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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.

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GOP says Obama, Dems are undermining domestic energy production

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The Obama administration is undermining domestic fossil-fuel production, say Republican Party officials.

They point to comments by EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz, who resigned Sunday as agency administrator for the south-central region, suggesting that the agency’s “general philosophy” is to “crucify” oil and gas companies as being symbolic of the administration’s attitude.

The Washington Free Beacon reported in a March 13, 2012 article that Obama Interior Department officials have intentionally “slow walked” drilling permits, reducing the number of annual permits by two-thirds from 157 before the 2010 drilling moratorium to 51 after. The GOP argues that small- to medium-sized businesses are the ones getting hurt, not “Big Oil” as Democrats like to argue.

As a result, half of all Gulf of Mexico businesses have laid-off workers and a further 39 percent have cut salaries and/or hours. A further 46 percent of affected businesses have moved their operations out of the gulf.

EPA regulations could result in a 11 percent drop in gas production and a 37 percent drop in domestic oil production.

The controversial practice of fracking, necessary to extract gas from a large portion of the nation’s gas wells, could be slashed by up to 52 percent, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

The same attitude carries over to coal, where the Washington Post reported that looming EPA regulations would end the construction of conventional coal-fired power plants nationwide. Thirteen percent of all coal-fired power plants are likely going to shut down because of EPA regulations.

This has hit too close to home for a traditional Democratic constituency – coal miners.

United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts went to the extent of comparing EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s actions against coal with the Navy SEALs’ takedown of Osama bin Laden.

By John Rossomando /// April 30, 2012

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Obama administration sees Rio + 20 Summit in June as Festival of Global Greenness

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By George Russell
Published February 24, 2012
FoxNews.com

With gasoline prices spiking, a presidential election looming in the fall, and recent failures at reaching sweeping global agreements on environmental policy, the Obama Administration is heading into this summer’s Rio + 20 Conference on Sustainable Development with modest goals, looking for areas of broad agreement and civic engagement that can be touted as populist environmental progress.

“We consider it an aspirational meeting,” a U.S. State Department spokesman told Fox News.

“This is a good, positive meeting,” in which “we go forward in as pragmatic a way as possible.”
The apparent aim is to turn the June Rio + 20 Conference –a nostalgic reference to the last environmental summit Rio de Janeiro hosted in 1992– into a festival of global greenness, in order to create the widest possible sense of participation around the planet. In short, something like a global Green Woodstock, this time enhanced on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Nevertheless, the long-term goal of Rio + 20 remains the same: to push the world as fast as possible toward a drastic reordering of social, economic and industrial policies, reorganize global distribution of food and water supplies, and engage in mammoth international financing exercises and new exercises in “global governance” to make the whole scheme work.

Click here to read more on that story from Foxnews.com.

Only now, the emphasis is on cooperation rather than hard bargaining—especially in the wake of the failure last December of another U.N. effort in Durban, South Africa, to create a new global environmental deal to replace the Kyoto Accord on greenhouse gas suppression, which expires at the end of 2012. The Durban failure followed the even more highly publicized failure to achieve the same thing at a summit in Copenhagen in December, 2009.

Yet another reason for soft-pedaling the discussion is the U.S. presidential elections in November. A happy-face summit in Rio that mobilizes environmental enthusiasm around the world is definitely more to the advantage of the incumbent Obama Administration than a strident meeting that ends in failure or fizzle. The recent spike in gasoline prices in the U.S. is also likely to dampen domestic enthusiasm for environmental mandates that would likely make carbon-based energy even more expensive.

Hence the need for a new strategy. Or, as a U.S. diplomat put it at a U.N. session last month to begin considering the “zero draft” of a communiqué put it: “We should focus on partnership, inclusion, and cooperation rather than false distinctions between countries.”

A first round of “informal-formal” negotiations on the draft is slated to begin in New York City in mid-March, immediately after a major preparatory meeting for the Rio conference that starts on March 4. Negotiations over the outcome document will like continue through the Rio summit itself, which is scheduled for June 20-22.

Conciliatory themes very much lie at the center of U.S. notions concerning the Rio communiqué, chief among them being to keep any broad, sweeping statements about the summit aims short and sweet, and concentrate as much as possible on engaging a global audience.

Indeed, at a preliminary meeting on the draft in December, the U.S. declared that the zero draft “should provide a political statement no more than five pages long. We do not see the need for chapters in a concise political document.”

So far, the zero draft, entitled “The Future We Want,” isn’t there: it is 19 pages long, and broken into five chapters.

One approach for Rio that the U.S. government is strongly backing is to engage as many people, institutions, businesses and governments as possible around the world to sign onto a “Compendium of Commitments” –in effect, a set of green goals of their own devising—that will create a groundswell of activity in line with the conference’s aims.

“These are voluntary, non-regulatory commitments that any party is willing to put forward,” a State Department spokesman who is knowledgeable about the process told Fox News. “It would not require a negotiated resolution on behalf of the U.N. community. “ It could be, say, a beverage company that promises to cut water usage over the next ten years.”

“This is what we really see as valuable.”

To that end, a flotilla of senior Obama Administration officials descended earlier this month on Stanford University, for a two-day conference entitled US Rio + 2.0, on using “connection technologies,” meaning social media, “to advance sustainable development solutions in the fields of health, the environment, agriculture, and sustainable economic growth.” The conference aimed at highlighting a fast-mutating array of high-tech opportunities to create new solutions to social and economic problems—akin to the Compendium approach that the U.N. is now advocating for Rio + 20.

At the Stanford session, Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson declared that “The Internet and social networks give citizens from across the globe the ability to participate in the push towards sustainability in their own communities. We should challenge ourselves to find creative new ways to apply existing technologies, and look ahead to emerging technologies and their potential impacts.”

Jackson’s statement is now linked prominently on the State Department’s own Rio + 20 website page.

But even while discussion of the Rio + 20 outcome is being framed in feel-good, futuristic terms, the old, tough issues of the global green economy debate linger in the bureaucratic langue of the middle passages of the zero draft document.

Among other things, the document as written includes an agreement to “provide new, additional and scaled up sources of financing to developing countries,” without going into details. It also includes a need to “gradually eliminate subsidies that have considerable negative effects on the environment and are incompatible with sustainable development”—rhetoric that could justify such controversial measures as the Obama Administration’s new, proposed tax bias against oil and gas companies.

Moreover, the document contains a time line that, in veiled terms, continues to call for more efforts to overcome the failure to produce a comprehensive global agreement on “sustainable” development by 2015 that would take increasing effect over the following 15 years.

It also argues that “strong governance at local, national, regional and global levels is critical for advancing sustainable development,” and says strengthening this “institutional framework” should involve identifying “specific actions in order to fulfill the sustainable development agenda through the promotion of integrated decision making at all levels.”

Click here to read the Zero Draft document.

When it comes to what specifics the U.S. delegation favors, a State Department spokesman told Fox News that “what happens will be coming into focus in the next few months.”
In the meantime, he said, “we are listening to a lot of views.”

George Russell is executive editor of Fox News and can be found at Twitter@GeorgeRussell
Click here for more stories by George Russell

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Wind Farm Grave Yards

Abandoned wind farms in Hawaii dot the Islands.

According to recent estimates, there are currently 14,000 abandoned wind farms dotting the landscape in the U.S.

Hawaii, for example, has 37 abandoned wind turbines at one site and there are five other abandoned wind sites in the Hawaiian Islands.

In California, there are thousands of such abandoned sites, including Altamont Pass, Techachapin and San Gorgonio — all considered perfect spots for wind turbines.

So, what happened? Well, first off, birds get killed by these huge machines and the PETA crowd goes insane. The Altamont site, for example, is shut down four months out of the year to protect migrating birds. Second, when government subsidies stop, the projects die. Third, wind power has proven to be unreliable as a consistent source of power. There’s either too little wind, too much wind, or it’s too cold to operate them.

In Britain, the energy industry admitted as long ago as 2008 that wind turbines are idle up to 30% of the time because of the unreliability of the wind. A report from the British Renewable Energy Foundation at the time describes the economically disastrous wind turbine industry.

It is unlikely that the Obama Administration will let facts get in the way of their war against fossil fuels and their love affair with solar and wind power. Expect more taxpayer dollars to be flushed down the rat hole of solar and wind boondoggles. Expect to see more abandoned wind farms in the future — as long as Obama remains in office and the EPA is run by the climate alarmist zealot Lisa Jackson.

Related posts:

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  2. Five Problems with Wind Power
  3. Wind Farm Project In Washington Killed Over Endangered Sea Bird
  4. Wind Farms Disrupting Radar, Scientists Say
  5. What Happens When Wind Farm Freaks Clash With Bat Freaks?

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An EPA Moratorium

Obama has the power to delay new rules that will shut down 8% of all U.S. power generation.

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Since everyone has a suggestion or three about what President Obama can do to get the economy cooking again, here’s one of ours: Immediately suspend the Environmental Protection Agency’s bid to reorganize the U.S. electricity industry, and impose a moratorium on EPA rules at least until hiring and investment rebound for an extended period.

The EPA is currently pushing an unprecedented rewrite of air-pollution rules in an attempt to shut down a large portion of the coal-fired power fleet. Though these regulations are among the most expensive in the agency’s history, none were demanded by the late Pelosi Congress. They’re all the result of purely bureaucratic discretion under the Clean Air Act, last revised in 1990.

As it happens, those 1990 amendments contain an overlooked proviso that would let Mr. Obama overrule EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson‘s agenda. With an executive order, he could exempt all power plants “from compliance with any standard or limitation” for two years, or even longer using rolling two-year periods. All he has to declare is “that the technology to implement such standard is not available and that it is in the national security interests of the United States to do so.”

Both criteria are easily met. Most important, the EPA’s regulatory cascade is a clear and present danger to the reliability and stability of the U.S. power system and grid. The spree affects plants that provide 40% of U.S. baseload capacity in the U.S., and almost half of U.S. net generation. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, which is charged with ensuring the integrity of the power supply, reported this month in a letter to the Senate that 81 gigawatts of generating capacity is “very likely” or “likely” to be subtracted by 2018 amid coal plant retirements and downgrades.

That’s about 8% of all U.S. generating capacity. Merely losing 56 gigawatts—a midrange scenario in line with FERC and industry estimates—is the equivalent of wiping out all power generation for Florida and Mississippi.

In practice, this will mean blackouts and rolling brownouts, as well as spiking rates for consumers. If a foreign power or terrorists wiped out 8% of U.S. capacity, such as through a cyber attack, it would rightly be considered an act of war. The EPA is in effect undermining the national security concept of “critical infrastructure”—assets essential to the functioning of society and the economy that Mr. Obama has an obligation to protect.

He would also be well within the law to declare that the EPA’s rules are technologically infeasible. Later this year, for example, the EPA will release regulations requiring utilities to further limit mercury and other hazardous pollutants. Full compliance will be required by 2015, merely 36 months after the final rule is public, and plants that can’t be upgraded in time will be required to shut down.

Yet this is nearly impossible to achieve. Duke Energy commented to the EPA that its average lead time for retrofitting scrubbers was 52 months, including the design, purchase and installation of equipment and the vagaries of the environmental permitting process. For Southern Co., another big utility, it was 54 months, over 16 scrubber systems. Filter systems usually take anywhere from 34 to 48 months end to end.

The environmental regulatory system is so rigid that once a rule is in motion it is almost impossible to stop or roll back in a way that can withstand scrutiny in the courts. Mr. Obama allowed Ms. Jackson to begin the process, but we rehearse these details to show that he has the legal authority to minimize her damage. An executive order would not make these rules more rational or change them in any way. All it would do is delay them, giving businesses more time to prepare and to amortize the costs over a longer time.

The larger issue is whether the Administration’s green campaign is more important than economic growth. The EPA’s own lowball cost estimate for the mercury rule is $11 billion annually, though the capital expenditures to meet the increasingly strict burden will be far higher. That investment could be put to more productive uses than mothballing coal assets and replacing them with more expensive sources like natural gas. With nearly a tenth of America out of work, $11 billion year after year adds up.

We don’t expect Mr. Obama to take our advice and tell his regulators to cool it, but no one should believe the excuse that his hands are tied. Whatever he decides will speak volumes about his real economic priorities.

Original Article

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