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Democrats’ Latest Break With “The Science”

Posted on Wednesday, September 13, 2023
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by David Lewis Schaefer
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47 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By David Lewis Schaefer

Oil rigs drilling with red cancel symbol for science

Last week, the Biden administration announced what the New York Times called its “most aggressive move yet to protect federal land from oil and gas exploration,” not only banning drilling in 13 million acres of what the Times termed “pristine” wilderness in Alaska, but also canceling the remaining drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) issued by the Trump administration.

While “young environmentalists,” according to the Times, were still “angered” by Biden’s decision in March to allow the $8 billion Willow project to proceed, calling it a betrayal of the president’s campaign promise of “no new drilling, period” on federal lands and waters, the administration has stressed that its ban on other projects along with the lease cancellation will substantially “reduce the carbon emissions that result from burning oil and gas that are driving climate change.”

The legality of the administration’s cancellation of previous leases will undoubtedly be challenged in court. Beyond that fact, its anti-drilling policy ignores a vast array of problems resulting from the war on fossil fuels: rapidly rising energy costs, large subsidies to manufacturers of electric cars that few consumers want, increasing America’s reliance on oil imports from unreliable suppliers with despotic regimes like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, bans on fracking that leave oil-rich areas like western New York suffering from widespread unemployment, and so on.

Biden’s climate change rhetoric also ignores the continuing debate around claims that burning fossil fuels is causing a dangerous rise in world temperatures. (See, for instance, the distinguished climate scientist and former Obama energy department official Steven Koonin’s 2021 book Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, as well as several books by the head of the Copenhagen Consensus Bjorn Lomborg.) It also disregards the infinitesimal contribution that drilling in Alaska would make to world CO2 emissions – particularly in contrast with China, which keeps constructing many new (“dirty”) coal-burning power plants each year, even while pledging to start reducing its emissions “in the future.”

All this calls into question the boast made by Democrats, beginning with the first Obama administration, that they, unlike Republicans, believe in following “the science,” not just on climate change, but a whole host of other issues.

President George W. Bush was mocked for restricting the use of fetal tissue in stem cell research to prevent any reliance on aborted fetuses for this purpose. In Obama’s 2009 Inaugural Address, he promised to “restore science to its rightful place,” by not only “rais[ing] health care’s quality” and “lower[ing] its cost,” but “harness[ing] the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories” – in implied contrast to Republicans who resisted expanding government control over the medical system or expressed doubt about both the near-term feasibility or the necessity of hastening the abandonment of fossil fuels in favor of wind and solar power.

Democrats’ crooning about “the science” reached a new crescendo during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci accordingly became a saint-like figure for the left, proudly declaring that anyone who questioned his stated views on the origins of the pandemic was “really criticizing science, because I represent science.”

Of course, Fauci has since been compelled to walk back some of his ostensibly “scientific” claims regarding not only COVID’s origin but the effectiveness of masks and lockdowns in combating its spread – still without acknowledging that he was wrong.

In other ways as well, things have not worked out as Obama, Biden, and their Democrat colleagues promised. For instance, the so-called Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted at Obama’s demand in 2010, by the smallest of margins and with little deliberation (House Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously said, “we have to pass it to find out what’s in it”) added incredible complexity to health care’s delivery, for the sake of achieving “universal” insurance coverage.

Here’s an example I recently discovered: while the ACA levied a substantial fine on adults who failed to purchase health insurance (unless they were covered by the greatly expanded Medicaid program), it turns out that just obtaining health insurance through one’s employer isn’t sufficient to avoid the fine once you turn 65. Instead, if your employer has fewer than 20 workers, even if the health plan it offers is linked to a large network, you will be required to join Medicare (or Medicare Advantage) and pay the program’s hefty fees.

This is just the sort of restriction that the ACA’s army of bureaucratic designers slipped into it in order to limit its overall contribution to the budget deficit: it compels younger seniors, even those who haven’t retired, to contribute to Medicare, thus adding to its net revenues since they are less likely on average than their elders to need expensive medical treatments.

There’s no reason for it, other than to gain revenue in ways that few would notice. As the ACA’s chief architect, MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber, subsequently explained, it had to be “written in a tortured way” in order to pass muster with the Congressional Budget Office, and in enacting innovating legislation, “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” given “the stupidity of the American voter.”

This is hardly reflective of a scientific attitude, let alone one that is respectful of the intelligence of a democratic electorate. Yet Americans were sold the ACA on the supposition that its provisions were based in a “scientific” analysis of the healthcare situation in America.

This brings us back to the revocation of the previously-issued drilling leases in Alaska. In one particularly eye-catching admission, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland justified the cancellation on the grounds that the leases had been issued on the basis of “insufficient analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act,” including a supposedly insufficient analysis of the effects of additional drilling on greenhouse gas emissions.

But while the National Environmental Policy Act to which she alluded doesn’t require any such analyses, Haaland maintained that the administration’s actions were “based on the best available science and in recognition of the Indigenous Knowledge” on the subject, citing a 2022 memo from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy directing agencies to “include Indigenous Knowledge as an aspect of the best available science.”

The memo encouraged agencies to consult native “spiritual leaders” before making policy decisions, instead of relying on “methodological dogma” – that is, established scientific procedures. As the Wall Street Journal (which highlighted these facts in an editorial) remarked: “No joke.”

Indigenous Alaskans, like all Americans, certainly deserve their spiritual beliefs to be respected. However, no one, Democrat or Republican, would suggest that leaders of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or any other major religion should be consulted on the environmental impacts of drilling projects.

A December 2021 story in Smithsonian Magazine on the Gwich’in people who inhabit the ANWR, titled “For the Gwich’in People, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Isn’t a Political Issue, It’s Home,” reports that some Gwich’in oppose drilling out of fear that it “will interfere with the migration of the caribou on which they depend for their subsistence.” They contend that roads, drill rigs, pipelines, and other infrastructure would “drive the caribou away from their calving grounds and trigger a population decline that would, by extension, upset the balance of the wider ecosystem and upend the Gwich’in way of life.”

But the Smithsonian article also mentions that out of the 7,000 Gwich’in, “only a few hundred” still dwell in traditional communities, the others having moved to larger towns and cities in Alaska, northern Canada, and elsewhere. Kara Moriarty, president and CEO of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association, has also offered assurances that drilling companies have installed many mitigation measures designed to protect the caribou.

Moreover, drilling has raised the living standard of indigenous Inupiat communities who inhabit the northern Alaskan coast, some of whom therefore (according to the Smithsonian piece) support further exploration in the coastal plain. But then, what would self-interested oil companies and their trained engineers and biologists know about mitigation measures, compared to G’Wichin elders? And how can America’s national need for additional oil and gas be prioritized over the wishes of a few hundred indigenous Alaskans?

So here we are. A Democratic administration, beholden to the climate-change lobby, will reach so far in trying to justify its decisions (based purely on executive-branch edicts), even when they entail violating government-issued contracts, as to cite the authority of indigenous “spiritual leaders” while disparaging findings based on established scientific methodology as mere “dogma.”

Even if a future Republican administration offers to reissue the canceled leases, what energy company is likely to bid on them, knowing that the government can’t be trusted to honor its commitment should the administration change hands again? Is this what Barack Obama meant by restoring science to its rightful place in the government’s decisions?

David Lewis Schaefer is a Professor of Political Science Emeritus at College of the Holy Cross.

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PaulE
PaulE
7 months ago

When a Democrat politician talks about “the science”, what they really mean is they adhere to whatever supports the political dogma they are spewing at the moment. This is NOT a new idea or avenue with the Democrats, as they have been using this tactic for several decades, with varying degrees of success, to try and justify a number of their leftist political policies. Sadly, a large and growing percentage of the American public is actually dumb enough at this point to blindly believe whatever a Democrat politician or member of the MSM says in an authoritative manner. In general, the American masses have never been that well educated, intentionally, in the hard sciences, unlike some of our counterparts in Europe and Asia. So, they are a bit more gullible of grand pronouncements being issued by the political class and the MSM propaganda machine that supports them.

When this news broke last week, I can’t say I was surprised. It’s completely consistent with the left’s long-term agenda for this country. The intent of the left in this country has been to hobble this country, in as many ways as possible, in order to bring it to its knees, so a new socialist order can rise from the ashes of what was once a vibrant and prosperous republic. It’s the same game plan that has been used repeatedly in other countries all around the world with amazing success. When a people are either dumb enough to elevate into power people that want to “transform” society in a Marxist regime or simply are unwilling to stand up to defend their rights and freedoms from those that seek to strip them all away, the end result is always the same. The people of the United States made their decision after the soft coup of 2020 installing Biden in the White House, so now we unfortunately have to live with the consequences of that choice.

Of course, the action that Team Biden took regarding the oil leases was completely illegal and unconstitutional, but that matters little no matter how any court may rule in the future as the author correctly states in his last paragraph. The long-term consequences are no oil or natural gas company will trust the American government in the future to honor its legal commitments in the domestic energy sector. As a result, the price of oil and natural gas will remain high and be subject to the whims of OPEC. This of course is on top of the federal government already instructing banks in this country to NOT issue loans to any American oil or natural gas company shortly after Biden was sworn in. So, dig deeper into your pockets to pay for the transition to the “green Utopia” the Democrats are fully committed to ramming down our throats. Our domestic energy policy resembles the failed policies of western Europe more and more each day.

Rik
Rik
7 months ago

Geez, thanks Joe, I really appreciate paying $5.59 / gallon for gasoline which I used to pay $1.79 / gallon for when Trump was President!

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
7 months ago

Can’t drill one oil well but a vast open pit Thacker mine on “sacred lands” for lithium in Nevada by Lithium Americus, a Chinese-majority owned company, is a-ok though. They really are the science!

Grace
Grace
7 months ago

America is heading straight for the gates of hell with a madman at the wheel.

Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
Gabe Hanzeli kent wa
7 months ago

16,000 scientists, including a noble prize winner, say there is zero climate crisis.

FOLLOW THE SCIENCE.

you newsom, pelosi, inslee, biden you need to FOLLOW THE SCIENCE.

DonS
DonS
7 months ago

“…Democrats are the Garden of Eden of incompetence!” Groucho Marx

Glen
Glen
7 months ago

When 2% of the population can cripple a country (United States of America) then the voters of said country need to CHANGE THEIR VOTING HABITS! We need politicians with Integrity that will do what is best for the MAJORITY and not pander to the few who protest and buy them off with bribery or threats! We could have $2 a gallon fuel again if we had honest people running our country rather than globalist with an agenda fueled by FRAUD!
If your Senator or Congressman belongs to the “Council on Foreign Relations” or any other ABC group then you need to vote for SOMEONE ELSE!

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
7 months ago

Very important writing you did here Mr.Schaefer, Truth and Science — Those two words should be appreciated especially when the consequences of disregarding their relationship could cause major setbacks to the entire Country . Dr. David Jeremiah wrote something interesting about how Nature and Science complement each other in 1996 ” Nature is God’s mouthpiece ; the design reflects the Designer. And since true science is the observation and understanding of nature, science’s full and proper purpose is to point us toward God .” That bit of wisdom is in a book by David Jeremiah entitled “Angels — The Strange and Mysterious Truth” . The last paragraph in your article considers the trust factor involved in this issue, and I believe it is very important — ” Even if a future Republican administration offers to reissue the canceled leases , what energy company is likely to bid on them, knowing that the Government can’t be trusted to honor its commitment should the administration change hands again? ” It is very good that you put some light on that matter. Well Done with this article David . It helps when contemplating the Truth and Science relationship in this situation to refer to what you wrote in this article.

Pat R
Pat R
7 months ago

The last paragraph states without question Why government should be limited in their ‘power’ over business. The fact that any decision on such a matter (or many others) can change with the next administration is proof enough.
The only thing stopping the gov’t in this matter is that so many corporations are ‘in bed’ with government and have too much say – not to mention the WEF/UN 3-letter organizations trying to set up a OWO with them in charge. Little do they know, they too are being used by a small extremely wealthy/controlling group who’ve planned their control for a century+. And now the one country standing in their way is the USA. No longer need to question what is happening and why….

Nick
Nick
7 months ago

Funny how they’re totally ignoring the 1600 scientists that say that they’re full of BS. That’s not a crisis and CO2 is not causing the planet to burn up. They have bastardized the term science so bad I don’t think anybody even pays any attention to it anymore it’s Anonymous with corruption

Jimmy P
Jimmy P
7 months ago

National suicide.

anna hubert
anna hubert
7 months ago

In case of global cooling we probably be encouraged to burn baby burn

Garyk
Garyk
7 months ago

The marxist democrat party NEVER has believed in science or facts, just LIES to support whatever narrative they are pushing to DESTROY Our Country!
They all follow in lockstep with the immoral and destructive policies fabricated by traitors to America and self serving criminals who hate regular Free Citizens.
THROW THEM ALL OUT

Dan Schnittker
Dan Schnittker
7 months ago

I notice the author calls out Dr.Fauci on masks and lockdowns, but not on the “vaccines”. Where does amac stand on the poisoning of the world? All in or, oops, sorry?

James Felter
James Felter
7 months ago

Way back in 1981, I studied The History of Revolution, a one year survey course at GWU in Washington DC. Revolution started as an organic tradition evolving from expedients resorted to by dissatisfied peoples in varied situations. It developed into a tradition and was then distilled into a science. The science is Marxism.
Marxism is a perverted Science because it discards all truth that does not lead to power.
Democrats ARE following the science. They will say or do whatever leads to or maintains power, truth be damned.

vern sevcik
vern sevcik
7 months ago

There is a huge gap between science and political science. Can we at least agree on that?

Marc Ziegler
Marc Ziegler
7 months ago

To change the culture in Washington, the constant switching of policies at will, like drilling for oil, which now is at the discretion of the incoming new party, would require a super majority of a replacement party that knows how to govern themselves, to make changes correctly, and permanently, or at least as permanent as a super majority will allow. My point is this, enough people have to agree to make it harder to change policy once a new political party is elected. The only way this can happen is for laws or policies to be enacted by a super majority. I would say that at least a 2/3rds majority vote would be needed to overturn any existing policy or law. To change policy with that kind of majority would mean that allot of people, in all parties, would be upset with the status quo and want change, kind of like what is happening today in our upside-down world.
There is one caveat to how this change for the good can happen, the party doing the initial change must win an election with a mandate, no wishy-washy slim wimpy majority, a substantial majority is required to change laws that need to be changed, and that party in charge has to sticking together to make positive change happen. The 2024 election is the time for this righteous change to happen, the conservative party, libertarians and independents, all have to stand up and make the necessary changes. Our country is in jeopardy! Change must be for the good of the people, and for the good of the country. Liberty is not for sale, and we cannot allow bad policy, or corruption, that enrichen the back accounts of politicians, to continue! God help us all if this doesn’t happen soon! Go Trump, MAGA!

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
7 months ago

The key problem is legal standing to bring lawsuits. Through judge shopping, any ordinary leftist citizen or group can be easily granted standing to sue for restrictions on activities belived detrimental to the climate. On the other hand, when a group like theConcerned Household Electricity Consumers Council sues the EPA, they routinely get denied standing, even when they show the economic damage resulting from CO2 regulation. So leftist groups sue and settle with the government, expanding costly regulation.
The lawsuit against the EPA was a challenge of the CO2 Endagerment Finding, the EPA ruling that CO2 is a harmful pollutant causing climate change, rather than plant food having a minimaleffect. The EPA obviously would rather not have to defend the scientific basis of the Endagerment Finding, so they fought the legal standing of the group bringing the lawsuit and won that way.
A future Republican Congress has to find a way to rebalance standing issues in CO2 lawsuits so members of the public subject to the costs of CO2 regulations have standing to sue to demand justification for the costs. Also, it should be harder for just anybody to claim damages from some supposed “climate catastrophe” without proving some statistically significant connection between man-made CO2 emissions and climate change. It shouldn’t be accepted as “settled science” in court as the basis for standing.

Texyz
Texyz
7 months ago

…we just waiting to get in the fight. Waiting for a ‘catalyst’.

Bjl
Bjl
7 months ago

I heard you have a small dink!
Or was it small brain?

JEIII
JEIII
7 months ago

If I put a totem in my front yard, can I get 55 cents per gallon back for fueling my SUV?

Adam smith
Adam smith
7 months ago

We produce as much oil as we ever have. In fact the average annual production is higher under Biden than any other president, including Trump. Inconvenient fact I know.

james carlyle
james carlyle
7 months ago

99.9% of Americans will never set foot in Alaska beyond the areas within reach of the highways and Railroad-about 3% of the total land mass.
ANWR is not a viable prospective production area due its location in a fracture zone. Pet 4 has real potential and can remain “Pristine” for the wildlife if handled properly.

Ty
Ty
7 months ago

“There are none so blind as those who can not see.”There are none so deaf as those who will not hear.”In this government, the blind leads the blind using the deaf for direction.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase
7 months ago

Following real science the LEFT should be relegated to a distant island for their natural development as requisite to joining polite society.

Jackie
Jackie
7 months ago

Fauci ruined the science thing for me!! He kept saying that we should follow the science and yet he changed his story like once a day telling me that he didn’t really seem to know about science when he was trying to tell us what to do!! Democrats will drop the science or anything else as long as they get their way!! Democrats are trying to bankrupt the oil and gas industry and there’s no good reason other than you have money funding these companies that are set to profit from your EV mandates!! Force us to buy your product, you make money – come on, man, that’s not right!!!

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