Great news for all Rhode Islanders and small & big biz. But you keep fighting against us and FOR much higher heating & gasoline prices, Congressman! https://t.co/56XbZMdQ8Q
— Monique C (@MoniqAR) January 5, 2018
I try to be tactful. But not possible here. NY Gov is deluded fool to compel NY ratepayers to COMPLETELY UNNECESSARILY pay 3X-4X more for power. https://t.co/VbcX4Ljvvc
— Monique C (@MoniqAR) January 4, 2018
Making a massive profit on us. It was a bad deal under former gov Carciari, bad deal now. Taxpayers shdn't have had to pay for their profits and we have not even begun yet. Basic need is unaffordable. https://t.co/tDAzZ5VqTQ
— OSTPA (@OSTPA1) December 31, 2017
RI is an outlier based on EPA data when it comes to pollution emissions yet some members of the GA want to impose more unwarranted and expensive restrictions on businesses in the state.
— Ken Mendonça (@ElectKenRI) December 27, 2017
This is a true battle of visions. Their progressive vision would transform our home state into a liberal hell. Rhode Island could become a place where businesses face even higher legal risks and our citizens would be even less free to live their own lives.
The activists are going town by town pushing fruitless plastic bag bans, and in Tiverton the debate raises more disturbing beliefs:
Hilton apparently believes that government’s providing educational services creates an excellent opportunity to manipulate children into conflict with their parents to advance a cause whenever a handful of elected officials agree with activists that the cause is righteous. While one would have to research how much class time must be devoted to an issue in order to turn children into a government youth corps, Tiverton parents might rightly wonder whether the school district’s academic results illustrate available slack in the school day. Just 28% of Tiverton high school students are proficient in math and fewer than half in reading. Perhaps indoctrination can wait until those results improve.
On the other hand, perhaps the school department could seize on the issue to provide practical lessons in math, science, and critical thinking.
The town administrator is warning of big spending increases next year, and this is what elected officials are spending their time on?
I forget the specific issue, but some years ago, out of frustration at the one-sided nature of his reporting, I contacted the Providence Journal environment reporter to say I’d be happy to voice the other side if he ever felt inclined to include it. I think it was Alex Kuffner, but it might have been his predecessor. Whoever it was, the reply was that he didn’t believe there really was another side.
That exchange came to mind when I read Kuffner’s article about fishermen who aren’t happy that we’ve cleaned Narragansett Bay so thoroughly:
Lanny Dellinger, board member of the Rhode Island Lobstermen’s Association, put the blame on a tightening of restrictions on wastewater treatment plants after the historic Greenwich Bay.
We think of waste as waste, of course, but there’s a reason we put manure in soil to fertilize it. We do live in an ecosystem, in which creatures tend to have complementary roles.
The article does a good job highlighting the reality that, over time, different forms of life thrive and fade out. Some human modification or natural event changes the immediate environment, and the balance of life changes. People have to adapt, both in their diets and their industries.
Sometimes we adopt a hubris that hides that fact:
There are larger questions in play, said Janet Coit, director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.
“Given the complexity of everything that’s going on, what are we trying to get to?” she asked.
What’s the right level of nutrients in Narragansett Bay?
“Right” by whose lights? In some ways, environmentalists are just reactionaries. The thing that they value in the status quo (or the past) must be preserved or even enhanced without regard to some unseen cost.
There shouldn’t be something that we’re “trying to get to” as a permanent condition. We should set some controls for outright pollution guidelines for resolving differences and then let life happen.
One begins to get the sense that National Grid energy prices are becoming a bit of a representation of Rhode Island’s business climate generally, which makes this sort of rhetoric from the Raimondo administration a bit hard to take, from Alex Kuffner’s article on rate increase requests for the Providence Journal:
Rhode Island families and small business owners — especially manufacturing businesses — are already challenged by high energy costs,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said in a statement. “The Public Utilities Commission needs to open up National Grid’s books and stand up for Rhode Island ratepayers.”
Macky McCleary, administrator of the state Division of Public Utilities and Carriers — sister agency to the PUC — said Rhode Islanders deserve better value in their utility services.
“What we received today appears to be a proposal that continues business as usual and presumes the willingness of Rhode Islanders to bear an ever‐increasing burden of higher costs,” he said.
Read through the article and what you’ll find is a list of complaints that touch on government mandates on energy and on business in general:
- Labor costs, including health care
- New hires to connect green energy sources to the grid
- Wealth redistribution through a low-income discount
- Electric vehicle charging stations
How can the governor play defender of the people when it comes to these expenses and then allow things like mandatory paid sick time, new health care mandates, and expanded green energy programs? Whether these costs filter through the energy company or not, they ultimately all come from the same household incomes.
As we hear rumors that the municipal fad of plastic bag bans may move up to the state level, Glenn Reynolds points to a Daily Mail article reporting that up to 95% of all plastic waste in the world’s oceans comes from eight rivers in Asia and two in Africa:
Up to 95 per cent of plastic polluting the world’s oceans pours in from just ten rivers, according to new research.
The top 10 rivers – eight of which are in Asia – accounted for so much plastic because of the mismanagement of waste.
About five trillion pounds is floating in the sea, and targeting the major sources – such as the Yangtze and the Ganges – could almost halve it, scientists claim.
When your neighbors attempt to impose these sorts of environmentalist restrictions on you, what they’re really doing is imposing useless drags on our lives and economy in order to feel good about themselves. Naturally, the most vulnerable in our community will ultimately feel the effects most acutely, but that’s of little concern when you’re saving the world from a phantom non-Asian bag menace.
That statement may seem a little harsh, but in all the articles I’ve read about these bans, I don’t think I’ve ever seen mention of the actual source of plastic in the oceans or a discussion of the economics. I have, however, seen stories about people getting sick from reusable grocery bags.
Portsmouth good government activist John Vit released these drone photos of new @RIDOTNews facility in Portsmouth (notice proximity to wetlands) violating RIDEM Rules by not protecting salt piles. @TedNesi @kathyprojo pic.twitter.com/pcHUcHdPmr
— John Pagliarini, Jr. (@SenJPag) November 21, 2017
— OSTPA (@OSTPA1) November 5, 2017
To be fair, this is the sort of thing one expects a governor to say when an institution, particularly a public utility, falls short of expectations at a time during which people are relying on it, as Shaun Towne reports for WPRI:
[Democrat Governor Gina] Raimondo’s office on Wednesday said the governor has directed the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (DPUC) Administrator Macky McCleary to assess National Grid’s storm preparedness and restoration efforts.
To ensure National Grid’s attention is focused on the ongoing restoration, Raimondo’s office said the review will begin once all homes and businesses are back online.
“Rhode Islanders should expect the lights to come on when the switch is flipped. National Grid owes Rhode Island families and businesses a swift response when power goes out and thoughtful planning to prevent outages when storms are forecasted,” Raimondo said in a statement Wednesday.
Unfortunately, it’s not so easy for a politician to position herself in opposition to inadequate services when this is also news, as reported by Susan Campbell, also on WPRI:
On the first day of open enrollment for health insurance, a glitch prevented hundreds of customers from reaching HealthSource RI.
About 300 calls were routed incorrectly, due to a change that was made to the agency’s phone menu Tuesday night, according to Brenna McCabe, a spokesperson for the agency.
Add the following to the list of reasons government should remain small enough that it’s actually possible for politicians to run it well: It doesn’t help when the people’s elected representatives have less than zero credibility for complaining about the disappointing performance of other organizations.
— Andrew Morse (@CAndrewMorse) October 24, 2017
— Steve Goddard (@SteveSGoddard) October 23, 2017
A father-and-son op-ed in the Wall Street Journal notes that California’s cap-and-trade energy scheme (like Rhode Island’s) misses the reality that companies can simply leave and, moreover, have incentive to do so:
Yet the law’s designers still have not confronted the central conundrum of trying to impose a state or regional climate policy: As firms compete for a limited supply of carbon permits, they are put at a disadvantage to out-of-state rivals. Production flees the state, taking jobs and tax revenues with it. Emissions “leak” outside California’s cap to other jurisdictions.
Of course, as we can readily observe in Rhode Island, this works out just fine for people who have jobs (often because they’re politically connected) and the wealth to tolerate higher energy prices. They’re happy to pay more for energy… for everything… if they get to feel good about “being green” and never coming across any energy-production plants that don’t give them a thrill of self virtue, like wind turbines might. Those to whom that doesn’t apply, however, find that they have incentive to leave the state, as well.
If we’re really under threat of cataclysmic climate change, why do the activists have to go back so far for examples and use on-paper predictions to suggest acceleration?
A curious thing happens by the end of Harry Cockburn’s Independent article about scientists’ admission that they overshot the mark with their warnings of global warming a decade ago. We start with this acknowledgment that those of us who were sneered at as “deniers” were actually right to be skeptical:
The study, published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience, does not play down the threat which climate change has to the environment, and maintains that major reductions in emissions must be attained.
But the findings indicate the danger may not be as acute as was previously thought.
But we end with the new spin, from University College London Professor Michael Grubb, who suggests that keeping the global increase in temperature to 1.5° Celsius “is simply incompatible with democracy.”
New calculations suggest that humanity can emit more than three times the amount of carbon than scientists had previously prescribed (as a pretense for imposing economy-changing regulations on the planet), which is great news, according to Grubb, because:
“That’s about 20 years of emissions before temperatures are likely to cross 1.5C,” Professor Allen said.
“It’s the difference between being not doable and being just doable.”
Catch the trick? Under the previous assessments, it would already be too late to do anything about catastrophic climate change, so we might as well keep our democracy (and prosperity, I might add) through to the bitter end. If we acknowledge that the models have been alarmist, on the other hand, there’s a chance that we just might be able to save the world. So, there’s still a reason to hand over our freedoms to an international bureaucracy of elites.
Whether the models might still be too alarmist, we cannot yet tell, but why risk it for the petty sake of our inalienable rights as individual human beings?
I make a point of directing news and commentary from ideologically conflicting sources across my desk, and so it isn’t unusual for me to see a headline like, “Harvey should be a warning to Trump that climate change is a global threat,” immediately following one like, “The Trouble With Connecting Harvey to Climate Change.”
Now as a person familiar with both mathematics and computer science, this [huge] variation [in predictions of the incoming hurricane’s likely path] is not odd, in fact it’s completely understandable. After all a computer model is based on the best possible guesses from the available data and hurricanes are “complex natural phenomena that involve multiple interacting processes” so there is nothing at all odd about there being a 850 mile variation as to where it will it. As we get closer to Sunday and we have true data to input the variation in the models will correspondingly decrease.Now apply this to climate change models telling us we face disaster in 100 years.You aren’t dealing with a single “complex natural phenomena that involve multiple interacting processes” you are dealing with EVERY complex natural phenomena that involve multiple interacting processes that exists on the earth. Every single additional item you add increases the variation of the data models. Furthermore you are also dealing with variations in the sun, variations in the orbits of the earth, its moon and more.
Furthermore, as the post points out, those advocating alarmism on climate change have financial incentive to do so in a coordinated “consensus” kind of way, whereas the incentive for those predicting hurricanes that will play out over the following week is mainly to be as accurate as they can be. The hurricane trackers aren’t asking us to hand over vast quantities of our resources, not to mention our rights, to them. They’re just trying to do a job, and because they’ll have liability for their predictions in the near future, they’re much more controlled about their claims.
Observe, Americans, and respond to activists accordingly.
Already ranking a dismal 45th on the overall Family Prosperity Index, Rhode Islanders will soon suffer from a 16-21% increase on their electricity bills, making matters even worse.
The news is interesting enough, as Christopher Matthews reports it in the Wall Street Journal, that Energy Transfer Partners, which is the Dakota Access Pipeline company, is suing Greenpeace under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Greenpeace’s response, however, is nothing if not revealing:
Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer said in a statement that the suit was “not designed to seek justice, but to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation. This has now become a pattern of harassment by corporate bullies.”
Once could certainly dispute the characterization that Greenpeace is entirely, or even mostly, about “free speech,” but even if it were, the complaint is essentially that the company is stealing one of the Left’s signature moves. How many projects have been delayed or canceled because environmentalist groups have sued to impose costs on those behind them? How many people on the right have battled through the investigations and lawsuits that inspired the coining of the phrase “the process is the punishment”?
No doubt, we’re in dangerous territory if organizing against projects can be litigated as if it were a criminal enterprise, but this is the world that progressives have brought about, and the rules can’t only cut in one direction.
Although it’s not entirely unique in this respect, energy policy is incredibly complex, which makes tracing the effects of policy very difficult. But how could this, as reported by Ted Nesi on WPRI, not drive up the cost of energy and (therefore) everything else in the Northeast?
Rhode Island and the eight other states that are part of a decade-old compact to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions announced Wednesday they have reached an agreement for further cuts through 2030.
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) said the governors have agreed to an emissions cap of 75.15 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2021 and a 30% cut from that level over the subsequent decade. If successful, by 2030 the initiative will have reduced carbon emissions in the Northeast by more than 65% since it began in 2009, officials said.
Our governments (which one might reasonably hesitate to characterize as “representative”) continue to set policies that close down nearby energy production and hinder the importation of energy from elsewhere. Then they turn around and blame greedy private corporations when they have to raise prices.
Of course, the politicians are aided in this endeavor by activists. This is from another WPRI article, by Ian Opaluch and Shiina LoSciuto:
“They want to build a biomass plant [in Somerset],” Connie Brodeur of Coalition for Clean Air South Coast said. “Bio sounds very green, but it’s not.”
“We’d like to see Somerset go into a different direction, away from burning things,” she added.
Here’s a thought: If that’s what you’d like to see, then get some money together and start a business. Compete for a share of the energy market, rather than interposing yourself between people trying to supply energy and the people who rely on it.
Providence Representative Aaron Regunberg tramples economics to demagogue against National Grid.
Rhode Island progressives’ extremist agenda can no longer be denied.
Here’s a telling story, from Susan Cambell of WPRI:
Piette said the [electric] car was an affordable option because of rebates and tax credits. One of them he was banking on? A $2,500 rebate from Rhode Island’s DRIVE program. (DRIVE is short for Driving Rhode Island to Vehicle Electrification.)
“That $2,500 was going to help me put in a charging station at the house here,” Piette explained. “The car takes about 18 hours to charge on 110 [volts], but it takes four to five hours on the system I’d be putting in.”
Unfortunately, when Mr. Piette bought the car, he wasn’t aware that the funds for the subsidy had just dried up. Now the car requires more than just an overnight-charge, and he apparently won’t spend his own money on what he was willing to force taxpayers to cover.
One wonders how pervasive this phenomenon will prove if ever our government finds it can’t continue to subsidize (by tax or by rate-payer mandate) everything from electric cars to home rooftop solar to offshore wind farms. It may not seem like much in the grand scheme of the economy, but the $575,000 that went toward the program in which Piette missed his chance to participate would have gone to something else — something that the economy considered to be more important.