Picking Losers: EPA’s Costly Admissions
The legislation creating the Environmental Protection Agency does not contain any language bestowing responsibility for creating a new “investment plan” for America. Yet the EPA, empowered “to protect human health and the environment,” now admits its carbon regulations are less about pollution and more about investments in renewable energy.
In a surprising moment of candor before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on July 25, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the agency’s Clean Power Plan designed to reduce carbon emissions from power plants “really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control. It’s about increased efficiency at our plants. … It’s about investments in renewables and clean energy.”
McCarthy’s stunning admission seemed to confirm the view of skeptics who insist climate change science is a Trojan horse hiding a power grab allowing environmental zealots to retool America’s economy. The real goal, some skeptics believe, is to reform U.S. energy use habits, reducing our overall standard of living by making energy consumption and mobility prohibitively expensive.
And McCarthy seemed to give credence to this view when she said carbon regulations would get “the waste out of the system.” In her parlance, that’s code for making electricity more expensive so less will be consumed.
What’s more, McCarthy explained that the Clean Power Plan’s state-specific carbon-reduction requirements will encourage “a more efficient and cleaner energy supply system” while creating “more jobs in clean energy, which are the jobs of the future.” Translation: The Obama administration’s regulations will reduce power consumption (increase efficiency), put the coal industry out of business and eliminate mining jobs (make energy cleaner) while making so-called green technologies more attractive by helping them compete against traditional energy resources.
In other words, the U.S. will travel the same disastrous “green” road as the EU, where electricity prices in countries like Germany and Denmark are two to three times higher than ours.
Of course, the United States has been down this road before, with the billions of taxpayers’ dollars wasted on green-energy companies under the 2009 stimulus package. Those efforts didn’t work, but forcing changes through environmental regulations is the Obama administration’s hope-and-change approach to energy.
As evidence, just consider two examples. First, it was reported that average U.S. electricity rates climbed above 14 cents per kilowatt hour in June for the first time ever, making electricity more expensive for American families. Second, Alpha Natural Resources announced it would lay off 1,100 West Virginia coal miners due to lower coal demand and federal regulations.
While these are the results that green ideologues have been hoping for — and certainly are in keeping with President Obama’s 2008 promise to make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket” — some are objecting to the EPA being in the investment business. As Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) stated during the Senate hearing, the EPA lacks the “explicit statutory power” to use regulations to force new and more costly forms of energy into the marketplace.
This is hardly the time to put people out of work and raise electricity costs for American consumers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 92 million Americans over the age of 16 were not “in the labor force” in July. The BLS data also show the number of people not participating in the work force has grown by more than 11 million since January 2009, putting the real unemployment rate at about 12 percent.
Furthermore, wages and salaries have not kept pace with inflation. Pay in private industry grew by a paltry 1.9 percent during the 12 months ending in June 2014, while at the same time inflation increased 2.1 percent. These are hardly hopeful figures for the American middle class.
Yet the administration is willing to inflict more pain rather than address the economic issues that are leading many families to accept the “new normal.” With bills mounting and good-paying jobs hard to find, the American Dream of owning a house, a car and trusting that our children will have a brighter future has become a nightmare. These feelings of defeat are being ignored by an administration determined to fundamentally alter the economy through regulations and executive orders.
As long as ideology and social engineering trump America’s economic interests, and the EPA’s so-called investment plan masquerades as pollution regulations, American consumers will play second fiddle to the administration’s ideology and industrial policy.
And Washington, which is steeped in politics like never before, will continue to pick losers.
See the article here.
- On August 21, 2014