Lawsuit: Obama Is 'Illegally' Thwarting Offshore Drilling

Sunday, 02 Sep 2012 04:26 PM

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Lawsuit: Obama Is 'Illegally' Thwarting Offshore Drilling
2. U.S. Farmers Reaping Record Profits
3. Netanyahu: U.N. Summit in Iran a 'Disgrace to Humanity'
4. Socialized Medicine Chasing Away British Doctors
5. Gallup: Public Schools Worst Place to Educate Children
 

1. Lawsuit: Obama Is 'Illegally' Thwarting Offshore Drilling

A new lawsuit filed by an independent American oil and gas company charges that the Obama administration is blocking legitimate efforts to find and produce oil from offshore wells.

"Given the challenges still facing the U.S. economy, the government needs to move aside and let private industry do what private industry does best: create jobs and increase our oil supply to help lower the price at the pump," a report from the Heritage Foundation states.

"And yet the Obama administration remains committed to strangling America's economic revival by doing everything in its power to prevent companies that obtain offshore leases from actually drilling and producing oil — a fact evidenced by a new lawsuit just filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims by an independent U.S. oil and gas company."

By March 2010, ATP Oil & Gas Corporation received oil leases and necessary permits to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, and installed state-of-the-art drilling and processing equipment to safely access already-penetrated oil reservoirs, according to the report. The project was financed with $1.5 billion from J.P. Morgan.

Then in April 2010, the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf exploded while drilling a well into a previously unexplored reservoir. In response, the Obama administration ordered moratoria on deep-water drilling and barred consideration of new permits.

As a result, the ATP operation was shut down.

ATP has now struck back by filing a lawsuit alleging that the Interior Department "improperly and illegally suspended all deep-water offshore drilling activities and imposed two illegal moratoria on the deep-water drilling permit application process and then unreasonably and unlawfully delayed the issuance of drilling permits after the lifting of the formal moratoria."

ATP is essentially asserting that the government breached its offshore leases with ATP by violating the Administrative Procedure Act in two ways, according to the Heritage Foundation report written by Hans von Spakovsky and Nicolas Loris: "By issuing overbroad moratoria, and by manipulating seven experts from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to bolster a recommendation for the moratoria."

They also point out that all seven NAE experts denied supporting moratoria recommendations, and a previous court case concluded that a White House official had changed the report used to justify the moratoria.

The authors write: "ATP's lawsuit provides a revealing glimpse into the capital-intensive oil and gas industry where unfair and illegal actions by a government agency can cost companies (and the U.S. economy) enormous sums of money."

Opening the outer continental shelf to drilling, they add, "would generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs, generate hundreds of billions of dollars in government revenue, and bring more oil to the world market, thereby lowering gas prices."

Editor's Note:



2. U.S. Farmers Reaping Record Profits

Media reports have been focusing on the drought afflicting much of the United States and the devastating impact it could have on farmers. But surprisingly, American farmers are heading for their most profitable year on record.

The reason: High grain prices and payouts from a federal crop insurance program will compensate for a smaller harvest, the Financial Times reports.

Net farm income will top $122 billion in 2012, the highest-ever profit and the second highest in inflation-adjusted terms since 1973, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

That's a 4 percent rise in average farm profits from 2011, even as 60 percent of the contiguous United States was suffering from a moderate or extreme drought in mid-August.

The American corn and soybean crops have been ravaged by the drought, pushing prices to all-time highs. That means farmers in northern plains states that escaped the worst conditions will earn 39 percent more this year.

"Essentially you have a situation where the increase in prices offsets the reduction in the quantity produced and sold during the year," said Mitch Morehart, a USDA economist. The USDA also reported that "insurance indemnities are forecast to offset the impacts of declining yields associated with the drought."

Insurance claims will amount to an estimated $30 billion this year, with the U.S. government responsible for about $14 billion, according to the Times.

Livestock farmers will not do so well, since they are generally unable to buy crop insurance and will have to shoulder high feed prices.

Editor's Note:



3. Netanyahu: U.N. Summit in Iran 'A Disgrace to Humanity'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has angrily condemned the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit in Iran, which has drawn more than 120 nations to a country that has threatened to exterminate Israel.

"Today, over 120 countries are meeting in Tehran, while the regime there denies the Holocaust, and works to destroy the Zionist state," Netanyahu said on Wednesday, two days after the conference began. "This is a disgrace to humanity."

He said the presence of these 120 states in Iran is a sign that the world's pledge of "never again" after the Holocaust is hollow, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Iran is assuming the presidency of the NAM for the next three years.

Among the attendees this week was U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday. Ban defied calls from the United States and Israel to boycott the event.

As the Insider Report disclosed two weeks ago, Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, also called on Ban to boycott the Summit, stating that Iran's leaders have "spouted vile anti-Semitic rhetoric from U.N. podiums."

Earlier this month Khamenei once again threatened Israel with destruction, saying he was confident "the fake Zionist [regime] will disappear from the landscape of geography."

While in Tehran, Ban called on Iran to take concrete steps to prove the nation's nuclear program has only peaceful purposes, as claimed by the Islamic Republic, the Post reported.

NAM comprises most of the world's developing nations. Iran succeeds Egypt as the chair, and Egypt's two predecessors were Cuba and Malaysia. After Iran, Venezuela is set to assume the leadership in 2015.

Editor's Note:



4. Socialized Medicine Chasing Away British Doctors

Supporters of Obamacare should take note: Since 2008 alone, more than 8,000 doctors have left Britain to practice elsewhere, and the chief reason cited is the country's long-established system of socialized medicine.

"When a government declares that it will provide 'free' healthcare, there is no escaping the fact that such a system will one day be overwhelmed by demand and the providers — the doctors and other professionals who are extensively and intensely trained — won't be able to keep up," an editorial in Investor's Business Daily (IBD) observes. "They will be overworked, underpaid, and frustrated with the difficulties in performing the task they feel called to, namely healing the sick."

Britain's National Health Service is "rotted," according to IBD, which states that waiting times to see a doctor are "often fatal," denial of care is "sometimes deadly," facilities are "often miserable," and the pay is "base."

That, along with more appealing tax rates, is encouraging many doctors to relocate to Australia and New Zealand, the editorial reports.

One anesthesiologist who fled Britain and came to the United States years ago told IBD: "Now we are getting the same thing. Obamacare stinks, and the people will regret it. What happened to docs there will happen here."

IBD opines: "If America doesn't want physician flight in its future, voters will have to turn President Obama out of office this fall so that repeal of Obamacare can be possible."

Otherwise, "today's U.S. physicians will simply retire early or change careers, and tomorrow's will choose another profession, one less regulated and more remunerative."

And the problem isn't confined to Britain — 10 percent of doctors trained in Canada, which also has universal healthcare, end up in the United States.

Editor's Note:



5. Gallup: Public Schools Worst Place to Educate Children

Only 37 percent of Americans think public schools provide students with an excellent or good education, according to a Gallup Poll that gives public schools the lowest marks among five types of schooling.

Respondents were asked their opinion of American public schools, based on what they have heard or their own experience. Only 5 percent said the schools are "excellent," and another 32 percent say they are "good," while 42 percent say they are "only fair" and 19 percent chose "poor."

Compared to the 37 percent of respondents who rate public schools as excellent or good, 78 percent say independent private schools are excellent or good — 31 said excellent and 47 percent said good.

Parochial and church-related schools ranked second, with 21 percent saying they provide an excellent education and 48 percent saying they provide a good education. That's a combined 69 percent positive rating.

Charter schools came in third, with 17 percent saying they provide an excellent education and 43 percent saying they provide a good education, for a combined 60 percent positive rating.

Home-schooling came in fourth, with 13 percent saying it provides an excellent education and 33 percent saying it provides a good education, for a combined 46 percent who give it a positive rating.

Public schools finished fifth — last place.

Only 2 percent said independent private schools give students a "poor" education, 5 percent said that about parochial and church-related schools and charter schools, and 14 said they thought home-schooling provides students with a poor education.

Democrats generally gave public schools a higher rating than did Republicans — 46 percent of Democrats said public schools provide an excellent or good education, compared to 33 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of independents.

Among the respondents who are parents sending their children to school in grades K through 12 this year, 83 percent said they were sending their child to a public school, 9 percent to an independent private school, and 2 percent to a parochial or church-related school.

"Americans in general are not highly satisfied with the state of public schooling in the United States, although that is probably not a commentary on their own child's school and schools in their local area because Americans have historically been quite satisfied with each of those," Gallup observed. "Rather, Americans may just have a general sense that U.S. public education is not where it needs to be, perhaps due to news media reports that American students lag behind students in other countries in basic academic skills."

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Editor's Note:



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