Cap and Trade

Obama’s ludicrous, anti-consumer cap and trade regulations aren’t actually about the environment

It’s been overshadowed by the continuing coverage of the Bergdahl-Taliban five swap, but reports began to surface this week that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at the direction of the White House, has begun pushing new carbon rules on existing coal plants that aim to reduce their emissions by 30% from 2005 levels.

Call it cap and trade by regulatory fiat:

Analysts widely expect the final rule to give states the option of joining or creating cap-and-trade programs, which allow companies to trade credits for emissions. The draft released on Monday does not discuss that possibility.

“There are no commercially viable [carbon capture and storage methods]. That’s why we expect cap-and-trade,” said Michael Ferguson, an associate director at S&P who covers merchant energy producers.

At risk of drawing the ire of the climate change true believers, there was a reason the climate change cap and trade legislation failed a few years back, and it wasn’t because evil, bible-thumping conservatives are convinced mankind has no effect on the environment (for the record, we do. But our carbon emissions, for example, are pretty negligible compared to things like decaying organic matter and volcanoes).

No, it was defeated in the Senate because many Democrats that voted against hailed from states that relied on jobs related to the coal industry. And if there’s one thing that moves a politician, it’s the voice of a united constituency.

But not to be deterred, the Obama administration used the EPA and the Clean Air Act to declare carbon emissions a health hazard that must be regulated:

Mary Landrieu is trying desperately to distance herself from Obama’s anti-coal regulations

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) realizes that her only hope for reelection is to pull the wool over the eyes of Louisiana voters to hide her support of President Barack Obama’s agenda. So, naturally, she visited a coal plant, the industry at which the rules are aimed, in her state on Tuesday to try to distance herself from the Obama administration’s cap-and-trade scheme:

“The goal for me is not clean. It’s an important part of the equation, but it is not the goal,” Landrieu told press after touring the coal-fired power plant Monday afternoon.

“The goal is [energy] independence. The goal is security. The goal is reliability. And then also, as clean as possible,” she added.

Last week Landrieu told reporters that the one piece of the new rules she thinks is “wise” is the degree of flexibility the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is affording states when designing their own implementation plan.
“It’s really important for us in America to begin thinking about America being energy independent and energy secure,” Landrieu said. “No more imported oil from countries we don’t agree with or share their values. No more relying on outsiders to provide some essential components of our economic structure. That’s one of the reasons why I’m not going to be able to support the EPA regulation that just came out.”

It’s politically convenient for Landrieu to oppose the EPA’s anti-coal regulations, which seek to reduce carbon emissions in the United States by 30 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2030. And while it’s true that she supports Keystone XL and offshore drilling, Landrieu’s record on EPA regulation leaves a lot to be desired.

Meet the corporatist left

While thousands of left-leaning folks took to the street last year to decry corporatism via the Occupy movement, many have managed to miss the corporatism of the left.

MapLight has conducted an analysis of campaign contributions from key industry groups to members of the U.S. Senate (July 1, 2005 - June 30, 2011) and found that:

  • Entertainment interest groups that support these bills gave 7.2 times as much ($14,423,991) to members of the U.S. Senate as Internet interest groups that oppose these bills ($2,011,332).
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has received 4.8 times as much from entertainment interest groups that support these bills ($571,500) as from Internet interest groups that oppose these bills ($118,050).

Now, is’nt that just fascinating?

Obama has no idea what he is going to do

While President Barack Obama’s speech on Tuesday night was meant to settle down Americans and pitch his job killing cap-and-trade plan, but all that was demonstrated is that he has no idea what he is going to do:

The problem for Obama – 58 days into the biggest test of leadership he’s yet faced as president – is that the oil is still gushing, Gulf leaders are still grousing and the Senate is still deadlocked over climate change legislation.

Even a great speech wouldn’t have changed all that – and this wasn’t one of Obama’s best speeches.

While his rhetoric was commanding and decisive – some administration aides billed the speech as “turning the page” — it wasn’t entirely clear where Obama would go from here to achieve this “national mission.”

Missing from the speech was any specific commitment to a bill regulating carbon emissions, which many environmentalists and some Senate Democrats wanted. Nor did he articulate a strategy for jump-starting the moribund Kerry-Lieberman climate bill, an omission that earned him instant criticism on the left, including a roasting by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews.

“I thought it was a great speech — if you’ve been on another planet for the last 57 days,” Olbermann quipped.

“Is there a specific direction we’re going in? He didn’t even tell us,” added Matthews.

No, Mr. President, the oil spill is not comparable to 9/11

Yesterday, President Barack Obama told compared the impact of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Yes, really:

President Obama says the Gulf oil disaster “echoes 9/11” because it will change the nation’s psyche for years to come, according to an interview with POLITICO, a news outlet.

“In the same way that our view of our vulnerabilities and our foreign policy was shaped profoundly by 9/11,” the president said Friday in the Oval Office interview. “I think this disaster is going to shape how we think about the environment and energy for many years to come.”

Um, no. In no way does this spill come close to the 9/11 attacks, a day where almost 3,000 Americans died at the hands of terrorists and caused billions upon billions in economic losses. Yes, the spill is horrible and is hurting the economies of the states in Gulf region. Yes, BP should be on the hook for the clean-up. But using 9/11? Not cool, and survivors of victims of the terrorist attacks aren’t happy.

The president needs something to get cap-and-trade off the shelf and he is using a page from Rahm Emanuel’s playbook to do it. Remember what he said shortly after Obama won the presidential election? “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

When rent-seeking corporations get cut loose by government

Tim Carney, author of Obamanomics, wonders how BP can be a symbol of capitalism when the company’s lobbyists have pushed for more regulation, subsidies and handouts from Congress:

Now that BP’s oil rig has caused the biggest environmental disaster in American history, the Left is pulling the same bogus trick it did with Enron and AIG: Whenever a company earns universal ire, declare it the poster boy for the free market.

As Democrats fight to advance climate change policies, they are resorting to the misleading tactics they used in their health care and finance efforts: posing as the scourges of the special interests and tarring “reform” opponents as the stooges of big business.

Expect BP to be public enemy No. 1 in the climate debate.

There’s a problem: BP was a founding member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a lobby dedicated to passing a cap-and-trade bill. As the nation’s largest producer of natural gas, BP saw many ways to profit from climate legislation, notably by persuading Congress to provide subsidies to coal-fired power plants that switched to gas.
BP signed off on Kerry’s Senate climate bill, which was hardly a capitalist concoction. One provision BP explicitly backed, according to Congressional Quarterly and other media reports: a higher gas tax. The money would be earmarked for building more highways, thus inducing more driving and more gasoline consumption.

Obama Lacks Votes to Pass Budget

Barack Obama doesn’t have the votes to pass his $4 trillion budget:

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said he has spoken to enough colleagues about several different provisions in the budget request to make him think Congress won’t pass it.

Conrad urged White House budget director Peter Orszag not to “draw lines in the sand” with lawmakers, most notably on Obama’s plan for a cap-and-trade system to curb carbon emissions.

Lieberman, Secretary of State

Senator McCain has already made it clear that he will have a bi-partisan cabinet and Joe Lieberman is sure to fill in one of those positions.  But he won’t stop with just the one-


“I can tell you, with all due respect to previous administrations. It is not going to be a single, ‘well we have a Democrat now.’”

I have mixed feelings about this.  On the one hand, I think reaching across the aisle can be a good thing.  Dr. Paul has done it numerous times and it has fostered good will towards him from Democratic congressmen.  A President willing to do this could, theoretically, accomplish a great deal more than a divisive, partisan leader.

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