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MACT Reactions: Politicized Environmental Radicalism Stinks

A number of interesting reactions have rolled in to the new EPA regulations on power plant emissions issued yesterday, which are poised to blow down dozens of coal-fired plants, dump horrific price increases on American consumers, and yank anywhere from 15 to 60 gigawatts of power out of our electrical grid, depending on which disaster estimate you find most credible.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) issued an unhappy statement:

While mercury exposure is and should be taken seriously for existing regulations, the current impact of mercury emissions from U.S. sources is vastly overstated.  This is one of the most expensive rules in the history of the EPA, costing at least $10 billion and tens of thousands of jobs in the utility and mining sectors. Mercury emissions should be controlled – but in a way that balances thoughtful science with economic realities and our energy needs. This rule does not reflect this balance and should be repealed.

Senator Paul is not just whistling in the dark.  (He’ll be doing that in 2014, when the rolling blackouts hit.)  Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, offered further details:

Electricity not only lights our homes, it powers all sectors of our economy, including our businesses, hospitals, communication systems and critical infrastructure. Analyses predict EPA’s rules will force the premature retirement of power plants that are needed to provide affordable, reliable power to consumers and our growing economy. Other plants will require multi-million dollar retrofits that will result in higher electricity bills.

I am concerned the administration decided to issue this rule without a comprehensive analysis assessing how it will affect jobs and the price and reliability of electricity. Under the rules, parts of the country face very real threats of rolling brownouts and blackouts. Most concerning is the tremendous impact this rule will have on low-income families who are struggling just to keep the lights on.

Look on the bright side, Rep. Upton: no electricity means no ATMs.  No ATMs means job growth, right?  We had to find some way of stopping those cash-spewing employment Terminators.

Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) took a look at who would suffer the most under the new emissions regime:

Not only has President Obama’s regulatory agenda made it harder for new electricity generation to be built, but these new regulations will increase energy prices for Americans who can least afford to pay more to light and heat their homes, and for businesses that need reliable, affordable energy to compete globally.  These rules hurt consumers, they hurt businesses, and they hurt jobs.

But… but… Obama loves the middle class, doesn’t he?  He wants to slip them an extra $40 per paycheck for two extra months!

President Tom Pyle of the Institute for Energy Research, which produced a meticulous and alarming study of what the new regulations would do to America’s electricity supply, unleashed one of the toughest statements of all:

“In this season of good tidings, the Environmental Protection Agency has some bad news for American consumers and job seekers who are already experiencing record electricity prices and prolonged unemployment.

“The utility MACT will increase the cost of electricity for American families, and in some places where coal-fired generation is the prevailing source of power, the prices will necessarily skyrocket just like President Obama promised.  It will result in the loss of jobs, both in places where power plants will close and among small businesses that employ more than 60 percent of our workforce.

“The increasingly politicized nature of environmental regulation under Administrator Jackson raises many questions about the validity of the agency’s cost-benefit analysis. EPA itself has said that the costs could be as high as $11 billion, and the benefits could be as low as $500,000 annually.  Even then, the EPA has been double-counting benefits that are already happening because of other rules.

“The EPA wants the American public to think that the air we breathe will become increasingly toxic in the absence of this new rule.  But hidden in the agency’s frenzy to coerce the market into expensive renewable energy and kill the coal industry is the fact that our air has already been getting cleaner, according to the EPA’s own studies.

“Finally, the utility MACT presents a credible threat to the reliability to our electricity grid and compromises our national security.

“The new EPA rule means more power in Lisa Jackson’s hands, less power for American consumers, and fewer jobs in one of the only sectors of our economy where job creation is happening.”

President Obama has lately been given to musing that Americans are no longer a great people capable of spectacular engineering feats.  What insulting nonsense.  We remain who we were.  The engines of American innovation and industry would be running much better if Barack Obama and his minions didn’t keep pulling the plug on them, and insisting we embrace the moral purity of a more “sustainable,” by which they mean primitive, lifestyle.

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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