American Elephants

Industry Warns the EPA: The Climate Rule is Not Workable. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama tried to pressure “climate change deniers” in a recent interview. He said that most CEOs in the United States are paying attention to climate change, and they are more concerned with the administration’s climate policies than with debating the science. What they want is some certainty about the regulations so they can start planning. They have to make capital investments and have to look at investments for 20 and 30 years out. They have to know if we are putting a price on carbon? Are we serious about this?

“But none of them are engaging in some of the nonsense that you’re hearing out of the climate change [deniers},” Obama said.

The president drew a stark contrast between the questions CEOs are asking about his carbon pollution limits on existing power plants and the attacks from Republicans in Congress who say the standards will devastate the economy and businesses.

Companies like General Mills, Microsoft, IBM and Coca-Cola have joined efforts to mitigate climate change. Some oil companies like Shell have also joined others in supporting strong cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama said that CEOs always complain about regulation, but that his “policies have produced a record stock market, record corporate profits, 52 months of consecutive job growth, 10 million new jobs, the deficit being cut in half, an energy sector that’s booming, a clean-energy sector that’s booming, a reduction of carbon pollution greater than the Europeans or any other country.” He added:

I think you’d have to say that we’ve managed the economy pretty well and business has done OK.

This is so delusional, you just have to wonder. We are also told that he doesn’t talk to anybody outside of his closest advisers. Certainly he has no understanding that his job growth does not compensate for the new people who are entering the job market and those who have given up and are no longer looking. The situation is getting worse, not better.

Nobody is a “climate change denier.” Climate change is always going on and the planet warms and cools in cycles that are not yet well understood. What we do deny is that the slight increase in warming — less than 1° in a century —is anything to get excited about. The planet has been far warmer in the past, and the Medieval Warm Period which was much warmer, was the finest climate known to man. The Vikings settled in Greenland and built farms. Wine grapes grew in northern England, and the fine climate meant the fend of the Dark Ages and the flowering of the Renaissance.

Today there has been no warming for over 17 years, for the sun has gone quiet. The greens insist that warming will mean more hurricanes, more tornadoes, more forest fires, rising oceans, the list of things that are or will be caused by global warming climate change is  unbelievably long, and fairly amusing.

A dozen states filed suit on Friday to stop the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from enacting its “Clean Power Plan.” These are the new rules that would put many coal-fired plants out of business, and hundreds of people out of their jobs.  The EPA held hearings last week for the public about the plan. Four hearings, nationwide. In Pittsburgh thousands of coal workers turned out to register their objections to the Obama administrations intentions.

Leading industry groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Mining Association, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers and more, have told the EPA that their new climate regulation is “not workable.”

“There is obviously going to be legal action in the future,”said Jay Timmons, CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. “We would like to see the rule altered and see the agency stop and listen to constituents and the consumers that will be most impacted. But assuming all things stay as they are, then we’ll see some action in the courts.”

The Clean Power Plan is a very bad regulation that has far more negative results that the EPA understands. If the climate is actually cooling, and last winter was a preview, then America will need more electric power, not less. Coal-fired power plants currently provide about 40 percent of our electricity needs, reliably and cheaply. Retrofitting those plants to meet EPA standards may mean that most will shut down because the possible retrofit is too expensive. Big jumps in the cost of power on top of big jumps in the cost of health care may be, to use a favorite theme of the left — unsustainable. Increases in the cost of energy means inflation as the cost of everything goes up dramatically. The Left does not understand incentives, and they really don’t understand, nor look for, unintended consequences. They still do not understand that wind and solar are simply unworkable and can never produce any significant part of our energy needs.

ObamaCare: If Millionaire Celebrities Can Afford It, Surely You Can by The Elephant's Child

It’s Not Only the Spending, It’s That the Policies Won’t Work. Part I by The Elephant's Child

I am deeply troubled by the policies of the Obama administration.  Not because I disagree with them, although I do, but because I  believe that they will not work, and that the money appropriated is completely wasted. Policies have been enacted based on ideology, because they want it.  But no one has really investigated the evidence.  They simply believe that it will work because they want it to work.

We have the recent example of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wanting to regulate dust on farms.  I have always suspected that the ardent environmentalists that populate the EPA are city people, unfamiliar with the environment they want to regulate.

The EPA set up a program to make sure that any contractors who worked on a building or disturbed an area of wall larger than a few feet square, would be required to be certified for working on any home built before 1978. Participants will be trained in how to identify lead paint (commercially available kits are inaccurate between 48 and 72% of the time). Classes cost around $225 each.

Fines for non-certified work range up to $37,500 per occurrence.  In many areas, the EPA could not find people to teach the classes, but the end of the year was the deadline to get certified.  Contractors are having a hard time getting into classes. Rebecca Morley, executive director of the nonprofit National Center for Healthy Housing said contractors have had plenty of warning.  “Countless children have already suffered the consequences of lead exposure due to delays in finalizing the rule. Any delay at this point is unnecessary and will only harm children for years to come.” Thus spake the voice of a clueless non-profit Nanny.  Contractors are required to keep records of a renovation project for 3 years to prove that their work was performed according to EPA rules.  Contractors say their costs will go up by thousands of dollars.

The program known as “Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is designed to promote energy efficiency in American homes involves a government loan that remains with the home, transferring to a future owner if the home is sold.  Unfortunately PACE financing is a first lien on the property.  If the home lands in foreclosure, mortgage lenders do not have first call on repayment. Unacceptable to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Federal regulations prohibit mortgages that are subordinate to other loans, so no mortgage.  Ooops!

A report released by the special inspector general for the TARP bailout program, Neil Barofsky, said Treasury didn’t show why the cuts [closing auto dealerships] were “either necessary for the sake of the companies’ economic survival or prudent for the sake of the nation’s economic recovery.  Treasury made a series of decisions that may have substantially contributed to the accelerated shuttering of thousands of small businesses.”  These decisions resulted in “potentially adding tens of thousands of workers to the already lengthy unemployment rolls — all based on a theory and without sufficient consideration of the decisions’ broader economic impact.”

Chrysler quickly closed 789 dealers, and GM promised to cut dealer ranks by 1,454 by October 2010.  Responding to protests, Congress insisted on arbitration, GM reinstated more than 660 dealers, Chrysler reinstated 80.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics , responsible for developing and implementing the collection of new data on green jobs, placed a notice in the Federal Register.  It said there is “no widely accepted standard definition of green jobs:”  they asked that readers send in definitions. The Department of Labor, at the same time had hundreds of millions to dispense for “green jobs’ and no idea what a green job actually is.  The Recovery Act contains more than $80 billion in clean energy funding to promote economic recovery and develop green energy jobs.

There a constant of policies not clearly thought through, of unintended consequences, of policy based on fantasy rather than fact, and of mathematically illiterate  consideration of costs.  Policies should be based on careful consideration to see if they will work before they are passed into law.  This has not been the case.  Policies were drummed up in haste to get the bill passed as quickly as possible with the attitude that it can be fixed later.   But when the unintended consequences result in lost jobs, raised costs that citizens can’t afford, destroyed savings and lost hope — it really isn’t amenable to casual “Oh we’ll fix it later” rhetoric.

Is it any wonder that ordinary people are heading for Tea Party rallies, and making themselves heard at town halls, and cannot wait to vote in November?

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