06.23.2010 0

Judge Overruling Obama Order Is Said to Have Conflict, but What About Green Influence?

When judges advance  liberal goals by way of making an end-run around the democratically elected branches of government, they are celebrated in the media. But when they stand in the way of presidential directives that do the bidding of environmental groups, they need to be taken down.

In his 22 page opinion that imposed an injunction against President Obama’s drilling moratorium Tuesday, Judge Martin L.C. Feldman of the United State District Court wrote that the administration failed to justify the severe economic hardship that could result from the order.

A front page report in the New York Times on the White House response does a reasonable job of including conflicting policy perspectives. However, the report could have been enriched with a longer historical view of Obama’s energy policies.

Feldman’s decision came in response to a lawsuit filed earlier this month by business groups that are involved with offshore drilling operations. Judge Feldman agreed that there was no hard evidence to suggest that remaining projects were unsafe in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. The Obama Administration is already appealing the decision and remains poised to short circuit any efforts aimed at domestic energy production.

This much is apparent going all the way back to the period immediately following the inauguration when the administration declared large tracts of public land off limits for any energy use. Moreover, Obama recently reaffirmed his commitment to “cap and trade” legislation that was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate.

A key quote from Obama’s State of the Union Speech is also worth referencing:

“I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy,” Obama said.  “I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.  But here’s the thing — even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future — because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy.  And America must be that nation.”

But recent studies show that so-called green jobs are heavily subsidized and often quite transitory. There is also the on-going “climategate” scandal that broke late last year and showed how researchers manipulated scientific data.

The upshot of NYT piece is that provides readers with lengthy quotes from the judge’s ruling and opposing sides. The downside exists where the White House is given a free pass to declare offshore oil drilling unsafe without any hard evidence.

An effort is also made to discredit the judge by way of suggesting that there is a conflict of interest between Feldman and various business interests.

“Several groups critical of the ruling highlighted a financial disclosure form filed by Judge Feldman in May 2009,” the report says. “It showed that as recently as 2008, he owned stock in several energy-related firms — including Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon rig. A coalition of environmental groups released a statement by Catherine Wannamaker, senior lawyer at the Southern Environmental Law Center, decrying the ruling as `outrageous.’”

But these same environmental groups have made generous donations to President Obama and federal lawmakers how are continuing to push for new regulatory regimes. These potential conflicts should not un-reported even as the NYT carries the water for green groups opposed to the injunction.

Environmental groups have contributed over $600,000 to Democratic congressional candidates thus far in the 2010 election cycle and contributed almost $5 million Democrats in the 2008 according to OpenSecrets.org.Federal records also show that President Obama received almost $1.3 million from these same green groups in the 2008 presidential campaign.

So long as the Times sees fit to report on the judge’s stock holdings, shouldn’t the paper also report on potential conflicts involving the White House and their green benefactors?

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