EPA

You didn't actually expect any of this to make sense now, did you?

If you're one of the few remaining subscribers to the Ithaca Journal, you may have noticed this headline at the top of the front page this morning:

N.Y. carbon emissions cap may drop

followed by this subhead:

Plan could aid areas like Lansing with closed coal power plants

Huh?

If you're like me, you were wondering how an even-more stringent RGGI rule than is already in place would help the local economy.  

(On a related note: EPA regulators are poised to implement a "maximum achievable control technology" (MACT) rule, which is the most expensive ever written for power plants. NERA (National Economic Research Associates) estimates that implementation of the MACT rule will result in double-digit increases in the price of electricity in at least 30 states , a minimum of 183,000 jobs lost every year from 2012 through at least 2020, and loss of reliability in the national power grid, leading to rolling blackouts and brownouts. But never mind).

South of 5 and 20 wondered, too, in a post entitled "Democrats to pound another nail in Upstate's coffin":

Let's think about this for a moment.  If you're a struggling Finger Lakes homeowner, your second-highest-in-the-US electric rate will go up again.  If you're a swell who's invested in carbon credits, however, your net worth will increase...

Read the whole thing.  "Tortured logic," indeed.

When in Rome

The day Andrew Breitbart died, I posted that it was time for conservatives to have a Spartacus moment. I didn't realize I'd been speaking quite so literally.  At CNS News:

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) took to the Senate floor today to draw attention to a video of a top EPA official saying the EPA’s “philosophy” is to “crucify” and “make examples” of oil and gas companies - just as the Romans crucified random citizens in areas they conquered to ensure obedience.
 
Inhofe quoted a little-watched video from 2010 of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official, Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz, admitting that EPA’s “general philosophy” is to “crucify” and “make examples” of oil and gas companies.
 
In the video, Administrator Armendariz says:
 
“I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting, but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said:
 
“It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean.  They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them.
 
“Then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”
 
“It’s a deterrent factor,” Armendariz said, explaining that the EPA is following the Romans’ philosophy for subjugating conquered villages.
 
Soon after Armendariz touted the EPA’s “philosophy,” the EPA began smear campaigns against natural gas producers, Inhofe’s office noted in advance of today’s Senate speech...
The EPA official who said his agency’s “philosophy” is to “crucify” oil and gas companies apologized for his comments on Wednesday night. But, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who exposed the comments, says the apology falls far short...
 
Sen. Inhofe, who has launched an investigation into the EPA’s “crucify” philosophy, said today that Administrator Armendariz apologized for his words, but not for EPA's actions...
 

Train wreck

A few posts ago, we linked to a publication, Rich States, Poor States, from ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council—a 40-year-old organization described as a "creepy right-wing group" by no less a sterling source of information than...Gawker.

ALEC is about—gasp!—"limited government, free markets, federalism." So it isn't any wonder that the left, especially in 2012, is boycotting ALEC.

It becomes particularly clear why there's so much ginned-up outrage over ALEC when you take a look at their most recent release: Economy Derailed: State-By-State Impacts Of The EPA Regulatory Train Wreck.

To be sure, it's not all bad news. At EPAabuse.com:

For the past 42 years, Earth Day has been used to draw attention to environmental issues. In honor of Earth Day 2012, ALEC has released Economy Derailed: State-by-State Impacts of the EPA Regulatory Train Wreck celebrating the true story of America’s clean air and water successes by highlighting improvements in environmental quality over the past three decades...

But

...Economy Derailed also exposes the risks posed by the EPA’s recent regulatory onslaught. This excessive regulatory campaign has little to do with public health yet will have an immense impact on American quality of life.


“Economy Derailed” reveals that numerous EPA regulations are causing the shutdown of power plants across the nation, destroying jobs, raising energy costs, and decreasing reliability of electricity...
But as ALEC knows, one must never cross environmental extremists and their allies in their headlong rush to the Utopia train station.
 
And one must never, never point out that something is rotten in the state of Denmark, particularly when the stench threatens to overwhelm the re-election efforts of the most left-wing President in our history.
 
h/t's to Jim and to Ruth Ann at As A Mom
 

Mercury Theatre

You will feel so much better secure in the knowledge that these ladies,

pregnant (they look pregnant, don't they?), subsistence fisherwomen, who eat 300 pounds of self-caught fish reeled in exclusively from the most polluted bodies of water, are being protected by EPA regulations.

No, really.

...EPA’s Regulatory Impacts Assessment (RIA) for their mercury regulation known as the Utility MACT—which was (until possibly this week) the most draconian of the coal regulations—... requires plants to install “maximum achievable control technology” (MACT)—otherwise known as scrubbers—to remove mercury and other toxins from exhaust. The rule is one of the most expensive in history: EPA estimates it will cost almost $11 billion annually to implement. Already, these compliance costs have led to the shutdown of dozens of coal-fired power plants...
Yes, we all learned in elementary school that mercury is bad.  But $11B bad? Worth shutting down all those coal-fired plants?  Wait for rolling brownouts to become commonplace in hot weather, with computers shutting down as well.... Won't it be fun?
 
And why exactly has this draconian regulation been enacted by the nameless, faceless, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats at EPA?
...Because mercury is a neurotoxin, the fear is that pregnant women can engender development disorders in their fetuses by eating fish that have bio-accumulated mercury. Accordingly, EPA identifies pregnant women as the population at highest risk from U.S. power plant mercury emissions...
But we know that mercury emissions from U.S. coal-fired plants pose a negligible danger to fetuses. How do we know this? Because EPA said so (click on the table to go to the EPA report):
 
So we'll be forced to spend $11B (minimum) to protect a phantom population of "pregnant super-anglers with voracious appetites for self-caught fish from the most polluted lakes and rivers."
 
 
Why do we put up with this nonsense?
 

Property wrongs

Disaster averted, for now. Make no mistake, though—property rights in the US hang by a thread. People familiar with "critical environmental areas," "open space initiatives", and "aquifer protection initiatives" are real familiar with this.  At the Washington Times:

An Idaho couple facing ruinous fines for attempting to build a home on private property that the federal government considered protected wetlands may challenge an order from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a unanimous decision.
 
The case was considered the most significant property rights case on the high court’s docket this year, with the potential to change the balance of power between landowners and the EPA in disputes over land use, development and the enforcement of environmental regulations.

Critics called the EPA action a clear example of overreach, as the property in question was a small vacant lot in the middle of an established residential subdivision in the Idaho Panhandle. The government argued that allowing EPA compliance orders to be challenged in court could severely delay actions needed to prevent imminent ecological disasters.

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the court, said that Michael and Chantell Sackett are entitled to appeal the EPA order, rejecting the agency’s argument that allowing landowners timely challenges to its decisions would undermine its ability to protect sensitive wetlands....

...The case stemmed from the couple’s purchase of a 0.63-acre lot for $23,000 near Priest Lake, Idaho, in 2005. The Sacketts had begun to lay gravel on the land, located in a residential neighborhood, when they were hit by an EPA compliance order informing them that the property had been designated a wetland under the Clean Water Act.

The Sacketts were ordered to stop grading their property and were told that they would face fines of up to $75,000 per day if they did not return the parcel to its original state. When the Sacketts attempted to contest the order, the agency denied their request for a hearing.

Justice Scalia noted that the Sacketts’ property bore little resemblance to any popular conception of a wetland, protected or not.

Reading a summary of his opinion in court, he noted that the Sacketts have never “seen a ship or other vessel cross their yard”...
A little snark from a Supreme...love it.
...Congressional Republicans, who had rallied to the Sacketts’ cause, called the Supreme Court ruling a clear rebuke to President Obama and his environmental agenda.
 
“This decision delivers a devastating blow to the Obama administration’s ‘War on Western Jobs,’” said Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican and chairman of the Senate Western Caucus. “This victory by one Western couple against a massive Washington bureaucracy will inspire others to challenge this administration’s regulatory overreach”...
But don't go to sleep; eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
 
You can read the decision here.
 
 

A-maze-ing...

...um, not so much. Earlier posts about our lords and masters are here, here, here, here, and here.

Avalanche!

"Regulatory impacts of the magnitude likely under EPA’s agenda—compliance costs in the billions, loss of coal-fired electric generation threatening the sufficiency of the nation’s bulk power supply and job loss in the hundreds of thousands—are ultimately policy choices, certainly not purely scientific decisions."

If you think we're heavily regulated now, you ain't seen nothin' yet.  Click on the image to go to the document in its entirety (h/t Jim):

Hartnett White notes that

...The current EPA is misusing the Clean Air Act (CAA)—enacted to protect human health—to force an anti-fossil fuel energy policy repeatedly rejected by Congress. Under cover of the broad law-like authority delegated to EPA in the CAA, the EPA increasingly acts like a fourth branch of government—one unaccountable to the three constitutional branches...

Really.  Like this:

The Hidden Cost of Fuel Economy Regulations: Constitutional Vitiation

Posted: 14 Feb 2012 07:36 AM PST

Post image for The Hidden Cost of Fuel Economy Regulations: Constitutional Vitiation

The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Transportation Safety Authority project that their proposed Model Year (MY) 2017 and later light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel economy standards will engender net benefits ranging from $262 billion (assuming a 7% discount rate) to $358 billion (assuming a 3% discount rate). These projections are based on assumptions regarding vehicle cost, fuel prices, and consumer acceptance that may or may not be borne out by events. Skepticism is justified. If the proposed standards are as beneficial to consumers and automakers as the agencies contend, why wouldn‘t consumers demand and profit-seeking manufacturers produce vehicles built to the same or similar standards without regulatory compulsion? Fuel economy regulation assumes that auto buyers do not want to avoid pain at the pump and automakers do not want to get rich. Experts will likely debate for years the net benefits of the rule as data become available regarding vehicle costs and sales and auto industry profits and employment. In a comment letter on the regulation I sent yesterday to the agencies, I examine a cost most experts have not addressed: the damage the Obama Administration‘s fuel economy agenda does to our constitutional system of separated powers and democratic accountability. Read the letter here.

Lastly, Cicero's been on perma-hold again:

Visions of the Energy Future – 2012 to 2016

“You have reached the EPA’s Office of Fuel Allocation.  This number is for people who are still on the grid and whose homes are without adequate heat due to fossil fuel rationing.  Your government is committed to protecting our planet.  Your comfort should not be and is not our priority.

Please have your social security number, undesirable energy guzzling citizen identification number, birth certificate number, and your attorneys’ names, addresses, and secret passwords available.  Your call will be taken by our next available agent.  To get you the best service, our center takes calls from 10 AM to 3 PM, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Your approximate wait time to speak to an agent is 6 hours.

Please stay on the line.  Your call is unimportant to us.  If you are not on the line when the agent responds, you will go to the bottom of the queue.  If your call is still pending when the center closes, please call again our next business day.

If this is an emergency or if you are in imminent danger of freezing, press 1 and we will connect you to a cryogenics technician who can explain the freezing process to you.  If this is urgent, press 2, and enjoy our books on tape while you continue to cool down.  Today’s book is “How Obama Saved our Planet.”  If your issue is not time sensitive, press 3, turn on Skype, and enjoy a presentation of Gasland before being advised to call back later.  If you are a registered Republican, press 4, to be disconnected.

If you are a registered Democrat who is a Congressman, Senator, ex-President, or Cabinet Level or above, press 5 for VIP energy services.  The approximate wait time on that line is two seconds.  To press 5 allegedly in error or if you are not eligible is a federal felony, punishable by death.  In our experience, since all such officials are exempt from the Energy Control Act, no such official has ever been in danger of freezing to death.

Thank you for calling the EPA.  If you wish to know your energy allocation, press zero, the same number as your allocation.  Enjoy your brisk, cool days in twenty first century America."

—Cicero Romanus

Getting the vapors

Heh.  Related to our recent post, from South of 5 and 20:

Earlier this month, the Finger Lakes' anti-prosperity elites got the vapors when every news outlet in the free world screamed that Obama's EPA* had determined hydraulic fracturing in Pavillion, Wyoming had polluted water wells.  Our local status quo gang assured us that this was the death knell for fracking....

And what does South say "EPA" stands for? You'll just have to read the whole thing.

Paranoia strikes deep...

...Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away.

Of course, it's not paranoia when they really are after you. At FoxNews.com:

EPA Ponders Expanded Regulatory Power In Name of 'Sustainable Development'
 
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to change how it analyzes problems and makes decisions, in a way that would give it vastly expanded power to regulate businesses, communities and ecosystems in the name of “sustainable development,” the centerpiece of a global United Nations conference slated for Rio de Janeiro next June.
 
The major focus of the EPA thinking is a weighty study the agency commissioned last year from the National Academies of Science. Published in August, the study, entitled “Sustainability and the U.S. EPA,” cost nearly $700,000 and involved a team of a dozen outside experts and about half as many National Academies staff.
 
Its aim: how to integrate sustainability “as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of EPA.” The panel who wrote the study declares part of its job to be “providing guidance to EPA on how it might implement its existing statutory authority to contribute more fully to a more sustainable-development trajectory for the United States.”
 
Or, in other words, how to use existing laws to new ends.
 
According to the Academies, the sustainability study “both incorporates and goes beyond an approach based on assessing and managing the risks posed by pollutants that has largely shaped environmental policy since the 1980s.”
 
It is already known in EPA circles as the “Green Book,” and is frequently compared by insiders to the “Red Book,” a study on using risk management techniques to guide evaluation of carcinogenic chemicals that the agency touts as the basis of its overall approach to environmental issues for the past 30 years.
 
At the time that the “Green Book” study was commissioned, in August, 2010, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson termed it “the next phase of environmental protection,” and asserted that it will be “fundamental to the future of the EPA”...
Ah—move along, nothing to see here.  Right.  Green Books, Red Books...
 

And if you want to read the, er, manual, the flying monkeys at the National Academies Press have made it oh so easy for us to do so...and it's "free"!  Just click on the widget:

h/t Henry

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