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America’s actual health and welfare crisis

EPA rules threaten our energy, economy, health, welfare, justice, and civil rights progress.

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May 30, 2012
by Paul Driessen

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says we face grave threats to human health, welfare and justice. She’s absolutely right. However, the dangers are not due to factory or power plant emissions, or supposed effects of “dangerous manmade global warming.”

They are the result of policies and regulations that her EPA is imposing in the name of preventing climate change and other hypothetical and exaggerated environmental problems. It is those government actions that are the gravest threat to Americans’ health, welfare, and pursuit of happiness and justice.

By hyper-regulating carbon dioxide, soot, mercury, “cross-state air pollution” from sources hundreds of miles away, and other air and water emissions, EPA intends to force numerous coal-fired power plants to shut down years before their productive life is over; sharply reduce emissions from cars, factories, refineries and other facilities, regardless of the costs; and block the construction of new coal-fired power plants, because none will be able to slash their carbon dioxide emissions to half of what average coal-fired plants now emit, without employing expensive (and nonexistent) CO2 capture and storage technologies.

EPA has also issued 588 pages of rules for hydraulic fracturing for critically needed oil and natural gas, while the Obama Administration has vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline and made 95% of all publicly owned (but government controlled) energy resources unavailable for leasing, exploration, drilling and mining.

These actions reflect President Obama’s campaign promises to “bankrupt any company that tries to build a new coal-fired power plant,” replace hydrocarbons with heavily subsidized solar, wind and biofuel energy, make energy prices “necessarily skyrocket,” advance rent-seeking crony-corporatism – and “fundamentally transform” America’s constitutional, legal, energy, economic and social structure.

Energy is the lifeblood of our nation’s economy, jobs, living standards and civil rights progress. Anything that affects energy availability, reliability and price affects every aspect of our lives. These federal diktats put bureaucrats and activists in charge of our entire economy – seriously impairing our health and welfare.

Moreover, the anti-hydrocarbon global warming “solutions” the Obama Administration is imposing will bring no real world benefits – even assuming carbon dioxide actually drives climate change. That’s largely because China, India and other developing countries are increasing their use of coal for electricity generation, and thus their CO2 emissions – far beyond our ability to reduce US emissions. These nations rightly refuse to sacrifice economic growth and poverty eradication on the altar of climate alarmism.

Even worse, the health, welfare and environmental justice benefits that EPA claims will result from its regulations are equally exaggerated and illusory. They exist only in the same dishonest computer-generated virtual reality that concocted its alleged climate change, health and environmental cataclysms, and in junk-science analyses that can best be described as borderline fraud.

Implementing EPA’s regulatory agenda will inflict severe economic dislocations and send shock waves through America’s factories, farmlands and families. Far from improving our health and welfare – they will make our economy, unemployment, living standards, health and welfare even worse.

EPA’s new automobile mileage standards alone will result in thousands of additional serious injuries and deaths every year, as cars are further downsized to meet its arbitrary 54.5 mpg requirements. Its anti-coal and anti-fracking rules will severely impact electricity generation, reliability and prices; factory, office and hospital operations and budgets; American industries’ competitiveness in global markets; employment, hiring and layoffs; and the well-being of families and entire communities. Especially for areas that depend on mining and manufacturing – and the 26 states where coal-based power generation keeps electricity rates at half of what they are in states with the least coal use and toughest renewable energy mandates (6-9 cents versus 13-17 cents per kilowatt hour) – it will be all pain, for no gain.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a White House letter to House Speaker John Boehner inadvertently acknowledged that EPA alone is still working on new regulations that the agency itself calculates will impose $105 billion in additional regulatory burdens and compliance costs. Win or lose in November, the Administration will likely impose these and other postponed rules after the elections. We, our children and grandchildren will pay for them in countless ways.

Utilities will have to spend $130 billion to retrofit or replace older coal-fired units, says energy analyst Roger Bezdek – and another $30 billion a year for operations, maintenance and extra fuel for energy-intensive scrubbers and other equipment, to generate increasingly expensive electricity.

Duke Energy’s new $3.3 billion coal gasification and “carbon dioxide capture” power plant will increase rates for its Indiana customers by some 15% the next two years. Hospitals, factories, shopping malls and school districts will have to pay an extra $150,000 a year in operating expenses for each million dollars in annual electricity bills. That’s four or five entry-level jobs that won’t be created or preserved.

Nationwide, 319 coal-fueled power plants totaling 42,895 megawatts (13% of the nation’s coal fleet and enough for 40 million homes and small businesses) are already slated to close, the Sierra Club joyfully proclaimed. Illinois families and businesses could pay 20% more for electricity by 2014, the Chicago Tribune reports. Chicago public schools may have to find an extra $2.7 million a year to keep the lights and heat on and computers running.

Higher electricity prices will further strain refineries already struggling with soaring electricity costs and EPA’s sulfur and other regulations, restrictions on refinery upgrades and construction, constraints on moving crude oil to East Coast refineries, and other compliance costs – all for dubious environmental or health benefits. Three East Coast refineries have already closed, costing thousands of jobs and causing the Department of Energy to warn that pump prices are likely to soar even higher in Eastern states.

When we include discouraged workers who have given up looking for jobs, and people who have been forced to work fewer hours or at temporary jobs, our unemployment rate is a whopping 19 percent – and double that for black and Hispanic young people. America’s labor force participation rate is at a 30-year low. Our nation’s 2011 economic growth rate was a dismal 1.7 percent.

Well over a million U.S. workers age 55 and older have now been out of work for 27 weeks or more. Not only do prospects plummet for re-employment of older workers. The longer they are unemployed, the more they are disconnected from society, the further their living standards fall, the more their physical and emotional well-being deteriorates, and the more likely they are to die prematurely.

The cumulative effect is that families have even less money to buy food, pay the rent or mortgage, repair the car or house, save for college and retirement, take a vacation – and keep people comfortable (and alive) on frigid winter nights and sweltering summer afternoons. Workers lose jobs. Health and welfare, family relationships, future prospects and psychological well-being plummet. Because they spend the highest proportion of their incomes on energy, poor and minority families suffer disproportionately.

And yet the EPA and White House regulatory agenda, regulatory onslaught and horse-blinder definition of health, welfare and justice ignore these realities – and ensure that this unconscionable situation will only get worse. In fact, the only welfare EPA’s rules will ensure is the expansion of our welfare rolls, unemployment lines and already record-setting food stamp programs.

EPA is also giving billions of taxpayer dollars to activist groups, to advance its agenda and dominate our media and hearings with false or misleading information about the costs and benefits of its programs.

Worst of all, our Congress and courts have completely abdicated their obligations to provide oversight and control of this dictatorial agency and Obama Administration. If this is the hope, change and future we can look “forward” to, our nation’s health, well-being and justice will be rolled backward.

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which is sponsoring the All Pain No Gain petition against global-warming hype. He also is a senior policy adviser to the Congress of Racial Equality and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power – Black Death.

The EPA Triples Down On ‘None of the Above’ Energy Policy

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James Taylor, Contributor

Anti-energy crusaders are in a celebratory mood this week as the EPA effectively banned the construction of coal-fired power plants, and thus completed the federal government’s trifecta beat-down on affordable energy.

First, new obstacles to energy production resulted in oil production on federal lands dropping 11% in Fiscal Year 2011 vs. 2010. Second, President Obama announced earlier this year that his administration was blocking construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would deliver large quantities of valuable oil from neighboring Canada. Third, the EPA announced this week its severe global warming restrictions on power plants.

For all the talk of an “all of the above” federal energy policy, this administration is imposing “none of the above,” unless we choose to celebrate our imminent burning of dung for fuel, like they do in the utopian economic powerhouse of Bangladesh.

Coal is our nation’s leading source of electricity for a reason; it is less expensive than all other sources except large-scale hydropower, which environmental activists had already taken off the table. By definition you cannot ban the least expensive power sources without creating a jump in electricity prices. If you have been a fan of our rapidly rising gasoline prices, you are going to love what is about to happen to our electricity prices, too.

There is at least one theoretical scenario whereby banning the construction of coal-fired power plants will only cause a modest rise in electricity prices. That scenario would occur if natural gas filled most of the void for future power plant construction and government refrained from punishing natural gas production. However, the same environmental extremists who successfully pushed for the end of new coal-fired power plants are just as adamant about shutting down natural gas production.

The EPA is already targeting natural gas production from lucrative shale formations, and is likely to soon impose unprecedented restrictions that will raise costs and throttle natural gas production. Tripling down on “none of the above” appears poised to become quadrupling down on “none of the above.”

Oh, and I forgot to mention this administration’s pulling the plug on the Yucca Mountain repository for spent nuclear fuel. Make that quintupling down on “none of the above.”

Those who claim humans are causing a global warming crisis argue that expensive energy is necessary to stop the growth in our global warming emissions. The facts, however, tell a different story.

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have fallen since the beginning of the century, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration does not anticipate any appreciable rise in emissions for at least the next several decades. True, global emissions have risen by approximately one-third this century, but the United States has had no part in that global increase.

The reason why global carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise is nations such as China and India continue to ramp up their industrialization. China, for example, emits more carbon dioxide than the entire Western Hemisphere and is increasing its carbon dioxide emissions by an average of 10 percent per year. Even if the United States theoretically eliminated all of its emissions today, such action would be rendered moot in less than a decade merely by the corresponding increase from China.

What we are left with, even if we assume for the sake of argument that humans are causing a global warming crisis, is tremendous self-induced economic pain for absolutely no real-world environmental impact.

All of the Above is now None of the Above. Welcome to the return of “That 70s Energy Policy.”

Source

EPA plans wave of coal plant shutdowns lawmakers say will send energy costs soaring

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to shut down a number of coal-fired power plants in a controversial bid to curb pollution in the U.S.

The shutdowns are part of a new effort to regulate Mercury, smog, ozone, greenhouse gases, coal ash and water intake over the next 18 months.

However, rising tensions are resulting between environmental, industry groups and Republican members of the House, who say the regulations will result in higher electric bills, more blackouts and fewer jobs.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to shut down a number of coal-fired power plants in a controversial bid to curb pollution in the U.S.

The shutdowns are part of a new effort to regulate Mercury, smog, ozone, greenhouse gases, coal ash and water intake over the next 18 months.

However, rising tensions are resulting between environmental, industry groups and Republican members of the House, who say the regulations will result in higher electric bills, more blackouts and fewer jobs.

Meanwhile, environmental groups argue substantial public health benefits and have accused utilities of exaggerating the cost of such regulation.

A newly-released report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), which conducts policy research for members of Congress, acknowledged EPA regulations will predictably force many coal plants to close through the year 2017.

However, it noted ‘In most cases… the benefits (of new regulations) are larger.’

The EPA estimates that an air-transport rule to regulate smog-causing sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide would help prevent 21,000 cases of bronchitis and 23,000 heart attacks, and save 36,000 lives.

That could result in $290billion in health benefits, compared with $2.8billion per year in costs by 2014, according to the EPA.

The country’s oldest plants are expected to be the first casualties. According to the report, one-third of all coal capacity became active between 1940 and 1969 and about two-thirds of them do not have scrubbers.

The CRS report states: ‘Many of these plants are inefficient and are being replaced by more efficient combined cycle natural gas plants, a development likely to be encouraged if the price of competing fuel – natural gas – continues to be low, almost regardless of EPA rules.’

The CRS staved off arguments coal plant closures would result in a catastrophic affect on the U.S. power grid. According to the report,coal plants that came online before 1970 are in use, on average, only 41 per cent of the time. Electric plants have the added ability of increasing power relatively quickly.

‘There is a substantial amount of excess generation capacity at present,’ it reads, noting the affect of the recession and the growing use of natural gas plants.

The CRS does not directly comment on costs of EPA regulations for consumers, although it notes costs will vary by utility and state.

Original Article

Getting ready for a wave of coal-plant shutdowns

Ma Kettle says:
August 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Back In 2008, when Obama was rounding up an Administration that was going to “Hit The Ground Running” (remember those famous words for 2 1/2 mo?), I likened it to an army of ants. Thousands and thousands of ants that were going to invade every inch of Washington and turn it upside down for their hope and change.

The ants have been busy, very busy crawling all over our Consitution, Rights, Industry, Health Care and Energy.

The town I live in is suing the EPA because they want us to pay $65,000,000-110,000,000 for a new type of storm drain runoff, at the head of the Charles River. My town is the first town at the head of the Charles River. They plan on hitting every town the Charles River runs through to the Atlantic Ocean. MY TOWN IS NOT POLLUTING THE CHARLES RIVER. There is NO FEDERAL FUNDING, just a tough s!@t attitude, from them towards taxpayers. The town would maybe have to charge all Homeowners between 18-25.00 a month for 5 to 8 years, after you figure in homeowners dying or moving, at the $65,000,000.

All the other towns involved will be paying more. So we are clearly talking about billions of dollars that taxpayers will be burdened with. I don’t trust the science or motives for any of these new regulations from the EPA coming from this Administration. These progressive liberal ants have nothing to back up WHY they are changing way things are done except for the sole reason THEY CAN.

After we vote all the scum out of Washington and Obama, the next President of the United States has to UNDO all of this and every single thing Barak Obama and his ants have touched. It’s going to get very ugly.

Original Article

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