Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Backdoor Energy Tax

Source: http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=529345


Pollution Control: From cars to coal mines, the imposition of economy-killing restrictions is under way. Are the new EPA regulations on auto emissions the precursor to regulating carbon dioxide by executive order?

In announcing the Environmental Protection Agency's first regulations on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars, Administrator Lisa Jackson has promised they won't be the last such rules stemming from the EPA's "endangerment finding" that carbon dioxide, six pounds of which every human being exhales every day, is a dangerous pollutant.

"These are the first regulations that cover greenhouse gas emissions in the United States," Jackson told reporters in a conference call last Thursday. She underscored the fact that additional regulations would be forthcoming since "the Clean Air Act talks about additional regulation needed once greenhouse gas pollution is acknowledged to be exactly that."

Under the new regulations, which begin in 2011, automakers would be required to reduce fleetwide GHG emissions each year, beginning at 295 grams of carbon dioxide per mile and culminating in a cap of no more than 250 grams per mile by the 2016 model year.

James Inhofe, R-Okla., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said Jackson was "imposing a backdoor energy tax on consumers created by the EPA" despite the fact that Jackson admitted to him that the regulation "won't have any meaningful climate impacts."

"This is the initial step in EPA's regulatory barrage stemming from the endangerment finding," Inhofe said.

As Inhofe related in an earlier YouTube video: "Jackson admitted to me publicly that EPA based its action today (the endangerment finding) in good measure on the findings of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. She told me that EPA accepted those findings without any serious, independent analysis to see whether they were true."

The finding is an environmental sword of Damocles held over our heads — a warning that if cap-and-trade legislation such as Waxman-Markey or Kerry-Boxer is not signed into law, the full regulatory fury of an unelected bureaucracy will be unleashed on the American people and the U.S. economy.

Unsure of its prospects in a Senate that no longer has a filibuster-proof majority, the administration has apparently decided to swing that sword. Stuart Varney of Fox Business Channel reports that the administration is prepared to impose new CO2 restrictions through executive order. This is an administration that doesn't take a resounding "no" from the American people — on health care or cap-and-tax — for an answer.

On Thursday, the EPA announced new environmental guidelines that will effectively curtail surface and "mountaintop" mining in a six-state region centered on Appalachia. According to the National Mining Association, the region covered by these restrictions produced more than 150 million tons of coal in 2008 — more than 10% of the U.S. total — and employed nearly 20,000 people.

According to the economic forecasting model of the Energy Information Administration, a proposed 70% cut in carbon dioxide emissions will cause gasoline prices to rise 77% above baseline projections, kill more than 3 million jobs and reduce average household income by more than $4,000 each and every year.

Fact is, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have been essentially flat since the start of the Bush administration, while those of Europe and "developing" countries such as China, exempt from any such restrictions, have increased dramatically.

Even if we reduced our CO2 emissions to zero, the growth in Chinese emissions over the next decade would equal our current emissions, according to James M. Taylor, senior environmental fellow at the Heartland Institute, writing in Capitalist Magazine.

Just 3% of atmospheric carbon dioxide is produced by man and his activities. The other 97% is produced by nature. This is all economic pain for zero environmental gain. But then, this is not really about the environment. As with health care, it's all about the government grabbing more power at the expense of the people.

So much for those huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Your breath will now be taxed.

No comments: