Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Obama Administration, The EPA, & Free Speech

U.S. EPA attorneys Allan Zabel and Laurie Williams produce a YouTube video (The Huge Mistake Climate Change 2009) and are asked to take it down by the EPA and the Obama Administration [ctrl-click to launch video]. Video Credit: Allan Zabel and Laurie Williams via oversightandreform

The Obama Administration, The EPA, & Free Speech

The short answer ... It is not happening.

This probably isn't surprising to many who are critics of the current leadership of our country, that the Government is actively working against the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights in order to insure that their approach to governance carries the day, but this last week saw the passing of a troubling example of this kind of action and attitude.

A couple of lawyers who work for the Environmental Protection Agency, who are all for the protection and care of the environment and green agenda of the United States, posted a YouTube video voicing their objection to the effort at fashioning legislation that would measure CO2 emission outputs of business activity and set limits on the level of emissions an effort can produce.

This legislation is commonly called "Cap & Trade" where the Government is able to assess penalties on the CO2 emissions produced above the authorized level and thereby make the business effort more expensive to the end products the effort creates which is then reflected in the price to the consumer. This legislation amounts to a backdoor TAX to the purchasing public on all products the Government deems worthy of scrutiny in their CO2 creating activities.

These two lawyers do not believe that this approach of Cap & Trade is not good and a "huge mistake". They argue that the legislation, while making the offense of producing CO2 costly, allows offenders to continue to create emissions without actually reducing or improving the activity that creates the CO2 gas in the first place and makes the activity more costly but OK!

This excerpted and edited from the Washington Post -

EPA tells workers to tone down YouTube clip about climate bill

By David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post Staff Writer - Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Two Environmental Protection Agency lawyers who made a YouTube video calling current climate legislation a "huge mistake" were told by the agency to remove the clip and edit out some references to their employer, one of them said.

Allan Zabel and Laurie Williams, a husband and wife who have worked in the EPA's San Francisco office for more than 20 years, have been outspoken in their opposition to a "cap and trade" system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

That system -- in which companies may buy and sell the right to pollute -- is at the heart of a climate bill passed by the House this summer, and another under consideration in the Senate.

On Oct. 31, the two made their case in an opinion piece in The Washington Post, saying the bill was fatally flawed by the inclusion of unreliable "carbon offsets," and would "lock in climate degradation" instead of solving it.

A few days later, Williams said, they were approached by EPA ethics officials. She said the officials demanded they take down a YouTube video they had posted in September that made many of the same points.

In the video, Zabel says none of their statements should be construed as an official position of the EPA or the Obama administration. But Williams said the EPA wanted them to further play down their federal connections. The officials said they could repost the video, she said, if they removed a mention of the length of their experience at EPA.

Another comment, in which Zabel said he oversees a cap-and-trade system for smog-causing pollutants in California, also had to go, she said. In addition, the agency said they had to take out a photo of the EPA's San Francisco office building.

The EPA cited a federal regulation that says government employees may note their official position when making statements on their own time -- as long as their title is "given no more prominence than other significant biographical details."

Williams said the pair have taken down their video, although it was reposted by an environmental group.
Reference Here>>

China's president, Hu Jintao, meets US President Barack Obama tomorrow. Obama has said that a treaty is unlikely to be ratified at Copenhagen. Delaying a treaty for long enough for the US to sign up might mean that China would be willing to sign up. Image Credit: Kevin Lamarque


This consternation voiced by a couple of committed left bureaucrat lawyers from the EPA may be the reason why President Barack Obama is signaling that the meeting of world leaders on an over-reaching Global Warming agreement next month in Copenhagen ... may be put off.

There is a division in the ranks on the left that Cap & Trade does not go far enough, while on the right, having the President sign away our country's sovereignty in a world governance agreement may not be in the best interest of our nation ... ever!

This excerpted and edited from The Guardian -

Copenhagen climate talks: No deal, we're out of time, Obama warns
Gordon Brown still hopes to salvage climate talks as US rules out binding targets

David Adam, Jonathan Watts and Patrick Wintour -, Sunday 15 November 2009 21.36 GMT

Barack Obama acknowledged today that time had run out to secure a legally binding climate deal at the Copenhagen summit in December and threw his support behind plans to delay a formal pact until next year at the earliest.

During a hastily convened meeting in Singapore, the US president supported a Danish plan to salvage something from next month's meeting by aiming to make it a first-stage series of commitments rather than an all-encompassing protocol.

Postponing many contentious decisions on emissions targets, financing and technology transfer until the second-stage, leaders will instead try to reach a political agreement in Copenhagen that sends a strong message of intent.

While this falls short of hopes that the meeting would lock in place a global action plan to replace the Kyoto protocol, it recognises the lack of progress in recent preparatory talks and the hold-ups of climate legislation in the US Senate.
Britain's climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, tried to put a brave face on Obama's move, insisting it is still possible to reach a broad political agreement on carbon emissions targets, but senior Labour MPs admitted they feared the necessary momentum for a detailed agreement would be sucked from the Copenhagen event if politicians know a deal has been postponed to the next scheduled meeting in Mexico City next year.
There will now be intense discussions on whether the political agreement at Copenhagen contains any detailed meaningful commitments.
Obama spoke in support of the proposal, cautioning the group not to let the "perfect be the enemy of the good".

The proposal by Denmark would buy time for the US Senate to pass carbon-capping legislation, allowing the Obama administration to bring a 2020 target and financing pledges to the table at a UN climate meeting in mid-2010.

But there are many other divisions between developed and developing nations that could prolong talks. It was unclear if China, the world's biggest emitter, and other developing countries supported the two-stage plan.
According to the UK government's former chief scientist Sir David King, these talks are the best chance for the world to agree a new deal. "Once Hu Jintao and Obama agree, I think the rest of the world could fall into place," he told the Guardian. "It's a head of state issue. Obama, through an agreement with Hu Jintao, could be able to deal with some of the concerns of the American population."
"Copenhagen has come a year too early. There was no way Obama could get this together for December this year," said King. Chinese negotiators have been saying much the same thing in private.
Reference Here>>

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