With all the anticipation of Christmas and New Years over the last month, I would venture to guess most of you missed out on an important news item; important only to bureaucrats, enviro-nutters, and climate alarmists, but important nonetheless. On the 2nd of last month, the United States Environmental Protection Agency turned 40. I know, it’s hard to believe you missed it isn’t it!
The agency was established in 1970 in response to a growing public awareness of severe environmental problems within the country and its 40th birthday did not pass without significant fanfare and back-slapping amongst the agency’s most ardent supporters.
The Aspen Institute took the opportunity to list the “10 Ways EPA Has Strengthened America.” The missive lists several achievements (their word) which certainly cleaned up the environment, such as “removing the acid from rain.” Betraying a lack of any real substantive achievement other than growing government and regulating virtually every aspect of American industry and commerce, the report also lists many vague achievements such as, “A cleaner environment for all” and “Public information and community right to know.” Boy I’m glad I had the EPA to ensure my right to know!
But that was all so 2010. Now in 2011, the agency is following up on its 40 year landmark birthday with a new set of rules which will regulate carbon emissions for the first time in American history. Despite a recent Congressional fight— in which Farm Bureau was a major factor—over pursuing the carbon regulation via legislation, the Obama administration has made it clear it will use any means necessary to impose its agenda.
Beginning Jan. 2nd the EPA will limit the amount of carbon that industrial facilities and power plants are allowed to emit. These so-called “large emitters” are subject to the regulation based solely on their carbon emissions. And the regulations will cover more and smaller emitters as the year progresses, increasing costs and stifling the nation’s economic recovery.
The Administration says that the Clean Air Act, from which the EPA derives its authority on this matter, has a 30-1 cost-to-benefit ratio. They claim that new technologies and companies created to help companies meet their new carbon caps will balance any costs imposed by the new rule. Basic economics says different. Despite the made up cost-benefit figures, EPA cannot run from the fact that the whole goal of regulating carbon is to make energy more expensive. This was the goal with cap and tax, and it remains the goal.
During the debate over cap and tax, Farm Bureau and the American people spoke with a loud and clear voice that the regulation of carbon was not something they were interested in. We understand what the scheme means for our economic wellbeing and for the environment. We said no. The Administration should listen.
Here’s to hoping that carbon regulation is absent from the achievements list when the EPA’s 50th birthday rolls around!
This column is part one in a three part series on the EPA.