The DOE refuses to answer questions from the incoming Trump administration, a Limerick.

Department of Energy fights,

scared Perry will turn out the lights.

For it will not admit

what it does, and won’t quit.

Its chutzpah is reaching new heights.

The incoming Trump administration sent out a rather lengthy questionnaire, in short asking what each employee has been doing.

The Department of Energy refused to answer, citing Academic Freedom.

Excerpts from the letter: (Thanks, Willis Eschenbach for the list and comments!)

Questions for DOE

This memo, as you might expect, is replete with acronyms. “DOE” is the Department of Energy. Here are the memo questions and my comments.

1. Can you provide a list of all boards, councils, commissions, working groups, and FACAs [Federal Advisory Committees] currently active at the Department? For each, can you please provide members, meeting schedules, and authority (statutory or otherwise) under which they were created? 

If I were at DOE, this first question would indeed set MY hair on fire. The easiest way to get rid of something is to show that it was not properly established … boom, it’s gone. As a businessman myself, this question shows me that the incoming people know their business, and that the first order of business is to jettison the useless lumber.

2. Can you provide a complete list of ARPA-E’s projects?

Critical information for an incoming team.

3 Can you provide a list of the Loan Program Office’s outstanding loans, including the parties responsible for paying the loan back, term of the loan, and objective of the loan?

4 Can you provide a list of applications for loans the LPO has received and the status of those applications?

5 Can you provide a full accounting of DOE liabilities associated with any loan or loan guarantee programs?

6 The Department recently announced the issuance of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for electric vehicles (and perhaps associated infrastructure). Can you provide a status on this effort?

Oh, man, they are going for the jugular. Loan Program Office? If there is any place that the flies would gather, it’s around the honey … it’s good to see that they are looking at loan guarantees for electric vehicles, a $4.5 billion dollar boondoggle that the government should NOT be in. I call that program the “Elon Musk Retirement Fund”.

Folks, for $4.5 billion dollars, we could provide clean water to almost half a million villages around the world … or we could put it into Elon Musk’s bank account or the account of some other electric vehicle manufacturer. I know which one I’d vote for … and I am equally sure which one the poor of the world would prefer.

7 What is the goal of the grid modernization effort? Is there some terminal point to this effort? Is its genesis statutory or something else?

Asking the right questions about vague programs …

8 Who “owns” the Mission Innovation and Clean Energy Ministerial efforts within the Department?

I love this question. Orphan departments are legendary in big bureaucracies … nobody owns them and they can do what they want. I don’t predict a long future for this Mission Impossible—Clean Energy effort..

9 What is the Department’s role with respect to the development of offshore wind?

Given that offshore wind is far and away the MOST EXPENSIVE of all the renewable options, the answer should be “None”.

10 Is there an assessment of the funds it would take to replace aging infrastructure in the complex? Is there a priority list of which facilities to be decommissioned?

Another critical question, about the state of their own facilities.

11 Which Assistant Secretary positions are rooted in statute and which exist at the discretion and delegation of the Secretary?

Like I said … these guys know how to do what they plan to do, which is to change the direction of the agency. All discretionary Assistant Secretaries must be sweating …

12 What is the statutory charge to the Department with respect to efficiency standards? Which products are subject to statutory requirements and which are discretionary to the Department?

Same thing. They want to find out what they can just cut, where the low-hanging fruit might be. I suspect this is about Obama’s ludicrous CAFE standards mandating a 50+ mile-per-gallon average for all car manufacturers.

13 Can you provide a list of all Department of Energy employees or contractors who have attended any Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon meetings? Can you provide a list of when those meetings were and any materials distributed at those meetings, emails associated with those meetings, or materials created by Department employees or contractors in anticipation of or as a result of those meetings?

Now, this is the one that has the “scientists” involved most concerned. Me, I think they damn well should be concerned because what they have been doing all this time is HALF OF A COST/BENEFIT ANALYSIS!!

This is a pet peeve of mine. You can’t just talk of costs in a vacuum. To do that without considering the accompanying benefits is scientific malfeasance. To do it as a policy matter is nothing less than deliberately lying to the public. As a result, I hope that everyone engaged in this anti-scientific effort gets identified and if they cannot be fired for malfeasance then put them to work sweeping the floors. Talk about “fake news”, the so-called “social cost of carbon” is as fake as they come.

14 Did DOE or any of its contractors run the integrated assessment models (lAMs)? Did they pick the discount rates to be used with the lAMs? What was DOE’s opinion on the proper discount rates used with the lAMs? What was DOE’s opinion on the proper equilibrium climate sensitivity?

Cuts to the core, and lets the people know that vague handwaving is not going to suffice. These folks want actual answers to the hard questions, and they’ve definitely identified the critical points about the models.

15 What is the Department’s role with respect to JCPOA? Which office has the lead for the NNSA?

The JCPOA is usually a “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”. In this case, however, it refers to the Iran nuclear deal, and is an  interesting question. The NNSA is the National Nuclear Security Adminstration.

16 What statutory authority has been given to the Department with respect to cybersecurity?

Critical in these times.

17 Can you provide a list of all Schedule C appointees, all non-career SES employees, and all Presidential appointees requiring Senate confirmation? Can you include their current position and how long they have served at the Department?

Here’s the deal. It’s basically impossible to fire a government worker unless they held up a bank and were caught in the act, and even then you’d have to have full-color video to make it stick. Public employee unions are among the world’s stupidest and most destructive idea … the government unions use their plentiful funds to affect the election of the people who set their pay scale. Yeah, that should go well …

BUT … if you can get rid of their position, then you’re not firing them, you just don’t have further work for them. They are trying to figure out who they can cut. Hair is catching fire on all sides with this one.

18 Can you offer more information about the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge?

Never heard of it, but then I never heard of a lot of things in this memo … which just shows that the memo makers did their homework. Turns out that the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge is another clumsy attempt to get Electric Vehicles Everywhere regardless of the fact that the public mostly doesn’t want Electric Vehicles Anywhere.

19 Can you provide a list of Department employees or contractors who attended any of the Conference of the Parties (under the UNFCCC) in the last five years?

An IPCC Conference of Parties is much more party than conference—it’s basically an excuse to party in some lovely location (think Bali, Cancun, …), with the party occasionally interrupted by the pesky conference. It is a meaningless exercise which ends up with an all-night session that finishes by announcing that everyone has signed on to the latest non-binding fantasy about how to end the use of fossil fuels, drive up energy prices, and screw the poor. And yes, if I were appointed to run the DOE, I would definitely want to know who has gone on these useless junkets.

Now, I know that people are going to complain about “scientific freedom” regarding the memo asking who worked on what … but if you don’t want to tell the incoming team what you’ve worked on … why not? Are you ashamed of what you’ve done? Look, every job I’ve had, if a new boss came in, they wanted to know what I had worked on in the past, and I simply answered them honestly. Scientists are no different.

Finally, government scientists presumably work on what their agency directs them to work on … so the issue of “scientific freedom” is way overblown in this context where they are NOT free to work on projects of their own choice.

20 Can you provide a list of reports to Congress or other external parties that are due in 2017? 

Again, a critical question when you take over an organization—what deliverables is it contracted to produce? Like I said, these folks know what they are doing.

21 Can you provide a copy of any Participation Agreement under Section 1221 of EP Act signed by the Department?

We’re way down in the weeds now. This section of the EP Act allows three or more contiguous states to establish a regional transmission siting agency. Not sure why they’ve asked this, but it does add to their knowledge of the projected vague transmission grid actions, which appears like it could be a big money drain.

22 What mechanisms exist to help the national laboratories commercialize their scientific and technological prowess?

A forgotten task at the DOE, I’m sure.

23 How many fusion programs, both public and private, are currently being funded worldwide?

Huh … looking for duplication of activities.

24 Which activities does the Department describe as commercialization programs or programs with the specific purpose of developing a technology for market deployment?

Incoming administrations, if they’re smart, look for low hanging fruit. In this case if there are commercial programs near completion, they can be fast-tracked to provide evidence that the new administration is on the job.

25 Does or can the Department delineate research activities as either basic or applied research?

This is a critical distinction, and one that they possibly have never made.

26 Can you provide a list of all permitting authorities (and their authorizing statutes) currently held by DOE and their authorizing statutes?

Again, the local denizens will not like this a bit, more hair will spontaneously ignite. In part any bureaucracy prides itself on its power to stop people from doing things … in other words, they demand a permit for an action and then they can refuse to issue it. This asks not just for the permitting authorities, but once again for their authorizing statutes. Again, the easiest way to get rid of something is to show it was built without authorization …

27 Is there a readily available list of any technologies or products that have emerged from  programs or the labs that are currently offered in the market without any subsidy?

Quite possibly not, but if so it would be an interesting list.

28 Are there statutory restrictions related to reinvigorating the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management?

29 Are there any statutory restrictions to restarting the Yucca Mountain project?

These two questions show us that they plan to restart Yucca Mountain, the shuttered nuclear waste repository.

30 Which programs within DOE are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan?

Because you can kiss them goodbye along with the CAP …

31 If DOE’s topline budget in accounts other than the 050 account were required to be reduced 10% over the next four fiscal years (from the FY17 request and starting in FY18), does the Department have any recommendations as to where those reductions should be made?

This is brilliant. It’s like my gorgeous ex-fiancee regarding colors. She asks me what color I like so she can cross it off the list of possibilities … and rightly so given my color sense. This strikes me as the same deal. The new Administration asks where the current denizens would cut ten percent … then when they are told it, they know they might want to cut somewhere else … useful info either way.

32 Does the Department have any thoughts on how to reduce the bureaucratic burden for exporting U.S. energy technology, including but not limited to commercial nuclear technology?

Likely not … but worth asking …

33 Is the number of Assistant Secretaries set by statute? Does the statute establish the number as a minimum or a maximum, or is it silent on the question?

Assistant Secretaries are now on DEFCON 1, or DEFCON 0.5, their hair is totally engulfed in flames …

34 Can you provide a list of all current open job postings and the status of those positions?

35 Can you provide a list of outstanding M&O contracts yet to be awarded for all DOE facilities and their current status?

36 Can you provide a list of non-M&O procurements/awards that are currently pending and their status?

Open jobs, outstanding Maintenance and Operation contracts, non-M&O procurements, they want to find out just exactly what is the current state of play. It will also allow the incoming folks to see what last-minute hires they’ve tried to jam through before the changeover.

37 Does DOE have a plan to resume the Yucca Mountain license proceedings?

They may have shelved or previous plans, good to know if so.

38 What secretarial determinations/records of decisions are pending?

Have they made decisions that are not written down? If so, what? Man, these people are thorough, I wouldn’t have thought to ask that one.

39 What should the incoming Administration do to balance risk, performance and ultimately completion in contracting?

40 What should this Administration do differently to make sure there are the right incentives to attract qualified contractors?

An interesting pair of questions.

41 What is the plan for funding cleanup of Portsmouth and Paducah when the current uranium inventory designated for barter in exchange for cleanup services, is no longer available (excluding reinstating the UED&D fee on commercial nuclear industry or utilizing the USEC fund)?

Back into the weeds, proving that these folks have done their homework. Right now, those shuttered nuclear plants are trading uranium, a valuable resource, for cleanup … what happens when the uranium runs out? Who is on the hook for the costs?

42 What is the right funding level for EM to make meaningful progress across the complex and meet milestone and regulatory requirements?

According to the glossary, “EM” is environmental management. I’m not sure what the DOE is required to do in this, and that’s what they are asking.

43 What is the greatest opportunity for reduction in life cycle cost/return on investment? 

44 Describe your alternatives to the ever increasing WTP cost and schedule, whether technical or programmatic?

45 With respect to EM, what program milestones will be reached in each of the next four years?

47 How can the DOE support existing reactors to continue operating as part of the nation’s infrastructure?

48 What can DOE do to help prevent premature closure of plants? 

49 How do you recommend continuing to supporting the licensing of Small Modular Reactors? 

50 How best can DOE optimize its Advanced Reactor R&D activities to maximize their value proposition and work with investors to development and commercialize advanced reactors?

All of these questions are concerned with the regulation and waste disposal of nuclear plants, suggesting strongly that the new administration is interested in keeping existing plants open and licensing new plants.

Questions for EIA

EIA is the Energy Information Agency charged with collecting and maintaining energy-related data.

51 EIA is an independent agency in DOE. How has EIA ensured its independence in your data and analysis over the past 8 years? In what instances do you think EIA’ s independence was most challenged?

Now this is a fascinating two-part question, especially the second part. Basically they are asking, can we trust the EIA, and what pressures is it subject to?

52 Part of EIA’s charter is to do analyses based on Congressional and Departmental requests. Has EIA denied or not responded to any of these requests over the last ten years?

53 EIA customarily has or had set dates for completions of studies and reports. In general, have those dates been adhered to?

54 In the Annual Energy Outlook 2016, EIA assumed that the Clean Power Plan should be in the reference case despite the fact that the reference case is based on existing laws and regulations. Why did EIA make that assumption, which seems to be atypical of past forecasts?

Uh-oh … caught messing with the books …

55 EIA’s assessments of levelized costs for renewable technologies do not contain back-up costs for the fossil fuel technologies that are brought on-line to replace the generation when those technologies are down. Is this is a correct representation of the true levelized costs?

Since this is an issue I’ve raised publicly in my posts on levelized costs, I’m overjoyed to see them ask it.

56 Has EIA done analysis that shows that additional back-up generation is not needed? How does EIA’s analysis compare with other analyses on this issue?

This seems like they’re talking about some EIA analysis that says that such generation isn’t needed, and asking them to justify it. If not, they are simply forcing them to admit that yes, backup is needed, and no, they haven’t been including those costs … good on them.

57 Renewable and solar technologies are expected to need additional transmission costs above what fossil technologies need. How has EIA represented this in the AEO forecasts? What is the magnitude of those transmission costs?

Again, excellent questions that the EIA has not been posing, much less answering.

58 There are studies that show that your high resource and technology case for oil and gas represents the shale gas and oil renaissance far better than your reference case. Why has EIA not put those assumptions in your reference case?

Yes, they definitely should put those in … but then from all appearances they hate fracking with a passion …

59 Can you describe the number of personnel hired into management positions at EIA from outside EIA and compare it to the number of personnel hired into management positions at EIA who were currently serving at EIA?

Hiring outside vs promoting inside … interesting question.

60 How does EIA ensure quality in its data and analyses?

61 Where does EIA think most improvement is needed in its data and analyses?

I’d love to see the answer to this one.

62 We note that EIA added distributed solar estimations to your electricity data reports. Those numbers are not part of your supply/demand balance on a Btu basis. Why has that not been updated accordingly?

Uh-oh again … someone finally asking the hard questions.

63 How many vacancies does EIA have in management and staff positions? What plans, if any, does EIA have to fill those positions before January 20?

64 Is the EIA budget sufficient to ensure quality in data and analyses? If not, where does it fall short?

More questions to clarify the fiscal landscape.

65 Does EIA have cost comparisons of sources of electricity generation at the national level?

Not that I know of … but then they may have them and have not released them. We’ll see.

Questions on labs

DOE labs are separate from the DOE itself … I knew the DOE had labs but I had no idea they had seventeen of them, viz:

National Energy Technology Laboratory at Albany, Oregon (2005)

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at Berkeley, California (1931)

Los Alamos National Laboratory at Los Alamos, New Mexico (1943)

Oak Ridge National Laboratory at Oak Ridge, Tennessee (1943)

Argonne National Laboratory at DuPage County, Illinois (1946)

Ames Laboratory at Ames, Iowa (1947)

Brookhaven National Laboratory at Upton, New York (1947)

Sandia National Laboratories at Albuquerque, New Mexico and Livermore, California (1948)

Idaho National Laboratory between Arco and Idaho Falls, Idaho (1949)

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton, New Jersey (1951)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory at Livermore, California (1952)

Savannah River National Laboratory at Aiken, South Carolina (1952)

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Menlo Park, California (1962)

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory at Richland, Washington (1965)

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory at Batavia, Illinois (1967)

National Renewable Energy Laboratory at Golden, Colorado (1977)

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility at Newport News, Virginia (1984)

Let me say that as a businessman looking at that list, it screams “Duplication Of Effort” at about 180 decibels. Hence the following questions:

66 What independent evaluation panels does the lab have to assess the scientific value of its work? Who sits on these panels? How often do they hold sessions? Do they publish reports?

67 Can you provide a list of cooperative research and development grants (CRADAs) for the past five years? Please provide funding amounts, sources, and outcomes?

68 Can you provide a list of licensing agreements and royalty proceeds for the last five years?

69 Can you provide a list of the top twenty salaried employees of the lab, with total remuneration and the portion funded by DOE?

70 Can you provide a list of all peer-reviewed publications by lab staff for the past three years?

71 Can you provide a list of current professional society memberships of lab staff?

72 Can you provide a list of publications by lab staff for the past three years?

73 Can you provide a list of all websites maintained by or contributed to by laboratory staff during work hours for the past three years?

74 Can you provide a list of all other positions currently held by lab staff, paid and unpaid, including faculties, boards, and consultancies?

The answer:

Energy Department spokesman Eben Burnham-Snyder said Tuesday the Energy Department will not comply.

“Our career workforce, including our contractors and employees at our labs, comprise the backbone of (the Energy Department) and the important work our department does to benefit the American people,” Burnham-Snyder said.

“We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department,” he added. “We will be forthcoming with all publicly available information with the transition team. We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.”

He added that the request “left many in our workforce unsettled.”

Scott Pruitt nominated head of EPA, a Limerick:

After the incredible incompetency and gross irresponsibility shown in the Gold King Mine spill and pollution of the Animas river the EPA is in dire need of an overhaul. Hopefully Scott Pruitt can do a better job of cleaning up the EPA than the present administration.

Yes, Trump seeks advice for his picks,

While “experts” like Gore take their licks.

Pruitt’s new EPA

has to change, come what may,

and end CO2 politics.

The reactions are predictable: From The Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal): scott-pruitt_2014

“We are delighted with President-elect Trump’s selection of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ….”

Meanwhile, from Oakland, CA – In response to news reports that Trump will nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator, California League of Conservation Voters CEO Sarah Rose issued the following statement:

“The naming of a climate denier like Scott Pruitt to head the EPA is nothing less than an effort to undermine the agency’s core mission to safeguard our environment. On the campaign trail President-elect Trump vowed to break America’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, to open our public lands to drilling, and to dismantle the EPA. By nominating Scott Pruitt he’s making it clear he intends to follow through on those promises….”

The Trump EPA landing team: A Limerick.

The new EPA: Let’s reneg.

The Trump team: A chill up my leg.

These are folks of reknown

and their cause is well known.

All honest, not one is a yegg.

This is the Trump EPA transition team:

ebell-copy-e1478803234763Myron Ebell: Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.


amy_oliver_cookeAmy Oliver Cooke: the Executive Vice President and Director of the Energy Policy Center for the Independence Institute, Colorado’s free market, state-based think tank.



davidkreutzer-ashxDavid Kreutzer:  The Heritage Foundation.

austinlipariAustin Lipari: The Federalist Society.

schnareDavid Schnare: Energy and Environment Legal Institute.

davidstevensonDavid Stevenson: Caesar Rodney Institute.

georgesugiyamaGeorge Sugiyama: The Sugiyama Group LLC.


Cut Methane 40-45%? Climate hysteria gone crazy. A Limerick

cowbackpacksA Message that EPA sent.

Cut Methane by 40%.

No more rice, no more beef,

no more milk, no more cheese.

And yet, it will not make a dent.

What is the EPA belching out now?

Let us go over the main contributors to Methane gas generation. methane_sources

The biggest contributor to Methane generation worldwide is Rice paddies, with about 20%. Of this U.S.A. has 1.2% of the worldwide rice production, so if we eliminate domestic rice production we will reduce the our Methane budget by a quarter of one percent, assuming people switch to potatoes and pasta.

Next, also about 20% of the Methane generation are wetlands. These swamps are most cherished by environmentalists, since they are spawning grounds for all kinds of life. No one seriously wants to drain all swamps anymore, so no cuts there.

Third, with about 12% are Ruminants, Methane belching from cows and people eating beans. We could make a dent in this methane production if people totally switched their diet. Maybe a fart-tax would price beef and dairy products out of the market? Don’t forget bean-tax!

Fourth is termites with about 8%. No, Orkin would not be able to handle this. Besides, Orkin uses strong poisons.

Fifth, also about 8% is Biomass burning. Our country is already doing much better than the rest of the world. Much of this burning is sticks and straws and cow-chips for the third world dinner fire.

Sixth is landfills , also about 8%. The largest landfills are already being fitted with methane recovery pipes, which is good. We may recover yet another couple of percent of the Methane budget.

Seventh is coal mining, contributes about 8% world-wide. Obama has promised to obliterate coal mining in the U.S. Unfortunately for him China is consuming over half of the world’s coal, so even if we did away with all coal mining, that would reduce the world-wide Methane budget by less than 2%.

Eighth is gas production, about 8%. The U.S. petroleum industry already burns off the methane, converting it to CO2,  or recovers it as fuel. Not so worldwide. There can be improvements there, but not more than 2% of the worldwide budget.

Next is Methane wells in the ocean bottom and algae blooms in waters over fertilized by nitrates. This is probably under-estimated at 5%. U.S. has done great strides in for example the Chesapeake Bay, but more can be done. We could possibly gain 1% in the Methane budget from ocean cleanup.

The result? No way can we reduce Methane output by 40 – 45% unless we totally change our standard of living, our eating habits and our life-style.

How much reduction in global temperature would it give us? Less than 0.1C!

It turns out that there exists methane-eating bacteria, and they grow better with increased temperature, stripping the coal atom from methane, converting the rest to methyl alcohol and digesting that too. The Arctic, rich in methane eating bacteria may well be a methane sink, not a methane source.

Any takers?

Background: NY Times, Business day:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is expected to propose as soon as Tuesday the first-ever federal regulation to cut emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, by the nation’s oil and natural-gas industry, officials familiar with the plan said on Monday.

The proposed rule would call for the reduction of methane emissions by 40 to 45 percent over the next decade from 2012 levels, the officials said. The proposal was widely expected, after the Environmental Protection Agency said in January that it was working on such a plan.

The new rules are part of Mr. Obama’s broad push for regulations meant to cut emissions of planet-warming gases from different sectors of the economy. This month, Mr. Obama unveiled the centerpiece of that plan, a regulation meant to cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, a move that could transform the way the nation produces and consumes electric power.

The new rules on methane could create a tougher regulatory scheme on the nation’s fossil fuel production, particularly on the way that companies extract, move and store natural gas.

Environmental advocates have long urged the Obama administration to crack down on methane emissions. Most of the greenhouse gas pollution in the United States comes from carbon dioxide, which is produced by burning coal, oil and natural gas. Methane, which leaks from oil and gas wells, accounts for just 9 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas pollution — but it is over 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, so even small amounts of it can have a big impact on global warming.

The oil and gas industry has resisted methane regulations, insisting that new rules could stymie a booming natural gas industry and that voluntary industrywide standards are sufficient to prevent methane leaks. Mr. Obama is pressing efforts to cut harmful emissions as he works toward forging a United Nations global warming accord in Paris in December. The aim of the accord is to commit every nation to enact policies to cut greenhouse gases. The United States has already submitted a plan to the United Nations laying out how it will cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions by up to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.

EPA proposes to ban – Argon? Agency run amok.

EPA Proposes to Remove 72 Chemicals from Approved Pesticide Inert Ingredient List

Release Date: 10/23/2014
Contact Information: Cathy Milbourn 202-564- 4355 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requesting public comment on a proposal to remove 72 chemicals from its list of substances approved for use as inert ingredients in pesticide products.

“We are taking action to ensure that these ingredients are not added to any pesticide products unless they have been fully vetted by EPA,” said Jim Jones, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “This is the first major step in our strategy to reduce risks from pesticides containing potentially hazardous inert ingredients.”

So banning the safe use of Argon

is part of this agency’s jargon.

It’s the new EPA

run amok, on display

“Ban everything useful” – like carbon.

Here is a partial list of the 72 substances proposed for removal from the currently approved inert ingredient list.


For the chemically challenged, Argon is an inert gas (it doesn’t react with anything), is the third most common gas in the atmosphere (0.93%), is heavily used in aluminum welding to prevent oxidation among other uses.

The Argon used in these processes is taken from the air and returned to it, so there is no excuse.

Learn from the Amish! Phase out the CFL light bulb!

Learn from the Amish! Phase out the CFL light bulb!

The Lord leads in mysterious ways. In 2001 we moved to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Leacock Township no less, the township with the highest Amish population anywhere. The soil was worked by horses and mules, the buggies were everywhere and the clotheslines revealed their plain clothes waving in the wind.


( Figure 1. An Amish clothes-line from Kishacoquillas Valley, Pennsylvania)

We had built a house in a development bordering an Amish farm and an Amish homestead. One of the most pleasant sounds is when Amish youth get together for an evening gathering, singing their hymns without instruments and especially without amps. One ethereal evening I sat at our porch listening to their pure voices.


( Figure 2 View from our backyard. Notice the work shop/ horse stall to the right. The second story is a gathering room for church and youth meetings)

They started in the key of F#, and an hour and a half later, their singing ended in the key of F#, beautiful three or 4 part singing from memory all the way, since it was getting dark and they did not use electricity.

Most people think the Amish shun electricity so they can continue to live like they did in the eighteenth century, a time when their forefathers came over to escape religious prosecution. Nothing could be further from the truth. Electricity comes from the grid, and that makes them connected to and dependent on the English, as they call us, and that is to be avoided at all cost. So, telephones are forbidden, but cellphones are o.k.  They do obey all laws, so when the Federal Government mandated the use of headlights for their buggies they complied. They tried the normal gaslights first, but the cotton stockings are sensitive to vibrations, and the old kerosene lamps did not give enough light so they were forced to use automotive headlights. This requires a car battery, and they had to recharge their car batteries all the time, but where to get the electricity to charge them? The English are always happy to charge their batteries for a fee, but the Amish do not like to part with their money, especially not to the English.

What to do? There must be a better light source somewhere, the need is there and the Amish must obey the law. So an enterprising Amishman, Elam S. Beiler turned to Silicon Valley and fitted a white LED light into a car headlight, and the first commercially available LED car headlight was mounted  not on a car but on an Amish buggy. This invention had several advantages. The light is superior, lifetime forever and a battery charge gives 100 hours of light instead of about eight hours. But they still had to pay the English for charging the batteries. The Amish did this while the EPA was busy forcing down CFL lights on the rest of us using the excuse that “carbon pollution” is worse than Mercury  pollution.

Last year we moved to State College, home of the Penn State Lions, a town where the Obama stickers are everywhere on their Priuses, bike paths are everywhere, the backyards are clean and neat, beautiful  parks dot the hills with manicured lawns and flower beds, but we could find no clothes lines. We had built a new home in a zoned neighborhood, no clotheslines allowed, an energy efficient “energy star“ home where every light is of the CFL type, and a light post is mandatory.

This post light was equipped with 3 candelabra style CFL light bulbs, and – you guessed it, they all failed after eight months.

This got me thinking. Could we learn from the Amish?  They still shun grid power, but they are not above taking advantage of opportunities. The Government is promoting solar panels with all kinds of tax credits, and they make sense for the Amish since they are going to use them for charging their car batteries.  So, up comes the solar panels on the top of their work shops, and add a wind generator for cloudy days, and their problem is solved.


(Figure 3. A gathering in a newly built Amish homestead. Notice the solar panels and small windmill on the roof of the outbuilding)

One thing leads to another, and next thing you know is to take a car battery and a headlight into the house and use for lightning. After all, it gives a much better light than a kerosene lamp for less money, so why not use it? Then why not wire up the house with 12 v power and plug in 12 V LED lights?  It surely makes sense for the Amish. They are seeing the light, and are still independent of the power grid.

Does this make sense for us?

001003 (Figure 4 and 5. The experimental post light. The CFL light is now warmed up enough to give an equivalent shine. From left to right : LED, incandescent, CFL)

I am running an experiment with the post light, one light is a 40 W incandescent light,  one is a 9 W CFL light and one is a 4.5 W LED light.  Yesterday, the EPA came out with new guidelines for power plants. They with make it unprofitable to make new coal fired plants, so electricity costs will “necessarily skyrocket “, as then Senator Obama so succinctly put it, so energy conservation is now more important than ever if we are to balance our household budgets.  We could start by allowing drying the wash by the sun again. That would save a few kilowatt-hours per day, but that would also make too much sense.

The EPA has been promoting the CFL lights to conserve energy.  There are many things wrong with the CFL lights. They take a long time to warm up, up to 10 min to give full light output, so they make no sense in a bathroom or a closet where you only spend a few minutes, but during that time you want a full light to read the comics or fix your hair. They also have only so many turn on and off cycles before they fail. When they fail they sometimes explode in the base, break and splat mercury all over the nursery, so you have to deep clean or replace the carpet. They take cold temperatures badly, so they should not be used outdoors (I have 5 outdoor CFL lights thanks to energy star).  You are supposed to recycle your broken CFL lights, but most end up in household trash.U.S. landfills are releasing more than 4 tons of mercury annually into the atmosphere and storm water runoff, according to a study in the Journal of the Air and Waste Management Assn.

Incandescent light has only two problems, high energy use and short life. But they cost less.

LEDs are expensive, but their cost is coming down, and they never die, they just fade with time. The announced lifetime is when their light output is down to 70% of the light it once had. They work everywhere except in unvented fixtures, such as hall lights. If they overheat they fail promptly.

So, which light should I use?

For the post light let us consider the three alternatives

Light type            Price      Lifetime               W            energy/yr            bulbs/yr.              Cost/yr

Incandescent     1.50        2000 hrs               40           175 KWh                2                           $20.50

CFL                      7.00        3000 hrs               9              40 KWh                 1.5                         $14.50

LED                     5.00     15000 hrs                4.5          20 KWh                 0.3                           $6.5

It is clear. The LED light is the winner hand over fist.

Bathroom light

Light type            Price      Lifetime               W            energy/yr            bulbs/yr.              Cost/yr

Incandescent     1.50        2000 hrs               40           15 KWh                 0.2                          $1.80

CFL                       7.00        7000 hrs or          9             3.5 KWh               0.25                        $2.00

.                                            5000 cycles

LED                     15.00     15000 hrs             4.5          1.7 KW                  0.02                        $0.47

Here the clear winner is the LED light. Second place goes to the incandescent light bulb. The CFL light is a poor choice even for economy.

Phase out the CFL lights! Follow the Amish! The Amish are more with it than the EPA!!

The Malthusian option: Food or Ethanol? A Limerick with explanation.

When EPA regulates, they are but slobs;

No thought what effect it will have on our jobs. (1)

You want food? You want fuel?(2)

The one choice is too cruel. (3)

A Malthusian choice, that’s why Mother Earth sobs. (4)


(2)TUCSON, Ariz., March 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — U.S. and European policy to increase production of ethanol and other biofuels to displace fossil fuels is supposed to help human health by reducing “global warming.” Instead it has added to the global burden of death and disease. Increased production of biofuels increases the price of food worldwide by diverting crops and cropland from feeding people to feeding motor vehicles. Higher food prices, in turn, condemn more people to chronic hunger and “absolute poverty” (defined as income less than $1.25 per day). But hunger and poverty are leading causes of premature death and excess disease worldwide. Therefore, higher biofuel production would increase death and disease. Research by the World Bank indicates that the increase in biofuels production over 2004 levels would push more than 35 million additional people into absolute poverty in 2010 in developing countries. Using statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Indur Goklany estimates that this would lead to at least 192,000 excess deaths per year, plus disease resulting in the loss of 6.7 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) per year. These exceed the estimated annual toll of 141,000 deaths and 5.4 million lost DALYs that the World Health Organization attributes to global warming. Thus, developed world policies intended to mitigate global warming probably have increased death and disease in developing countries rather than reducing them. Goklany also notes that death and disease from poverty are a fact, whereas death and disease from global warming are hypothetical. (3)
(4) Malthusian: of or relating to Malthus or to his theory that population tends to increase at a faster rate than its means of subsistence and that unless it is checked by moral restraint or disaster (as disease, famine, or war) widespread poverty and degradation inevitably result