Thursday, July 02, 2009

Your U.S. Senators May Not Be Listening


The EPA has demonstrated its unwillingness to listen to views that do not support preconceived notions. It is possible that your senators will have that same mindset.

July 2, 2009

Dear Sen. Levin [also Sen. Stabenow]:

As you examine the arguments for and against the proposed energy/climate bill, I suggest that you, as a senator for the state of Michigan, focus very specifically on the factors that will impact Michigan.

Climate change has been the public issue behind this effort. The fact is that since the 1930s the trend of temperatures has been flat to declining and since 2000 the trend has definitely been declining. Climate change and CO2 as a danger is a red herring.

I can accept part of the argument that energy independence from rogue or hostile nations is a reasonable goal, but data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration is a good indicator that we have minimal chance of achieving that goal without a major expansion of domestic oil and natural gas sources... an unlikely scenario under this proposed legislation.

The state of Michigan most definitely will be harmed by this legislation in combination with recent EPA regulations. While it is a simple matter for mandated mileage performance levels to be set, it is entirely another matter to deploy existing and yet-to-be-developed technology in a manner consistent with customer wants and needs... as it relates to the regulatory time line. What, for example, will be the sales mix of trucks that can meet the 2016 mpg requirements? Does that meet customer needs at prices customers will pay?

Looking at the sources of electricity, it becomes very clear that without a significant expansion of nuclear power, non-CO2 producing power sources cannot meet proposed legislative schedules. Additionally, the cost increases to consumers and business must be significant in order to cover the cost increases to utility companies providing energy from these alternative sources.

The very basis for this legislation is faulty and the results of this legislation will be disastrous for Michigan. I request that you carefully consider your decision when casting your vote.

Thank you.

Below is the boilerplate answer you will receive under the category of ENERGY:

dateThu, Jul 2, 2009 at 10:11 AM
subjectRe: Your Concerns

Dear Mr. Hall:

Thank you for contacting me regarding California’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this matter.

On January 26, 2009, President Obama ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider Administrator Stephen Johnson’s February 2008 decision to deny California a waiver of federal preemption that would allow for state regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. In directing the EPA to reexamine the Bush administration’s denial of the California waiver, President Obama said he wanted to avoid a “confusing and patchwork set of standards.”

I oppose granting California a waiver of federal preemption because I believe it has the potential to create a set of conflicting and overlapping requirements that could significantly and unfairly burden our domestic auto manufacturers. California’s proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars sold in California relies largely on increasing corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks. A number of other states have either adopted the California regulations or indicated they intend to do so. The net effect of these regulations adopted in many states across the country, if allowed to go into effect, would be a patchwork of potentially conflicting requirements because the implementation of the California regulations in each state would be driven by the sales mix of vehicles in each state. Moreover, the regulations adopted by the State of California, the model regulations other states would adopt, include a provision that is highly discriminatory against our domestic manufacturers because it exempts manufacturers who sell less than 60,000 vehicles in California.

The most rational way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles is to develop a national policy that brings together regulation of fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions. If we take advantage of the unique opportunity to bring these efforts together, we can develop a strong national policy that incorporates technology innovation into the vehicles sold in the U.S. and that contributes to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions globally. This approach would take advantage of significant new advanced technologies that have the potential to transform the way in which people drive and that offer enormous potential to increase fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also would take into account the newer, non-discriminatory fuel economy standards enacted by Congress in 2007 (EISA, P.L.110-140) by applying the same standard for similar size and weight vehicles regardless of manufacturer.

The uniform standard should be based on science and technological feasibility, and it should be written in a way that is non-discriminatory. For a single national standard to be non-discriminatory, it needs to be attribute-based and based on solid scientifically-derived information and data. It also needs to take into consideration what is technologically achievable. I hope that the EPA will join with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) in adopting a single national standard based on technological feasibility for each class of vehicle. I would welcome the opportunity to work with the Obama administration, the State of California, and other interested parties in achieving that goal.

I believe we have a historic and unique opportunity to address global warming and vehicle fuel efficiency in a strong national standard that recognizes the overlapping nature of these two issues and acknowledges the expertise that federal and state agencies can bring in addressing them together. Again, thank you for sharing your views with me.

Sincerely, Carl Levin

The automated response is, of course, irrelevant to the message sent.

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Blog Archive

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CO2 Cap and Trade

There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)