American Elephants

Choose: Economic Growth Or Turn Off America’s Light Switch? by The Elephant's Child

Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo) inquired of the Environmental Protection Agency of the economic impact and employment consequences of its initiatives. Assistant EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was very clear in her response:

Under the Clean air Act, decisions regarding the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) must be based solely on evaluation of the scientific evidence as it pertains to ;health and environmental effects.  Thus, the agency is prohibited from considering costs in setting the NAAQS.

Responding to a question by Representative Cory Gardner (R-Col) before the House Environment and Energy Committee regarding regulations that would govern industries that recycle coal ash and other fossil fuel byproducts for concrete, wallboard and roofing materials, EPA Administrator Mathy Stanislaus stated:

We have not directly taken a look at jobs in this proposal.

President Obama issued an Executive Order 12563 in January that specifically required that all new rules issued by federal agencies take job creation into account. Everybody has suggestions about what President Obama can do  to get the economy moving again. The EPA is currently pushing an extensive rewrite of air-pollution rules in an attempt to shut down a big chunk of America’s coal-fired power plants. I’m sure you remember Mr. Obama’s pledge to bankrupt the coal industry.

Coal-fired power plants provide 40% of U.S. baseload capacity in the United States, and almost half of net power generation.  The EPA has their agency eye on about 8% of all U.S. generating capacity.That doesn’t sound like much until you recognize that it the equivalent of wiping out all power generation for Florida and Mississippi.

In practice, this means blackouts and rolling brownouts, and rising electricity rates for consumers. As the Wall Street Journal says, if terrorists did that in  a cyber attack, it would be considered an act of war.

Later this year, the EPA will release regulations that require utilities to further limit mercury and other “hazardous pollutants.” Full compliance will be required by 2015, 36 months after the final rule is public and plants that can’t be upgraded in time will be required to shut down.  The industry says that the average lead time for retrofitting scrubbers was 52 months.

The Clean Air Act was revised in 1990, and the amendments added at that time contain a proviso that would allow Mr. Obama overrule EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, exempting all power plants from compliance with any standard  or limitation for two years. None of these regulations were demanded by  Congress, but are the result of bureaucratic discretion. The big question is whether the Administration’s green campaign is more important than the country’s economic growth.

The EPA’s own estimate is a cost of $11 billion annually., but that’s a lowball estimate.  Don’t expect Mr. Obama to rein in his regulators. He has already demonstrated that his green priorities are more important to him than American jobs.

Annual federal funding for policies purportedly directed at climate change has been increasing substantially.  According to the GAO, annual climate spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010 — $106.7 billion over that period. That’s for technology for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, science to understand climate change, international assistance for developing countries, and wildlife adaption to changes. That doesn’t begin to count  all the regulation costs.

The Small Business Administration estimates that compliance with such regulation costs the economy more than $1.75 trillion per year, about 12 to 14% of GDP, and half of the $3.456 trillion Washington is currently spending.  The Competitive Enterprise Institute believes the annual cost is closer to $1.8 trillion.  CEI further notes that these regulation costs exceed 2008 corporate pretax profits of $1.436 trillion. That’s alarming.

The EPA Is Not Concerned With Jobs. by The Elephant's Child

In a hearing Thursday before the House Environment and Economy Subcommittee, U.S. Rep Cory Gardner (R-CO) questioned EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus on the Agency’s economic analyses related to legislation.  Rep Gardner asked whether the EPA considers the effect its regulations have on jobs.

As the Committee writes, the EPA’s failure to account for jobs is contrary to President Barack Obama’s own Executive Order:

Executive Order 13563  of January 18, 2011 – Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review

Section 1. General Principles of Regulation.  Our regulatory system must protect public health, welfare, safety, and our environment while promoting economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation.

The EPA’s admission is disconcerting, but no more so than the regulatory path it would like to head down. Heritage’s Nicolas Loris writes:

[U]nelected bureaucrats at the EPA are attempting to bypass the legislative process through regulatory dictate by using The Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide. The problem is that Congress never intended The Clean Air Act to cover CO2 and the result of doing so would extract trillions of dollars from our economy and destroy over one million jobs. Worse yet, there would be no demonstrable benefit to the environment.

How The EPA Destroys Jobs. They’re Good At It. by The Elephant's Child

One of the hottest political debates in Washington concerns the effect the Environmental Protection Agency is having on business.  Businesses and trade associations single out the EPA as their number one target when they complain about the source of job-destroying regulations and mandates.

A new study from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) claims that the EPA’s new regulations will be — good for the economy— because it will create hundreds of thousands of jobs.  How does this work?

PERI claims that in spite of the fact that the EPA is destroying jobs at a time of already high unemployment, two new sets of air pollution rules for power plants would create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next five years. And we remember all the previous claims of hundreds and thousands of “green jobs.” That worked out well.

New rules including the proposed Clean Air Transport Rule (CATR), a program aimed at smog and soot forming pollution that travels across state lines.  The EPA must also propose new limits on mercury and other types of toxic air pollution to replace an earlier program that was thrown out by a federal court. Sounds good, right?

The job-growth estimates were based on projection that the  two rules will force the power sector to invest nearly $200 billion to design, build and install equipment between 2010 and 2015.  The projects would directly create about 640,000 years of work through 2015, or 128,000 full-time jobs.  Another 820,000 years of work would be created indirectly, as other companies provide goods and services to the projects. Uh huh.

And where does the $200 billion come from?  Oh, consumers will just have to pay a little more for energy.  And businesses will have to pay more for their energy.  And some businesses will find the costs of energy too high and go out of business or lay off more people.  The government does not make the economy more prosperous by imposing new constraints on economic growth. This is typical government math.  Costs are always underestimated, and nobody has a clue about unintended consequences. Spain got all excited about wind and solar and green jobs, and it has driven them into bankruptcy.

Our air is clean.  Our water is clean.  The Clean Air Act did its job, and major pollutants were removed.  Smokestacks got scrubbers, cars got catalytic converters, pollutants were monitored.  They did a good job. There is an aphorism in science and medicine — “the dose makes the poison.” Many effective medicines contain tiny amounts of what if consumed in quantity would be a deadly poison.  Most of the things we eat or use contain ingredients that in large quantity would be toxic.

This is not enough for ideological environmental activists.  They want to regulate, sequester, bury and eliminate all carbon dioxide because they hate carbon-based fuels and want them all replaced with clean free wind.  Wind may be free, but the attempts to use it as a power source are very expensive indeed. (And CO2 is not the cause of global warming, and the globe hasn’t been warming for 15 years.)

The EIA has projected the cost for sources of electricity per megawatt hour in 2015 in 2008 dollars.  Conventional coal power–$78.10; Onshore wind power–$149.30; Offshore wind power–$191.10; Thermal solar power–$256.60; Photo-voltaic solar power–$396.10.  Do we really want clean “free” offshore wind power? How would it affect your life to have your power bill double or triple?

Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar are going to SPEND another $50.5 million over the next five years to try to make offshore wind farms viable.

How much are we going to have to pay in ruined lives and destroyed jobs to satisfy the fantasies of this crowd?

A House Spending Bill Prohibits Funding for EPA’s Damaging Climate Regulations. by The Elephant's Child

A government spending bill written by House Republicans was unveiled on Friday night.  It would prohibit funding for Environmental Protection Agency climate regulations through September, the end of the fiscal year.

The continuing resolution, which is this year’s funding for the government, since Democrats couldn’t get around to passing a budget bill — their primary task — so they passed a temporary “continuing resolution”.  This is Republican’s latest attempt to stop the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions — the EPA’s attempt to accomplish by regulation the cap-and-trade bill that Congress refused to pass.

Republicans state that pending EPA climate rules will significantly damage the economy and result in major job losses.  The bill would block funding for all current and pending EPA climate regulations for stationary sources. Every shop and building could fall under the EPA purview  for emitting CO2 — a beneficent gas that is one of the basic building blocks of life. The notion that CO2 is harmful or a pollutant in any way has been soundly debunked, but the media has not caught up with the science.

The bill cuts EPA funding by $2 billion, 29% below fiscal year 2010.  The legislation cuts funding for the Bureau of Land Managements “wild lands” policy which would allow the Obama administration to protect lands that have not been formally designated as wilderness land. It has been an administration attempt to restrict oil and gas drilling.  The bill also prevents the Nuclear Regulatory Commission from terminating a license review for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

All in all a splendid bill, accomplishing important things.  Cutting the EPA’s funding is a major step in reining in an out-of-control agency playing politics with the American economy and American jobs.

The Ministry of Truth Wants Your Help!! by The Elephant's Child

Do you have any doubt that Washington bureaucrats were completely out of touch with ordinary Americans?  If you do, the Environmental Protection Agency is standing right up to reassure you — they are!.

With Americans across the country suffering from unemployment, worried about their jobs, government spending, the national debt and reeling under a wave of new taxes, fees and regulations, the EPA has offered — a contest.  And not just any old contest.  The EPA wants YOU to make a short video — just 60-90 seconds — explaining just how useful and important government regulations are.  Yes, they are completely out of touch.

The introductory video from the EPA  explains the contest, and to explain the sheer wonderfulness of regulations offers, as an example — “cash for clunkers.” Really!  Better known as the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS).  (A good acronym is important).  Don’t get too excited, the contest ends Monday, so if you haven’t submitted your video, you’re probably too late.

The video above was submitted by the Heritage Foundation, in the interest of providing a slightly different perspective.  They thought it was worthwhile to point out Washington’s habit of promoting job-killing expansive and useless regulation.  The first comment on the EPA announcement video was clear and simple:

November 2010.  Vote the bums out.

The second comment was more detailed:

From the site: “When Congress writes a statute and the President signs it, it usually doesn’t have enough detail for it to be put into effect. So, federal agencies fill in the details by issuing regulations.”
Doesn’t the U.S. Constitution entrust the Legislative Branch for writing, ahem, legislation? Why is the executive branch writing rules that have the force of law, including fines and imprisonment?
The system is totally corrupt. And they’re asking us to say how nice it is.

Texas is Suing the Federal Government. by The Elephant's Child

More on the Environmental front.   Texas Republican governor Rick Perry is suing the federal government, challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s CO2 endangerment finding. From the governor’s press release:

The state’s legal action indicates EPA’s Endangerment Finding is legally unsupported because the agency outsourced its scientific assessment to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been discredited by evidence of key scientists’ lack of objectivity, coordinated efforts to hide flaws in their research, attempts to keep contravening evidence out of IPCC reports and violation of freedom of information laws. . . .

“With billions of dollars at stake, EPA outsourced the scientific basis for its greenhouse gas regulation to a scandal-plagued international organization that cannot be considered objective or trustworthy,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Prominent climate scientists associated with the IPCC were engaged in an ongoing, orchestrated effort to violate freedom of information laws, exclude scientific research, and manipulate temperature data. In light of the parade of controversies and improper conduct that has been uncovered, we know that the IPCC cannot be relied upon for objective, unbiased science – so EPA should not rely upon it to reach a decision that will hurt small businesses, farmers, ranchers, and the larger Texas economy.” (emphasis added)

The press release goes on to point out that Texas’ $106 billion agriculture industry, which represents 9.5 % of Texas’ total gross state product, would be disproportionately damaged by the proposed regulations, as well as the effects on business and the energy sector.  Ordinary Texas families would face an estimated $1,200 in increased annual living costs during a depressed economy.

In a sane world, the lawsuit should succeed. “Regulation” of CO2 would accomplish nothing except to destroy more jobs and deepen the recession. Carbon dioxide is not the cause of global warming, but one of the building blocks of life. The globe is not warming, but cooling, as finally even CRU’s Phil Jones has admitted.

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