- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 5, 2011


The Obama administration still hasn’t gotten the message voters sent on Nov. 2. The lame-duck 111th Congress didn’t enact the intrusive energy and environmental laws the administration wanted. So now the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency plan to end the hydrocarbon and nuclear era in America by executive fiat - and force a conversion to “renewable” energy.

Beginning Jan. 2, they started using job-killing, economy-strangling regulations and edicts to slash carbon-dioxide emissions, impose “clean energy standards,” and hobble the vehicles, electrical generating plants, refineries and factories that form the backbone of our nation’s economy, jobs and living standards.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson claims these actions are needed to ensure “environmental justice” for poor and minority families threatened by “manmade global warming.” Meanwhile, the United States and entire Northern Hemisphere are enduring yet another nasty winter - while businesses, workers and families face injustice, bankruptcy and worse at the hands of their government.

The Congressional Research Service says average U.S. households will pay almost $1,000 this winter just for heat. That’s average: Alaska to Florida, Hawaii to New York. Northern states residents could pay double or triple that. Businesses, schools and hospitals will also be hammered. And this is before the feds actually implement their carbon-dioxide limits and other plans.

To see what’s in store for millions of Americans, one need only look at the planet’s sole country that still obstinately clings to draconian climate-change goals, regardless of costs.

Across Great Britain, household energy bills could double to $3,900 a year by 2020, EnergyHelpLine.com has warned. Gasoline prices are likewise soaring, and most United Kingdom companies will see their natural gas and electricity prices skyrocket by 100 percent between 2012 and 2016 - on top of a carbon-tax bill of “at least” $65,660 annually - according to Carbon Masters.

Moreover, most of Britain’s older coal-fired and nuclear-power plants are scheduled to be shut down, with little to replace them, even as electricity demand rises. That could bring widespread blackouts, said the Daily Mail, and cause hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United Kingdom to be outsourced to countries where energy costs are much lower and air pollution and CO2 emission standards far less stringent. Brits will freeze in unemployment lines, while global atmospheric CO2 levels continue to climb.

More than 5.5 million households will be plunged into “fuel poverty” by early 2011 - forced to spend more than 10 percent of their family incomes on energy - National Energy Action and other charities said. That’s more than one-fifth of all households in the United Kingdom and a huge increase from 4.5 million families in 2008.

Nearly 28,000 people died in Britain last winter, most of them pensioners who could not afford adequate heat. Charities say this is the highest winter-death rate in Northern Europe, worse even than much colder nations like Finland and Sweden. This winter has already seen Wales’ coldest December night in 169 years of record-keeping. It was Britain’s coldest December in 120 years.

To stay warm, thousands of elderly are using travel passes to ride buses all day, while others seek refuge in libraries and shopping centers. Others are “putting their health at risk, in an attempt to keep costs down,” by bundling up and turning the heat down or off, said the charity Age UK.

Amid the Christmas and New Year holidays, 2 million homes, schools and hospitals faced fuel rationing. Some could wait weeks before they can get their fuel-oil tanks refilled.

Meanwhile, the British government has cut funding for its Warm Front heating-assistance program, from $470 million this year to $172 million in 2011, Consumer Focus campaigner Jonathan Stearn angrily noted. And because the winds barely blow during the coldest weather, Britain’s shiny, new “green” wind turbines were able to supply only “one-500th of the exceptionally large demand” for electricity during the frigid weather of early December, Sunday Times columnist Dominic Lawson ruefully observed. That’s a tiny fraction of their “rated capacity.”

How do EPA’s actions, perverse notions of “justice,” and government-driven energy-price spikes square with these realities? Or with a 2009 Wilson Research Strategies poll, which found that 56 percent of blacks think Washington politicians and bureaucrats setting climate-change policy fail to consider economic and quality-of-life concerns in the black community? Fully 76 percent are unwilling to pay more than an additional $50 a year for electricity to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Northern U.S. winters are far worse than even record-setters in Britain. Why would anyone want to impose costly, nightmarish energy and environmental policies on American families, rich or poor?

The outgoing Congress nearly enacted a bill that would have provided much-needed congressional checks on EPA. The bill drafted by Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski fell just short in a Senate dominated by partisan Democrats. The incoming Senate should be far more supportive of such legislation, especially in the face of EPA and White House attempts to override plain statutory language and the will of the American people.

The Affordable Power Alliance will urge Congress to honor its constitutional duties and prevent the Obama administration from imposing excessive regulations inspired by extreme ideologies. Congress, including Democrats up for re-election in 2012, needs to heed the overwhelming public demand that America’s economy no longer be held hostage by an elitist environmental network - even if that network includes the president of the United States.

Niger Innis is national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality. Amy Frederick is president of 60 Plus. They are co-chairmen of the Affordable Power Alliance (AffordablePowerAlliance.org).

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