Tom Fletcher

EPA Regulation of the Day: Ozone Rule

Posted by Tom Fletcher on Friday, October 26th, 2012, 10:16 AM PERMALINK

Quote of the Day:  
“We pull out of the ground death. We burn death in our power plants.” Anthony Van Jones, President Obama’s former Green Jobs Czar

Regulatory Cap and Trade
With Congress and the American people rejecting cap-and-trade, the Obama Administration has employed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to achieve similar ends. Delaying job-killing regulations until after the November election, the EPA is currently sitting on numerous proposed rules sure to increase the cost of energy.

A recent report from Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) unearths thirteen EPA regulations likely to hit American consumers should President Obama be re-elected.

Every single day until November 6, ATR will highlight a pending EPA regulation.

Ozone Rule: $90 billion per year

From the Inhofe Report::

As the New York Times reported last year, President Obama punted on tightening the ozone standard until after the election, admitting that the “regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty” would harm jobs and the economy – but he still pointed to the fact that it will be reconsidered in 2013. EPA itself estimated that its ozone standard would cost $90 billion a year, while other studies have projected that the rule could cost upwards of a trillion dollars and destroy 7.4 million jobs. By EPA's own projections, it could put 650 additional counties into the category of "non-attainment," which is the equivalent of posting a "closed for business" sign on communities. Affected counties will suffer from severe EPA-imposed restrictions on job creation and business expansion, including large numbers of plant closures. The Times concluded: “The full retreat on the smog standard was the first and most important environmental decision of the presidential campaign season that is now fully under way. An examination of that decision, based on interviews with lobbyists on both sides, former officials and policy makers at the upper reaches of the White House and the E.P.A., illustrates the new calculus on political and policy shifts as the White House sharpens its focus on the president’s re-election.”

The Ozone rule is another attempt by the EPA to implement their business killing agenda by proposing costly and unrealistic measures. This only thing this “standard” succeeds in doing is putting more Americans out of work and costing taxpayers more money.  

Does your senator want efficient, reliable energy?
Earlier this year the Senate voted to overturn on the EPA’s most damaging regulations, the Utility MACT. If your Senator voted “Yes,” then they wanted to repeal the Utility MACT; if the voted “Nay,” they wanted to preserve the job-killing measure.

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EPA Plans Post-Election Assault On Economy And Jobs

Posted by Tom Fletcher on Monday, October 22nd, 2012, 3:26 PM PERMALINK

Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) released a 14 page report detailing stifling regulations planned by the EPA that will continue to thwart economic growth and kill jobs. This represents yet another gross overreach by the EPA and their obsession in continuing to try and drive up the costs of energy on average Americans.  Listed in the report are a number of regulatory measures that are to being “punted” until after the election. They include:

Greenhouse Gas Regulations:  These rules will cost more than $300 to $400 billion a year, and significantly raise the price of gas at the pump and energy at home. It’s not coal plants that will be affected: Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), churches, schools restaurants, hospitals, and farms will eventually be regulated.

Ozone Rule: The administration wants to tighten the ozone standard which the EPA itself estimated that its ozone standard would costs $90 billion a year while other studies have projected that the rule could cost upwards of a trillion dollars and destroy 7.4 million jobs.

Hydraulic Fracturing: In order to curtail hydraulic fracturing on public lands, BLM under Secretary Salazar’s control, will be finalizing new regulations sometime after the election, which will have serious impacts on domestic energy production. Costs estimates range from $1.4 billion to $1.615 billion annually.

Florida Numeric Nutrient Criteria:  In 2009, EPA issues a Clean Water Act (CWA) determination that it would set federal numeric nutrient water quality standards in Florida. These standards were criticized for being technologically and economically infeasible.

EPA Water Guidance: Proposed new guidance document for waters covered by the CWA, proposed in April 2011, reinterprets recent Supreme Court decision to allow EPA to expand federal control over virtually every body of water in the United States no matter how small.  

Stormwater Regulation: EPA proposed to expand the universe of federally regulated stormwater. This places enormous cost burdens on state and municipalities and on anyone who owns property or wants to develop property. If the final rule does everything EPA has proposed, it could be the most expensive rule in EPA history.

Tier III Gas Regulations:  EPA is preparing to propose a rulemaking called Tier III, which reduces the content of sulfer in gasoline from 30 ppm to 10 ppm. The estimated costs could be $10 billion initially and $2.4 billion annually, and it could add up to 9 cents per gallon in manufacturing costs; these would inevitably be passed on to consumer at the pump.

Boiler MACT Rule: EPA’s Boiler MACT standards are so strict that not even the best performing sources can meet them, so companies will have no choice but to shut their doors and ship manufacturing jobs oversees. The rule has been projected to reduce US GDP by as much as 1.2 billion dollars and will destroy nearly 800,000 jobs.

Cement MACT Rule: Current Cement MACT rule could cause 18 plants to shut down, throwing up to 80,000 people out of work. As more and more cement has to be imported from China, concrete costs for the construction of roads, bridges, and buildings that use cement could increase 22% to 36%.   

316 (b) Cooling Towers Rule: EPA is planning to require the use of strict protections for fish in cooling reservoirs for power plants under the Clean Water Act. EPA’s own estimates put the draft rule costs between $384 million and $460 million per year and have benefits of just $17 million-a cost benefit gap of more than 22 to 1.

Farm Dust Regulation: If National Ambient Air Quality Standards for coarse particular matter are tightened, farmers will have to curb everyday farm activities, which could mean could mean cutting down on numbers of livestock or the tilling of fields, or they may have to shrink or even end their business altogether.

Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule:  This would require farmers and ranchers to develop and implement costly oil and gasoline prevention plans, placing tremendous burden on the agricultural community.  

Coal Ash: The EPA proposes coal ash rule that could cost $70 to $110 billion over 20 years, destroying 183,900 to 316,000 jobs; this will have disastrous impacts in states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Missouri.

The Obama campaign has tried to talk-up their energy policy claiming, “the President has doubled fuel-efficiency standards so cars and trucks ‘will go farther on a gallon of gas, helped double our production of job-creating clean wind and solar energies and has championed an all-of-the-above American energy strategy.’"  Unfortunately the last four years have been anything but a triumph for American energy. This administration’s energy legacy will be that of shady crony capitalist deals that reward campaign contributors like Solyndra at the expense of taxpayers.

To read full report, Click Here.

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The Legend of Wind Power

Posted by Tom Fletcher on Tuesday, October 9th, 2012, 10:27 AM PERMALINK

One of the great myths perpetuated by the far-left environmental lobby is that wind power is the cure-all solution to alleviate our country’s energy and environmental problems.  This is not an opinion shared by a mere few, but a near unanimous position by those on the Left.  While supporters of wind-power claim government incentives are necessary, it is important to see if wind-power is, in fact, a viable solution. The Reason Foundation issued such a report  and found:

“The analysis reported in this study indicates that 20% would be the extreme upper limit for wind penetration. At this level the CO2 emissions reduction is 90g of CO2 equivalent/kWh, or about 18% of total emissions from electricity generation. Using wind to reduce CO2 to this level costs $150 per metric ton (i.e. 1,000 kg, or 2,200 lbs) of CO2 reduced.

Very high wind penetrations are not achievable in practice due to the increased need for power
storage, the decrease in grid reliability, and the increased operating costs. Given these constraints, this study concludes that a more practical upper limit for wind penetration is 10%. At 10% wind penetration, the CO2 emissions reduction due to wind is approximately 45g CO2 equivalent/kWh, or about 9% of total.”

At low wind penetrations, there is very little impact on CO2 emissions. As wind penetrations increase, the grid requires increasing amounts of spinning reserves to maintain reliability. At high wind penetrations, even large amounts of power storage cannot prevent significant (and expensive) wind dumping. The already high cost of wind power increases with the construction of storage facilities, and the cost to construct extra wind turbines, which will be dormant during periods of wind dumping.”

The report concludes that that wind-power provides only partial solutions and is altogether limiting.
Click here for Marlo Lewis’s take on the new Reason report.  

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Drought, Food Prices, and Ethanol Subsidies

Posted by Tom Fletcher on Monday, August 13th, 2012, 2:38 PM PERMALINK

The country’s current policy on ethanol is one that is mired in fallacies and misguidance. The Midwest is currently engulfed in one of the worst droughts in recent memory and as a result food prices are increasing at an alarming rate. A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted that, “the US agriculture department downgraded its 2012 corn forecast by 13% from last year’s crop, to 10.8 billion bushels.”   Furthermore because of the drought “only 24% of the crop in good or excellent condition in the 18 major corn belt states, down from 72% in June” and “represent the largest month-month potential declines in grain yields since the USDA started to keep records.”  The current shortage of corn that needs to be going to the market is instead being diverted into a scheme that is being sold as the solution to the country’s energy problems. The Renewable Fuels Standard “requires 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended into the gasoline supply this year and 36 billion gallons by 2022.” This creates an unfair burden on the consumer to pay more for less. There is even a growing consensus within the international community that the “fuel-to- food mandate” be re-evaluated.

“In 2010, the G-20 countries requested a consensus report from the various international agencies on how to better manage the risks of food price volatility after bread riots in two dozen countries from Brazil to Pakistan. The global bureaucracies—the WTO, FAO, IFAD, IMF, OECD, UNCTAD, WFP, IFPRI, UN HTLF and the World Bank—all signed on to recommendation six: "Remove provisions of current national policies that subsidize (or mandate) biofuels production or consumption."

 If the rest of the world can see the harms of this policy, why can’t we? 

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RAISE Act Seeks to End Union Stranglehold on Wages

Posted by Tom Fletcher on Friday, August 3rd, 2012, 3:04 PM PERMALINK

After suffering embarrassing defeats in New Jersey and Wisconsin, organized labor seems destined for yet another setback. The RAISE Act, introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), is legislation that seeks to eliminate union meddling when a business wants to increase their employees’ wages. Writing in the National Review, Rubio called the status quo “unfair to workers and out of touch with the modern workplace.”  Enacting the RAISE ACT would pay immediate dividends for employees and businesses alike.  A Heritage Foundation report found:

“By offering workers the opportu¬nity to earn higher wages, the RAISE Act provides an incentive for increased productivity. Should Congress pass the RAISE Act, the average union member’s salary could rise between $2,700 and $4,500 a year. The RAISE Act would restore union members’ freedom to earn individual merit-based raises—a freedom that federal labor law currently denies. With many American families struggling financially in the aftermath of the recession, Congress should lift the seniority ceiling on workers’ wages.”

Dr. Tim Kane, Chief Economist of the Hudson Institute, said before a House subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions that, “the legislation has no potential to hurt jobs or wages.” Furthermore, he estimates that “the RAISE Act will generate an average raise of 10 percent to union workers in response to new productivity gains based on new incentives.” This legislation offers a remarkable opportunity for American workers to become more empowered and earn more money. Senate Democrats, however, seem determined in blocking this common-sense proposal that would only benefit American workers.

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