The coalition is fading fast

It hasn’t been well-publicized but over the last week three corporations withdrew their membership from the U.S. Climate Action Partnership – Conoco, BP America, and Caterpillar cut ties with the group in the wake of recent questions about the accuracy of the data used to support manmade global warming.

As Myron Ebell from the Competitive Enterprise Institute noted:

In dropping out of the U. S. Climate Action Partnership, BP America, Conoco Phillips, and Caterpillar are recognizing that cap-and-trade legislation is dead in the U. S. Congress and that global warming alarmism is collapsing rapidly.  We hope that other major corporations will soon see the light and drop their support for cap-and-trade and other energy-rationing legislation. 

These announcements are most welcome, but they do not mean that we can relax our efforts to defeat and roll back energy-rationing legislation and regulations.  Many policies and proposals that would raise energy prices through the roof for American consumers and destroy millions of jobs in energy-intensive industries still pose a huge threat.  These include the EPA’s decision to regulate greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act, environmental pressure group efforts to use the Endangered Species Act to stop energy production and new power plants, the higher fuel economy standards for new passenger vehicles enacted in 2007, presidential executive orders, and bills in Congress to require more renewable electricity, higher energy efficiency standards for buildings, and low carbon transportation fuel standards.

Worthy of note that the three dropouts are two energy companies and a heavy equipment manufacturer, companies which would likely be in favor of alternative energy if they felt it were a profitable way to go.

Frankly, I was a little surprised to see my friend Jane Van Ryan downplay the withdrawal of two energy companies given her closeness to the situation. Then again, she points out that the unraveling of the climate change hoax is happening on many levels – everything from record cold and snowfall across the country to “hiding the decline” to the legislative failures both she and Ebell point out.

Yet big corporations are keen about shifting sides in a debate when they sense they’re no longer on the winning side. Most Americans don’t mind the occasional recycling program and taking other steps to protect the environment – that is until they feel compliance switches from voluntary to mandatory, as it would for cap and tax and other government mandates. As you’ll see Sunday (can you say foreshadowing?) the Audi “green police” commercial hit close to home because it’s just believable enough to be discomforting.

In the meantime, this may be a good opportunity to reward these companies for their farsightedness and belief in capitalism. Certainly they’re still going to have their lobbyists bending the ears of federal and state legislators, but at least in this way they have determined that government won’t be the solution to the problem.

Wicomico County Council approves spending others’ money

In a hardly surprising move, the Wicomico County Council voted to accept the $300,000 per acre price for five acres across to the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, spending $1.5 million in state money to purchase the land and put up a parking lot. The land had been used for years as supplemental parking for the WYCC anyway, but developers threatened to charge the county monthly rent and County Council chose not to call their bluff.

The vote was 4-3 to accept the offer, with Council President Gail Bartkovich and Councilmen Joe Holloway and Stevie Prettyman objecting. Previous to this vote, the Council did approve an amendment to make the purchase contingent on securing the promised Program Open Space money.

During the discussion preceding the vote, John Cannon asked whether the land was needed, but voted for it anyway based on the business interests behind it. Fellow Councilman Sheree Sample-Hughes termed her support as a “quality of life” issue. For his part, Bill McCain added the “stars are just right” for purchasing the land and spoke about the effort to secure the POS dollars – it was a “great deal.” David MacLeod cited a 3:1 ratio of e-mails in support vs. opposition.

On the other hand, “this is not a win-win situation for the county,” said Prettyman. Joe Holloway cited current economic condidtions  as the reason for his opposition. Similarly, Bartkovich noted she could support this in “a better time and place” but for the public “the problem is the price.”

So now we’ve allocated the money to park near a white elephant with several weaknesses – the building is showing its age (built in the late 1970’s after its predecessor burned down in a spectacular fire), its capacity is too small to attract major sporting events and big-name concerts, and due to a legal covenant no alcohol sales are allowed on the site. In a decade or so, once regional economic fortunes turn around, the building will be a relic and the county will have this land – possibly along with another 15 acres adjacent to the newly purchased site at another $250,000 per acre.

Nor is the cost of converting the land from parking to parking factored in – the new purchase means the property needs to be compliant with new state regulations for storm drainage. Overall, the newly renovated site will provide parking for about 500 cars.

Perhaps the lot can be dedicated when it’s finished, and I have the perfect name to adopt for the new additional parking which will be used maybe 50 days a year: how about “Pollitt’s Folly?”

Who’s running the government now?

This from Americans for Limited Government explains a lot. A few excerpts:

An email sent from an Service Employees International Union (SEIU) lobbyist to Democratic members of the U.S. Senate shows that the SEIU had advance knowledge of when key votes on Craig Becker were to be held. Becker is one of Barack Obama’s nominees for the National Labor Relations Board.

The email was released by Jeri Thompson, co-host of the Fred Thompson Show. Thompson described the email as “marching orders to the Senate HELP Committee, telling them what their schedule was going to be.”

According to the email sent from Alison Reardon, legislative consultant for SEIU, “Your attendance at is crucial to appointing Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  Please attend Thursday’s HELP Ex. Session to report out President Obama’s nomination of Craig Becker for Senate confirmation.”

The memo continues, “This is the highest priority for organized labor, and Majority Leader Reid will file Cloture on Friday 2/5, and has assured us that Senate will vote to end debate at 5 p.m. Monday 2/8.”

The email also asks for Senators to confirm their attendance at the executive session of the HELP Committee.

In essence, the Senate was working at the beck and call of the Service Employees International Union. Talk about buying access! Their millions in campaign contributions sure are coming in handy as far as that goes.

Fortunately, it doesn’t look like the Becker nomination will go through because the GOP has another helper against him: Senator Ben Nelson, in full panic mode after word of the Cornhusker Kickback got out, has signaled he’d join with the GOP in filibustering the nominee. So the SEIU will be thwarted for now into getting their toady onto the National Labor Relations Board. (The vote today was 52-33 to invoke cloture with Democrats Nelson and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas joining the GOP cause.)

But just imagine if ExxonMobil or Halliburton had been behind a memo such as this – do you think the mainstream media and leftist bloggers wouldn’t be screaming about impeachment hearings? Yet most of what we’ve heard about this issue from the folks at the mainstream media (like this CBS News example from today) talks about how business groups held his nomination up, not the machinations to grease the skids.

Obviously the situation ended well, but the question remains whether this sort of influence exerted by the SEIU and Big Labor in general is too much for America’s good.