Is the “CLEAR” bill really transparent?

I picked up these little tidbits snooping around this afternoon about the CLEAR bill and it appears to me that it’s another case of the government not being as “transparent” as advertised by Obama. I’m sure you will remember President Obama’s promise that “”Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency,” Obama said.” Well, that was good for a laugh anyway.

I can’t say I remember seeing much “transparency” so far, and here we have yet another instance of something going on that is not very “transparent” or very “CLEAR.” “Rule of law?” Just look at how well our immigration laws are “enforced” and you should get an ides of what I am referring to.

Below are some snippets from the CBO regarding this bill.  You can read the whole letter here (PDF).

CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would increase direct spending by $20.5 billion over the 2011-2020 period and would increase revenues by $22.2 billion over the same period. CBO estimates that enacting this legislation would increase direct spending by $20.5 billion over the 2011-2020 period and would increase revenues by $22.2 billion over the same period.

In total, CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 3534 would reduce future deficits by $5.3 billion over the 2011-2015 period and $1.7 billion over the 2011-2020 period (see enclosed table).

OK, it would appear based upon this report that this will actually reduce the deficit, i.e., it’s not going to cost the tax-payers one cent and will in fact have the net effect of reducing the deficit by a combined $7 billion through 2020. Well, that’s nice, but someone’s got to pay for all this, if the tax-payers aren’t then who is? You got that right, the tax-payers, they’ll just get screwed by an indirect method.

For starters it appears it will possibly wipe-out the uranium mining business in the United States. From Mine Web we get this.

Speaking on behalf of the National Mining Association, Uranium One Americas Executive Vice President warned the House Natural Resources Committee Thursday the proposed energy and aquatic legislation will mean the end of domestic uranium mining and exploration, and illegally seize current uranium mining claims.

Well that’s not going to be very good for business.  It’s going to kill jobs and illegally seize claims. It will shift the profits to other uranium producing countries like Canada, Australia, South Africa and a host of others. Considering the importance of this mineral to the military, one would have to question why anyone would want to make the US dependent upon foreign sources.

There seems to be other motivation.  As noted in the quote this will “illegally seize current uranium mining claims.” So what is the reasoning behind that? Cathy Carlson of NGO Earthworks is quoted as saying.

“We hope that by moving uranium to a leasing system, only public lands that are truly suitable for uranium mining will be leased, while Native American communities and sacred sites and National Forests around the Grand Canyon National Park will be protected from further uranium development,” she added.

See what we have here is more telling.  We have NGO Earthworks approval of this bill because it’s going to lock up a lot of federal land from mining operations, which it appears they don’t like very much. From what I see of the Obama Administration there may never be any “public lands that are truly suitable for uranium mining.” I have to question if protecting Native American communities is fancy talk for another way for the administration to transfer wealth.  I could envision them charging a uranium mine up the wazoo for permission to mine on a reservation.

If they do manage to find any land that is “truly suitable” they will now be able to charge royalties to the uranium mines ala the gas and oil industry. That sounds good on the face of it, too, doesn’t it? But, think about it.  We compete against other uranium mining countries with less environmental regulations and lower labor costs than we have.  If the government charges royalties, then the uranium that gets mined in the US is probably going to be overpriced. If no one buys it then it’s rather obvious that the uranium mines will falter and disappear taking jobs with them.

That is what I feel is the real onus of this section of this bill. The ecotards want to effectively ban uranium mining on public lands, just like they want to lock up public lands with more wilderness areas, more national monuments and more national parks. They could care less about putting people out of work and causing more trade deficits. How much more is that going to cost the tax-payers when we get to foot the bill for all the unemployment checks and welfare checks for unemployed miners?  If they close up mines, this will also trickle down to local business who sell mining equipment, food, trucks, cars, houses, etc.  No miners = no money = no business = more people collecting unemployment checks.

So what else will this bill that’s supposed to be regulating off-shore oil drilling accomplish? Per the Republican Natural Resources Committee here is some more this bill will “accomplish.”

The CLEAR Act is being sold as a response to the Gulf oil spill crisis, yet the bill itself stretches far beyond addressing this tragedy to include page after page of provisions that are unrelated to the oil spill, will kill American jobs, and are premature by acting before Congress has the full facts from the numerous ongoing investigations into the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill.

So, we have a bill about one thing that’s mysteriously morphed into a bill to control all kinds of things not related and moreover the Democrats appear to be in another rush to push this through before anyone wakes up. Some transparency. So what else do the Republicans note about it?

With this bill, Democrats are exploiting the Gulf oil spill tragedy as a political opportunity to push through provisions that are unrelated to the spill response or reforms to offshore drilling. The latest version of the CLEAR Act:

Imposes job-killing changes and higher taxes for onshore natural gas and oil production. It fundamentally changes leasing onshore by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, which affects not just leasing for natural gas and oil, but also for renewable energy including wind and solar. Forest Service and BLM leasing are shoved into the three new agencies that are replacing the former Minerals Management Service (MMS).

–     Creates over $30 billion in new mandatory spending for two programs that have nothing to do with the oil spill (the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Historic Preservation Fund). In the version of the bill headed to the House floor, Democrats added brand new language that expressly allows this $30 billion to be earmarked by the Appropriations Committee.

–     Raises taxes by over $22 billion in ten years – with the taxes eventually climbing to nearly $3 billion per year. This is a direct tax on natural gas and oil that will raise energy prices for American families and businesses, hurt domestic jobs, and increase our dependence on foreign oil. This tax only applies to U.S. oil and gas production on federal leases – giving an advantage to foreign oil and hurting American energy jobs.

–     Requires the federal takeover of state authority to permit in state waters, which reverses sixty years of precedent. The mismanagement, corruption and oversight failures of the federal government are being used as justification to expand federal control by seizing management from the states.

–     Allows 10% of all offshore revenues – an amount possibly as high as $500 million per year – to be spent on a new fund controlled by the Interior Secretary to issue ocean research grants (ORCA fund). There is no requirement that the fund is used for the Gulf region or anything related to oil spills or offshore drilling. These funds can be earmarked.

–     Establishes “marine spatial planning” regulatory authority – which allows for ocean zoning that could lead to restrictions on fishing, energy production and even onshore activities such as farming. This vague new regulatory authority could cost fishing jobs, energy jobs, manufacturing jobs, farming jobs, and many more jobs that may impact waterways that drain into the ocean.

The bill includes unlimited spill liability for offshore operators, which could effectively eliminate independent producers from operating offshore if they cannot obtain insurance policies to cover their operations. According to an independent study from IHS Global Insight, “by 2020 an exclusion of the independents from the Gulf of Mexico would eliminate 300,000 jobs and result in a loss of $147 billion in federal, state, and local taxes from the Gulf region over 10 years.”

Democrat leaders also deleted a provision adopted without objection in the House Natural Resources Committee just two weeks ago to establish a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the oil spill – a provision that has also passed a Senate Committee in a bipartisan vote.

See what we get? Transparency? No. We get more taxes, fewer jobs, fewer tax-payers, we’re creating more government bureaucracies that in turn will cost even more money, we’re giving more authority to non-elected officials to take their little fiefdoms and do as they please with little or no recourse for the voters, we’re skewing the oil business in favor of non-US companies, probably reducing the amount of oil that US owned companies can produce, which at the same time creates more dependency on foreign oil, the federal government will be taking more authority away from states.  Talk about a mess, this is it.

The last one I find particularly interesting because what it will do is skew the Gulf oil spill investigation. You won’t have an investigation by a committee with anyone on it who’s in the oil industry and who may actually have a clue about what happened. You will have a committee with the investigative “deck” stacked with “jokers” from the environmental movement, who no doubt will do everything in their power to skew things to try to justify a complete ban on off-shore oil drilling. They also can CYA the President and the people at the EPA.  Per Rep. Doc Hastings (R) Washington…..

“By deleting the bipartisan, independent oil spill commission that’s received bipartisan support in both House and Senate committees, Democrats have shown they are more interested in protecting the President than getting independent answers to what caused this tragic Gulf spill.  Some of the biggest failures that contributed to the Gulf disaster are the direct responsibility of the federal government and by deleting this bipartisan, independent commission, Democrats ensure that only the President’s hand-picked commission will be digging into any failures of his own Interior Department appointees.  There is widespread agreement that no member of the President’s commission possesses technical expertise in oil drilling, and several are on the record in opposition to offshore drilling and support a moratorium that will cost thousands of jobs,” Hastings said.

You can bet that they probably possess the “technical expertise” to cover things up, skew facts, ignore reality, CYA Obama, be obtuse,  and shift blame towards any direction as long as it’s not pointing at the White House. So who do we have to thank for eliminating this provision?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stripped out authorization for an independent investigation into the Gulf disaster.

Yes, good old Nancy Pelosi, that’s who has single-handily covered Obama’s ass on this. That’s what I call real “transparency.”

Just to add to it, on another note, there is more “transparency” coming out of the Obama Administration.  The SEC doesn’t have to respond to Freedom of Information Act Request anymore.  Still more “transparency” from the Obama Administration.

Think cap & trade and carbon taxes are kaput? Think again. What do you think the tax on energy is in this bill? Why it’s a concealed carbon tax, that’s what. How “transparent” can they get in Congress?

This is more CO2 Insanity at it’s best, right in the nation’s capitol. Better hang on to your gas cap.

Sources: CBO, Mine Web, Republican Natural Resources Committee

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