Amid the myriad tragedies and heartache caused by the Second Iraq War, the death of Col. Westhusing is among the saddest and most senseless. I have been asked by a number of people who knew Col. Westhusing for some of the documents that I obtained from the Defense Department via the Freedom of Information Act over the course of my year-long inquiry into his suicide. Rather than distribute paper copies, it makes sense to make them available in electronic form.

If you are interested in my writings on Westhusing from '07 and '08, see here and here

Herewith, a batch of the key documents, in PDF:
1. Anonymous letter sent to Col. Westhusing in May 2005 regarding alleged misconduct by contractors working for the U.S. military in Iraq.
2. June 17, 2005 interview of Westhusing's widow, Michelle, by Army investigators.
3. Sworn statements from people who knew Col. Westhusing.
4. Bulk of the report done by the Army's Inspector General.
5. Bulk of the report done Army Criminal Investigation Command.

May 17, 2013
Counterpunch

The U.S. military’s expensive experiments with biofuels – along with the rationale for entire biofuels business -- has been gunned down in a fusillade of friendly fire.

You may recall that over the past few years, the Pentagon has been funding a number of efforts to develop biofuels. On Earth Day 2010, the Navy flew an F-18 using a mixture of conventional jet fuel and biofuel derived from camellina, a plant in the mustard family. After the flight, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus declared that the Navy and Marine Corps were committed to “reducing dependence on foreign oil as well safeguarding our environment.”Since then, Mabus and the Navy have continued to hype the potential of biofuels and its effort to create a “Great Green Fleet” of ships. And in March, the Navy insisted its alt-fuel program won’t get hit by the sequester.

May 16, 2013
National Review Online

The wording of the Eagle Protection Act could not be any clearer. It “prohibits anyone, without a permit issued by the Secretary of the Interior,” from “taking” bald or golden eagles. The law defines “take” as “pursue, shoot, shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb.”

April 2, 2013
Manhattan Institute
Energy Policy & The Environment Report

In 2012, U.S. oil production rose by 790,000 barrels per day, the biggest annual increase since U.S. oil production began in 1859. In 2013, the Energy Information Administration expects production to rise yet again, by 815,000 barrels per day, which would set another record. Domestic natural gas production is also at record levels.

What has allowed such dramatic production increases? Innovation in the drilling sector. The convergence of a myriad of technologies—ranging from better drill bits and seismic data to robotic rigs and high-performance pumps—is allowing the oil and gas sector to produce staggering quantities of energy from locations that were once thought to be inaccessible or bereft of hydrocarbons.

(View or save the full report by clicking on the image below)

April 1, 2013
Investors Business Daily

These are lousy times to be in the peak oil cult.

In December, U.S. oil exports hit a record of 3.6 million barrels per day, thanks in part to soaring domestic petroleum production.

March 11, 2013
National Review Online

Among the Mount Everest of inanities ever uttered on the subject of energy, the blue-ribbon winner must be this: “the tyranny of oil.”

Both Barack Obama and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. have used the line. Obama claimed it for his own back in 2007 when he declared his run for the White House. Standing on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., Obamasaid, “Let’s be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil.”

March 8, 2013
City Journal

In theory, the March 11, 2011, disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant should have bolstered environmentalists’ opposition to new nuclear-energy projects. But in the wake of the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, some of the world’s leading Greens have done just the opposite: they have come out in favor of nuclear power. Perhaps the most prominent convert is British activist and journalist George Monbiot, who even cites the disaster as one reason for his change of heart. Just ten days after Fukushima, in a column for the Guardian, Monbiot called the use of solar energy in the United Kingdom “a spectacular waste of scarce resources” and declared that wind energy was “hopelessly inefficient” and “largely worthless.” Moreover, he wrote, “on every measure (climate change, mining impact, local pollution, industrial injury and death, even radioactive discharges) coal is 100 times worse than nuclear power.” He concluded: “Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small. The crisis at Fukushima has converted me to the cause of nuclear power.”

February 20, 2013
Slate

Last week, four dozen opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and environmental activist Bill McKibben, were arrested after they engaged in civil disobedience near the gates of the White House. Some of the activists attached themselves to the fence around the White House and others refused to move after being ordered to do so by U.S. Park Police. On Sunday, tens of thousands of people marched in Washington, D.C., to protest the pipeline project.

February 17, 2013
New York Post

Mayor Bloomberg wants to double down on electric vehicles, but it’s a bad bet for New York.

In his State of the City speech last week, Bloomberg said he wants to add 10,000 new electric-vehicle charging stations over the next seven years. To that end, he wants the City Council to amend building codes so that 20 percent of all new parking spaces must be “wired and ready for electric vehicles.”

February 1, 2013
The Wall Street Journal

On June 20, 1782, the Continental Congress, after nearly six years of haggling and numerous design changes, finally approved the Great Seal of the United States. In doing so, it made the bald eagle our national symbol. This year, in the name of clean energy, the Fish and Wildlife Service is considering changing federal rules so that a wind-energy developer can be granted an "incidental-take" permit allowing wind projects to kill bald eagles and golden eagles for up to 30 years.

December 18, 2012
The Daily Beast

Amidst all the hype about renewable energy, worries about climate change, and surging domestic production of natural gas, the global coal market continues to boom like never before.

Proof of that can be found in a report released today by the Paris-based International Energy Agency. The agency’s medium-term coal market report shows that while demand growth for coal is slowing, its share of the global energy mix is still rising. This line is particularly telling: “By 2017, coal will come close to surpassing oil as the world’s top energy source.” Within five years, global coal use will increase by about 1.2 billion tons, which is “more than the current annual coal consumption of the United States and Russia combined.”

December 17, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

Investing in and using fossil fuels is so wrong it should be seen as the equivalent of support for apartheid. That is the message being promoted by 350.org, the organization headed by environmental activist Bill McKibben.

Over the past month or so, Mr. McKibben and a rotating cast of activists have held rallies in 21 U.S. cities encouraging students to campaign for ridding their university endowments of investments in coal, oil and natural gas. The effort is modeled on the 1980s effort to get universities to shed investments in companies that did business in apartheid-era South Africa. A few small schools, including Unity College in Maine and Hampshire College in Massachusetts, have responded to the pressure and agreed to rid their portfolios of fossil-fuel stocks.

December 13, 2012
National Review Online

In the history of American business, it’s difficult to find an industry that has enjoyed more political favoritism than the wind-energy sector now enjoys.

The wind industry gets subsidies, mandates, and a de facto exemption from prosecution under some of America’s oldest wildlife laws. And the wind-energy lobby is doing all it can to make sure that this favoritism is maintained.

November 27, 2012
National Review Online

Last month, 60 residents of New York’s Herkimer County filed a lawsuit in Albany that provides yet another example of the growing backlash against the wind-energy sector. It also exposes the double standard that exists in both the mainstream media and among environmental groups when it comes to “green” energy.

The main defendant in the lawsuit is the Spanish electric utility Iberdrola, which is the second-largest wind-energy operator in the U.S. The Herkimer County residents — all of whom live within a mile or so of the $200 million Hardscrabble Wind Power Project — are suing Iberdrola and a group of other companies because of the noise and disruption caused by the wind project.

November 7, 2012
The Wall Street Journal

Last year, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $50 million to the Sierra Club for its "beyond coal" campaign. But the mayor hasn't—and won't—be directing any cash to the club's parallel "beyond oil" campaign.

That is because oil—and, more specifically, diesel fuel and gasoline—are proving to be the most important commodities in the wake of the huge storm that recently pummeled the East Coast.

November 6, 2012
Counterpunch

For weeks, Democrats have been lambasting Mitt Romney over his bone-headed remark about the “47 percent of people” who want something from government and therefore won’t be voting for him. Forget Romney and his blather about the 47 percent. The number that should concern Americans on Election Day is this one: 45 percent.

November 1, 2012
The Daily Beast

Ugh. It’s back. Politicians and pundits on both the left and the right are once again buzzing with the most hackneyed phrase in modern American politics: energy independence.

The phrase reared its ugly head in the first (three times), second (four times), and third (once) presidential debates, with each mention coming from Mitt Romney. Romney has taken to promoting “North American” energy independence as part of his five-point plan.

October 19, 2012
Energy Tribune

Last month, Senatory Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, lambasted his colleagues for not extending the production tax credit, the 2.2 cent-per-kilowatt-hour subsidy for wind energy that expires at the end of this year. Bennet said that without the subsidy, the wind industry, which he called “an economic driver that is critical to jobs” will “take a devastating hit.”[i]

Let’s set aside Bennet’s – and the wind-energy lobby’s – self-serving argument about jobs for the moment and acknowledge one unassailable fact: no other part of the energy industry receives as much preferential treatment as the wind-energy business.

October 19, 2012
The Daily Beast

Tuesday’s headlines gave Mitt Romney a golden opportunity to attack President Obama and his “green” energy agenda during the second presidential debate. A123 Systems, the electric-car-battery maker that got a $249 million grant from the Department of Energy in 2009, filed for bankruptcy in a Delaware court.

The collapse of A123—as well as the January bankruptcy of another electric-car-battery maker, Ener1, the recipient of a $118 million DOE grant—provides yet another example of the Obama administration’s costly and unsuccessful backing of the electric-car business.

October 16, 2012
New York Post

Gov. Cuomo last month ordered state officials to study the health effects of hydraulic fracturing — and so continued to prevent drillers from exploiting the Marcellus Shale. But if he’s truly interested in public health, the governor must also put a freeze on wind-energy projects in New York until their health impact can be gauged.

After all, residents across rural New York — indeed, country-dwellers around the world — are waging bitter fights against industrial-scale wind projects, and one of their main concerns is the health effects of the audible and inaudible noise created by large wind turbines.

October 5, 2012
PBS

We heard both candidates discuss alternative energy at this week’s presidential debate in Denver.

President Obama said, “we’ve got to look at the energy sources of the future, like wind and solar and biofuels, and make those investments.” The support for alternative energy sources, however, is not universal. Need to Know asked leading experts in energy, the environment and politics to help us better understand the various facets of the renewable energy debate.

October 3, 2012
The Daily Beast

Could you survive on a single dollar a day? That’s what two U.S. college students attempted in rural Guatemala, and their experience—complete with fleabites and giardia—was filmed for the new documentary Living on One.

The plot is known as the “fish out of water.” A staple of big-screen comedies and reality-TV shows, it calls for the lead character (or characters) to be plunged into an unfamiliar environment. Awkward moments and hilarity ensue until the humbled hero gets rescued by benevolent locals and in the process, gets transformed. Think Tootsie or Beverly Hills Cop.

Energy Gone With The Wind :: The Manhattan Institute’s Robert Bryce on the subsidies given to the wind industry and its lack of success.

Energy Gone With The Wind

Fox Business October 2, 2012

The Manhattan Institute’s Robert Bryce on the subsidies given to the wind industry and its lack of success.

September 17, 2012
National Review

Proponents of wind-energy projects frequently claim that wind is free. That may be true, but creating jobs in the wind-energy business is a very expensive proposition.

The battle over the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind, which amounts to 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour and expires at the end of the year, is heating up. Last month, the senate finance committee approved a plan to extend the PTC. Republican nominee Mitt Romney has said that, if elected, he will let the credit expire. President Obama wants to extend it: Last week, in a speech at the Democratic National Convention, he declared that “thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines.”

September 5, 2012
The Daily Beast

Corn ethanol is the Franken fuel of American politics. Neither party, neither candidate dares question the program that requires motorists to buy a corrosive, low-heat-content, hydrophilic fuel adulterant—even though that program is now consuming 37 percent of all American corn production and driving up food prices.

The corn-ethanol boondoggle got a free pass in Tampa. The Republicans didn't talk about biofuels during their hurricane-shortened convention; the GOP’s 2012 platform doesn’t even mention ethanol. And this long-running robbery of taxpayers will get another free pass from the Democrats during their wingding in Charlotte, N.C.

August 24, 2012
Dallas Morning News

About one train per hour. That’s the target loading rate for the massive silos, conveyors and hoppers at the North Antelope Rochelle Mine in Wyoming, the most productive coal mine in the world. And on a cool, nearly windless day in late March, Scott Durgin, a regional vice president for Peabody Energy, was happy.

August 15, 2012
Counterpunch

Never mind the drought, shrinking corn crops, rising food prices, or the possibility of global grain shortages, let’s talk about the evils of foreign oil.

That was the message put out last week by ethanol lobbyists just a day or so beforeJose Graziano da Silva the director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization called for “an immediate, temporary suspension” of America’s corn-ethanol mandates to “give some respite to the market and allow more of the crop to be channelled towards food and feed uses.”

August 7, 2012
New York Post

(Note: this article was co-authored with Jonathan Lesser.)

Gov. Cuomo has repeatedly said he wants to close down Indian Point, the 2,083-megawatt nuclear plant 35 miles north of Midtown. He may have the leverage to do it — but he’d better look at the costs before he does so.

Indian Point provides about 25 percent of New York City’s electricity — and replacing it will mean a host of costly and protracted permitting and legal battles over how, and where, to build new generation capacity.

August 6, 2012
Wall Street Journal

Blackouts crippled India last week, leaving more than 600 million people without electricity. Trains were stranded, traffic snarled, and the country's economy ground to a halt. According to news reports, the blackouts were caused by excess demand, with some states in northern India taking more power than they had been allotted by the grid operator. And while the investigation into the disaster continues, one result is certain: India won't be abandoning coal any time soon.

July 31, 2012
Slate

Every day that the drought continues garroting the American Midwest, the lunacy of turning corn into motor fuel becomes ever more obvious and ever more outrageous.

Over the past six weeks, corn prices have soared by about 50 percent.They recently hit $8.20 per bushel, an all-time high. And if drought conditions in the U.S. and Europepersist, prices may continue climbing. Several factors are influencing grain prices, among them the reduced amount of grain available in storage and increased meat consumption in the developing world. (Remember, that most corn is used as livestock feed, not food for humans.) But there is no doubt that the corn ethanol mandates imposed by Congress are distorting the market,whichwill mean higher prices for everything from milk to cheeseburgers.

July 27, 2012
Los Angeles Times

Standing in the dispatch office of the North Antelope Rochelle Mine near Gillette, Wyo., Scott Durgin pointed at a flat-panel display. The regional vice president for Peabody Energy smiled. The most productive coal mine in the world was on target. Since midnight, about one train an hour had been loaded, each carrying about 16,000 tons of coal.

I asked Durgin how long Peabody could continue mining in the region. Easily for five more decades, he replied. "There's no end to the coal here."

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