Dangerous or Fantastic New Trend or Overload?

In a move described differently depending on whose ox is being gored, the EPA announced late last week that it will delay the release of new proposed restrictions on greenhouse gases affecting electicity-generating power plants, restrictions that would drive up the cost of electricity.

Coming on the heels of the “ozone rule” delay noted in our last post, the delay has enviromental zealots seeing a “dangerous trend” and decrying pressure from “antienvironmentalists,” (“EPA Again Delays Greenhouse-Gas Rule,” Wall Street Journal, 09/15/11).

Did you get that?  If you think it is neither wise nor necessary to keep cranking down restrictions regarding clean air and water until they make production, power and breathing neither practical or affordable, you are an “antienvironmentalist.”  Conservatives — cattlemen among them — are often heard reminding people that no one is against clean air and clean water.  But the envirozealots don’t buy it.  Oppose their extreme views and you are an “antienvironmentalist.

We see the delay as evidence that pressure from business and industry, from electrical power generators and purveyors of common sense (voters) is at last having some impact on the White House and government agencies.  Activists claim that “political” pressure is partially responsible and that is a trend that they consider dangerous.  Of course, “political” means having to do with voters and elections  and the activists certainly don’t want that.  Elitist envirozealots — believers in the manmade global warming/climate change religion — want EPA actions limited to their far reaching imaginations, their lawsuits and deals made by courts with them, certainly not with average Joe voters.  Voters might object to paying ruinous prices for electricity or fuel or food caused by overzealous regulations. 

Even the New York Times called the delay a “tacit admission that the regulations pose political, economic and technical challenges that cannot be addressed on the aggressive timetable that the agency set for itself early in the Obama administration,” (“EPA Plans Delay of Rule on Emissions,” 09/13/11).  One wonders exactly what the Times means in its camouflaged language — “economic challenges” — posed by the rules.  Does that mean the rules will cost consumers a bundle and we should ask them first?  Or does it mean — as other rules and legislation have been handled by the Obama administration — that they need to slip these things in before consumers/voters realize what’s going on?

The activists and even some attorneys for the “other side” claim another part of the problem is that EPA has just bit off more than it can chew.  This delay was announced by EPA’s Lisa Jackson, not imposed by the President.  So some say EPA is working on so many regulations it can’t even meet its own deadlines.  Given that various sources point to EPA having nearly 16,000 to 18,000 employees beavering away, that should scare the average producer or taxpayer to death.

One attorney noted that the greenhouse gas rule would only force expensive modifications to existing coal fired power plants.  The upcoming “mercury rule” would likely have a bigger impact, expected to force the shutdown of older coal-fired plants totally, according to Jeffery Holmstead, an attorney at Bracewell & Giuliani and former EPA official (“EPA Delays Its Greenhouse-Gas Rules,” Washington Post, 09/15/11.)  Yes, Washington can contemplate even worse things yet to come.

Whether this is a trend that can be continued or just a couple of lucky breaks remains to be seen.  But it does offer agriculture and business some hope that political pressure can have some impact on the political left and the activists who would prefer no industry and no affordable food to get that last little microparticle of pollution out of everything on, above or below earth.

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Published in: on September 19, 2011 at 6:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

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