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:

Ronald Reagan’s Free Market Environmentalism

Ronald Reagan was probably the last really great leader to serve as president of the United States. Although disdained and considered a dangerous ideologue by most elites while he was in office, history has given him a pretty good verdict. Reagan restored growth, won the Cold War and, when circumstances forced him to, even stabilized a Social Security system that was on the brink of collapse.

Even among Reagan fans, however, his environmental record rarely gets much credit. Many of my fellow conservative Reagan fans are dismissive of environmental concerns and a roughly equal proportion of environmentalists are disdainful of the conservative goals that Reagan himself emphasized.

This is a shame, because Reagan’s record on the environment, although far from perfect, is a pretty good model for a conservation agenda that just about everyone should embrace. As I describe in the Weekly Standard, the Reagan administration took major steps to end subsidies for environmentally destructive activities, pushed for and negotiated a smartly designed agreement to phase out harmful chlorofluorocarbons and did a good job balancing conservation, recreation, and resource extraction on public land. This agenda saved money while still making very real environmental progress.

Profiles in Liberty: Phil Kerpen of American Commitment

Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of Democracy Denied: How Obama is Ignoring You and Bypassing Congress to Radically Transform America - and How to Stop Him.

The Hill newspaper named Mr. Kerpen a “Top Grassroots Lobbyist” in 2011. His op-eds have run in newspapers across the country and he is a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues.

Prior to joining American Commitment, Kerpen served as vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. He also previously worked as an analyst and researcher for the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute.

Kerpen blasts out spirited, pro-liberty tweets @Kerpen.

Phil Kerpen

Merry Christmas, Suckers

Just in time for Christmas, Washington has a gift for all of you feeling the joy and optimism of the season… a giant, economy killing, power grab by the EPA.  Rejoice!  Rejoice!  The polar bears will continue to thrive while Americans suffer record unemployment and poverty!

In a perfectly timed press release, the EPA announced their intention to begin limiting emissions from coal-fired power plants to combat so-called climate change late last night.   While most people aren’t going to pay much attention to this story, it’s going to have significant affects for all of us.  Almost half of the electricity generated in this country comes from coal-fired power plants, so even if your personal power bill doesn’t see an immediate and significant increase, you can certainly expect the price of many of your “Made in the USA” products to increase substantially.  Until the exact provisions are released to the public, however, we can only speculate how much this massive power grab is going to cost each of us, but know that it is going to cost you.

Obviously, if these regulations are adopted, they certainly aren’t something that will aid our economic recovery, to say the least.  It is going to be sadly interesting, however, to see how detrimental these new regulations will be to the economic recovery in specific regions of the country.  For example, why would a company that is building a new factory ever consider an area where the cost of electricity has been artificially and unnecessarily inflated by the geniuses in Washington?

Conservatives who are upset about Avatar are clueless

****Warning: Spoiler Alert! Part of this post may give away more information than you want to know if you have not yet seen Avatar****

Avatar-Teaser-PosterYesterday, I saw the new blockbuster movie Avatar. Already grossing over $1 billion in ticket sales globally (one of only four movies to do so), the massive investment of around $400 million seems to have paid off. What I want to talk about it the clear political themes that play out in the film, and how conservatives who attack the film are making fools of themselves.

The major concerns that conservatives have brought up about the film is that it attacks capitalism, the military, and pushes the environmental agenda. These claims are unfounded and show the folly in the thought process of such “conservatives.”

First of all this movie does not attack capitalism. In the movie the RDA corporation has set up a mining operation on the planet Pandora. They employ former marines for “protection.” The head of the mining operation has made it clear that he will stop at nothing to gain access to a rich mineral reserve directly under the home of the Na’vi people. They end up sending an all-out military assault which ends in the destruction of the “home tree.” This is hardly an attack on capitalism, if you understand what capitalism truly is.

Obama’s out-of-control EPA could be key to Republican victory in 2014

Environmental Protection Agency

President Obama’s EPA rolled out harsh regulations against power plants today, a move called the “most significant environmental regulation of his term” that will “probably spur the growth of state-level cap-and-trade marketplaces,” according to the LA Times.

But President Obama didn’t take to the podium as he so often does to roll out these new regulations. From the LA Times report:

[The announcement] will not be declared in a sun-bathed Rose Garden news conference or from behind the lectern in a major speech.

It will not be announced by the president at all, but instead by his head of the Environmental Protection Agency, while President Obama adds his comments in on an off-camera conference call with health advocates.

The low-key rollout from the man who once boldly predicted his election would be remembered as the moment when “our planet began to heal” and likened the climate change challenge to the U.S. space program shows just how far the president has shifted his strategy.

The rule will force power plants to cut carbon emissions 30% by 2030 from 2005 levels. Though the details aren’t finalized, the Wall Street Journal reported the rule’s broad implications:

Each state will have a different reduction standard, and the national average will be 25% by 2020 and 30% by 2030, according to the EPA. The agency is asking states to submit implementation plans by June 2016, but the EPA is also giving states the option to extend that by one year.

65% of Americans support Keystone XL construction

More than a month after the State Department released its report finding that the Keystone XL pipeline would have little impact on the environment, President Barack Obama continued to stall on a decision that could green-light the project. But a new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that nearly two-thirds of Americans support Keystone XL:

Americans support the idea of constructing the Keystone XL oil pipeline between Canada and the United States by a nearly 3 to 1 margin, with 65 percent saying it should be approved and 22 percent opposed, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The findings also show that the public thinks the massive project, which aims to ship 830,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta and the northern Great Plains to refineries on the Gulf Coast, will produce significant economic benefits. Eighty-five percent say the pipeline would create a significant number of jobs, with 62 percent saying they “strongly” believed that to be the case.

Obama’s Keystone XL decision could play a role in Senate races

Energy issues will play a role in four key states that could decide control of the Senate in the 2014 mid-term election, according to a new poll. Specifically, President Barack Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline will weigh on voters’ minds.

The poll, conducted by Hickman Analytics on behalf of Consumer Energy Alliance, found that more than three-quarters of likely voters in four states — Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina — “said they will consider a candidate’s position on energy issues, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline, before deciding whom they will support.”

More than two-thirds of likely voters in these four states support building the Keystone XL pipeline. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) support construction of the oil pipeline. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), however, does not.

Whether or not these Senate Democrats support Keystone XL may prove irrelevant depending on what action President Obama takes. The poll found that voters in these four states would be less likely to support a Democratic incumbent if the White House rejects the proposed oil pipeline:

Ex-Obama administration official backs Keystone XL

Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has endorsed construction of the Keystone XL, pointing to the State Department report released last week showing that the oil pipeline would have little impact on the environment:

Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in an interview Thursday that his endorsement of construction of the Keystone oil sands pipeline comes after learning new information, including that the pipeline would not greatly increase carbon emissions.

Speaking at an energy conference in Texas earlier this week, Salazar said he supported the project.

He said he believed construction could “be done in a way that creates a win-win for energy and the environment.”

This is the first time Salazar, now a lawyer in the private sector, has endorsed the pipeline, which would carry crude from tar sands in Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast.

Salazar served as Interior secretary in President Obama’s first term, from 2009 to 2013. His support is notable given that he issued a moratorium on off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 BP oil spill, a move that caused oil companies to drill in other regions of the world. The move cost Louisiana 12,000 jobs.

Keystone XL alternatives would bring higher carbon emissions

In a report released on Friday, the State Department determined that the northern part of the Keystone XL pipeline would have little impact on the environment. The finding was expected and not at all dissimilar from previous draft and final environmental reports.

The media can’t help but ignore the findings of the report. There is bipartisan support for Keystone XL in Congress and polling shows the public backs its construction. President Barack Obama, however, is ambivalent to the pipeline, which may be a generous way to describe some of his public statements about it.

President Obama has slammed Republicans for their support of Keystone XL and downplayed the number of jobs it would create. Perhaps the most important angle he’s discussed is the pipeline’s impact on climate change.

“[A]llowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” President Obama said in June 2013 in a speech at Georgetown University. “The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It’s relevant.”

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