For years, the most radical environmental groups have promoted a keep it in the ground ideology. This thinking, which aims to keep all fossil fuels literally in the ground seemed so far out there, so obviously incompatible with our energy needs and standard of living, it was just laughed off. But this fringe ideology is now shaping U.S. energy policy and the result could be disastrous for Alabama’s senior consumers.
Under the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” (CPP), Alabama electricity prices could be 16 percent higher, on average, each year, according to a report compiled for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.
The peak year Alabama electricity price increases (the largest increase in any single year) could be as much as 21 percent due to the CPP. Also, consider the rejection of offshore leasing along the Atlantic seaboard, new federal rules on hydraulic fracturing and natural gas production.
The list goes on and on. These polices, promoted the under guise of reducing greenhouse gas emissions or protecting habitats, are all aimed at slowing or stopping the production and use of domestic fuels. The Obama administration and its allies know these polices would be dead-on-arrival if Congress was given an opportunity to vote on any of them.
That’s why this radical energy policy is being carried out through regulatory fiat. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of the Interior have become factories for new rules and regulations aimed at making it harder and more expensive to produce our oil, natural gas and coal.
This regulatory approach to energy policy is so dangerous because it’s designed to affect great change without causing undue attention. There are so many new rules, often regionally, or fuel-specific, it’s hard to keep track. Each rule taken alone may not seem like a game-changer but when added up they form a regulatory tsunami that will send energy costs, and our cost of living, soaring.
Take for example two policy proposals affecting the coal industry that have not received the attention they deserve. The innocuous-sounding Stream Protection Rule (SPR) is a classic example of a wolf in sheep’s clothes. Aimed at revising hundreds of rules already in place to protect streams from coal mining, it’s a 2,100 page behemoth that will make it so prohibitively expensive to produce the majority of the nation’s coal reserves, they might as well cease to exist.
Considering that coal-generated power is our most affordable source of electricity and meets a third of our electricity demand, one might assume we have a serious stream protection problem on our hands to warrant such extreme action. But that’s just it, the nation’s streams are already well protected.
According to the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, the very office that authored the proposed rule changes, more than 90 percent of active mining operations are free of any off-site impacts. The SPR has nothing to do with protecting streams and everything to do with an anti-coal agenda.
The Department of the Interior’s proposed moratorium on all new coal leasing on federal lands is equally as dangerous. It’s likely the beginning of the end of coal, oil and natural gas leasing on all federal lands, including the Gulf of Mexico.
If the Department of the Interior can get away with stopping coal leasing on federal territory – which accounts for 40 percent of the nation’s coal production – what’s to say oil and natural gas production won’t be next?
The cost of slashing production of the fuels that are the lifeblood of our economy will be steep. For many Alabamians struggling to make ends meet, particularly those on fixed incomes, surging energy costs could be crippling.
Energy costs for 665,000 Alabama households earning less than $30,000 before taxes represent 25 percent of their after-tax family incomes, before accounting for any energy assistance programs. Minorities and senior citizens are among the most vulnerable to energy price increases due to their relatively low household incomes.
Pursuing a cleaner energy future is a worthwhile goal but it can’t come with an undue burden on seniors. Radical environmental ideology simply cannot be allowed to shape our energy policy. Instead of cutting U.S. energy production and driving up the cost of the domestic energy sources we rely on, we need to put affordable energy first.
See the article here.
- On June 10, 2016