Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is a senior fellow with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, nonprofit public policy institutes that focus on energy, the environment, economic development and international affairs. Paul Driessen is author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power, Black death

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Those fraudulent climate litigation shakedowns

Mar 8, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Those fraudulent climate litigation shakedowns
The ultra liberal enclaves of New York City and San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Marin, and Imperial Beach, California all claim to be deeply worried about manmade climate cataclysms. They detest petroleum, oppose pipelines, fracking and onshore and offshore drilling, and strongly support renewable energy and expensive electricity: already 17-18¢ a kilowatt-hour for families, rich and poor.

They also have huge government pension fund shortfalls (NYC alone has a pension debt of some $65 billion), and are suing BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhilips and Royal Dutch Shell. They’re gunning for a collective litigation windfall of several hundred billion dollars, to help bail them out. (They’d probably sue coal companies, too, but the Obama era war on coal drove many into bankruptcy.)

Will Congress finally get tough on junk science?

Mar 5, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Will Congress finally get tough on junk science?
A growing problem for modern industrialized Western societies is the legion of government agencies and unelected bureaucrats and allied nongovernmental organizations that seem impervious to transparency, accountability or reform. Their expansive power often controls public perceptions and public policies.

Prominent among them are those involved in climate change research and energy policy. In recent years, they have adjusted data to fit the dangerous manmade climate chaos narrative, while doling out billions of taxpayer dollars for research that supports this perspective, and basing dire predictions and policy demands primarily on climate models that assume carbon dioxide now drives climate and weather (and the sun, water vapor, ocean currents and other powerful natural forces have been relegated to minor roles).

Our next energy and security crisis?

Feb 26, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Our next energy and security crisis?
Oil and natural gas aren’t just fuels. They supply building blocks for pharmaceuticals; plastics in vehicle bodies, athletic helmets and thousands of other products; and complex composites in solar panels and wind turbine blades and nacelles. The USA was importing 65% of its petroleum in 2005, creating serious national security concerns. But thanks to fracking, imports are now 40% and the US exports oil and gas.

Today’s vital raw materials foundation also includes exotic minerals like gallium, germanium, rare earth elements and platinum group metals. For the USA, they are “critical” because they are required in thousands of applications; most of them are “strategic” because they’re not produced in the United States.

Climate alarmism is still bizarre, dogmatic, intolerant

Feb 18, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Climate alarmism is still bizarre, dogmatic, intolerant
Climate alarmism dominated the Obama era and run-up to Paris. But it’s at least as bizarre, dogmatic and intolerant now that: President Trump pulled the United States out of the all pain/no gain Paris climate pact; the US EPA is reversing anti-fossil fuel programs rooted in doom-and-gloom climatology; America is producing and exporting more oil, gas and coal; developing nations are burning vastly more of these fuels; Poland is openly challenging EU climate diktats; and German, British Australian and other politicians are voicing increasing concerns about job-killing, eco-unfriendly “green” energy.

With trillions of dollars in research money, power, prestige, renewable energy subsidies, wealth redistribution schemes, and dreams of international governance on the line, the $1.5-trillion-per-year Climate Industrial Complex is not taking the situation lightly. Climate fear-mongering is in full swing.

Dear Lord, what were you thinking?

Feb 16, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Dear Lord, what were you thinking?
What a marvelous evening it was. World-class drummer Tommy Igoe and his Birdland All-Stars treated the George Mason University Center for the Arts audience to a joyous evening of jazz, funk, Brazilian and original music that featured new renditions of classics by David Bowie, The Police, Steely Dan, Charlie Parker and other famed artists. Every high-energy number captivated these jazz aficionados.

It was the band’s third stop on a month-long, 20-city “Art of Jazz” tour. Ten brilliant musicians on brass, guitar, percussion and keyboard, from US coasts and beyond, revved up the tempo for 90 solid minutes. As they played, eleventh artist Jeremy Sutton captured the action on canvas, paper and iPad. With bold, splashy strokes, he brought the players and instruments to life in colorful montages. It was mesmerizing.

Lease the OCS—to benefit all Americans

Feb 9, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Lease the OCS--to benefit all Americans
Under the current offshore energy program developed during the Obama years, 94% of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) is off limits to leasing and drilling. Under the Draft Proposed Program (DPP) announced January 4 by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, over 90% of OCS acreage and 98% of “undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources” in these federal offshore areas (beyond the 3-mile limit of state waters) will be considered for possible future leasing, exploration and development.

The Trump-Zinke plan proposes the largest number of lease sales in US history: 19 off Alaska, 7 in the Pacific, 9 in the Atlantic, and 12 in the Gulf of Mexico (where the vast majority of leasing, drilling and production have taken place over the past 65 years). Government experts estimate that these areas could hold 90 billion barrels of oil and 327 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, worth over $6.5 trillion.

The fake ‘Trump is racist’ issue

Jan 21, 2018 — Paul Driessen

The fake 'Trump is racist' issue
By now, nearly the entire world has heard reports that President Trump referred to the origins of some immigrants as “sh**hole countries.”

Democrats and their media allies spent an entire week castigating the president, calling him racist for using the salty language of Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Hillary Clinton. Their faux outrage served to distract people from the ways Mr. Trump’s energy, deregulation and tax reform policies have rocketed the stock market to record highs a record number of times, created over two million jobs, slashed black and Hispanic unemployment, and increased US wealth by some $8 trillion since his inauguration.

Blatant Blue State hypocrisy

Jan 14, 2018 — Paul Driessen

Blatant Blue State hypocrisy
You’ve got to admire the full frontal audacity of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, and their union and pressure group comrades in arms. Their hypocrisy, fraud and tyranny are boundless, especially on fiscal, energy and climate change issues.

Amid the seventh year of a “New York is open for business” advertising campaign that has spent $354 million thus far, they are presiding over tax and regulatory regimes, mountains of debt, intransigent public sector unions, anti-nuclear, anti-fossil fuel energy policies that are anything but business friendly—and press conferences that promise more of the same for state businesses, taxpayers and pensioners.

The biofuel crony capitalist revolving door

Jan 7, 2018 — Paul Driessen

The biofuel crony capitalist revolving door
Yet another congressional aide is about to pass through Washington’s infamous revolving door to a lucrative private sector position. Kurt Kovarik, legislative director for Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), will become vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board.

To grow and prosper, this industry relies on subsidies and mandates that require steadily increasing volumes of diesel fuel from crops and other sources. As the NBB said in a press release, Kovarik’s “decades of experience in the Senate will serve us well, as we navigate federal policy issues that most affect our industry.” His work on energy and tax legislation, familiarity with the key players in Washington and knowledge of biofuels “are all reasons we are so happy to have him on our team.”

A little slice of Alaskan tundra is finally open for drilling

Dec 31, 2017 — Paul Driessen

A little slice of Alaskan tundra is finally open for drilling

Way back in 1980, Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, establishing the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and making numerous other land use decisions for our 49th state. Section 1002 of the act postponed a decision on managing ANWR’s 1.5-million-acre coastal plain, which has enormous oil and gas potential and is important summertime wildlife habitat.

For four decades, environmentalists blocked legislation that would have opened the coastal plain to leasing and drilling. In 1995 President Clinton vetoed a pro-drilling bill that had passed both houses.

Reducing Antiquities Act land grabs

Dec 17, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Reducing Antiquities Act land grabs
Acting on recommendations by Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, on December 4 President Trump significantly reduced the size of two enormous areas in Utah that Presidents Clinton and Obama had set aside as limited-access, no-development zones under the 1906 Antiquities Act.

Mr. Trump’s action reduced the Grand Staircase Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments from a combined 3.2 million acres (the size of Connecticut) to 1.2 million acres (slightly smaller than Delaware).

Utah residents and elected officials applauded the move as long overdue. The Patagonia and North Face outdoor apparel companies, environmentalist groups, and various liberal politicians and news outlets branded the action a desecration, claimed President Trump “stole” the lands from the American people, and launched coordinated and hyperventilated disinformation campaigns.

Keystone is anti-hydrocarbon zealotry in microcosm

Dec 10, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Keystone is anti-hydrocarbon zealotry in microcosm

The Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC) recently voted to approve the state’s segment of the 1,200-mile Keystone XL Pipeline. While that would appear to allow construction to move forward, more obstacles loom before KXL can finally bring North Dakota and Canadian crude oil to Texas refineries.

Commissioners who voted against approval have raised objections, some landowners still object to the pipeline crossing their lands, other landowners were not aware that the new route will cross their properties, and environmentalists plan more lawsuits to stop TransCanada’s plans to finish Keystone.

UN agency to Congress: Drop dead

Dec 3, 2017 — Paul Driessen

UN agency to Congress: Drop dead
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in France has received over $48 million from America’s National Institutes of Health (NIH), to determine whether various chemicals cause cancer in humans. Of more than 900 chemicals it has reviewed, only one was ever found non-carcinogenic. The latest substance to face IARC scrutiny is glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp.

Not surprisingly, the agency branded glyphosate carcinogenic. But this time evidence is surfacing of collusion with anti-chemical activist groups and class action lawyers, serious conflicts of interest involving a key IARC glyphosate reviewer, and IARC manipulation of scientific reports along with deliberate withholding of studies that concluded the chemical is safe, so that the agency could get a guilty verdict.

Despite this disturbing evidence, and demonstrable proof of the chemical’s safety, the European Union barely extended its authorization for glyphosate use, and then by just five years, instead of the usual 15.

Sharing our blessings

Nov 25, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Sharing our blessings, gas, oil, fossil fuels
This Thanksgiving weekend is a good time to express our gratitude for the jobs, living standards and life spans we enjoy today—largely because of abundant, reliable, affordable energy, 83% of it still because of fossil fuels. As my CFACT colleague Craig Rucker suggests, we should also be grateful that we live in a country that can provide hundreds of millions of turkey dinners, at a price anyone can afford, all on the same day, thanks to our free market economy (and fossil fuels).

Thanksgiving is also an opportunity to ponder why billions in our human family still do not enjoy those blessings, have electricity only sporadically or not at all, and try to survive on a few dollars a day or less. It’s a time to reflect on what we can do to help change policies that perpetuate that situation.

Virginia goes Don Quixote

Nov 19, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Virginia goes Don Quixote
Democrat Ralph Northam had barely won the Virginia governor’s race when his party announced it would impose a price on greenhouse gases emissions, require a 3% per year reduction in GHG emissions, and develop a cap-and-trade scheme requiring polluters to buy credits for emitting carbon dioxide.

Agitators, regulators and predators on the prowl

Oct 29, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Agitators, regulators and predators on the prowl
Legal and scientific ethics seem to have become irrelevant, as anti-chemical agitators, regulators and trial lawyers team up on numerous lawsuits against Monsanto. They’re seeking tens of billions of dollars in jackpot justice, by claiming a chemical in the company’s popular weed killer RoundUp causes cancer.

A key basis for the legal actions is a March 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer ruling that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” A previously little known agency in the World Health Organization (WHO), IARC has gained infamy in recent years—as critics slammed it for manipulating data and altering or deleting scientific conclusions to advance extreme anti-chemical policy agendas.

DC Swamp denizens strike back

Oct 23, 2017 — Paul Driessen

EPA reductions in biodiesel mandates

Despite what I thought were persuasive articles over the years (here, here and here, for example), corn ethanol and other biofuel mandates remain embedded in US law. As we have learned, once a government program is created, it becomes virtually impossible to eliminate, revise or even trim fat from it.

This year, it looked like this “rule of perpetuity” might finally change. The Trump-Pruitt Environmental Protection Agency proposed to use its “waiver authority” to reduce its 2018 biodiesel requirement by 15% (315 million gallons) and (possibly) lower the 2019 total down to the 1-billion-gallon minimum mandated by Congress. The proposed action would not affect corn or other ethanol production and blending requirements, despite growing problems with incorporating more ethanol into gasoline.

The Obama EPA’s crooked prosecutors

Oct 15, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Suppose a crooked prosecutor framed someone and was determined to get a conviction. So he built an entire case on tainted, circumstantial evidence, and testimony from witnesses who had their reasons for wanting the guy in jail. Suppose the prosecutor ignored or hid exculpatory evidence and colluded with the judge to prevent the defendant from presenting a robust defense or cross-examining adverse witnesses.

You know what would happen—at least in a fair and just society. The victim would be exonerated and compensated. The prosecutor and judge would be disbarred, fined and jailed.

Politicized sustainability threatens planet and people

Oct 8, 2017 — Paul Driessen

Sustainability (sustainable development) is one of the hottest trends on college campuses, in the news media, in corporate boardrooms and with regulators. There are three different versions.

Real Sustainability involves thoughtful, caring, responsible, economical stewardship and conservation of land, water, energy, metallic, forest, wildlife and other natural resources. Responsible businesses, families and communities practice this kind of sustainability every day: polluting less, recycling where it makes sense, and using less energy, water and raw materials to manufacture the products we need.

Funding the arts—or hurricane recovery

Oct 2, 2017 — Paul Driessen

A couple of friends recently said it was terrible that some in Congress and the White House could even consider reducing National Endowment for the Arts funding. It’s a critical program, they feel, essential for the very survival of many community and even big-time theaters, orchestras and other arts programs. The thought of trimming the NEA shows a low regard for this important component of civilized society.

For centuries, Kings and princes funded composers, artists, symphonies, operas and artwork, especially back in the days when royalty controlled the lands and wealth—and paid their peasants a pittance (if at all). Letting them listen to or gaze on some of the artistic creations helped keep them happy in an era when illiterate serfs were happy dreaming of being rewarded in the afterlife.