- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Radical greens are using the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan as an excuse to peddle their wacko, pet theories and push for more stringent environmental regulation. Such efforts literally ship U.S. jobs overseas.

On Thursday, Carnival Cruise Lines announced it will move Elation from Mobile, Ala., to Port Canaveral, Fla., so the ship can spend more time in international waters. The culprit is higher fuel costs, which will be exacerbated when the Environmental Protection Agency begins enforcing tough new emissions standards next year. “The Caribbean nations southeast of Florida are not included in the [regulation] zone,” the Mobile Press-Register explained. “That means a cruise ship leaving from Port Canaveral would need to burn the cleaner, more-expensive fuel for much less time than the same ship leaving from New Orleans or Mobile.”

Carnival can’t be faulted for adapting its operations to offset new regulatory costs. Elation’s new berth is based on realistic business factors. The EPA admits the rules could boost ship-operation costs by 3 percent. However, the EPA ignores the real-world consequences left in the wake of its bureaucratic dictates. Cruise-industry analysts reported in 2008 that Elation annually generated 2,130 jobs and $122 million for southern Alabama. Even half of that would be a major boost for a coastline still reeling from Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina, a catastrophic oil spill and other economic blows over the past few years.

New emissions regs don’t even make sense from a tree-hugger standpoint because other nations aren’t bound by them. Given that Elation ditched Alabama so it could burn “cleaner” fuel for a shorter time, spending more hours in foreign waters means the oceanliner will be “dirtier” fuel for a longer time. Overall, by green logic, Mother Earth will be worse off, not better, because of EPA meddling.

The new standards will hit many industries hard. According to the EPA, the average 20-foot shipping container will cost $18 more to transport, raising the price of American products. The middle of a recession is no time for government to undermine U.S. competitiveness.