Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Real Agenda of the Environmentalists! (Part 2)

EPA plans wave of coal plant shutdowns lawmakers say will send energy costs soaring
By Daily Mail Reporter
21st August 2011
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to shut down a number of coal-fired power plants in a controversial bid to curb pollution in the U.S.
The shutdowns are part of a new effort to regulate Mercury, smog, ozone, greenhouse gases, coal ash and water intake over the next 18 months.
However, rising tensions are resulting between environmental, industry groups and Republican members of the House, who say the regulations will result in higher electric bills, more blackouts and fewer jobs.
Emissions: Utilities say regulations could cost them up to $129 billion, which would drive up costs for consumers
Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, and the American Legislative Exchange Council have slammed the plans as 'EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck.'
EEI, the National Mining Association, produced a report that said EPA regulations would cause the retirement of between 17GW and 59GW of coal-fired generation capacity by 2015, which could cost utilities up to $129billion and force them to eliminate one-fifth of coal capacity, which generates 45 per cent of power in the U.S.
In a divisive campaign promise earlier this month, Minnesota Representative and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann pledged to have the EPA's doors 'locked and lights turned off' in a bid to stamp out the agency's efforts.
Fellow Republican presidential candidate and former Georgia Representative Newt Gingrich has called for abolishing the agency entirely, calling the EPA 'hostile to all new technology, hostile to local community control, hostile to the business community,' and 'hostile to the marketplace.'
Controversial: The EPA estimates that an air-transport rule to regulate smog-causing sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide could save 36,000 lives
Meanwhile, environmental groups argue substantial public health benefits and have accused utilities of exaggerating the cost of such regulation.
A newly-released report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), which conducts policy research for members of Congress, acknowledged EPA regulations will predictably force many coal plants to close through the year 2017.
However, it noted 'In most cases... the benefits (of new regulations) are larger.'
The EPA estimates that an air-transport rule to regulate smog-causing sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide would help prevent 21,000 cases of bronchitis and 23,000 heart attacks, and save 36,000 lives.
That could result in $290billion in health benefits, compared with $2.8billion per year in costs by 2014, according to the EPA.
The country's oldest plants are expected to be the first casualties. According to the report, one-third of all coal capacity became active between 1940 and 1969 and about two-thirds of them do not have scrubbers.
The CRS report states: 'Many of these plants are inefficient and are being replaced by more efficient combined cycle natural gas plants, a development likely to be encouraged if the price of competing fuel - natural gas - continues to be low, almost regardless of EPA rules.'
The CRS staved off arguments coal plant closures would result in a catastrophic affect on the U.S. power grid. According to the report,coal plants that came online before 1970 are in use, on average, only 41 per cent of the time. Electric plants have the added ability of increasing power relatively quickly.
'There is a substantial amount of excess generation capacity at present,' it reads, noting the affect of the recession and the growing use of natural gas plants.
The CRS does not directly comment on costs of EPA regulations for consumers, although it notes costs will vary by utility and state.
EPA’s new ozone regulations overburden local governments, say critics
By Matthew Boyle - The Daily Caller
The Environmental Protection Agency is driving a new ozone regulatory agenda that critics say will cripple local governments, small businesses and other industries nationwide.
President Barack Obama’s EPA aims to reduce the acceptable level of ozone in any given region from 75 parts per billion to between 60 and 70 parts per billion.
If implemented, the regulations would force local governments that fail to attain this goal to develop their own plans to reduce their ozone levels.
Critics say the new EPA target levels are overly burdensome and unrealistic.
“The EPA has set the proposed range so low, between 60 and 70 ppb, that they’re getting very close to background levels,” Alicia Meads, energy and resources policy director for the National Association of Manufacturers, said. “So, essentially, if the EPA sets it close to 60 ppb, areas like Yellowstone National Park are going to be in non-attainment.”
In addition to expected job losses, Meads said costs for meeting these new regulations would be split between local governments, small businesses and industry.
In a letter to Obama urging him to stop these regulations, a coalition between NAM and 35 state-level manufacturing associations cites a Manufacturers Alliance study that estimates the EPA’s new ozone regulations would eliminate 7.3 million jobs by 2020.
If local governments refuse to comply with these mandates, Mike McKenna of the American Energy Alliance said they will put their federal highway funds in jeopardy. The EPA could also take over the local government and develop a plan for them.
According to McKenna, athough the EPA doesn’t administer federal highway funding, the Clean Air Act gives the agency the power to withhold the funding if local governments don’t follow its mandates.
McKenna expects a bipartisan push against the EPA once local governments become aware of the impact. “It’s going to be mayhem, and it’s going to be bipartisan mayhem,” he said. “When you look at the map of who’s going to be out of attainment, a huge chunk of the areas are run by Democratic mayors.”
The Bush administration lowered the acceptable ozone levels to 75 ppb in 2008. Since the EPA was not required to revisit the issue for five years and no court has required a further reduction in acceptable ozone levels, critics are questioning the timing of the new regulations.
“As soon as Obama was elected president, the radicals at the EPA are just running wild,” Tom Borelli, the director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project, argued. “Counties and business were trying to address that [the standard from 2008], but after Obama was elected, they come out and change the rules and move the goal posts again.”
Borelli said that “just like Obamacare,” the EPA is “throwing all these processes and rules to the side” to further its “left-wing environmental agenda.”
“They’re trying to ram as many regulations as they can down our throats now as fast as they can,” Borelli claimed.
Borelli and McKenna both argue that there is a lack of consistent scientific evidence indicating that there would be any public health or environmental benefits from the new ozone regulations. McKenna said Obama administration officials have “washed their hands of” most concerns economic or environmental experts have raised.
“We’re fighting against a proposed standard that’s not based on much, and is really going to be just disastrous,” McKenna said. “It’d be one thing if it’d be really bad for the economy and it was going to save millions of lives. This is going to wholesale destroy the economy in certain parts of this country and it’s not going to save any lives.”
Also See:
Environmentalists & the Green Agenda
05 March 2010
The Real Agenda of the Environmentalists! (Part 1)
23 June 2011
Cap and Trade Carbon Emissions Bill, Global Warming - Who Benefits?
07 July 2009