Cornyn: Get serious, will you, Democrats? And you too, judges!

posted at 11:11 am on July 12, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Our friends at Power Line host a guest essay from Senator John Cornyn this morning on energy policy.  Cornyn warns that policymakers have put America in an “irrational box”, and that Democratic leadership wants to keep us there:

The U.S. is well on the way toward transitioning away from over-reliance on fossil fuels. I’m for pursuing every source of energy out there – solar, nuclear, clean coal, wind, biofuels, hydrogen, shale. We need it all. But we’ve built up an infrastructure over 100 years that must be relied upon as we make the change to renewable sources. Congress has to get out of the way and allow the U.S. to develop its resources for that infrastructure – or we’re headed towards economic catastrophe.

As John notes, a number of Democratic officeholders have heard from their constituents, and they want to vote to expand energy exploration. But their leadership is making sure they cannot. You can feel the Democratic solidarity on this fragmenting. One of two scenarios is likely. Either the leadership wakes up and allows expanded development – in Alaska, outer continental shelf, shale – or I suspect Republicans are going to do a great deal better in this fall’s elections than most pundits now assume.

Maybe both?  If the Democrats wait much longer, action may not save them from backlash at the polling booth this year, although Republicans had better set their expectations low in any case.  And the legislature may not be the only problem, as HA reader Roger B points out:

A federal judge has overturned a decision by the U.S. Forest Service to allow oil and gas drilling near a forest and a river in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson of Detroit ruled Thursday the agency had acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in 2005 by giving Savoy Energy LP of Traverse City a permit to drill an exploratory well near the Au Sable River’s south branch. …

But the judge ruled the Forest Service didn’t consider how degrading the area could harm tourism, and said the agency did a “woefully inadequate” job of evaluating how the drilling might affect the Kirtland’s warbler, an endangered songbird that nests in the area.

This case had a couple of complications.  First, the land had been granted to the state on the condition that it be maintained as a wilderness.  However, the federal government owned the mineral rights to the area and had leased it to an oil company.  Savoy wanted to clear 3.5 acres of a 1200-acre tract to test drill for oil, which doesn’t seem unreasonable, except for the terms of the grant.  However, the grant wasn’t the basis for the judge’s action; instead, he worried about the nesting practices of a songbird in an area consisting of less than 3% of the entire parcel.

It’s an apt demonstration of irrational as described by Senator Cornyn in his essay.


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A severe shortage or extremely expensive energy and/or food will create millions of desperate people our society could become chotic.

As per the old saying, what do desperate people do

Question, are you sure the socialists are irrational?

allrsn on July 12, 2008 at 6:36 PM

The answer is not to find more oil, but to find alternatives to oil. Why is that so hard to comprehend?

Let me see if I can make this so that even the most liberal of us can understand.

Most cars today run on gasoline.
Gasoline comes from oil.
Oil comes from the ground and must be drilled.

Cars today do not run on wind, solar, or magic pixie dust. They require the use of gasoline.

Big trucks that haul everything we use run on diesel.
Diesel comes from oil.
Oil comes from the ground and must be drilled.
When there is no affordable diesel (like now) trucks cannot run and trucking companies cannot haul the things we use.

As someone else posted, pretty much everything we have requires the use of oil somewhere in the process. Medicines, plastic bags, clothes, etc, do not come from “solar” or wind power.

We need oil. Oil comes from the ground. We need to drill, now – more than ever. It’s that simple.

Is that so hard to comprehend? Apparently it is for a liberal.

jdawg on July 12, 2008 at 6:43 PM

Cornyn: Get serious, will you, Democrats? And you too, judges!

I’m not really a Cornyn supporter. However, I couldn’t agree more on this one killer issue of a congressional do nothing about our energy…Vote the worthless, spineless, hopeless, demOrats out. If nothing else, they proved one thing, that don’t know how to govern.

byteshredder on July 12, 2008 at 6:49 PM

[rokemronnie on July 12, 2008 at 3:23 PM]

Thanks, rokeronnie, for providing some perspective.

I kind of felt from my familiarity of Michigan and some Googling about case that old growth forests weren’t the issue despite the Sierra club rep saying so per the story. I tried to use that point as a foil in my complaint about phraseology used by environmentalists.

Dusty on July 12, 2008 at 6:55 PM

thuja,

While you may like rolling in your compost, take a break and read my post. Apparently you did not, or, living on acorns is getting to you. They have to be extensively boiled and mashed into a paste. The hate part was a cute touch, clearly a Malthusian debate school technique.

It goes without saying that clear cutting 3.5 acres in a stand of trees(over 5,300 acres) is going to create temporary havoc on the local species. If not a bird, then a lizard, blind snake, snail or whatever suits the claim. What we do know, your tree hugging aside, is they will get over it.

Unlike you I want intelligent use of our natural resources not blind allegiance to silly ideas that ultimately burn our forest down or impoverish people.

And please stop with your edge effects psychosis. Mankind has been burning down forest for 20,000 years and god for a few billion. Mysteriously we have all survived. I found your paper on stopping lightening very instructive–how it is you want to make it just hit in the center. You know, protecting the edge effects!

At least take the time to read my link to the Sierra club. It was a beautiful piece on the history of the land in question.

patrick neid on July 12, 2008 at 7:13 PM

thuja on July 12, 2008 at 6:29 PM

Hey, we all love trees. I’ll even put up a “Save the Seedlings” sign if you’ll do a pro-life march with me. ;)

Connie on July 12, 2008 at 7:15 PM

Thuja = one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.

Animals adapt and thrive, or they move on to other happy hunting grounds. The ecosystem is not as fragile as you imply.

With all of the hoops and regulations that energy producers have to comply with, you can be sure that the company would pursue its plan with care.

Any wildlife that leaves the area during startup of the operation is likely to return.

With Michigan’s economy on the skids because of problems with the auto sector, the state relies on its secondary source of tax base in the tourist industry. There won’t be many tourists traveling to the area if the price of fuel threatens their budgets, which will have to account for food and heating.

onlineanalyst on July 12, 2008 at 7:18 PM

If the Marxists continue to hold American families’ needs hostage to “endangered” songbirds then they may find angry folks going on hunting sprees. Seriously. You tell me that my family has to freeze because of the last stupid little yellow bird no one ever saw or needed and I assure you that killing that bird would become my, or any other parent’s, obsession.

Maquis on July 12, 2008 at 7:19 PM

Thought: Should society fall apart, guns don’t run on gasoline. People like U.S. District Judge David Lawson should remember that. When things become that ‘irrational’, the one’s who caused it may well find themselves up against a wall. And they won’t have a lawyer to advise them.

GarandFan on July 12, 2008 at 7:24 PM

Maquis on July 12, 2008 at 7:19 PM

It’s kind of funny. The NY State bird is the bluebird. I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen one and I’m a birdwatcher. And we have a park that is, as the commercial says, bigger than 6 western state national parks combined. Not enough to save the bluebird, evidently.

Connie on July 12, 2008 at 7:26 PM

It’s kind of funny. The NY State bird is the bluebird. I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen one and I’m a birdwatcher. And we have a park that is, as the commercial says, bigger than 6 western state national parks combined. Not enough to save the bluebird, evidently.

Connie on July 12, 2008 at 7:26 PM

Perhaps your State bird was selected by a Federal judge trying to thwart progress, and the critter’s actual presence was irrelevant?

Maquis on July 12, 2008 at 7:30 PM

The answer is not to find more oil, but to find alternatives to oil.

Monkei on July 12, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Like…what? The corn liquor worked out so swimmingly huh?

If you’re talking about nuclear for electricity, I’m with you, otherwise, google crude oil and see how many by-products and distillates we use every day and depend on; from jet fuel to plastics.

labrat on July 12, 2008 at 7:33 PM

GarandFan on July 12, 2008 at 7:24 PM

Amen.

labrat on July 12, 2008 at 7:38 PM

[thuja on July 12, 2008 at 4:36 PM]

Okay, thuja, you win. Your “simple point … nothing more, nothing less” is really a essay filled with a nuance reflecting complexity that simple reading does not allow for and making a point which needs the modifier “major” because there is only one point … which, as I understand it to be, is that Ed was quite simply wrong that a 0.3% development seems reasonable because the issue of environmental fragmentation may be an issue.

I really am an idiot for not noticing that this is all consistent. Thanks again. Is that now enough reason to now keep to your promise that you won’t continue it, ’cause if it isn’t I’m going to join the others in beating you over the head on fragmentation and parasitic birds, because the Kirtland Warblers can’t.

Dusty on July 12, 2008 at 7:39 PM

Seems to me that Mt. St. Helens did a mighty job of clear cutting and the surrounding area has made a resounding comeback. Hmmmm.

Big John on July 12, 2008 at 7:43 PM

Perhaps your State bird was selected by a Federal judge trying to thwart progress, and the critter’s actual presence was irrelevant?

Maquis on July 12, 2008 at 7:30 PM

Probably. ;)

Connie on July 12, 2008 at 8:07 PM

Twenty years ago, 21 percent of oil contracts were purchased by speculators who trade oil on paper with no intention of ever taking delivery. Today, oil speculators purchase 66 percent of all oil futures contracts, and that reflects just the transactions that are known. Speculators buy up large amounts of oil and then sell it to each other again and again. A barrel of oil may trade 20-plus times before it is delivered and used; the price goes up with each trade and consumers pick up the final tab. Some market experts estimate that current prices reflect as much as $30 to $60 per barrel in unnecessary speculative costs.
- Email from Delta Airlines signed by 12 Airline CEOs

MB4 on July 12, 2008 at 8:19 PM

Seems to me that Mt. St. Helens did a mighty job of clear cutting and the surrounding area has made a resounding comeback. Hmmmm.

Big John on July 12, 2008 at 7:43 PM

Quite so, but that was an act of nature – not an act of environmental vandalism perpetrated by evil humans. /sarc

OldEnglish on July 12, 2008 at 8:38 PM

thuja on July 12, 2008 at 6:29 PM

Hey, we all love trees. I’ll even put up a “Save the Seedlings” sign if you’ll do a pro-life march with me. ;)

Connie on July 12, 2008 at 7:15 PM

No thanks. No thanks, at all. While I’m economic and foreign policy conservative, the one issue that is the most important is population. I’m more in favor of abortion than my sister-in-law who is on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood in Portland, OR, one of our most liberal cities.

What I always say to “environmentalists” is to stop wasting time on silly things like CAFE standards and oppose the human fetus idolaters.

thuja on July 12, 2008 at 8:50 PM

Okay, thuja, you win. Your “simple point … nothing more, nothing less” is really a essay filled with a nuance reflecting complexity that simple reading does not allow for and making a point which needs the modifier “major” because there is only one point … which, as I understand it to be, is that Ed was quite simply wrong that a 0.3% development seems reasonable because the issue of environmental fragmentation may be an issue.

Dusty on July 12, 2008 at 7:39 PM

Dusty, I appreciate you are attempting to be sarcastic, but in fact what you say literally is correct. Let’s review what Ed said:

Savoy wanted to clear 3.5 acres of a 1200-acre tract to test drill for oil, which doesn’t seem unreasonable

and further, let’s pretend we are in our 9th grade geometry class. Hey, geometry was fun for me. To show that someone is wrong when saying “it doesn’t seem unreasonable”, one only needs to present a single counterexample. What I did was present a single counterexample to Ed’s claim. QED.

An annoying quirk that I have is that I’m unwilling to end a post with QED. My morals compel me to invite you to point out any logical flaw in what I’m saying.

thuja on July 12, 2008 at 9:02 PM

I’m a treehugger who would like to stop muslim immigration into the United States and toss the muslims here into internment camps until they are ready to emigrate. I would urge Europe to do the same.

Not gonna happen, thuja, and rightly so.

We need to drill and become independent of Arab oil. Without money to fund the madrassas and the terrorists, the moderate Muslims can choose the right side without fear, and the jihadis can take their chance in a new ME against our forces and Iraq’s forces.

PattyJ on July 12, 2008 at 9:09 PM

Thuja, you’ve used the words “may” and “might.” Can I ask, what actual study can you site that the proposed drilling would affect the specific bird mentioned by this specific judge in this specific case?

If none, then your argument is merely hypothetical, and I have every right to assume no harm would be done, just as you suggest that some undefined and unknown harm might be done.

Get me facts to back up your contention in this case, and we can talk about whether or not drilling is a good idea. Otherwise, we’re merely arguing about whether the little green puppy dogs in the sun are causing global warming.

psrch on July 12, 2008 at 10:06 PM

And just how do they know how many Kirtland’s warblers there are in michigan? Is it that they cannot find them? There are about twenty million illegal aliens in the U.S. and the dem’s say that they cannot be found, so maybe the warblers are not endangered after all.

Johan Klaus on July 12, 2008 at 10:12 PM

dustoffmom on July 12, 2008 at 4:02 PM
Key is in the worldview…

I’m an environmentalist… but not an envirowhacko…

to a whacko, any use, is abuse… by definition.

Romeo13 on July 12, 2008 at 4:38 PM

Okay…..I’ll admit I may be a bit dense…but what in the hell is this about??? I never professed to be ‘an environmentalist’, I’ll admit I surely am not. And a whacko??? God forbid! Me, my family, my country is ever so much more valuable than any ‘wild’ creature. Gasp! :D But I do love feeding and observing the birds. It’s a “hobby”….not a life or death issue with me and surely not worth five bucks or more a gallon for gas!!!! Please explain if you will the point of your post.

dustoffmom on July 12, 2008 at 10:14 PM

[thuja on July 12, 2008 at 9:02 PM]

Actually, Thuja, for recognizing the sarcasm, which means my “attempt” was “successful”.

I’m glad you found geometry to be fun, but that is a very poor reason to use it when the proper realm you should ask me to participate in is logic.

So, let’s start with your primary mistake: you presumed I’d agree with you that Ed’s proposition is in the form of “all 3.5 acres developments of a 1200-acre tracts are reasonable”.

That is particularly convenient for you because then your argument suffices as the one exception necessary to disprove it and you can say “You’re quite simply wrong.” But I do not agree it is in that form, and thus here we are at another phase of your digging and me kicking the stuff back in the hole you’re in.

—-

Kirtland Warblers protect themselves and their nests not only from cuckoos cowbirds but also Blue Jays in the dense scrub of Jack Pines. Dense, scrubby Jack Pines do not grow under heavy canopied forests where you say cowbirds do not fly so, Cowbirds and Jays not flying there is kind of irrelevant.

Dense scrubby Jack Pines do grow in areas that have been cleared by fire and for maybe 5 to 10 years they are prime places for the Warbler to reside to protect themselves from Cowbirds and Jays that do fly open areas and above canopies. After that canopies start to form and the low scrubby brush disappears. The Warblers lose the habitat they need.

Ergo, BMP’s for the area of Kirtland Warblers should include:
– clear cutting for minimal use gas well placement,
– carefully planned sequential torching of adjacent areas on a 10 year cycle,
– geometric clearing designs to maximize edges such as long, narrow deeply penetrating development footprints
– shooting environmentalists before they drive the Warblers to extinction.
– Post Development guideline: Attract Cowbirds and Jays ten years after all environmentalist are dead in effort to manage burgeoning Kirtland Warbler Population.

Dusty on July 12, 2008 at 10:14 PM

Oh I forgot.

QED.

Dusty on July 12, 2008 at 10:16 PM

– Post Development guideline: Attract Cowbirds and Jays ten years after all environmentalist are dead in effort to manage burgeoning Kirtland Warbler Population.

Dusty on July 12, 2008 at 10:14 PM

LOL

Johan Klaus on July 12, 2008 at 10:18 PM

It’s kind of funny. The NY State bird is the bluebird. I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen one and I’m a birdwatcher. Connie

They are all moved south Connie!! I have dozens, literally, here in my yard in Carroll county TN! Several nested in my bird houses and they daily bathe in the baths. Sorry you’ve not seen any, they are playful, beautiful birds. Can we say…….birds will move and adapt?!

dustoffmom on July 12, 2008 at 10:18 PM

what part of drill here drill now do the Democrates not understand? Pelosi is saying NO. Reid and Durbin are saying maybe. Unless Pelosi changes her mind or the dems rebell in the house drilling is off the table.

The repubs know that ands have signed on for the all of the ablove approach. It will not pass so Pelosi and the dems are the bad guys in this. Beautiful politics but still doesn’t help reduce oil prices.

We need to start drilling now. and funding LNG and liquid to coal for transportation fuels. Building the needed electric generation with wind, solar and nuclear for the coming electric cars. And after the change over we can sell the oil to China.

unseen on July 12, 2008 at 10:33 PM

The Democrats seem overly fond of the 60′s…so here’s a 60′s slogan for them:

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way!!!

DRILL HERE – DRILL NOW – PAY LESS!!!

landlines on July 12, 2008 at 11:39 PM

thuja,

what is your position on illegal immigration? Legal immigration? Is it as schizophrenic as the Sierra Club?

In the 60′s the SC advocated a limited US population. Then, some time after the Kennedy immigration bill they changed their position. Now they support global population control through “family planning” and “education”, i.e. abortion and contraceptives. They no longer call for controls on US population, I suspect the reason is that now that most immigrants, illegal and legal, are from the 3rd world that the SC is afraid of being called “racist”. More so than they care about the environment.
Seems to me that if they were serious about resource consumption they would be leading the charge against immigration. Especially since the ignorant, poor peasants who make up the bulk of illegals don’t give a damn about the environment. They’re too busy worrying about putting food on the table.

DerKrieger on July 12, 2008 at 11:58 PM

It’s kind of funny. The NY State bird is the bluebird. I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen one and I’m a birdwatcher. Connie

They are all moved south Connie!! I have dozens, literally, here in my yard in Carroll county TN!

dustoffmom on July 12, 2008 at 10:18 PM

Wait a sec! Did those bluebirds move to TN because they, too, got tired of all the Democrats in NY and all their tax-you-to-death policies?

ROTFLOL!

newton on July 13, 2008 at 12:15 AM

The biggest killer of North American migratory song birds is the domestic feline. That is a fact…

The judge would be better off banning cats as pets if he is really concerned about the long term health of song bird populations.

Babs on July 12, 2008 at 2:29 PM

I know this is from way back in the thread but it struck me as being like a 2×4 upside the head – it is THAT obvious but most of us would never have remembered it.

Thanks, Babs, for the closing paragraph to this silly judge.

platypus on July 13, 2008 at 1:56 AM

dustoffmom on July 12, 2008 at 10:14 PM

sorry, that wasn’t pointed at you… I was making a statement about envirowhackos, like Thuja, attempting to explain their worldview.

Romeo13 on July 13, 2008 at 11:28 AM

As I see it we in America have lost our voice in Congress and I see a fraternity that refuses to listen to the public screaming at them to do something serious with this oil mess. The Congress, both houses and both parties, have created this problem and they hold the cure in their hands holding their pens. They are all pointing their fingers at some mythical cause of it all and common sense is vacant in Washington. They busy themselves naming Post Offices and other items that have nothing to do with the problems at hand. They are not doing their job and enjoying the parasitic state they have created for themselves.

mixplix on July 13, 2008 at 11:51 AM

If Disney does an animated film about the Littliest Warbler will some of you maybe start to be open to the possibility we are being manipulated by people whose first love is somewhere in the Middle East, I don’t know, around some hamlet that begins with the letter J?

/Happy Feet Penguins?
/China Syndrome?
/Silkwood?
/Lovable huggable Polar Bears?

pc on July 13, 2008 at 3:28 PM

Oh course the Sheik pigs like their largest customer as well. It’s going to be hard to break free of the ME. Some would say impossible. What did the oilman Clements say about rape and inevitability?

pc on July 13, 2008 at 3:30 PM

If drilling for oil would help lower the price of Botox, Pelosi would switch her position in a millisecond.

I’m sure somewhere down the line, it would. But seeing that the average liberal hasn’t a clue on how things are produced, manufactured, grown, transported, etc., it will never occur to her to connect the dots.

Ann NY on July 14, 2008 at 10:07 AM

Why does anyone vote for Democrats?

Because they went to public schools and are completely ignorant to how things work. They think things appear on the shelves at Target by magic.

Ann NY on July 14, 2008 at 10:10 AM

If the Marxists continue to hold American families’ needs hostage to “endangered” songbirds then they may find angry folks going on hunting sprees.

Maquis on July 12, 2008 at 7:19 PM

Maquis – Maybe the gasoline prices and fuel oil prices will be the issue that matovates the American publi to do something about it. Like uniting and stand on the steps of Congress and the White House lawn with pitchforks and torches, demanding the occupants come outside for a little chat.

belad on July 14, 2008 at 10:34 AM

We haven’t built a nuclear plant since when? We haven’t built refining facilities since when? We have had drilling closed in ANWR since when? We’ve had offshore drilling closed since when? We’ve blocked the production of shale oil in the northwest since when?

France, hardly a bastion of anti-environmental conservatives, gets 80% of their electrical power from nuclear. I just finished a vacation in Key West. When I headed south out to the gulf stream, I think I might have been closer to areas where the Chinese are going to be drilling for oil than I was to Key West.

When you see large, organized protests (environmental related, immigration related, whatever) who pays for all the professionally prepared signs, banners and literature at those events? Who organizes them? The costs involved have to be in the 10s (if not 100s) of thousands and up. Are the immigration protests paid for by the illegals protesting? I think not. Are the environmental protests paid for by the nut-jobs running around in bush hats and khaki shorts? I think not.

How many congressmen or senators are getting money through convoluted channels from oil producing countries or political enemies (China, for one)? Why spend billions on putting economic or military pressure on us when you can spend a few million a year to support the very groups that are blocking every avenue of progress.

It is about money (oil producing countries) and power (China)…. period. The very people elected to look out for our interests are selling us out.

Just my opinion.

CC

CapedConservative on July 14, 2008 at 10:39 AM

Because they went to public schools and are completely ignorant to how things work. They think things appear on the shelves at Target by magic.

Ann NY on July 14, 2008 at 10:10 AM

Like the dem politician who was walking through the woods and found a bunch of milk bottles and thought he had found a cow’s nest.

Johan Klaus on July 14, 2008 at 11:03 AM

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