The gruberization of environmental policies

Accumulation of fraudulent EPA regulations impacts energy, economy, jobs, families and health

  • Obama new energy podium

Call it the Gruberization of America’s energy and environmental policies.

Former White House medical consultant Jonathan Gruber pocketed millions of taxpayer dollars before infamously explaining how ObamaCare was enacted. “Lack of

Jonathon Gruber

Jonathon Gruber

transparency is a huge political advantage,” he said. “It was really, really critical to getting the bill passed.” At least one key provision was a “very clever basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”

The Barack Obama/Gina McCarthy Environmental Protection Agency is likewise exploiting its lack of transparency and most Americans’ lack of scientific understanding. EPA bureaucrats and their hired scientists, pressure groups and PR flacks are getting rich and powerful by implementing costly, punitive, dictatorial regulations “for our own good,” and pretending to be honest and publicly spirited.

EPA’s latest regulatory onslaught is its “Clean Power Plan.” The agency claims the CPP will control or prevent “dangerous man-made climate change,” by reducing carbon dioxide and “encouraging” greater use of renewable energy. In reality, as even EPA acknowledges, no commercial-scale technology exists that can remove CO2 from power plant emission streams. The real goal is forcing coal-fired power plants to reduce their operations significantly or (better still) shut down entirely.

The agency justifies this by deceitfully claiming major health benefits will result from eliminating coal in electricity generation – and deceptively ignoring the harmful effects that its regulations are having on people’s livelihoods, living standards, health and well-being. Its assertion that reducing the USA’s coal-related carbon dioxide emissions will make an iota of difference is just as disingenuous. China, India and other fast-developing nations must keep burning coal to generate electricity and lift people out of poverty, and CO2 plays only a tiny (if any) role in climate change and destructive weather events.

The new CPP amplifies Obama Administration diktats targeting coal use. Companion regulations cover mercury, particulates (soot), ozone, “cross-state” air pollution, sulfur and nitrogen oxides that contribute to haze in some areas, and water quality. Their real benefits are minimal to illusory … or fabricated.

Clean coal billboard green red white blueAmerican’s air is clean, thanks to scrubbers and other emission control systems that remove the vast majority of pollutants. Remaining pollutants pose few real health problems. To get the results it needs, EPA cherry picks often questionable research that supports its agenda and ignores all other studies. It low-balls costs, pays advisors and outside pressure groups millions of dollars to support its decisions, and ignores the cumulative effects of its regulations on energy costs and thus on businesses, jobs and families.

Now, for the first time, someone has tallied those costs. The results are sobering.

An exhaustive study by Energy Ventures Analysis, Inc. tabulates the overall effects of EPA regulations on the electric power industry and also provides state-by-state summaries of the rules’ financial impacts on residential, industrial and overall energy users. The study found that EPA rules will inflict $284 billion per year in extra electricity and natural gas costs in 2020, compared to its 2012 baseline year.

The typical household’s annual electricity and natural gas bills will rise 35% or $680 by 2020, compared to 2012, and will climb every year after that, as EPA regulations get more and more stringent. Median family incomes are already $2,000 lower since President Obama took office, and electricity prices have soared 14-33% in states with the most wind power – so these extra costs will exact a heavy additional toll.

Manufacturing and other businesses will be hit even harder, the study concluded. Their electricity and natural gas costs will almost double between 2012 and 2020, increasing by nearly $200 billion annually over this short period. Energy-intensive industries like aluminum, steel and chemical manufacturing will find it increasingly hard to compete in global markets, but all businesses (and their employees) will suffer.

The EVA analysis calculates that industrial electricity rates will soar by 34% in West Virginia, 59% in Maryland and New York, and a whopping 74% in Ohio. Just imagine running a factory, school district or hospital – and having to factor skyrocketing costs like that into your budget. Where do you find that extra money? How many workers or teachers do you lay off, or patients do you turn away? Can you stay open?

The CPP will also force utility companies to spend billions building new generators (mostly gas fired, plus wind turbines and nuclear plants), and new transmission lines, gas lines and other infrastructure. But EPA does not factor those costs into its calculations; nor does it consider the many years it will take to design, permit, engineer, finance and build those systems – and battle Big Green lawsuits over them.

How “science-based” are EPA’s regulations, really? Its mercury rule is based on EPA Building Plaquecomputer-generated risks to hypothetical American women who eat 296 pounds of fish a year that they catch themselves, a claim that its rule will prevent a theoretical reduction in IQ test scores by an undetectable “0.00209 points,” and similar absurdities. Its PM2.5 soot standard is equivalent to having one ounce of super-fine dust spread equally in a volume of air one-half mile long, one-half mile wide and one story tall.

No wonder EPA has paid its “independent” Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee $181 million and the American Lung Association $25 million since 2000 to rubberstamp its secretive, phony “science.”

Rural America will really be walloped by the total weight of EPA’s anti-coal regulations. Nonprofit electricity cooperatives serve 42 million people in 47 states, across three-fourths of the nation’s land area. They own and maintain 42% of America’s electric distribution lines and depend heavily on coal. They have already invested countless billions retrofitting coal-fired generators with state-of-the-art emission control systems, and thus emit very few actual pollutants. (CO2 fertilizes plants; it is not a pollutant.)

EPA’s air and water rules will force these coal units to slash their electricity generation or close down long before their productive lives are over – and before replacement units and transmission lines can be built. Electricity rates in these rural areas are already higher than in urban areas, but will go much higher. Experts warn that these premature shutdowns will slash electricity “reserve margins” to almost zero in some areas, make large sections of the power grid unstable, and create high risks of rolling blackouts and cascading power outages, especially in the Texas panhandle, western Kansas and northern Arkansas.

The rules will thus put the cooperatives in violation of the Rural Electrification Act and 16 other laws that require reliable, affordable electricity for these far-flung communities. EPA’s actions are also putting rural hospitals in greater jeopardy, as they try to cope with “Affordable Care Act” rules and other burdens that have already caused numerous closings. As USA Today reported, the shuttered hospitals mean some of the nation’s poorest and sickest patients will be denied accessible, affordable care – and people suffering strokes, heart attacks and accidents will not reach emergency care during their “golden hour,” meaning many of them will die or be severely and permanently disabled.

EPA never bothered to consider any of these factors. Nor has it addressed the habitat, bird, bat and other environmental impacts that tens of thousands more wind turbines will have; the “human health hazards” that wind turbines have been shown to inflict on people living near them; or the high electricity costs, total unreliability and increased power grid instability associated with the wind and solar installations that EPA assumes can quickly and magically replace the coal-based electricity it is eliminating.

Congress, state legislators and attorneys general, governors and courts need to stop these secretive, duplicitous, dictatorial Executive Branch actions. Here’s a suggestion. Heartland Institute Science Director Jay Lehr helped organize the panel that called for establishing the Environmental Protection Agency. In a persuasive analysis, he says it’s time now to systematically dismantle the federal EPA and replace it with a “committee of the whole” of the 50 state environmental protection agencies.

The new organization will do a far better job of protecting our air and water quality, livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare. It will listen better to We the People – and less to eco-pressure groups.

Categories

About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

  • RoscoeBonifitucci

    The EPA is a Marxist Lapdog organization determined to destroy our great Nation. May a pox be upon the “Environmentals” and their Progressive Allies…all enemies of America.

    • Manado Jones

      The EPA was created by Richard Nixon.

      • jreb57

        True, but it has overstepped its authority. It is now trying to regulate a gas necessary for the life cycle to exist on this planet.

  • ron17571

    I guess the idea is to make our lives as hard as possible. I recommend a book,Power grab by Christopher Horner.It talks about Obamas energy policies.

    • Manado Jones

      The idea is to make sure we cannot drink the water or breathe the air. There’s freedom for you!

  • jimdarnall

    The whole Obama administration should be charged with terrorism against the American people. Using false scientific info and made up junk science to threaten this nation. The EPA has become a complete bogus and unscrupulous agency to further a destruction of America agenda by Obama. All the things that are happening in this country fit to a tee the communist party agenda to destroy America from within which started decades ago. Obama has become the obvious windup toy for that process to continue. Even the most uneducated person that has followed his history can see the direction he is driving us to. His own personal book that wrote some time ago certainly follows his ideals that he is not a true American at heart. All of the policies that he is pushing continue to weaken the foundation of this nation.. All of his directives from a one world government, immigration, energy, education and moral degeneration fits the direction he is planning. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!

    • Manado Jones

      AMERICA IS WAKING UP!!! In September we had one of the largest climate rallies in history.

      • jreb57

        The only reason for a carbon tax is to grow the UN’s global agenda. If you want to see a pristine environment, look at the moon. The only pollution is what the astronauts left.

    • ron17571

      All these things Obama does,Overload the system and cause problems. Right out of the Cloward -Piven playbook. I unfortunetly see a economic collapse coming.Its just a matter of time. Green Policys are part of what will bring the country down. Spain is a good example of going green and it about bankrupting a country. I knew what Obama was right from the start. Unqualified. His ideals run counter to our countrys. Were almost to 18 trillion in debt. Two years to go.Maybe 19 to 20 trillion before he leaves. I think i read that it is more money than we have in the country,or the world?
      Just try to prepare the best you can. Read up on Agenda 21.Its being Implimented all around you. Climate change,a means to tax and control people.So many sheeple, Lead so easily and ready to believe everything told to them.

  • Arationofreason

    A few well chosen and timed black/brown outs would go a long way toward waking up the lawmakers as well as their public support on this lunacy.

  • jameshrust

    Things are going from bad to worse. I got a press release from EPA at 9 a.m. November 26 about their proposing rules to reduce ozone from 75 ppb to 65-70 ppb. The rule will be out for comment in a few weeks and they plan on implementing the rule November 2015. The Sierra Club has put word out to its members to write letters to EPA supporting this new rule.
    James H. Rust, Professor

    • Manado Jones

      Thank you for reminding me to write letters to the EPA support the rule to reduce ozone from 75 ppb to 65-70 ppb.

    • jreb57

      Someone needs to teach people what a greenhouse really is, not what some politician is trying to use it for. One of the big problems the green agenda has is the inability to balance risk vs reward (something engineers must always do)

  • jreb57

    The American people should take a valuable lesson from the Obama administration. Congress should not create alphabet soup federal agencies that it does not exercise tight control over. There can no longer be a reasonable expectation that these agencies will will not be used in a way that is contrary to the welfare of the American people.

  • jreb57

    Find out everything you can about the deep green resistance. Even if you are a devout environmentalist, this should disturb you.

    • J.P. Katigbak

      I am concerned about how ideological the situation environmentalism has persisted. I believe that Marxism really motivates those who succeed in imposing their beliefs unwittingly on people across the globe. CFACT must find the truth behind this situation even further so people like me would help them challenge the ideological demagogues in the current social and economic development discourse. – J.P.K.

      • jreb57

        “I am concerned about how ideological the situation environmentalism has persisted”

        I agree. Man pollutes the environment by his very existence. Many people who call themselves environmentalists support programs with diminishing returns. Some of these programs actually have a negative return. The renewable fuel mandate is one. In the case of ethanol, there are some who claim it takes more energy to produce the ethanol than you get by burning it. There is also a problem with the presence of formaldehyde in the exhaust when burned in an internal combustion engine. A politicized EPA is hazardous to both the environment as well as the economy. If you want to see a pollution free environment, look at the moon before 1969.

        • J.P. Katigbak

          Better be sure that an ideological belief in environmentalism is really a bane to different societies and economies around the world. Keep an eye on Marxism-Leninism as well, because of socialist beliefs that currently persist at present. Do not forget about this. Perhaps Lord Our God would stay people out of trouble, LOL. Thanks, anyway, and take care as always. – J.P.K.

  • Eckenhuijsen Smit

    Manmade CO2 is only 0,001152 % (= nil) of the global atmosphere.
    That makes it IMPOSSIBLE that manmade CO2 raises global temperatures or causes Climate Change.
    Every person with some brains will understand that, but fools like the stupid liar
    Barry Hussein Obama Soetoro and his ilk still declares CO2 a poisonous gas and
    manmade CO2 as destroying the globe, while CO2 is absolutely indispensable for
    all life on earth!
    The more fossil fuels burnt, the better!

    • Manado Jones

      Scientists now know that about half of man-made CO2 has been absorbed over time by the oceans. This has benefited us by slowing the climate change these emissions would have instigated if they had remained in the air. But relatively new research is finding that the introduction of massive amounts of CO2 into the seas is altering water chemistry and affecting the life cycles of many marine organisms, particularly those at the lower end of the food chain.

  • ChuckS123

    If the economy picks up, and people go back to work, businesses will be using much more electricity and people will use more gas to drive to work. So we’ll need more electricity as power plants are being shut down. According to shadowstats.com, the real unemployment rate is 23%, if you include all the underemployed people and people who left the workforce.

  • Peter Alexander

    China is best example, India too….people are still burning coal to cook and heat their residences…including apartment buildings.
    City air quality suffers and the green slime here shouts about how awful their air quality is. Coal fired electric power cleaned up our cities in west especially London, Edinburgh & Sofia. With enough coal to warm people & their needs for close to a thousand years why not concentrate on improvments instead of bankruptcy.
    Ohh…transfer of Power…not power….

    • jreb57

      “concentrate on improvements instead of bankruptcy”
      That would make too much sense. These people are agenda driven, not logic driven. Their goal is control, not environment..

  • Manado Jones

    The oceans currently absorb about a third of human-created CO2 emissions, roughly 22 million tons a day. Projections based on these numbers show that by the end of this century, continued emissions could reduce ocean pH by another 0.5 units. Shell-forming animals including corals, oysters, shrimp, lobster, many
    planktonic organisms, and even some fish species could be gravely affected.

    Equally worrisome is the fact that as the oceans continue to absorb more CO2, their
    capacity as a carbon storehouse could diminish. That means more of the carbon
    dioxide we emit will remain in the atmosphere, further aggravating global
    climate change.

    Scientific awareness of ocean acidification is relatively recent, and researchers are just beginning to study its effects on marine ecosystems. But all signs indicate
    that unless humans are able to control and eventually eliminate our fossil fuel
    emissions, ocean organisms will find themselves under increasing pressure to
    adapt to their habitat’s changing chemistry or perish.

    .article_text

  • Manado Jones

    For tens of millions of years, Earth’s oceans have maintained a relatively stable acidity level. It’s within this steady environment that the rich and varied web of life in today’s seas has arisen and flourished. But research shows that this ancient balance is being undone by a recent and rapid drop in surface pH that could have devastating global consequences.

    Since the beginning of the industrial revolution in the early 1800s, fossil fuel-powered machines have driven an unprecedented burst of human industry and advancement. The unfortunate consequence, however, has been the emission of billions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into Earth’s atmosphere.

    Scientists now know that about half of this anthropogenic, or man-made, CO2 has been absorbed over time by the oceans. This has benefited us by slowing the climate change these emissions would have instigated if they had remained in the air. But relatively new research is finding that the introduction of massive amounts of CO2 into the seas is altering water chemistry and affecting the life cycles of many marine organisms, particularly those at the lower end of the food chain.

    Carbonic Acid

    When carbon dioxide dissolves in this ocean, carbonic acid is formed. This leads to higher acidity, mainly near the surface, which has been proven to inhibit shell growth in marine animals and is suspected as a cause of reproductive disorders in some fish.

    On the pH scale, which runs from 0 to 14, solutions with low numbers are considered acidic and those with higher numbers are basic. Seven is neutral. Over the past 300 million years, ocean pH has been slightly basic, averaging about 8.2. Today, it is around 8.1, a drop of 0.1 pH units, representing a 25-percent increase in acidity over the past two centuries.

    Carbon Storehouse

    The oceans currently absorb about a third of human-created CO2 emissions, roughly 22 million tons a day. Projections based on these numbers show that by the end of this century, continued emissions could reduce ocean pH by another 0.5 units. Shell-forming animals including corals, oysters, shrimp, lobster, many planktonic organisms, and even some fish species could be gravely affected.

    Equally worrisome is the fact that as the oceans continue to absorb more CO2, their capacity as a carbon storehouse could diminish. That means more of the carbon dioxide we emit will remain in the atmosphere, further aggravating global climate change.

    Scientific awareness of ocean acidification is relatively recent, and researchers are just beginning to study its effects on marine ecosystems. But all signs indicate that unless humans are able to control and eventually eliminate our fossil fuel emissions, ocean organisms will find themselves under increasing pressure to adapt to their habitat’s changing chemistry or perish.

    From the National Geographic, a far more reliable source than Mr. Driessen.

    • jreb57

      I will not argue with your data, I will argue with your interpretation. According to arctic core samples, atmospheric CO2 levels are near historic lows (they have increased some in the last 100 years) If CO2 levels have been higher in the remote past, this should have affected the ph of the oceans as it does today. This does not seem to have caused extinction of shellfish in the oceans. I am talking about CO2 levels 12 times the 400 ppm we have today. Abundant plant life is the reason for recycling of CO2.

  • jreb57

    Never give a bureaucracy too much power.