Natural Resources Defense Council Archives - Shopfloor

Questions for AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka at the Press Club

By | Energy, Labor Unions | One Comment

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks at a National Press Club luncheon on Friday, an appearance billed thusly:

Trumka will speak out on recent efforts to curb collective bargaining rights in several states, including Wisconsin and Ohio. He also will discuss the political outlook for the 2012 elections, and the impact of austerity budgets on local, state and federal workers.

All good topics. Here are a few others that the reporters could raise during the Q&A period that traditionally follows Press Club remarks.

  • In a January 2010 National Press Club appearance you said: “I think you will see the Employee Free Choice Act pass in the first quarter of 2010.” And …”The president fully supports the Employee Free Choice Act, the Vice President fully supports the Employee Free Choice Act, a vast majority of the members of the House support the Employee Free Choice Act, a vast majority of the people of the Senate support the Employee Free Choice Act. And I think we are going to have the Employee Free Choice Act despite the determined efforts of the Republican Party.” So were you shining us on, deceiving your membership for tactical reasons, or are you just a lousy prognosticator? Did the failure of card check reflect organized labor’s lack of political influence? Your own lack of influence?

  • AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka addresses anti-coal crowd at April rally. (Photo: Energy Action Coalition)

  • You began your career as a coal miner and served as President of the United Mine Workers before being elected to head the AFL-CIO. Yet at an April “Power Shift” rally in front of the White House, you joined environmental activists in demanding “clean energy” policies in which coal has no role. Demonstrators held signs declaring “Coal is Over” and “No More Coal!” (More photos here and here.) How can you, as a union president, make common cause with activists who want to shut down the coal industry?

  • AFL-CIO affiliated unions are members of the Blue-Green Alliance, which includes such organizations as the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Many people regard these groups as hostile to the industrial base of this nation’s economy. How do you reconcile union support for this alliance? According to a Department of Commerce study, green products and services account for at most 2 percent of private sector activity. How you can justify spending member dues on groups who have such a narrow focus and whose policies would eliminate unionized jobs in the energy and manufacturing sectors?

  • Do you believe nuclear power has a role in America’s future energy production? Because AFL-CIO member unions are sending member dues to a group that includes the Union of Concerned Scientists, one of the major opponents of nuclear energy.

  • Should a company that currently has unionized operations in a state ever be allowed to locate new operations in a right-to-work state?

Good Question on EPA Regulation of CO2, but President’s Answer…

By | Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

The Wall Street Journal’s Laura Meckler’s posed an excellent question at Wednesday’s news conference by President Obama. From the transcript

You said earlier that it was clear that Congress was rejecting the idea of a cap-and-trade program, and that you wouldn’t be able to move forward with that. Looking ahead, do you feel the same way about EPA regulating carbon emissions?  Would you be open to them doing essentially the same thing through an administrative action, or is that off the table, as well?   

The President’s answer included a claim that is just not true

The EPA is under a court order that says greenhouse gases are a pollutant that fall under their jurisdiction. And I think one of the things that’s very important for me is not to have us ignore the science, but rather to find ways that we can solve these problems that don’t hurt the economy, that encourage the development of clean energy in this country, that, in fact, may give us opportunities to create entire new industries and create jobs that — and that put us in a competitive posture around the world. 

Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute refutes the President’s contention in a post at the American Spectator’s blog:

The 5-4 majority in Massachusetts v. EPA — and we know how the Left feel about 5-4 majorities effectively making decisions assigned to the political branches or process (coughBushvGorecough) — held that EPA could determine greenhouse gases are ‘pollutants’ if it chooses to but must ground any such decision in the statute.  Read More

A Conclave of the Cadre of the Cabal of the Constitution

By | General | No Comments

Environmental groups have the ear of the White House, or maybe it’s vice versa. As Greenwire at The New York Times reported last week.

Rahm Emanuel met for about 30 minutes with a group that included League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski, Sierra Club Chairman Carl Pope, Center for American Progress President John Podesta, Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp, Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke, National Wildlife Federation President Larry Schweiger and Sheila O’Connell of Unity ’09, a Democratic umbrella group.

Now, in a similar situation, with business groups in the place of the environmentalists, there would be vitriolic accusations of undue influence and special access.

But to us this looks as if the people were meeting with White House officials to petition the government and exercise their First Amendment rights. More power to them…metaphorically that is.

Although we can’t imagine business groups attending a White House meeting with a member of Republican umbrella organization at the same time. Now THAT would invite vitriol. So far, we’ve spotted nothing of that acidic nature over this meeting.

Unity ’09 is clearly not an environmental activist group; it’s a partisan political operation. Expressing opinions and petitioning the government for redress of grievances are one thing, coordinating political strategy with a leader of a party-political organization is another.

The BPA Myth

By | Briefly Legal, Regulations | No Comments

Iain Murray, National Review Online, “The BPA Myth“:

On Thursday, April 1, Time published a list of the “ten most common household toxins,” focused on plastics. It claimed, “Chemicals in plastics and other products seem harmless, but mounting evidence links them to health problems — and Washington lacks the power to protect us.” Top of the list was Bisphenol A, or BPA for short.

BPA is an important ingredient in many of the plastic products that have made modern life inexpensive and convenient. BPA is used to make shatterproof water bottles, CDs, food and beverage cans, sporting equipment, eyeglass lenses, and countless medical supplies. Environmentalists argue that it is a toxic substance that should be banned. But there is little scientific evidence that suggests BPA is harmful, and much that suggests it is not.

Murray’s column focuses on the excesses of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is pursuing different regulatory strategies in California to outlaw the additive that poses no health threat.

The state — which is mired in budget crisis — is wasting public funds to indulge the whims of a single special-interest group. Yet it is not just taxpayer money that is at stake. NRDC is sending a message to businesses nationwide: If you use BPA — whether to make toys, eyeglasses, or medical equipment — don’t invest here. For no company will invest in a state — and thus create jobs and expand facilities in that state — if the state is threatening to stop manufacturing in the near future. NRDC’s whim is helping to prolong California’s recession.

The campaign against BPA is another prime example of the workings of the combine of trial lawyers/activists/media, whose interests — ideological and pecuniary — are served by hype and hysteria. On that topic, these are good pieces:

The Market is Too Timid, Therefore…Green Socialism!

By | Energy, General, Global Warming | No Comments

He’s addressing the British economy in a British political landscape, but the Guardian’s columnist Neal Lawson sure comes up with familiar arguments in his piece, “How green socialism can save the UK“:

Two years into the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, with more than 2.4 million already without work, the official closure earlier this month of Britain’s only wind turbine blade manufacturing plant, Vestas, is a sharp reminder of the failure of blind reliance on free markets to solve the economic and climate change crises. The plant’s closure, with the loss of 400 jobs, was blamed on the slow pace of growth in the UK’s wind turbine market and the drawn out local planning process to agree projects.

It has brought home the reality that the changes needed to protect us from catastrophic climate change are exactly the opportunities that can catalyse an upturn in our economy. Clean, fuel-free renewable energy is a huge international growth sector – allowing countries to achieve energy security, protect themselves against volatile fossil fuel prices and stimulate economic development without the consequence of dangerous carbon emissions that are the primary cause of climate change.

Bottom line, says Mr. Lawson, “The stakes are too high to left to anonymous free market forces driven by fossil fuel and nuclear interests.”

In related news, the Blue Green Alliance tour rallies today in Dayton and gathers tomorrow for an event in Gary, Ind., where EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson speaks on the same stage with Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council and Foster Stephens, President of the Gary Teachers Union.

Cap and Trade Concession, Well, Yes, Rates Will Go Up

By | Energy | No Comments

From Jefferson City, Mo., an exchange between an environmentalist and a Missouri Public Service Commission member:

Dylan Sullivan of the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the audience that passing cap-and-trade would most likely result in lower electric bills for Missouri residents.

“The bill increase that results from the carbon price is lowered by the implementation of complimentary policies…and so we estimate that the average electricity bill decrease in Missouri from 2010 to 2020 is $6.32 cents,” Sullivan said.

But Missouri Public Service Commission member Jeff Davis challenged Sullivan’s statement.

“If you’re going to come here and make a presentation and say that Markey-Waxman (the cap-and-trade bill passed by the U.S. House), and all these things combined, can actually lower our rates, then I think you need to spell that out in writing exactly how that can be done, and not just talk in platitudes,” Davis said.

Sullivan conceded that the cap-and-trade bill could result in higher power bills for Missouri residents.

That’s some concession.

Cap-and-Trade: Out of Committee, Jumble or Jubilee?

By | Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

Celebration from the leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on committee passage of Waxman-Markey, i.e., H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act.

The Energy and Commerce Committee approved H.R. 2454, “The American Clean Energy and Security Act,” by a vote of 33 to 25.  This legislation is a comprehensive approach to America’s energy policy that charts a new course towards a clean energy economy.

“Today the Committee took decisive and historic action to promote America’s energy security and to create millions of clean energy jobs that will drive our economic recovery and long-term growth,” said Chairman Waxman.  “This bill, when enacted into law this year, will break our dependence on foreign oil, make our nation the world leader in clean energy jobs and technology, and cut global warming pollution.  I am grateful to my colleagues who supported this legislation and to President Obama for his outstanding leadership on these critical issues.” 

“With this plan, we will shape a new energy destiny for our country, where we innovate more and pollute less,” said Subcommittee Chairman Markey.  “Today we have chosen bold action to preserve good paying jobs here in America and preserve our planet.   In just eight weeks, Chairman Waxman and I, working with our entire committee, have moved us farther down the path toward energy independence than our country had moved in the past eight years.”

Ambitious claims.

The commitee website has the bill and markups. The House Republican caucus liveblogged the markup sessions with good detail on the amendments submitted and rejected, but not on exclusively partyline votes. Water vapor will still be subject to Clean Air Act regulation, we see. Well, it is, after all, the No. 1 greenhouse gas by far.

Looking for something beyond the predicted views from the expected sides, we see today’s column by Steven Pearlstein, the Washington Post’s business columnist, whose opining is reliably critical of corporate America, mostly from a liberal perspective. From “Climate-Change Bill Hits Some of the Right Notes but Botches the Refrain“:

The other thing to say about it is that it is a badly flawed piece of public policy. It is so broad in its reach and complex in its details that it would be difficult to implement even in Sweden, let alone in a diverse and contentious country like the United States. It would create dozens of new government agencies with broad powers to set standards, dole out rebates and tax subsidies, and pick winning and losing technologies, even as it relies on newly created markets with newly created regulators to set prices and allocate resources. Its elaborate allocation of pollution allowances and offsets reads like a parody of industrial policy authored by the editorial page writers of the Wall Street Journal. The opportunities for waste, fraud and regulatory screwup look enormous.

But let’s end on a more optimistic note from someone who really understands the market and the power of individual freedom and choice, Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council, and her statement, “Committee Passage Clears Path for Historic Energy and Climate Bill“:

While some in Congress have tried to block this bill, they are only keeping America tied to the failed policies of the past. As the bill moves to the House floor, we need to build on the progress made in the Energy and Commerce Committee and enact this important legislation.

By making investments in clean energy, we will create whole new industries, millions of good-paying American jobs, and generate hundreds of billions of dollars in energy savings and benefits to low-income families.

Call it the energy eschaton.

No Carbon: Why Limit Reporting to Manufacturers?

By | Economy, Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

Below we note Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s vision of a new American agriculture, based on a centralized system of distributing government benefits to farmers based on their not producing carbon.

Which leaves an obvious question after contemplating this latest government dictate, “E.P.A. Proposes Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions“:

The Environmental Protection Agency today proposed a rule that would require a broad range of industries to tally and report their greenhouse gas emissions. [See EPA news release, here.]

The move was hailed by environmentalists as an important precursor to regulating greenhouse gas emissions, as the Obama administration is expected to do.

“This is the foundation of any serious program to cap and reduce global warming pollution,” said David Doniger, the policy director for the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “You have to have source-by-source data on how much of global warming pollution is emitted and from where.”

The rule, if enacted, would require some 13,000 facilities across the United States to report their emissions, and would cover manufacturers of chemicals, oil, cement, iron and steel, and automobiles, among other industries.

Why just manufacturers? Secretary Vilsack suggests that reduction of carbon dioxide emissions will be the central tenet of U.S. farm policy. Logically, then, we will need a system of command and control based on the C02 emissions per farm. Reporting is the first step.

And why stop at farms? “You have to have source-by-source data on how much of global warming pollution is emitted and from where…” Hospitals, schools, individuals, etc. Logically, this leads to:

CPSIA Update: The NRDC Endangers Your Children

By | Briefly Legal, Regulations | No Comments

From Overlawyered, “NRDC’s non-compliant onesie“:

Presumably the Natural Resources Defense Council, which filed the successful lawsuit under CPSIA to make unlawful the sale of large existing inventories of children’s goods, will yank from its online store its own infant offering before next Tuesday. On Twitter, an NRDC person said the group didn’t think its use of the garment as a premium was covered by the law because only manufacturers have to worry about testing, right? (Wrong.) Common Room and Patrick @ Popehat have the story.

Do as we sue, not as we do, or something like that.

Incidently, it has been suggested to us that  U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe of the Southern District of New York, who agreed yesterday with the NRDC and Public Citizen’s lawsuit that children’s products with phthalates must be removed from the shelves, was following the clear language of the statute. We don’t doubt that. For now, the law is the real problem, and the fix must come from Congress.

Card Check: AFL-CIO Decides No Enemies on the Green Left

By | Energy, Global Warming, Labor Unions | No Comments

From the AFL-CIO blog:

At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, one of the largest environmental groups, the Natural Resources Defense Council, announced its support of the bill, which would level the playing field by allowing workers to choose how to join a union. Also at the conference, the Sierra Club reiterated its support.

It’s baffling why the AFL-CIO would tout the endorsement of its legislative priority by a group that fights economic growth tooth and nail and fang and claw. The radical NRDC hates domestic oil production, despises the coal industry, regards the chemical industry as dangerous and depraved, and accuses the productive sectors of the economy of racism.

In short, the NRDC wants to close down vast sectors of the manufacturing economy, in the process putting millions of AFL-CIO members out of work.

So why in the world would the unions make common cause with the environmentalist left on card check? The AFL-CIO’s leadership must have decided that actually representing their current membership’s interests is not a priority. Better to force unwilling employees into union membership to extract dues from them.

Strange that the rank and file would acquiesce to their leadership’s alliance with the jobs-destroyers.