regenerative” brakes and much faster tire wear.

Sure, that’s a problem. I have and still do maintain that there are circumstances in which an EV may make sense – for instance, someone who has an urban/suburban commute of, oh, 10-12 miles and who can charge their vehicle overnight.  Wouldn’t be my choice, but for that person, an EV may make sense – or at least, for them, the choice isn’t downright stupid.

The pollution problem remains, though:

Car buyers expect their tires to last 40,000 miles. But EV owners are finding that they last only 13,000 miles. Not only does that significantly increase the cost of ownership of an EV, but it also adds to air pollution.

That’s because tire wear, in case you didn’t know, is a major source of “fine particulate matter” – often called soot – which the Environmental Protection Agency, in case you didn’t know, considers “one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution and it’s linked to a range of serious and potentially deadly illnesses, including asthma and heart attacks.”

This, True Believers, is known as “unintended consequences.”  Of course, the people who design these cars, presumably being, you know, automotive engineers, should have known this and disseminated this information long before now.

Feature, not bug.  When embarking on an agenda like this, there are always one or two facts best suppressed until the agenda is at least partly accomplished – and that sure as hell looks like that is what happened here.

Rule Five Hydrogen Boondoggle Friday

It seems the bottom has dropped out of the hydrogen-car market. This should, of course, come as a surprise to no one. MasterResource’s Robert Bradley Jr. has the details:

EVs compete against hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles–at least in California where some one hundred hydrogen dispensing stations are. The range and fill-time of HFCVs is quite competitive with EVs. But it is downhill from there–and a major mess for sellers and buyers. The California Energy Commission (remember Methanol?) has failed again.

Consultant James Carter on LinkedIn summarized a recent article in Jalopnik, by Logan Carter, Toyota Offers $40,000 Discount On A Car Most People Can’t Fuel Up.” His autopsy (verbatim): 

  • Toyota’s innovative Mirai might just be the best deal on the car market right now, but access to hydrogen fuel is getting harder.
  • Even with ~$60,000 in total discounts, Mirai is still a BAD deal.
  • “The $40,000 cash incentive deal is limited to 2023 model year Mirai Limited models, and includes zero percent financing for qualifying buyers. All new Mirais include $15,000 in complimentary fuel at the time of sale.”
  • I’ve been around automotive for a long time, but I’ve NEVER seen incentives that represent 90% of new vehicle price. For a Toyota, 10% is the most I’ve seen. Yet, this is exactly what’s happening for the Toyota Mirai.

The incentives – taxpayer money, in most cases – are there because nobody would look twice at these cars without them.  Free markets are a great thing, but when it comes to these green boondoggles, of which hydrogen cars are but one example, the market is anything but free.

But wait! There’s more!  Here are the details of the costs of operation:

Vehicle: $66,000, less $40,000 discount

Finance: $6,500 interest, less $6,500 discount

Fuel for 5 years /15,000 miles annually: $45,000, less $15,000

So, in total, this car will cost you $56,000 over 5 years, which is roughly the same as a Model Y Performance mostly charged from home. Perhaps add $5k for interest payments for the Y.

Here’s the rub: At the end of 5 years, that Model Y will be worth about $25,000. The Mirai? Likely $2,000 to $3,000, based on history. In other words, that hugely discounted Mirai is still a BAD DEAL.

Why is it still bad? Because the only Hydrogen stations are in California, and all suffer very irregular supply. In other words, there’s no guarantee you’ll get fuel when you need it. Which, unfortunately, is rule #1….

The reason to have a private auto is so that it will be available when you need to use it, and so that you can go where you need to go.  In this, the various hydrogen autos fall short.  Not only are they prohibitively expensive without subsidies, they don’t age well.

What’s not mentioned here is the production of hydrogen: That takes electricity, and plenty of it, and sufficient power won’t be supplied by windmills and solar panels; meanwhile, the same people pushing these green boondoggles are opposing nuclear power.

Granted, new technology always gets cheaper and more efficient over time.  But this seems like a stretch, to try to lay in an entirely new infrastructure when we already have an established infrastructure, mature and efficient, that delivers gasoline and Diesel fuel when and where we need it.

Maybe someday there will be an unsubsidized market for hydrogen-powered vehicles. But that day is not today, and it won’t be tomorrow.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

For those of you who may not have caught the sticky post on the front page, I’ll be at CPAC 2024 in Maryland this year, from Feb. 21-24.  If anyone who reads these virtual pages will be attending, let me know!  I’ll be hanging around with the Townhall Media Group folks a lot of the time, but figure on doing some wandering and hopefully catching up with some of my indy blogger buddies.  If you’re going to be there, let me know in the comments!

Now then…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

I can’t believe this is already the last Hump Day post of 2023!  Watch, though, for Friday’s Rule Five post, as we will be announcing some changes and some fun new stuff for the sight.  Rest assured our Blue Monday, Hump Day, Rule Five Friday and Saturday Gingermageddon displays of toothsome totty will continue, as well as me bringing you my take on the events of the day.

And so…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Rule Five Climate Cult Friday

Issues & Insights, one of my favorite interwebz reads, asked the question on Monday, “How far will the Climate Cult go?” And I think I know the answer: All the way.

Here are the salient points:

  • Carbon passports are catching among the climate clergy. “Personal carbon allowances could help curb carbon emissions and lower travel’s overall footprint. These allowances will manifest as passports that force people to ration their carbon in line with the global carbon budget,” says a report from a ​​small group adventure travel company. “By 2040, we can expect to see limitations imposed on the amount of travel that is permitted each year.” CNN reports that “several laws and restrictions have been put in place over the past year that suggest our travel habits may already be on the verge of change.”
  • In Great Britain, “property owners who fail to comply with new energy rules could face jail time as the government pushes ahead with net zero measures,” according to media reports.
  • Ann Carlson, the White House’s acting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator, “has long stressed the need to force Americans to live climate-friendly lives,” according to the Washington Free Beacon. While an academic at UCLA, she insisted the federal government is duty-bound to “induce behavioral change” by enacting policies that “make the bad behavior more expensive.” She has also said we “could benefit from a simpler life” but doesn’t believe “most people will engage in dramatic behavioral change” unless they are “forced” to. 
  • Meat will be off the menu if the climatistas get their way.
  • United Nations researchers recently told the Guardian “that scientists should be given the right to make policy prescriptions and, potentially, to oversee their implementation by the 195 states signed up to the U.N. framework convention on climate change.” Journalist Alex Newman – correctly – says doing so “would undermine self-governance while ushering in an ‘insane’ totalitarian technocratic form of government.”

Holy crap.

If this season’s line-up on the Fascist Fantasy Network wasn’t enough, I&I continues:

“How we live, heat, get around, travel and what we eat could soon no longer be an individual decision, but increasingly be dictated by the state,” says Kristina Schröder, who served under German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Germany’s Federal Family Minister from 2009 to 2013 regards the pandemic restrictions as “a blueprint for the climate movement on how to enforce fundamental restrictions on basic rights” and is “convinced that large sections of the climate protection movement are also fighting our way of living and our economy at least as much as they are fighting climate change.”

We didn’t have as much of this bullshit when the schools still taught things like history, economics, civics, and actual critical thinking; nowadays, of course, “critical thinking” is interpreted by the left as “you’ll think what we tell you and damn well like it.”

None of these things will apply to the elites, of course.  They will retain their private jets, their yachts, and their filet Mignon with spotted owl appetizers.  And it’s not the climate they are pushing for – it’s power, the power to control what the hoi polloi say and do, and that’s for sure and for certain. The foot soldiers of the climate movement are loud, loutish, and annoying.  But the leaders – many of them – wield power, and it is their agenda on which we must stay appraised.

And, as I’ve always said and will continue to say, I’ll believe there is a climate crisis when the people who keep telling me there’s a climate crisis start behaving like there’s a climate crisis.

Animal’s Hump Day News

Programming notes: As this is the last Wednesday before Christmas, I’ll just note that there won’t be any regular posts on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day proper (Christmas Eve is on a Sunday, anyway, when I normally don’t post) but I will bring you some toothsome holiday totty on those days.

In between the holidays, regular posts will be going up as usual, including next week’s Hump Day links compendium and Rule Five Friday.  New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day will repeat the Christmas totty schedule, then on Jan 2nd, 2024, regular posts resume.  In other words, I plan on battering away at my keyboard over the holidays pretty much as usual, here and at RedState.

2024.  Can you believe it?  What the hell happened to 2023?  Oh, and with the New Year, we’ll do our annual traditional celebration of diversity on our Saturday posts, so you all have that to look forward to.  And in the new year, we’ll have some changes on the site, and some new stuff for you all to look forward to.

And so…

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News

Animal’s Hump Day News

Happy Hump Day!

Note:  Since I have two weeks worth of my RedState posts here, this will be lengthy, but you can see it all beneath the cut. And I will also say this: It’s great to be home. I still love the Colorado mountains and had a great time, but we also spent a few days in the Denver area visiting friends and family, and boy have three years in the Great Land changed my perspectives on Denver.  Big cities are noisy, and they stink.

We’re really glad to be home, in Alaska.

Now then:

Continue reading Animal’s Hump Day News