Let’s start with a quiz:

Which of these predictions is most likely to come true:

  1. Senator Sanders’ “bold” climate action plan will gain traction and become the law of the land.
  2. Vegan options will be available at the next landman’s dinner meeting.
  3. As 2020 approaches President Trump will learn his lesson. No more tweets.
  4. After all these years, your cat will finally respect you.
  5. LSU will beat Texas on the gridiron.


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Just because anthropogenic climate change is a legitimate concern doesn’t mean that the most radical pronouncements from the idealogues aren’t fair game for criticism.

Not an idealogue, Bjorn  Lomborg, thinks we should worry about it  … a little bit. That caution has earned him derision as a skeptic or worse, a denier merely because he believes the “threat” is overstated and the proposed cures are needless and far more expensive than the disease.

Now for the vote-trolling presidential aspirants.

How many trillions for the Green Nude Eel?

Uncle Joe Biden opens with an unmuscular $1.7 Trillion and, in honor of his past, is accused of stealing ideas from the GND.  He sweetens the pot by refusing to take money from fossil fuel interests.
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Welcome to today’s grab-bag of unrelated topics.

The climate avengers are clever in the way they demonize the industry. They give zero credit for technological advancement. Truth is, the industry’s use of technology is constantly evolving, resulting in improved performance and, not secondarily, lessened environmental impact from operations.

One example: Scientists from The Ohio State University are working on a project to convert fossil fuels and biomass into useful products, including electricity, without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The papers were published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
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Speedier than Jesse Owens in the ‘36 Olympics, Democrats railroaded the Colorado legislature passed, by party-line vote, Senate Bill 181, a new law that will have a profound effect on oil and gas operations in that state. It replaces Proposition 112, which was rejected by 57 percent of the voters just five months ago.

Among other effects, the new law mandates the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to redirect its priorities from oil and gas production to protection of public health, safety and welfare, and gives local governments more control over drilling and production. Rather than hear it from me, here are reports from those who were closer to the action:
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The Green New Deal (read it for yourself; its not long), floating around Congress on a cloud of cow farts, is quite a grand and far-reaching manifesto.  Here are differing views from the media, think tanks, and other interested parties. They describe it better than I.

Even though the GND is “impossible”, reliably left Slate opines that‘s why some people like it. Impossible plans are good for thinking and thinking leads to dreaming, and dreaming is the only way that change occurs.

But the journey from dreams to reality is perilous.  According to Big Think, the GND is a “catalyst to radically restructure the US economy and social structure”. Speaking of peril, among the goals the sponsors want to achieve through government action are:

  • Universal health care
  • Universal basic income
  • Right to affordable housing
  • Restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act
  • Revoking corporate personhood
  • Abolishing the Electoral College
  • Repealing the Patriot Act
  • Re-establishing strong labor unions
  • Breaking up too-big-to-fail banks
  • Relieving debt for students and homeowners
  • Reducing military funding
  • Overhauling the military-industrial complex.


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Co-author Nikki Niloufar Hafizi

From the state of Washington to the streets of Paris, proposed taxes on carbon have been making headlines. Why a carbon tax, and what are the arguments for and against it?

Pricing carbon

A progressive carbon tax is a climate-change mitigation policy preferred by many economists. Their reasoning goes like this: Carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions contribute to collective problems such as air pollution and climate change, but the entities emitting the GHGs don’t pay for the damage to the “atmospheric commons”. The price of GHG-emitting activities is lower than its theoretical market price should be, and humans consume more than they otherwise would of these GHG-intensive products and services (think gasoline). A tax on carbon content would correct this market failure and incentivize market participants (consumers and producers … such as yourself?) to emit less carbon by changing their behavior and using different technologies.
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In Frederick v. Allegheny Township Zoning Hearing Board, et al, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed a local zoning ordinance allowing oil and gas operations in all zoning districts in the Township as long as they satisfied enumerated standards that were designed to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the citizenry.

Facts and Findings

CNX received a permit to drill a well. The ordinance imposes a 1,000 foot setback and prescribes notice requirements and operational limitations. Citizens owning neighboring tracts complained that the well was not compatible with agricultural and residential use, complaining about noise from pad site preparation and drilling activities.

The objectors did not challenge the Zoning Board’s fact findings. That was either a tactical mistake or a lost cause. One can’t tell from the opinion. The court noted these findings, among others:

  • This is an area that has historically had gas production. There are 242 conventional gas wells in the Township, some of which employ hydraulic fracturing.
  • One farm already has three gas wells plainly visible to persons driving by the property.
  • Nothing will be visible to the neighbors after the well has been drilled and completed.
  • The Zoning Board rejected as not credible the testimony of several experts sponsored by the objectors.


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In his Hardcore History podcasts, Dan Carlin presents himself, not as a historian, but as a journalist who likes history. Herein is my attempt to present yours truly, not as an environmental lawyer, but as a trial lawyer with an interest in energy policy. Therefore, here are differing assessments of the Trump EPA’s rollback of the Obama EPA’s methane regulations.

Executive summary 

Producers: “Regs bad, industry good; we’re saving the planet.”

Enviros: “Regs good, industry bad; you’re poisoning the planet.”

Read more and decide for yourself
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Co-author Chance Decker

Gloria’s Ranch v. Tauren et al – the Louisiana lenders’ bad dream

Anyone seeking stability in the law governing E&P activities in Louisiana will view the lower court decision as a grave error that must be corrected. Virtually every mortgage provides safeguards to protect collateral and manage lenders’ risk. The court of appeal reasoned that because of those provisions, the lender controlled the ability of the borrower to execute a release of a mineral lease, resulting in solidary liability when the borrower-lessee failed to release its lease.
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