THE TRAIN WRECK: THE EPA’S MANY WAYS TO ‘SKIN THE CAT’
Two weeks after the 2010 election and Obama’s “skin the cat” comment, a leading D.C.-based, left-wing advocacy group, the Center for American Progress, published a 53-page report called The Power of the President: Recommendations to Advance Progressive Change, detailing a sweeping far-left agenda that flies directly in the face of what voters made clear they wanted. 16 The report was coauthored by the president of the Center for American Progress, John Podesta, who was the chairman of Obama’s transition team, and who has direct influence over the president and his key advisers.
The Podesta report does not comment on the EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gases directly under the Clean Air Act. It urges other less direct, but no less devastating, regulatory moves to accomplish the same goal.
Many of the EPA actions urged by the Podesta report are already un der way at the EPA and are referred to in the energy industry as the “train wreck” because they seek to mas sively burden the coal industry with enough regulations to bankrupt it.17
Obama, during the same 2008 interview when he said his plan would make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket,” also explained the impact of his cap-and-trade plan on coal: “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can-it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”18
Not enough? The following rules are other ways to “skin the cat” and bankrupt the coal industry
- A rule that would classify coal ash as hazardous waste, which the Center for American Progress notes would “spur the retirement of coal-fired power plants.”19
- An enormously expensive so-called Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule for industrial boilers, with exceptions for politically favored bio mass While the rule is ostensibly targeted at mercury, dioxins, and particulate matter, the Center for American Progress includes it in the section on greenhouse gases because the real goal is, of course, to cripple coal. Jon Basil Utley recently summarized the impact of this rule in Reason:
The EPA wants new, more stringent limits on soot emissions from industrial and factory boilers. This would cost $9.5 billion according to the EPA, or over $20 billion according to the American Chemistry Council. A study released by the Council of Industrial Boiler Owners says the new rules would put 300,000 to 800,000 jobs at risk as industries opted to close plants rather than pay the expensive new costs. The ruling includes boilers used in manufacturing, processing, mining, and refining, as well as shopping malls, laundromats, apartments, restaurants, and hotels.20
- A Power Plant Air Toxics rule, which the Center for American Progress urged the EPA to adopt by November This rule would require very expensive new technology at coal plants . As they explain: “Despite the rule being directed at toxics-and not greenhouse gas emissions-the new pollution control requirements could lead to many old inefficient plants being shut down rather than attempt to achieve compliance.”21 On March 16, 2011, the EPA announced precisely this rule, with a targeted date of November 2011.22
- The EPA’s proposed tightening of ground-level ozone (smog) rules-a problem that most Americans thought was already A study by the Manufacturers Alliance found that the EPA’s new proposed ozone rules would knock a jaw-dropping 5.4 percent off of GDP by 2020, destroying 7.3 million jobs. 23 Because these regulations fall heavily on refiners , they will bring a big jump in prices for gasoline and home heating fuel-along with a major hit to manufacturing and to coal.
Taken together, these regulations represent an all-out war on the coal industry and affordable electricity even above and beyond what the EPA is doing on the direct greenhouse gas regulation front.
Phil Kerpen is head of American Commitment and a leading free-market policy analyst and advocate in Washington. Kerpen was the principal policy and legislative strategist at Americans for Prosperity for over five years. He previously worked at the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute. Kerpen is also a nationally syndicated columnist, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book “Democracy Denied.
Excerpt provided by BenBella Books.
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