Land And Water U.S.A.

Monday, April 30, 2018


Hwy 60 bridge - Photo taken by Roni Bell 2018
A brief update on CDOT and S. Platte River  
Note the debris on the south bank (S. Platte), 
and the trees on the north bank.
This is just one of many examples of CDOT wasting your money! 

CDOT refuses to maintain their easements under road/highway bridges. Instead, they waste taxpayer dollars planting trees. 

Instead of maintaining their easements, CDOT "allows" waterways to back up and damage conjoining properties. 

Here's another photo of a CDOT easement that operates at about 30%. Scouring has already started on some of the columns. 
Governor Hickenlooper toured here 3/2014. To date, no debris's been removed. 

West side of Hwy 85 bridge - Photo by Roni Bell 2015
 CDOT also threatens some conjoining property owners with condemnation. 
Yes, that's correct. CDOT uses YOUR money to sue private property owners, subjecting them to significant harm. Just so CDOT can seize control of more property - and build bridges higher than the debris? 

Because CDOT refuses to maintain their easements, it'll only take about 3 years for the debris to add on to the preexisting. Will CDOT return to condemn more private property to build higher bridges? 

What's the truth behind CDOT's actions? 

Did you know that even though the Army Corps of Engineers has no authority whatsoever over any *waterway in Colorado, CDOT blames them, they blame CDOT, both blame the Colorado River Water Conservation District, and Governor Hickenlooper stands mute. 

Here are some excellent flood management excerpts from THE RIVER CREST.  

"Finding ways to avoid or minimize flooding impacts should always be among the first considerations for the flood preparedness effort. 
Post-evaluations of flood events have shown that poor pre-planning for disasters can lead to communication failures, inefficiencies, chaos and increased losses to life and property. Thoughtful dialog and active problem-solving by the stakeholders is fundamental to community planning for flood events.
We recommend that all residents behind levees, sponsors, and owners take a fresh look at the levee. Are drainage ditches clear, closure gates ship-shape and operable? Latest levee inspection reviewed and addressed?"

*waterway - There are no "navigable" waterways in Colorado. 



Ending secret science at EPA
Administrator Pruitt initiates overdue changes to bring transparency, integrity to rulemaking
By Paul Driessen
Environmental Protection Agency Adminproposed to end the longstanding EPA practice of using secretive, often questionable, even deceptive science to support agency policy and regulatory initiatives. His proposed rules will ensure that any science underlying agency actions is transparent and publicly available for independent experts to examine and validate – or point out its flaws.
istrator Scott Pruitt has
It also responds to growing concerns that extensive scientific research in environmental, medical and other arenas cannot be replicated by other scientists, or is compromised by cherry-picked data, poor research design, sloppy analysis or biased researchers. The situation has led to calls for increased sharing of data and methodologies, more independent peer review and other actions to weed out problems. There is no excuse for hiding data when studies are funded by taxpayers or used to justify regulations.
The situation has been especially acute at EPA. As Mr. Pruitt observed, “The ability to test, authenticate and reproduce scientific findings is vital for the integrity of the rule making process. Americans deserve to assess the legitimacy of the science underpinning EPA decisions that may impact their lives.”
That is particularly true for regulations that exact millions or billions in compliance costs, affect thousands of jobs, target industries and coal-fired electricity generators that regulators want to close down, or seek to replace all fossil fuel use with “renewable” energy. With the cumulative economic impact of federal regulations reaching nearly $2 trillion per year, research reform is absolutely essential.
We need regulation and pollution control – but it must be based on solid, replicable, honest science. 
Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) has held hearings and championed multiple bills to address the problem. Several have been passed by the House of Representatives, only to languish in the Senate. With courts offering little or no help, Executive Branch action may be the only remaining solution.
Deceptive, faulty science on fine particulate pollution (PM2.5) was the bedrock of the Obama EPA’s war on coal. Particulates don’t just make you sick; they are directly related “to dying sooner than you should,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson falsely told Congress. There is no level “at which premature mortality effects do not occur,” Mr. Obama’s next Administrator Gina McCarthy dishonestly testified.
At the same time they made these claims, they were presiding over illegal experiments on humans – including people with asthma, diabetes and heart disease – who were subjected to eight, 30 or even 60 times more particulates per volume, for up to two hours, than what EPA claimed are dangerous or lethal. None of them got sick, proving that EPA’s claims were false. The agency refused to correct its claims.
EPA took a similar stance on mercury – asserting that power plant emissions were causing dangerously high mercury levels in American children and pregnant women. In reality, US power plants account for just 0.5% of all the mercury in the air Americans breathe, and blood mercury counts for US women and children are well below even EPA’s excessively safe levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
How did EPA’s junk science, illegal experiments and heavy-handed regulations pass muster? For one thing, politics too often dictated the science. In addition, the agency paid more than $180 million over a 16-year period to institutions represented by members of its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), which often rubberstamped studies and conclusions that failed integrity and transparency tests.
On global warming, EPA issued an Endangerment Finding, which claimed emissions of (plant-fertilizing) carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels threatened the health and welfare of American citizens.
It reached this conclusion by looking only at studies and computer models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, while ignoring volumes of studies by independent scientists who found no such threat. EPA officials even told one of the agency’s own senior experts that his studies would not be shared with agency staff and he was to cease any further work on climate change, because his analyses “do not help the legal or policy case for this decision” that fossil fuel CO2 emissions endanger Americans.
EPA was also a principal force behind the “social cost of carbon” scheme that supposedly calculated how much CO2-driven climate change would cost the United States and how those costs would be reduced by slashing fossil fuel use. The alleged cost of damages began at an arbitrary $22 per ton of carbon dioxide released in 2010, then climbed to an equally random $30 per ton in 2013 and $40 per ton in 2016.
Incredibly, EPA modelers also claimed they can accurately forecast global temperatures, climate and weather, technological advances, economic development, living standards – and damages to global civilizations and ecosystems from US carbon dioxide emissions – for the next 300 years! Moreover, in the real world, the benefits of using carbon-based fuels and improving crop, forest and grassland growth via higher atmospheric CO2 levels outweigh hypothesized costs by at least 50-to-1 to as much as 500-to-1.
Deceptive, politicized, policy-driven “science” like this pervaded EPA regulatory actions for too many years. Reaction to Mr. Pruitt’s corrective actions show how poorly informed his critics can be.
* The changes will force researchers to reveal personal or confidential information about participants in health studies. No they won’t. Such information is not needed and can easily be redacted.
* EPA can keep us safe from harmful chemicals only if it takes full advantage of all available scientific research. Public health and safety depend on ensuring that research and data purportedly supporting it are made public and carefully reviewed by multiple experts, to ensure accuracy and integrity. EPA will take full advantage of all available research that passes these tests. Tax-funded studies should all be public!
* The rules will exclude studies that rely on outside funding sources which limit access to underlying data. Those studies should be excluded. The funders need to revise their policies to ensure integrity. 
* The rules will exclude so much research that they will endanger public health. Not so. The only studies EPA will likely not see is what researchers know will not pass muster, and thus do not submit. The real danger comes from research that is based on shoddy data, algorithms, models and analyses that past researchers have been able to keep secret. That is precisely what the rules will ferret out and correct.
* Pruitt has removed scientists who receive EPA funding from participating in advisory committees. As noted above, those scientists had received millions of dollars in exchange for supporting EPA analyses, initiatives and regulations. Pruitt wants input from experts whose views can be trusted.
* Pruitt has criticized the peer review process. Too many peer reviews have been conducted by closed circles of associated scientists who rely on government grants and support regulatory decisions to maintain funding. Some refused to share data with experts who might critique their work – or worked to keep contrarian research out of scientific journals. The fact that some journals rarely require access to or review of underlying data further demonstrates why the peer review process also needs to be reformed. 
Too many past EPA policies, policy-driven research and regulations have been employed to force the nation to abandon fossil fuels that still supply 80% of US and global energy – and switch to expensive, intermittent, unreliable wind and solar energy installations that will require unsustainable amounts of land and raw materials, while destroying wildlife habitats and slaughtering birds and bats by the millions.
Those actions also killed numerous jobs and left many communities impoverished. Simply put, the danger to Americans’ health and welfare, livelihoods and living standards is regulations imposed in response to secretive, sloppy, substandard science that has ill-served EPA and the nation.
Ethics charges against Mr. Pruitt should be evaluated with all this in mind – and while acknowledging that members of Congress who are railing against him never complained about Lisa Jackson or Gina McCarthy’s CASAC payment abuses, illegal experiments on human test subjects, false testimony about particulates, EPA-orchestrated sue-and-settle lawsuits that imposed billions in regulations while enriching environmentalist groups … and junk-science regulations that cost the United States incalculable billions of dollars, brought no environmental benefits, and impaired the welfare of millions of people.
Pruitt’s reforms are long overdue. Honest politicians, journalists and voters will applaud him and them. Other government agencies should initiate similar science and rulemaking reforms.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of books and articles on energy and environmental policy.

Monday, April 23, 2018

MAGA Success Angers Globalists

MAGA Success Angers Globalists
by Michael McCune 
Trump's campaign promise to "Make America Great Again" was dismissed a political rhetoric. But, 15 months after taking office, his MAGA effort is getting pummeled from the rest of the globe because they are seeing the actual results.

The effort to derail MAGA is taking on legendary proportions but is best seen when one considers the attackers of Trump's policy are not limited to the United States' anti-Trump coalition but is coming from almost every corner of the Earth.

The G20, IMF and OPEC are just three of the attack sources. Those three never had a single word of complaint against the U.S. of A. when globalist Barack Obama was in office but America changed more than just the leader's name last November, it changed the way the rest of the world must amend its policies if they want access to the largest consuming nation on the planet. None of them saw the effects coming.

Prior to Trump's campaign motto, the closest thing to a shock wave in the globalist community was when the United Kingdom voted to leave the Euro Union in Brexit. In looking at the global impact, Brexit was a fleabite compared to Trump's elephant stomp.

How much of an impact has MAGA had on the global community? Since last Friday there has been a steady stream of anti-Trump headlines in trade news reports.

"China May Renege of Deleveraging as Trade War Looms", "Trump's Revenge: U.S. Oil Floods Europe, Hurting Russia and OPEC", "Trump Admin Pushes Back Against IMF Trade Criticism" and "U.S. Fund Managers Brace for Trade War, Seek Pricing Power" are just examples of how quickly Trump's actions are hurting the globalist's position.

It is quite apparent the world made two mistakes. The first was it took the U.S. consumer for granted as constant that would always be there to spur their economies upwards. The second was following MSM headlines and dismissing Trump's campaign as all-talk and no-action as had become the American norm.

The first report above, on China, started out bluntly, "China's efforts to reduce its reliance on debt and find a more sustainable route to grow its economy may be derailed by the simmering trade dispute with the United States."

The report goes on to detail how some of China's most necessary economic goals--specifically gaining control of its' black shadow banking' system--have had to be abandoned because of Trump's MAGA policy. In the past week the Chinese have cut the amount of cash reserves required at banks, vowed to cut taxes and announced cuts in electricity charges.

Now most of these planning alterations "surprised financial markets" if you only follow MSM. The debt load problem is one the Rant has been pointing to for years while taking pains to detail the growing global debt problem.

The second report on U.S. Oil exports was revealing in new ways. It clearly demonstrated that the recently-breached U.S. policy of non-exporting any Continental U.S. oil has put the rest of the energy-producing reliant countries on alert. When OPEC-announced production cuts artificially drove the price of oil up (aiding OPEC, Russia and Europe's North Sea values), the altered U.S. policy neatly kicked the economic prop out from under those places.

That report stated, "the relatively high prices brought about by that [production cut] pact, coupled with surging U.S. output, are making it harder to sell Russian, Nigerian and other oil grades in Europe." It was noted in the first four months of this year U.S. Europe oil export capacity surged more than 400% to 6.8 million tonnes. 

The third report showed how the litany of complaints against the aggressive Trump reversals in U.S. trade policy has grown exponentially in the past month.
The G-20, while wrapping up another meeting, was almost unanimous in blaming the Trump-China trade war (please notice how one man's verbal assault on a foreign nation is equated as a war) for forcing it to try and find a way to coordinate other economic policy efforts to preserve "the strongest economic expansion since the 2008 recession."

Since the Federal Reserve seems to be alone in raising interest rates, the inflation-fighting policy tactics noted by the G-20 had to be directed at the U.S. alone. Therefore when the Trump Administration singled out the IMF to do more to combat unfair global trade practices, the negative feedback from the G-20 meeting was understandable. The rest of the world can not abide having Trump's MAGA policy actually succeed..

It was interesting to note most of the negative spokespeople were from lower-status G-20 members like Brazil and Argentina but that many Euro Union reps also joined the chorus of boos for the U.S. delegation's openly-stated objective of "free and fair and reciprocal trade."

Finally the report on the U.S. stock fund managers' efforts to find companies that can easily pass on higher costs to their customers demonstrated the fear of inflation are a reality. These managers are focusing on investments in companies that have "dominant niches or intellectual property" that will allow them to grow even during a time of rising costs.

The problem there is that is one area the Trump Administration has been most vocal about protecting so the investment gurus know the Trump policy is working, unlike past Administrations who placed political expediency ahead of business sense.

Trump's MAGA policy may not be making MSM headlines here in America but he sure has gotten the rest of the world's attention simply because if he is successful, they will be pushed back to the brink of early 20th Century economies.
"I have sworn on the altar of God eternal hostility to every form of tyranny over the mind of man."--Thomas Jefferson  

Sunday, April 22, 2018


Climate adaptation, reparation and restoration
Boulder, CO wants oil companies to restore snowy winters of an idyllic past – and pay it billions
By Paul Driessen
This Earth Day (April 22) we need to ask whether environmentalism has gone completely bonkers.
Back in the 1970s, I skied Colorado’s cross-country and downhill slopes pretty regularly. Some years were incredible: many feet of snow as glorious to behold as to ski on. Other years, like 1977, I’d come around a bend on my XC skis, see nothing but rock in front of me, and just ditch.
Who knew the industry I worked for in the later 70s was causing these climate and weather mood swings – even then, long before carbon dioxide levels hit the cataclysmic 400 ppm mark? Who knew profit-hungry oil companies were already preventing the Centennial State from having endless seasons of perfect ski conditions, followed by ample spring meltwater for cities, agriculture and trout streams?
I ask this because the People’s Republic of Boulder, CO has joined Oakland, San Francisco, New York and other liberal enclaves in suing for “climate relief.” Boulder doesn’t share the CA/NY worries about rising seas. Even Al Gore doesn’t claim the Pacific Ocean will reach the Mile High City anytime soon.
Boulderites want the courts to force ExxonMobil and Suncor to pay treble damages for causing too much snow and thus floods in some years, too little snow and thus droughts and poor ski conditions in other years; multiple heat waves in some years, bitter cold in others. They seek unspecified cash for climate adaptation, repair and reparation expenses – and restoration of idyllic conditions of selected past years.
Their 106-page, 478-paragraph complaint (with scores of sub-paragraphs) alleges that oil companies have committed public and private nuisance, trespass, continued sales of “huge amounts of fossil fuels,” and willful concealment of known harm from those sales – all to the great detriment of Boulder citizens.
These are the same fuels that saved whales from imminent extinction and gave Boulder and humanity prosperity, technology, health and longevity no one could even imagine when Colorado became a state in 1876. But now they’re suing the companies that have provided reliable, affordable fuels and raw materials that have brought them lights, heat, livelihoods, living standards, and countless products from paints, plastics, pharmaceuticals and fertilizers to skis, ski parkas, and vehicle fuel and asphalt roads to ski areas.
No wonder Para. 476 pointedly says “plaintiffs do not seek to enjoin any oil and gas operations or sales in Colorado.” To paraphrase Para. 453: plaintiffs received immense benefits from defendants’ products and actions, and it would be unconscionable and contrary to equity for plaintiffs to retain those benefits. Before collecting a dime, plaintiffs should reject future benefits and pay Exxon for past benefits received.
As to alleged fossil fuel damages in the form of wildfires and beetle kills, perhaps Boulder and its Sierra Club allies could employ better forest management – such as thinning trees, removing dead and diseased trees, and spraying to control pine bark beetles. It would be equally salubrious if they would stop abusing gullible children – by having little Sequoia berate Exxon for causing floods, fires and less snow.
As to the allegation that Exxon and Suncor have deprived Boulder of its once-snowy climate, the area’s annual snowfall records demonstrate how ludicrous the claim is.
Its heaviest calendar year snow was 159 inches in 1997; the worst was 36 inches in 1904. It had over 100 inches 20 times since 1897, including 11 times since 1970 and four times over 125 inches since 1985. It had under 50 inches 11 times since 1897: six times 1904 to1943, just three since 1970, and none under 61 inches since 1982. Anyone who sees a rising CO2/lower snowfall connection is smoking too much ganja.
So where does Boulder get the evidence to back up its allegations? As Alfonso Bedoya might have told Humphrey Bogart in a climate change version of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, “We don’t have to show you any stinking evidence!” Instead of evidence, the city has assertions, a phony 97% consensus that fossil fuels are causing dangerous manmade climate change, a report saying Boulder will have more heat waves and less snow by 2050, and computer models that supposedly back up the report.
In the real world, the 20-year temperature “pause” is back, the sun’s “quiet phase” may be reaching a “grand solar minimum,” and actual temperature, hurricane and other data contradict climate model predictions and scenarios. In fact, the models are little more than high-tech circular reasoning.
Since they are based on the assertion that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels drive global warming, Garbage In-Garbage Out models will always generate the calamities that alarmist researchers and Boulder lawyers are blaming on Big Oil. Where reality contradicts models, reality must be wrong – and actual temperature measurements must be adjusted to reflect model outputs and dominant climate theory.
When did the sun and other natural forces cease being a factor? What caused the ice ages, interglacial periods, Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age and Anasazi drought? Questions like these are off limits.
Indeed, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and dominant, government-funded climate research have gone from seeking to identify human influences on Earth’s climate … to decreeing that only human influences matter, natural forces no longer play a meaningful role, and humans can control climate and weather by eliminating fossil fuels and regulating atmospheric greenhouse gas levels.
Those assertions now have the unwavering support of an entire industry – the $1.5-trillion-per-year Climate Industrial Complex: politicians, regulators, researchers, industrialists and activists, who protect and advance alarmist claims, promote allegedly “renewable” energy, resist examination and reform, and denounce anyone who questions climate chaos orthodoxy as “planet-threatening climate change deniers.”
Arrayed against the contingency fee seeking Boulder legal team is an oil industry whose spokesmen offer timid tripe: “Lawsuits like this do not solve the global problem of climate change.” It should be up to “appropriate regulatory agencies,” instead of judges, to decide how much CO2 a company may emit. Oil companies “should not be subject to liability for engaging in acts of commerce while adhering to our already stringent state and federal laws.” Can’t we have a more robust defense on the merits?
Boulder and its allied cities and counties have little reason to worry that their absurd assertions will be challenged on the merits in court. But they don’t even care about winning their case. They just hope Exxon and Suncor will pay them a few hundred million bucks – and pave the way for more lawsuits.
In fact, a 2016 “Lawyers for Better Business” report said climate lawsuits will soon “dwarf all other litigation in terms of the number of plaintiffs and the timeframe in which it can happen.” It’s likely to become a global industry, “with much bigger damages than seen with tobacco and asbestos.”
How else will profligate progressive politicians pay for all the welfare programs that keep them in power?
Such is the sorry state of US and international politics, education, science and jurisprudence.
What alternatives do these litigants and activists offer for the fossil fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric energy they want to ban? They seem to think the billions of tons of lithium, cobalt, iron, copper, manganese, rare earth metals, concrete and other raw materials needed for millions of wind turbines and solar panels are somehow “renewable” – and blanketing the planet with wind and solar installations is eco-friendly.
They seem convinced that it’s better for Planet Earth to ban drilling, and instead convert another billion acres of crop and habitat land into gigantic biofuel plantations. In fact, this year’s Earth Day organizers want future plastics to come from non-hydrocarbon sources – which would mean plowing under hundreds of millions more acres to grow crops for petrochemical feed stocks.
This is sheer lunacy. It’s the product of the fear, loathing, despair, intolerance and groupthink that pervade Big Green environmentalism today.
Will the Scott Pruitt EPA finally reverse the ridiculous Endangerment Finding that is yet another foundation for this climate nonsense? Will Neil Gorsuch be the deciding vote that brings a modicum of sanity back to our Supreme Court and legal system? Only time will tell.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of books and articles on energy and environmental policy.

Sunday, April 8, 2018


Politicians must consider unintended consequences
Mileage standards and tariffs help some – while penalizing countless others, often severely 
Paul Driessen
It’s become a recurring, frustrating pattern, as legislators and regulators ignore the immutable laws of unintended consequences, to drive political agendas or aid favored constituencies, while harming others.
A good example is corporate average fuel economy (CAFÉ) standards on vehicles. Originally enacted in 1975 to offset the impacts of the OPEC oil embargo and US oil price controls, and slow the rapid depletion of oil reserves, the mileage standards grew increasingly stringent. During the Obama years, the earlier justifications were replaced with claims that a vastly tougher 54.5 mpg standard would somehow help prevent “dangerous manmade climate change.”
However, EPA’s own analysis showed that the new mileage standard would have brought emission reductions of a barely perceptible 3 billion tons of CO2 over the lifetime of vehicles covered by the new standards – out of an estimated two trillion tons of CO2 emitted worldwide during the same period.
That meaningless 0.15% savings was fraudulent enough. But as Competitive Enterprise Institute general counsel Sam Kazman, other analysts and I have often pointed out, the real impact of these rules has always been on people. CAFÉ standards kill, maim and paralyze drivers and passengers – because they force auto makers to downsize and plasticize cars and light trucks, making them less crashworthy.
Insurance industry and other studies found that the earlier 27.5 mpg standard resulted in 2,200 to 3,900 additional fatalities every year, and hundreds of thousands of additional serious injuries, in collisions with cars, trucks, buses, trees and other objects. Minority and other poor families suffer disproportionate injuries and deaths, because they can least afford the higher priced cars and light trucks with advanced safety features. One can only imagine the extra tolls that would be associated with the 54.5 mpg rule.
Hopefully, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will underscore this lethal reality as he reexamines the Obama CAFÉ standards. (His predecessors paid no attention to the likely death and injury tolls, and Democratic politicians, environmentalist groups and liberal media have excoriated Pruitt’s proposal – raising serious questions about their priorities and concern about human lives and welfare.)
In contrast to this important and long overdue regulatory change – and in equally sharp contrast to his many other deregulation and reduced taxation actions – President Trump’s recent decision to impose a 25% tariff on imported steel products seems to have paid too little attention to unintended consequences.
Steelmakers and even the Commerce Department claim “cheap” foreign substitutes “threaten national security.” That’s a highly suspect claim. But even to the extent a threat can be demonstrated, the tariffs themselves represent a serious threat to national security … to every company, project and job in other sectors of the US economy that depend on affordable steel … and to the president’s promise to Make America Great Again and make American energy a dominant player on the global stage.
Indeed, one can understand an anti-fossil-fuel President Obama imposing these tariffs. But Mr. Trump?
Just consider their impacts on oil and gas drilling, fracking, pipelines, refining, petrochemicals and LNG (liquefied natural gas) export terminals. These are steel-intensive operations. Add 25% to the cost of pipes and other specialized steels, and you raise exploration, production, construction, maintenance and repair costs by millions, tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars.
Building drilling rigs and production platforms that operate in thousands of feet of corrosive sea water, send drilling and production pipe thousands of feet into high-pressure rock formations, and bring oil and gas to terminals and refineries miles away requires millions of tons of high-quality steels that most US companies don’t even make anymore. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing operations do, as well.
Steel pipes that go down these holes have to be flexible enough to bend without cracking or breaking. They must be durable enough to last decades without corroding or rupturing. This niche market represents just 3% of the total US steel market, the Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) notes, so most American steelmakers left the pipeline business to overseas competitors, who pay workers less, face fewer regulations, and can survive on lower profits. Subjecting this specialty pipe to tariffs makes no sense.
In 2017, America’s oil and gas industry spent $8.5 billion just on the steel pipe used in 11,300 wells to frack shale and drill conventional formations. That same steel would have cost $2 billion more, if these 25% tariffs had been in place, the AOPL explains. Similarly, a “typical” 280-mile pipeline would cost $75 million more, a “major” (Keystone XL) pipeline some $300 million more, under these tariffs.
China has already slapped tariffs on US soybeans, and recently signaled that it can add to these oil patch woes by directly targeting shale country products, such as petrochemicals and liquefied propane. The Chinese meanwhile use spies and hackers to steal US corporate, military and government information, and demand access to patents and trade secrets as a price for granting access to huge Chinese markets.
Ironically, two of the main beneficiaries of these tariffs and trade wars could be Russia and OPEC, who would see their own exports and revenues climb in response to declining US oil and gas production. The primary source of export revenues for the Russian economy is oil and natural gas, and many European countries get 50-100% of their natural gas from Russia. That leaves them vulnerable to Putin threats of pipeline closures – and less willing to challenge Putin in Syria, the Crimea, Ukraine and elsewhere. 
That also resurrects the links between anti-fossil-fuel US environmental groups that have received funds laundered via the Sea Change Foundation and other intermediaries, from Russian energy oligarchs with strong ties to Putin. Perhaps Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller should investigate that Russian collusion. 
(Oil and gas companies can submit a tariff exemption request to the Commerce Department, if a product is not readily available from American manufacturers or is needed for national security reasons. But separate requests must be made for each product; they take months to process and are valid for only one year; and American aluminum and steel makers can object to the request, dragging the process out.)
In essence, these tariffs might save a few hundred steel and aluminum manufacturing jobs. But they put thousands of US workers out of work in other industries that depend on affordable steel products as their basic raw materials. The protectionist tariffs also put dozens of projects on hold or out of reach.
In another irony, many of President Trump’s much desired and ballyhooed infrastructure construction and repair projects could become the victim of soaring steel prices, on top of 1931 Davis-Bacon Act rules that local prevailing union wages must be paid on public works projects. Still more people will then be injured and killed, due to dangerous road and bridge conditions that poorly thought out policies perpetuate.
Tariffs on foreign metals also persuade US steel and aluminum companies that they can raise prices, while still undercutting foreign competitors. That’s why American Keg – the last US manufacturer of stainless steel beer kegs, and a patriotic user of only domestic steel – had to lay off a third of its workers.
Environmentalists oppose mining in the United States. They oppose coal and natural gas as fuels, and the rail and pipe lines to get those fuels to power plants, foundries and factories. They are OK with the Trump tariffs, since they help stymie fossil fuel projects. But radical greens fail to recognize that wind turbines also require massive amounts of specialty steel for rebar, turbine and transmission towers, generators and other components – making them and their high-cost electricity even less affordable and justifiable.
The United States clearly cannot merely present diplomatic protests, while letting other countries engage in unfair trade practices, and worse. However, the politicians whose actions affect our lives in so many ways must do a far better job examining the nature and scope of the unintended consequences of their decisions. Mileage standards, trade wars and tariffs tend to get out of control, and innocent people suffer.
Meanwhile, the brinksmanship continues. Can the White House and Congress find better answers?
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of books and articles on energy and environmental policy.


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