American Elephants

The Out-of-Control EPA Strikes Again and Again! by The Elephant's Child

— The Environmental Protection Agency issued final regulations on Thursday aimed at “slashing toxic air pollution from power plants that crosses state lines and potentially puts thousands of lives at risk.” Administrator Lisa Jackson said “No community should have to bear the burden of another community’s polluters or be powerless to prevent air pollution that leads to asthma, heart attacks and other harmful illnesses.”

By 2014, the regulations will cut SO2 emissions by 73 percent and NOx emissions by 54% below 2005 levels, EPA  said.  The agency said that will prevent 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 heart attacks and 400,000 cases of asthma starting in 2014, which would amount to $280 billion a year in health benefits.

Ms. Jackson needs to get in touch with the National Center for Health Statistics.  Little is understood about preventing asthma from developing.  Medicine knows how to control the symptoms, but not how the disease develops.  The prevalence of asthma has grown from 3.1% of the US population in 1980 to 8.2 percent in 2009, Particularly in the Northeast and Midwest regions, yet air quality has improved enormously in urban areas since the 1970s.  Translation: Once again the EPA is making up statistics. Explain how you know if you are preventing heart attacks?

— In New York, the EPA wants New York City to build a $1.5 billion-plus cover for Hillview, a 90-acre, 900 million gallon reservoir in Yonkers, to prevent contamination by cryptosporidium, a water-born pathogen that causes diarrhea.  The problem is that the pathogen hasn’t been found in the reservoir despite years of tests, and is barely present at all in the city.  The EPA claimed that covering the reservoir (remember it’s 90 acres) would prevent between 112,000 and 365,000 cases annually.  Another release from the EPA Department of Making Up Statistics (MUS).

— Meanwhile down in Texas, the EPA adopted a rule to place especially stringent regulations on sulfur dioxide emissions that would shut down the use of lignite coal in Texas. Retrofitting plants that now use lignite would involve three to four years of engineering, fabrication, boiler re-construction, new rail construction and complex new permits — at multi-billion dollar costs.  About 11% of electricity in Texas comes from lignite coal. In the last decade, power plants in Texas have cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 33 percent without EPA assistance.

Lignite mining in Texas supports  10,000 to 14,000 jobs, the local tax base and many Texas communities.  It contributes $1.3 billion to the state economy and $71 million to state revenues.  President Obama could not get cap and trade past Congress, but he’s finding other ways to make good on his promise to bankrupt coal, and destroying jobs by the thousands.

— With unemployment continuing to rise, President Obama must dream of some big corporation showing up to offer a shovel-ready, multibillion dollar project to create 100,000 jobs and on top of it all to reduce U.S. reliance on oil from the Middle East.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had that offer sitting on her desk ever since she was first sworn in.

Trans-Canada applied in 2008 to build a new pipeline —the Keystone XL — to bring oil from the oil-rich tar sands of Alberta to refineries on the Gulf.  The Keystone  pipeline has been operating from 2010 to Cushing, OK.  Another Canadian pipeline runs across the border to Chicago. Trans-Canada projects that construction would generate $600 million in new state and local taxes.  The pipeline would even carry oil from the Bakken formation  for efficiency gains for oil producers in North Dakota and savings for Gulf Coast refiners.

The State Department found that the XL would meet industry standards and not significantly affect the environment.  The EPA has been stalling and putting up roadblocks ever since.

The National Resources Defense Council explains: “This is really a campaign against tar sands expansion rather than a single pipeline.” The EPA complains at length about the ‘greenhouse gas intensive tar sands” and frets about what Canadians are doing to migratory birds.  There are many thousands of jobs that are not being created because of the EPA’s power-grab, and the regulations they drum up to keep it from happening.

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