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Capitol Comment

    End of the Line

    Behind the scenes, while Washington and the United States focus on the debt crisis, President Obama’s EPA has been quietly implementing one of the most radical and costly policies of his administration. Ever since the failure of cap-and-trade, the administration has turned to the EPA to carry out its radical environmental agenda. Immediately after the 2010 election Obama was quoted saying “Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way.”  The EPA is in the process of completing and finalizing 30 major regulations and 170 major policy rules that would impose hundreds of billions of dollars of compliance costs on the economy, killing jobs and threatening the economic recovery.  Because of the disastrous affects that the EPA’s new regulations will have on the already struggling economy, many have taken to calling the administration’s aggressive stance the “EPA train wreck.”

    The train wreck is comprised of a series of sweeping new regulations that cover everything from industrial emissions of mercury, ozone, and carbon dioxide to new permitting requirements. The EPA claims that these regulations are necessary to protect public health, even though America’s air is already the cleanest it has been in the last thirty years. Increasing the prices of traditional fossil-fuel energy sources has been a long time goal of many radicals on the left. President Obama has openly admitted that his under his proposed cap-and-trade program “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Unsurprisingly, the EPA train wreck would be just as disastrous to American energy. Many regulations specifically target America’s coal industry, and will result in much higher electricity prices. Estimates indicate that if all proposed regulations are finalized 22 percent of coal fired plants would not be able to meet requirements and would be forced out of business, eliminating 75 gigawatts (enough electricity to power around 50 million homes) of coal produced electricity.  In turn, rising electricity prices will take their toll on employment.

    The EPA regulation train has already left the station and is hurtling toward an economic derailing. On July 6 the EPA finalized the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), the first of many in the EPA’s newest wave of regulation.  CSAPR, is an air transport rule that regulates emissions from coal fired power plants in 27 states. It imposes unrealistic cuts on the emissions of sulfur dioxide and ozone. The rule is designed to prevent emissions from drifting over state lines, but in order to “protect” the states, the EPA has trampled on states’ rights. Instead of following usual procedure and allowing states to propose their own plans to enforce EPA regulations, the EPA is directly mandating individual plans for each regulated state. The EPA is enforcing immediate adoption; new rules will go into effect January 1, 2012, meaning that utilities will have almost no time to adapt to new regulations.

    The EPA plans to continue its onslaught of new regulation with new Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rules on track to go on the books this November. These rules also target coal fired power plants and call for huge reductions in mercury, particulate matter, and other common emissions.   Under MACT rules, all power plants will be required to meet the same standards as the top 12% of plants.

    The EPA is also preparing to by revise its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for industrial ozone emissions this year. The decision to increase standards is based on selective sampling of scientific research to arrive at the conclusion that reducing Ozone emissions would reduce asthma rates. Tighter NAAQS standards could cost the economy as much as $90 billion a year, according to the EPA’s own overly conservative estimates, and according to research by MAPI/Manufacturers Alliance could result in the loss of as many as 7 million jobs by 2020.


    The CSPAR, MACT, and NAAQS rules are just the beginning of the EPA’s new regulatory package. The EPA is currently developing a slew of new anti-energy rules that would enact unnecessary regulations on everything from greenhouse gas emissions to cooling water intake at electricity generating facilities. Although it is difficult to measure what the final cost of the EPA train wreck will be until the rules are finalized and go into effect, the America Legislative Exchange Council cites estimates  that indicate that proposed EPA regulations could cost the economy as much as $920 billion in the next few years and much more money in the future.

    Just the CSPAR and MACT rules alone will have disastrous effects on our already fragile economy. Most power plants will have to invest millions of dollars in expensive new capital in order to comply with new regulations. These costs will inevitably be passed on to consumers in the form of higher electricity prices. Other plants will be unable to comply with regulations and will be forced out of business, resulting in job losses and even higher energy prices. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity estimates that CSPAR and MACT rules will result in the net loss of 1.44 million job-years.  Electricity prices are estimated to grow by 12% across the nation and by as much as 24% in regions that depend heavily on coal. Higher energy prices mean that individuals and businesses have less money available to spend and invest in the economy. The EPA’s flurry of regulation is also creating an atmosphere where potential investors are afraid to invest in energy dependent industries, creating a further drag on economic growth.

    Fortunately, it is not too late to stop the EPA train wreck. A House bill sponsored by Rep. John Sullivan would delay the enactment of costly EPA regulations. The Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act calls for the creation of a committee to investigate the economic consequences of proposed EPA regulations, before the regulations go into effect.  The bill would slow the EPA’s out-of-control agenda and force the EPA and the administration to take a closer look at the true cost of regulation. The House appropriations committee has also passed an appropriations bill cutting EPA’s budget by 18% and defunding its ability enact many proposed regulations such as greenhouse gas rules and regulations that would define coal ash as a hazardous waste. The bill also includes an amendment added by Rep. Lummis which would force the EPA to assess the economic impact of all proposed regulations and prohibit funds from being expended on the air transport (CSPAR) and MACT rules. If passed by Congress, the bill will slow the EPA’s regulatory agenda, allowing a more careful assessment of the costs of these new regulations.

    Obama’s EPA is ignoring the costs to the economy, as it pushes for new regulation. An EPA official testifying before congress about an upcoming regulation admitted, “We have not directly taken a look at jobs in the proposal.” The EPA is at the forefront of the administration’s regulatory agenda. At a time when the economy is struggling to recover from recession, more regulations that increase energy prices and destroy jobs are the last thing the nation needs. Unless the EPA’s radical agenda is stopped the economy could be heading toward a train wreck.  

     

    Click the link below to view the full Capital Comment:

    8 comments
    WhatConstitution
    07/25/2011

    Virtually everything Obama does falls into the class of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" and I personally believe many things he has done have been outright treason. The man is not an American in that his aberrant upbringing provided him almost no frame of reference related to what it is like to be an American. From love of parents to quality mentors and/or teachers who are of good moral and ethical character, Obama has never had anything like the life that would connect him to us. Under other circumstances I'd feel sorry for him. However, the present situation requires that we treat him as the unethical, amoral and criminal element he is continually proving himself to be. The fact that congress has no impeached him is evidence of congress' complicit behavior in the unconstitutional activities of this entire "regime".

    Becky Forsyth
    07/25/2011

    Very well stated, "WhatConstitution"! I agree fully! Obama has no loyalties to our country whatsoever! He has capitalized on our trusting nature, our willingness to see the other side, and has manipulated our system to include antiAmerican ideals. He isn't forthcoming with his intentions even though he can say with some amount of credibility that he hasn't lied directly to America.....but what he has done is deceive America with the flare of a true snakeoil salesman. He relies on skewered facts that only present his angle as good, leaving out entire and untold amounts of factual information that flaw his agenda. He is dangerous both to our economy and our spirit.....and if we can't rid ourselves of him and his ilk, we will come to fully regret it as a whole. America can not afford to continually fall into the politically correct trap that is laid by those who are chomping at the bit to take advantage of it.

    Brenda Ramos
    07/25/2011

    Is anyone really surprised? Go check out "all" his Executive orders and other measures he takes. He is always off doing this kind of under the table deceitful and illegal stuff while the people and Congress are side tracked and not paying attention. It is the "Obama Trademark!" How much longer will Congress or the people let him comntinue to do so. Look at the latest bill he put through to give him appointment authority w/o Congressional authority. It is all "planned!" The Democrats know it, at Reid and Pelosi. What is wrong with the Congress? Are they blind, indifferent, or just damn stupid or lazy!

    Duane Buell
    07/24/2011

    The EPA has become a superfluous agency with little regard for anything but a large power grab. Obama lost the elections in 2010 and is now going to use the EPA to get his way through regulation since he failed at legislation. Fortunately all spending bills must come from the House and if the house holds fast on the debt pushing for Cut, Cap and Balance, then we will have an easier time being able to defund the EPA. At least we should do whatever we can to slow them down until 2012 when we can pray for a more real informed voter public who can boot Obama out of the White House! This administration is a total disgrace.

    charles pembroke
    07/25/2011

    Time for the epa to go.They are becoming like dictators.I never liked the epa.Just another outfit looking for problems that aren't there.The leftiest of the leftest.Epa leave us alone.

    Duane Williams
    07/24/2011

    EPA has abandoned Environmental Protection to become a major TAX Increaser for the Country....Since they decided not to regulate Toxins in drinking water, because of radioactivity in 16 States, Thanks to the Pentagon, and they didn't want to object to them!! I wrote them at the time, If you will not regulate toxins in drinking water, that makes anything else you do rather superfluous doesn't it??? They didn't answer but it does seem if our water is poisoned why worry about air or anything else...but not to worry, they our new TAX man!!! I also called the "Enviromental PERMISSIVE Agency!!

    Fantastic Frank Johnson
    07/24/2011

    While I am not in favor of anything that the government does higher energy costs will actually help me become financially free.

    How?

    Well if you do a search for Ambit energy and remember that I am one of the MC'S on their web site..

    So every gloomy cloud has a silver lining if you know where to look for it..

    I am in no way say that I am on favor of the EPA or anything that OBAMA has on his table I am just saying that if you look for a way to profit from these mistakes one will be able to find them.

    Even though this becoming financially free will not last.. I can't help but laugh at the pure folly of what is happening to my country.

    FF

    Vincent Kranz
    07/24/2011

    The left was pretty good at fighting for increased regulation when they were out of office by tying up regulatory reform in the courts for years. I don't understand why industry groups are taking the increased regulation lying down. Are they somehow going to benefit from the increased regulation? Which of these groups, US Chamber, NAM, EPRI, Edison Electric, etc. are in bed with EPA? We know GE is an Obama crony, what about AEP and other utilities that have bought into the global climate change argument? No legislation like TRAIN will pass the Senate given the current composition. EPA will have to be slowed in the courts until we can take back the Congress and hopefully the Presidency in 2012.

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