American Elephants


Foolish Rules and Stupid Regulations. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal last week to show how serious his new interest in creating jobs and relieving the unemployment  situation is. He was set on reducing unnecessary regulation that hampered business, like regulating saccharine.

Businesses have told us over and over that they are troubled by uncertainty.  They don’t know how much taxes they’ll have to pay next year.  They don’t know what ObamaCare is going to do to them;  they don’t know what energy is going to cost and what regulations will come along with that; and they don’t know what new business regulations will be imposed, nor what regulations the EPA is going to issue to hamper their business.

Obama doesn’t seem to know what to do about jobs, for he seems to think that all useful economic activity is a result of government spending.  So his inclination is to offer some benefit, as he grudgingly agreed to refrain from raising taxes on those who filed with incomes over $200,000 to $250,000; then in the State of the Union made it clear that he would raise their taxes as soon as possible.  He lifts the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf; but the new regulations and the new restrictions mean than permits are not being issued.  While he is asking for more job creation, his EPA is issuing one regulation after another to interfere with business.

The president says he wants to dump regulations that are “just plain dumb,” so we’d nominate a rule that subjects dairy farmers to the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure program which was created in 1970 to prevent oil discharges in navigable waters or near shorelines.  The EPA has discovered that milk contains “a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil,” as the agency said in the Federal Register.

Not long ago we were reading about the EPA intention to regulate farm dust as particulates that are not in compliance with the Clean Air Act.  I don’t know what happened to that one, but it was a clear indication that no one at the EPA has ever driven down a rural road in the summer.  Many rural roads are unpaved, farm fields get plowed, and forest roads are seldom paved. The EPA is light in the science department, and well populated with environmental zealots.

I remain convinced that most environmental zealots are city people who are totally unfamiliar with the environment that they attempt so assiduously to regulate.  Nature really isn’t as gentle and peaceful as greeting cards would have you believe, and the consequences aren’t always pretty.



Get Your Hands Off My Lightbulbs! by The Elephant's Child

Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), along with Michael Burgess (R-TX) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and 12 other Republicans,  has introduced a bill to repeal the 2007 law that bans incandescent lightbulbs starting in 2012.

As I understand it, the bill banning incandescent lightbulbs was essentially written by General Electric, a company that has managed their bottom line by close cooperation and subsidies from the Obama administration.  GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt is the chairman of President Obama’s new Jobs Commission.  GE expects to make considerably more income from selling CFL bulbs produced in China, and has closed all their incandescent bulb factories in this country. So much for American “green jobs.”

California’s utilities are spending $548 million over seven years to subsidize consumer purchases of compact fluorescent bulbs.  Californians are obliging by buying more than they need to prepare for the time when the subsidy ends.  Another reason is that the bulbs burn out far faster than advertised.

In theory, CFL bulbs offer energy savings of about 75% over traditional incandescents. The United Nations says that 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions are linked to lighting and the adoption of compact fluorescent bulbs could cut pollution. Whoa.  We have learned that information about greenhouse gases from the UN is highly suspect, and the statement is filled with weasel words like “linked” and “could cut.”

PG&E  thought people wold buy 53 million CFL bulbs by 2008.  They allotted $92 million for rebates, but fewer bulbs were purchased, they didn’t last as long, and they didn’t save as much energy as expected — 73% less than expected.   The bulbs were expected to last 9.4 years, but the average has been 6.3 years. They don’t adapt well to being turned on and off frequently, either.

Even more, people hate them.  They don’t like the CFL light, they don’t like the time it takes for the bulb to reach full brightness, they don’t like the excessive cost, and they especially don’t like nanny government interference in their homes in things that most people feel are not the government’s business.  Enough is enough.

LED bulbs give a more pleasant light, last far longer, but give you a real shock at the price.  At over $30.00 for a bulb, the price for replacing all bulbs in the house is a bit daunting.

Consumers like incandescent bulbs.  They prefer incandescent light, and the fluorescents’ cost at retail 10 times more than ordinary bulbs that work perfectly well.  The idea that incandescent bulbs contribute to “greenhouse gases” and thus to global warming have been relegated to junk science, and most people know it.   And the EPA’s elaborate instructions for disposal of a broken CFL bulb are frightening.

The EPA promotes the safety of CFLs in order to advance their jihad against greenhouse gases, yet a broken CFL bulb releases mercury at concentrations from 667 to 2,557 times what they claim is permissible exposure for you and your children. T he EPA finds the bulbs useful in their regulatory efforts, otherwise they would have been banned long ago as unsafe.

If you like Representative Barton’s bill, you might want to let your representatives know.  I’m all for it, and if anyone else wants to eliminate the EPA, I’m with them on that one too.  I can’t think of anything useful that they do.

ADDENDUM: I neglected to mention that the bill is called the BULB Act (HR 91).  Congressional struggles to name a bill so that it will get a memorable acronym are always funny.  It’s the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act.




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