Burning down the house

The Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for environmental review for civil works projects that affect navigable waters—projects like the Gateway Pacific Terminal—“will not take into consideration the green house gases that will be emitted when the coal is burned in Asia.” In testimony before Congress, a Corps spokesperson, described the effects as “too indirect” and therefore outside of the scope of their mandate.

If not the Engineers, then who will be the champion for Mother Earth?

Perhaps, Capitalism and the “Invisible Hand of the Market” will save Her from us? I mean, in the long run, higher profits will be made from an increasingly high-functioning, orderly, safe and healthy world!

Or not….

Bob Watters is with SSA Marine, the company that wants to build the Gateway Pacific Terminal.

He says climate change has no place in the environmental review.

Mother Earth…you are soooooo fucked.

Comments

  1. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Meanwhile, the rich are doing great.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/busines.....6C10361939

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Government policies saved the banks and inflated financial assets owned by wealthy people. Unfortunately they haven’t done a damn thing for America’s working stiffs. Which makes you wonder whose side our government is on …

  2. 3

    Michael spews:

    The environment has no place in environmental review. Now I’ve head it all.

    Shit, all we have to do is block a couple of coal trains and your profits from shipping the shit go out the window. This will be a short lived project.

  3. 4

    john spews:

    Well Congrats RR. Based on your frequent and constant comments on your investment success and how you make a killing in this or that stock/investment, you should be one of the new millionaires yourself. Doesn’t it feel good to have all this success and not having done a thing for the working stiffs ?

  4. 5

    john spews:

    Darryl: China will burn coal one way or another whether it’s from the US, from Canada, from Australia or …
    Whether you agree with the terminal or not, the “environmental impact study” is a local issue, unless you can clearly decide and “rule” that if the WA terminal is not built, China will not burn any coal and therefore the CO2 emmission will not happen. As this is not possible, including Chinese CO2 emmissions is a moot point.
    If you want to change China’s way of running their country…you need to look at other venues.

  5. 6

    rhp6033 spews:

    I’m with the Corps of Engineers on this one. They have enough problems to worry about, with very limited manpower. Their main task is to keep open and expand the safety and navigability of the nation’s waterways, and dealing with environmental impact statements relating to permits for expansion of port facilities is simply tied to that first job.

    As to the cargo being shipped, dealing with that in an environmental impact study can be problematic. Should the Corps of Engineers have veto power over whether beef products get shipped by water because of the impact of cattle on global warming? How about other agricultural products – should they insist that some grains be allowed, and others not, based on their proportionate uses of pesticides and fertilizers in growing the grains?

    These are public policy issues, which should be determined by a rational Congress (snicker) using scientific evidence (snicker again) to enact reasonable controls. The failure of Congress to do it’s duty doesn’t necessarily mean that the duty and right to develop national policy on these matters devolves to a semi-military agency like the Corps of Engineers.

  6. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 “Doesn’t it feel good to have all this success and not having done a thing for the working stiffs?”

    I’ve made my position on this subject clear countless times on this blog. My heart is with America’s working stiffs. They’re getting badly screwed while banksers, hedge fund managers, and investors make out like bandits. I don’t deserve the special tax breaks I get from flipping stocks. Workers have the worst of everything — costly commutes, hard work, bad bosses, lousy (and sometimes dangerous) working conditions, high taxes — the list of burdens and disadvantages heaped on workers is endless. I’m bothered so much by how unfair our system is to workers that I repetitively post comments, only partly tongue-in-cheek, that nobody should work if they don’t have to.

    What is the conservative response to this?

    1. Try to break the unions fighting for better wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers.

    2. Try to dismantle the regulatory functions of government that enforce workplace health and safety laws.

    3. Try to eliminate estate taxes, corporate income taxes, taxes on capital gains and dividends and all other forms of non-wage income; so that only wages will be taxed and only workers will pay taxes while the rich skate.

    4. Fight increases in the minimum wage, enact so-called “right-to-work” [for low wages] laws, fight unemployment benefits, fight food stamps, try to eliminate social security and medicare.

    I could go on and on, but I’ve made my point, which is that liberals, progressives, and Democrats respect working people and fight for them; while conservatives and Republicans disrespect workers, mistreat workers, exploit workers, and seek to crush workers every chance they get.

    I vote for Democrats and fight against the Republican agenda; that makes me pro-worker. People who espouse the conservative ideology and vote for Republicans are anti-worker. It’s that simple, clearcut, and black-and-white.

    The fact I play the stock market as a hobby is irrelevant and a straw man. It makes me a capitalist, but not a Republican. It makes me a beneficiary of an unfair tax code skewed in favor of owners of financial assets while it screws wage earners, but that doesn’t make me anti-worker. I vote for a pro-worker agenda and against my own financial interests.

    What do you vote for?

    P.S., I am not a millionaire. I started investing in 1982 with $7400 and I currently own 40 different stocks worth about 1/3 million dollars. That’s not a million. A third is not one.

  7. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I repeat, how you vote, not what you own, defines you as pro-worker or anti-worker. Your vote, not your stock portfolio, is what matters to America’s overworked, underpaid, mistreated, and hard-pressed working and middle classes.

    The rich have made gushers of money during this recession while millions suffer. Our government’s policies are skewed in their favor and do almost nothing for Main Street and America’s workers. And what do we get from them while they roll in wealth created by policies that artificially inflate paper wealth? They whine about tax rates one-third or one-half of what working stiffs pay.

    Criticizing my capitalist exploitation of Wall Street’s wealthy classes is pointless and meaningless. It’s nothing more than a lame attempt to distract attention away from how bad the conservative agenda is for working people.

  8. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    What we do won’t stop China or India from burning coal. Yes, they’re polluting the atmosphere, but it goes deeper than that. Chinese coal mines are unsafe and hundreds of miners die in them every year. But China, which is in the process of urbanizing and industrializing, is so hungry for electricity they’re building new coal plants at a rate of one per week. They’re going to burn coal whether we sell it to them or someone else does. In fact, American coal isn’t all that competitive in Asia, because Australian coal is cheaper and closer to end markets. China and India don’t need our coal, they can get along without it. Building coal export terminals is strictly for the benefit of U.S. coal companies and their stockholders.

    (Full disclosure: Roger Rabbit owns stock in Arch Coal Co. and Peabody Energy.)

  9. 10

    dorky dorkman spews:

    re 5: “…if the WA terminal is not built, China will not burn any coal and therefore the CO2 emission will not happen.”

    That’s not the argument.

    The argument is that China will burn less coal if they do not have access to American coal and the U.S. will finally be perceived as taking a leadership role in an issue of grave importance to the health of the planet, thereby emboldening the people of other countries to oppose the coal industry.

    To draw an example from one unhealthy industry (tobacco) to another (coal, you would be arguing in favor of minors being able to buy and smoke cigarettes because, after all, preventing them won’t stop all people from smoking.

    Your argument makes no sense — therefore, none of your arguments will ever make sense.

  10. 11

    Ten Years After - Roger Rabbit is just a liberal progressive troll. spews:

    I would support a personal income tax based on some multiple of the yearly federal minimum wage. For instance, let’s say that multiple is 2, and, for the ease of computations, the current federal minimum wage is $10 per hour. ($10 for the purposes of demonstration only – I know the federal miminum wage is lower than that.). There are 2,080 working hours in an average year, so twice this amount times $10 per hours is $41,600.

    2,080 X 2 X &10 = $41,600

    So, every person listed on the Form 1040 gets $41,600 free of income tax. Working stiffs would still be on the hook for payroll taxes, but that’s a subject for another conversation..

    For a family of four, there wouldn’t be any income tax liability until income for the family surpasses $166,400. Under this system poor people and a lot of the middle class wouldn’t pay any personal income taxes.

  11. 12

    Deathfrogg spews:

    The coal terminal issue here isn’t about the exporting of coal at all. It is about the State and local governments footing most of the bill for constructing a huge bulk cargo export facility that will likely never be used. It is about running 20 to 30 mile-long trains every day through the rail corridor that cuts the City of Bellingham off from the waterfront, with all the noise, dust and shit that goes along with that. This would be a state of the art facility, with remote controlled and CNC controlled switching and transport equipment. The system is almost entirely automated, and is going to be monitored and controlled from the main facility in Texas.

    1: China is not end-user purchasing any coal right now, and have not been for almost a year. Their bulk storage facilities are overflowing, and the middlemen brokers are now renting large bulk freighters to store it offshore. They continue to purchase the coal entirely on speculation, but really have no buyers.

    2: China has developed what is to become the single-largest and most modern coal mine in the entire world, capable of feeding her entire consumption levels at those predicted to be in 2 years, with enough for export.

    3: China has already pledged to reduce imports of coal to zero within ten years due to the above @ #2.

    4: China is now pledging to reduce their coal use due to the incredible level of pollution in cities like Shanghai, Souzou, Hangzou and Bezhing where it is so bad that there are whole weeks where one literally cannot see across the street.

    5: The coal glut has depressed the world market to the point where even the large American and Canadian producers are reducing production and the Australians are considering closing several of their mines.

    6: China is building massive coal-fired powerplants, but most of them are not being turned on. They are not being wired into the grid, nor are they being stocked up with fuel. They are being built, and more or less abandoned. China is developing modular and scalable nuclear power technology, and may be decades ahead of us in those design efforts, as they are not concentrating on building gigantic multi-megawatt systems but much smaller systems based on common design features and subsystems that are being standardized and manufactured off-site and transported to location.

    This export facility is all about greasing certain palms, and making a huge amount of money for a certain large-facility construction firm that has already demonstrated its eagerness to defraud the State by any means possible, the way they did with WPPSS. It is the same goddamn company.

  12. 13

    Michael spews:

    @5
    We can’t control what other countries do.

    We can control what we do and we can decide that we don’t want to be a part of the increased CO2 emissions of whomever the end user of that coal is. Because the coal crosses several state borders to get the export terminals and would be burned by a foreign country it is a legitimate issue for the federal government to be a part of, just as the state department is part of the Keystone XL pipeline decisions.

    In keeping with the global warming theme, your entire response is a bunch of hot air.

  13. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 “Under this system poor people and a lot of the middle class wouldn’t pay any personal income taxes.”

    And how will you replace that revenue?

  14. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 “China will burn less coal if they do not have access to American coal”

    That’s not true.

    “It is about running 20 to 30 mile-long trains every day through the rail corridor …”

    Yes. It’s all about the trains.

    @13 We don’t have to be willing participants in China’s coal-burning, and arguably shouldn’t be, but if China reduces its coal consumption it won’t be because of us. They’ll do it because they’re choking on their own soot. The issue for us is the impact of trains on our communities.

  15. 16

    Michael spews:

    @15
    The increased flooding, storm activity, and sea level rise that will come with the burning of all that coal sure as fuck will effect the Corps of Engineers activities.

  16. 18

    Ten Years After - Roger Rabbit is just a liberal progressive troll. spews:

    From 14,

    I’d start by ending the overseas empire and see if that alone will do the trick. If not, I’d look for other places to cut government spending until revenues balanced with spending.

    Would you prefer some lower yearly multiple of federal minimum wage to be applied? There’s nothing sacred about twice yearly minimum wage as the individual floor for income taxes for persons. We could do this if we really wanted to. It means some of those favorite sacred cows in the tax code will end up on the dinner table, but the system would be flatter and more fair for all of us. For example, the mortgage interest deduction might be hit or possibly deductions to charity. It would surely be easier to compute personal income taxes.

  17. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 Just as I thought — pie-in-sky libertarian fantasizing about downsizing federal spending to the size of Alaska’s budget.

  18. 20

    dorky dorkman spews:

    Deathfrogg — “The coal terminal issue here isn’t about the exporting of coal at all. It is about the State and local governments footing most of the bill for constructing a huge bulk cargo export facility that will likely never be used.”

    Well, then there’s no problem. The multiplier effect f4om the wages paid to those building the facility and those supplying the materiel will help our economy without the negative effects of actually shipping the coal.

  19. 21

    Ten Years After - Roger Rabbit is just a liberal progressive troll. spews:

    From 19,

    Well, we could just keep doing what we’re doing, and money will be worthless. We simply HAVE to end the overseas empire – it’s not sustainable. Obama is tending to get involved in Syria now, and I think that’s a mistake. We need to get out of the Middle East and stop trying to dictate our will to Muslim countries. We’re just too different to understand them or for them to understand us.

  20. 22

    Ten Years After - Roger Rabbit is just a liberal progressive troll. spews:

    My priority would be ending the Afghan War and returning the prisoners in Guantanamo to their native countries and withdrawing entirely from the Middle East.

    We have terrorism because those people are tired of us interfering with their internal affairs.

  21. 23

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @21 “Well, we could just keep doing what we’re doing, and money will be worthless.”

    If you don’t want yours, I’ll take it.

    Honestly, TYA, you’re a fucking joke. Why aren’t you buying gold? That’s what people who drink the Ron Paul Koolaid are doing and they’re losing their shirts.

    You don’t know a damn thing about our monetary system. Inflation in the USA is almost zero, and the Fed is fighting deflation. The velocity of money is at a record low.

  22. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @21 “We’re just too different to understand them”

    What do you mean “we”? Leave “we” out of this. You’re speaking here strictly about yourself.

  23. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @22 “We have terrorism because those people are tired of us interfering with their internal affairs.”

    We have terrorism because you humans like to fight with each other. Fratricide is mankind’s favorite sport.