The Good, the Bad and the Ugly III

The news today fit nicely into my recurring theme, named after the Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western.

Two good things caught my attention: President Obama unveiled his plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and the U.S. Senate voted against a Republican attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

Of course, I’d like to see carbon emissions reduced even further but a 32 percent cut by 2030 is the boldest plan to come out Washington, D.C., to date.

As to Planned Parenthood, only a small percentage of its mission is providing abortion services.  Its focus is mostly on women’s health care issues, like screening for cervical or breast cancer.  And it provides birth control (which, if one applies logic, means fewer abortions).

Sen. Jon Tester voted to continue funding and Sen. Steve Daines voted to end funding.

The bad is Gov. Bullock and the Montana AFL-CIO opposing Obama’s carbon emissions reduction plan. It pains me the most when I criticize people and organizations whom I respect and have supported.

Both the governor and organized labor need some forward thinking along the lines of good paying union jobs in the renewable energy field.  The old model of protecting any union job, even if it’s in the extractive energy business, is killing our planet.  It’s time to retrain our workers for a clean energy future.

The ugly is Sen. Daines.  He denies the GOP “war on women” while voting to defund Planned Parenthood then trots out the war metaphor for Obama’s announcement on reduced carbon emissions:

Today the Obama administration rolled out new regulations that threaten thousands of Montana energy jobs. The Obama administration’s war on American energy is a war on American families and a war on American jobs. The Obama administration’s so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ not only would shutter our country’s coal-fired power plants, but also hinder tribes’ and states’ ability to develop their coal resources.

Just last month, the Supreme Court issued a severe rebuke of the Obama administration’s sweeping energy regulations, yet the Obama administration continues to act with reckless disregard for hardworking families. This latest round of costly regulations has the potential to increase American energy rates and cost thousands of good-paying jobs. I will continue fighting against the Obama administration’s assault on hardworking families and the good-paying jobs it provides.

Ignoring the terrible syntax of the last sentence, we’ll first look at the “thousands of jobs” claim.  I’m trying to find statistics on just how many jobs are tied to Colstrip’s coal-fired generating plants and the best I could come up with was 360 people employed at the four generating plants.

And Daines is worried about Montana tribes?  That’s why he voted against increased funding for tribal health care and education.

As for the Supreme Court ruling, it was based on a timing technicality, hardly a “severe rebuke,” and may actually help to advance Obama’s climate change intitiatives.

Daines is of the “can’t do” sort.  We can’t initiate innovative policy to transition from old, dirty energy technologies to new, clean ones.  We can’t be a world leader in renewable energy technology.

I’m consistently shocked that Daines made his millions at a technology firm.  He’s such a retrograde kind of guy.








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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.


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    • He writes in part:

      “Whatever EPA believes are the environmental benefits of this regulation, it cannot be said that it will be easy or inexpensive. Such is the stuff of unicorns and leprechauns. For if EPA’s energy vision was the most reliable and affordable means of providing power, we would not need the rule. Engineering experts, markets, utilities and their regulators would already be choosing these resources without EPA dictates. No amount of political posturing changes that fact. ”

      “The action now moves to the states which must assess their next steps. Many are deeply opposed to this regulation that could strip them of their traditional ability to set reasonable energy and environmental policies that work for their citizens. States will be faced with an exceptionally difficult decision. Either “play ball” with the EPA, cede greater authority to Washington and become complicit in a plan that complicates efforts to ensure reliable, affordable power; or choose to let the EPA go it alone via a potentially unattractive Federal Implementation Plan. “

  • It’s funny, Craig, how Republican leadership touts American exceptionalism but when faced with a complicated challenge, acts like a third-rate nation’s bureaucracy. To quote FERC’s Clark, ” … it cannot be said that it will be easy or inexpensive.” Sorry that it might be challenging and cost some money. (Compared to the costs of climate change – pegged at $180 billion in economic loss by end of the century – it will be a pittance.) Still, good thing current Republican thinking wasn’t around during the Space Race. We’d have been lucky to get a chimp into orbit by 2000.

    • And to the larger issue if the gain is worth the pain, Dr. Curry opines.

      “– Do you think Obama¹s messaging about climate change is true to the science?

      Well the one thing you don’t hear President Obama mention is how much his proposed emissions reductions will reduce global warming. My recent Congressional testimony cited the following numbers for President Obama’s commitment to the UN: It has been estimated that the U.S. INDC of 28% emissions reduction by 2025 will prevent 0.03oC in warming by 2100. It has been estimated that the U.S. INDC of 80% emissions reduction by 2025 will prevent 0.11oC warming by 2100. And these estimates assume that climate model projections are correct; if the climate models are over sensitive to CO2, then amount of warming prevented will be even smaller.

      The economic argument is rather dicey; economic impact models are far more uncertain even than climate models. The social cost of carbon estimates made by the White House require assumptions out to the year 2300 for drastic CO2 reductions to be cost effective.

      The public health arguments are even weaker. CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with asthma. Extreme weather events are not increasing with increased CO2; extreme weather events are dominated by natural climate variability. Particularly in the U.S., extreme weather was substantially worse in the 1930’s and 1950’s.

      – Do you think reframing ghg and climate change as public health and economic issues are the only way Obama and the EPA could write a rule that would pass legal muster?

      I can’t comment much on the legal muster aspect, although I am aware of numerous existing and forthcoming legal challenges. Trying to sell this plan as economic and public health issue is a ploy to develop political will for President Obama’s preferred energy policies.”

  • Yes. I disagree with Bullock on this issue and think Clark is just giving a bureaucratic report on behalf of the commission. FERC isn’t known for its innovative thinking.

  • The 2nd dirty little secret about Planned parenthood.

    “Planned Parenthood, the nation’s top abortion provider, swears up and down that notwithstanding the numerous admissions made on tape by its top officials, the organization doesn’t buy or sell organs and body parts harvested from aborted babies. Then, in order to defend its reputation, Planned Parenthood points to other medical procedures performed by the group that don’t result in body counts. One of its top rhetorical gimmicks is to reference all the mammograms that women can receive by visiting Planned Parenthood

    Planned Parenthood helps women nationwide get access to mammograms, as part of the range of health care Planned Parenthood health centers provide to nearly three million people a year.
    There’s only one problem: Planned Parenthood does not manage a single licensed mammography facility in the U.S. Not one. Of the 8,735 licensed mammography facilities in America, Planned Parenthood operates exactly zero.”-Federalist

    • Initial breast exams are done by Planned Parenthood and then clients are referred to a mammography center if there is a history of cancer are anything suspicious presents at the first exam. Often, low income clients receive a subsidy from Planned Parenthood for the mammogram.

      • How about we give the money directly to the facilities which provide the mammogram? Answer: Then the democratic party wouldn’t get their funding kickback from planned parenthood to support their leftist candidates.

        • It’s more complicated than that, Tim. Women (and some men) go in for a wide array of health care issues and then if a specific test or treatment is required that Planned Parenthood can’t provide, the client is referred to the proper caregiver.

          BTW, Planned Parenthood has 501(c)3 not-for-profit status. It would be illegal for it to contribute to candidate or issue campaigns. I suppose some individuals involved with PP donate to “leftist candidates” but I’ll bet those donations pale in comparison to right-wing Super PAC donations (Koch brothers come to mind).

  • It is also illegal to Planned Parenthood to alter abortion procedures to make the human body parts more valuable to the biomedical companies who buy them. This is plainly revealed in the expose journalism of the videos. Lawless people are not threatened by what is illegal when no one is looking, or even examining what they are actually doing. Here is an example of how it works:

    So much for justice and legal.

  • From your “360”link Pete.

    “Property taxes levied on Colstrip annually provide millions of dollars in revenues for local schools, county roads, and other public services in Rosebud County, Mont., where the power plant is located.”

    How do you propose to replace those taxes when the plants are dismantled.

    And you must’ve taken zero economics in college. Three hundred and sixty jobs at an average of 100K/yr equals 36 million in total salaries plus employee matching SS, FICA, work comp,…etc.

    Besides taking $36M out of the local economy what happens to the other workers who serve and supply these employees?

    “Thousands” as an estimation is not that far off. Rule of thumb, that money turns over 7 times.

  • I spoke with an AFL/CIO official a couple of years back who told me the unions favored the MSTI power-line that was supposed to run through SW Montana because “corporations create jobs.”

    The unions, and Bullock, probably support Keystone XL for the same reason.

    It’s a shame that unions in our state have in the last few years begun spouting corporate talking points, which incidentally are factually incorrect. Shame on them and Bullock for doing this. They’re probably not being directly paid off by TransCanada and Big Coal, but they’re hoping the corporations will take it easy on them if they help them advance their kick-the-hippy anti-environmentalist line.

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