- - Monday, August 31, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Environmental Protection Agency has twisted 280 words in the Clean Air Act into 2,690 pages of Clean Power Plan regulations and appendices. The Clean Power Plan requires that states slash their utility-sector carbon-dioxide emissions an average of 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

At least 12 states will have to impose 40-48 percent reductions. Those states now get 50-96 percent of their electricity from coal, and nearly all their electricity from coal and natural gas. Further complicating matters, even replacing coal-fired units with natural gas turbines is highly restricted under the plan.

Replacing this power generation with wind and solar will disrupt grid reliability, risk brownouts and blackouts, and bankrupt many businesses, families and communities.

Coal-reliant states currently pay 8-9 cents per kilowatt-hour. Their rates will likely go well beyond the 15-17 cents per kilowatt-hour that families, hospitals, factories, schools and businesses now pay in “green energy” states such as California and Connecticut. They could skyrocket to the 36-40 cents that Germans and Danes are paying — or 70-80 cents when taxpayer subsidies are included.

The EPA claims more taxpayer-financed energy subsidies will help the poorest families. What about everyone else?

Millions of workers will lose their jobs, leaving more families destitute and welfare-dependent. Many will have to choose between buying food and gasoline, paying the rent or mortgage, visiting doctors, giving to charities, or saving for retirement. Those still working will pay for everyone else.

Families will face sleep deprivation, greater stress and depression, and more drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse, and theft and robbery. Nutrition and medical care will suffer. More people will have strokes and heart attacks. More will die prematurely or commit suicide. More elderly people will perish from hypothermia, because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

Sprawling wind and solar installations and transmission lines across millions of acres of wildlife and scenic areas will kill millions of eagles, hawks, and other birds and bats.

These are among the reasons Congress has rejected nearly 700 climate bills. The Clean Power Plan is the result of the EPA colluding regularly with radical environmentalist pressure groups and circumventing our legislative process, laws and Constitution.

The EPA also uses a “social cost of carbon” scheme that places arbitrary, inflated costs on damages it claims result from carbon-based fuels disrupting Earth’s climate. The agency includes every imaginable cost of using hydrocarbon energy — but ignores even the most important and obvious benefits of using those fuels.

The Clean Power Plan also ignores the real world outside the EPA’s windows. Contrary to climate model predictions, global temperatures haven’t budged in 18 years, and no Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane has hit the United States in nearly a record 10 years. Moreover, slashing America’s carbon-dioxide emissions, destroying jobs and impairing human welfare will prevent less than 0.03 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming 85 years from now.

These totalitarian green decrees are fraudulent, illegal and unconstitutional. They severely impair the rights of people to enjoy affordable, reliable energy and the quality jobs, living standards, health and welfare such energy brings.

We must demand debate on every aspect of climate and energy issues — and honesty, transparency and accountability in all regulatory processes. There is no room for fraud and deceit.

States should refuse to comply with the Clean Power Plan. Elected officials, presidential candidates and citizen groups should speak out loudly, clearly and often — and begin curbing the excessive power and representation of extreme environmentalists and bureaucrats in our government.

Congress and courts must end the constant collusion and sue-and-settle lawsuits between the EPA and radical pressure groups. Congress must cut agency budgets, especially the billions of dollars the EPA and other agencies give to anti-energy advocacy organizations and rubber-stamping advisory panels.

Congressional committees and our next president must subject secret data, computer codes, models and studies to full review by independent experts — to determine which assertions, policies and regulations are reasonable and legitimate, and which are based on serious error, deceptive claims or outright fraud.

During this review process, they should suspend and defund implementation of regulations and programs that raise serious questions about honesty and validity. Rules and programs ultimately found to be based on junk science, doctored data, collusion or concocted evidence should be terminated — and agency personnel who have engaged in deceptive or fraudulent practices should be penalized or fired.

We must ensure that regulatory agencies and their advisory councils become more honest and transparent; represent a broader spectrum of expertise, viewpoints and interests than they do now; fully assess evidence for and against alleged “dangerous man-made climate change”; and carefully evaluate the impacts of regulatory actions on jobs, living standards, health and welfare.

Congress and states must reassert their legislative roles, restore federalism and separation of powers as the foundation of our American system, and address the extreme deference that courts too often give “agency discretion.”

These steps will be opposed by President Obama, many Democrats and members of the climate crisis and renewable energy complex.

However, these actions are essential if the United States is to have an economic and employment revival, and poor, minority and blue-collar families are to be protected from regulatory excess and unaccountable ruling elites.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power — Black death (Merril Press, 2010), and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine (CFACT, 2014).

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