The White House has launched a coordinated PR campaign to argue that it is not anti-business. That is a difficult argument to make when we look at the Administration’s record on energy. Time after time the Administration has acted to make it more difficult to produce energy domestically and they are actively seeking to make energy more expensive. This only makes an economic recovery more difficult.
The Administration’s Assault on Domestic Energy Production and the Use of Energy [Partial List]
The Administration has been working around the clock to achieve President Obama’s goal of bankrupting coal companies and making electricity prices necessarily skyrocket.
Within days of taking office, the Administration cancelled 77 oil and gas leases in Utah, postponed a new 5-year plan for offshore resources, and cancelled commercial oil shale research leases. But that was just the beginning.
In the wake of the Gulf oil spill, the Administration is trying to put cap-and-trade legislation back on the agenda, calling multiple White House meetings to try to find consensus on increasing the cost of energy. And the Administration has announced a variety of other regulations that will increase the price of energy.
The most impactful new regulation is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation on greenhouse gas emissions. EPA has already announced regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles. According to EPA itself, this will increase the price of automobiles by $1000 a car and reduce global temperature (the whole point of the rule) by only a maximum of 0.015 °C 90 years from now.
But that’s only one part of the Administration’s efforts to drive up the cost of producing and using energy. EPA wants to revise the Bush-era ozone rule. If EPA ratchets down the ozone level too far, many counties – even those with no industry – will fail the standard. EPA also wants to tighten particulate matter regulations and mercury regulations nationwide and it has announced a new “transport” rule to further regulate SO2, NOx, and mercury in Eastern states. Finally, the Administration is preparing a new boiler rule to regulate hazardous air pollution from boilers and process heaters.
Administration Cancels 122 Previously-Issued Permits in Texas
Besides imposing new burdensome regulations, EPA is cancelling previously-made decisions to further ratchet up the cost of doing business for domestic energy manufacturers. In Texas, the Administration cancelled 122 previously-issued air quality permits under a program started under the Clinton Administration. E&E News reports:
According to figures touted by [Gov.] Perry and state regulators, Texas beat national averages over the past 10 years by achieving a 22 percent reduction in ozone emissions and a 27 percent drop in nitrogen oxide emissions.
“We are defending our flexible air permitting program because it works,” TCEQ [Texas Commission on Environmental Quality] Chairman Bryan Shaw said earlier this month. “EPA is not able to demonstrate how our program is less protective of the environment than the bureaucratic federal approach. EPA’s philosophy of more bureaucracy by federalizing state permits will not lead to cleaner air, but will drive up energy costs and kill job creation at a time when people can least afford it.”
According to industry representatives, it will cost millions of dollars for each company to change their pollution control technologies. This could cost a lot of jobs. According to a story in the Houston Chronicle:
Corporations said the decision creates uncertainty for their companies.
“Valero has six refineries operating under flex permits, employing more than 2,700 people,” the company said in a statement, noting the EPA did not object to the program when it was created. “Now, 16 years later, EPA is reversing course, and our facilities are caught in the middle, creating significant uncertainty at a time when our economy can least afford it.”
Also, one likely reason the Administration cancelled these permits now is to force these plants to get carbon dioxide permits under EPA’s new carbon dioxide regulations.
We need to be vigilant about air pollution, but the Obama Administration’s carbon dioxide rules, for example, have nothing to do with air pollution. The carbon dioxide regulations are supposed to address global warming, but even EPA admits (as seen above), they will have miniscule impacts on global temperature.
The President says he wants to be pro-jobs, pro-consumer, and pro-market. If that is indeed the case, then he needs to consider holding off on his regulatory assault on the American economy. One of the reasons that unemployment rates are high and people have been unemployed for so long is because of uncertainty about future regulations and the cost of those regulations.
The American economy is hurting and this regulatory assault needs to be reconsidered for the economy to have any hope of recovering and – more importantly – for enabling the private sector to create real jobs.