Posts tagged EPA
Posts tagged EPA
Barack Obama’s EPA is going to tax the rain in the hilariously ironically nick-named “Free State.”
In 2010 the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency ordered Maryland to reduce stormwater runoff into the Chesapeake Bay so that nitrogen levels fall 22 percent and phosphorus falls 15 percent from current amounts. The price tag: $14.8 billion.And where do we get the $14.8 billion? By taxing so-called “impervious surfaces,” anything that prevents rain water from seeping into the earth (roofs, driveways, patios, sidewalks, etc.) thereby causing stormwater run off. In other words, a rain tax.
As a part of their ongoing crusade to reduce everyone’s carbon footprint, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has come down hard on the nation’s second largest school bus contractor with fines and “mandatory environmental projects” amounting to approximately $500,000 as punishment for “excessive idling.”
“As part of a settlement for alleged excessive diesel idling in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Durham School Services will commit to reduce idling from its school bus fleet of 13,900 buses operating in 30 states,” an EPA press release stated on Tuesday.
The Environmental Protection Agency has said new greenhouse gas regulations, as proposed, may be “absurd” in application and “impossible to administer” by its self-imposed 2016 deadline. But the agency is still asking for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of up to 230,000 new bureaucrats — at a cost of $21 billion — to attempt to implement the rules.
The EPA aims to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Air Act, even though the law doesn’t give the EPA explicit power to do so. The agency’s authority to move forward is being challenged in court by petitioners who argue that such a decision should be left for Congress to make.
The proposed regulations would set greenhouse gas emission thresholds above which businesses must file for an EPA permit and complete extra paperwork in order to continue operating. If the EPA wins its court battle and fully rolls out the greenhouse gas regulations, the number of businesses forced into this regulatory regime would grow tremendously — from approximately 14,000 now to as many as 6.1 million.
And before anyone starts cheering for how the EPA will create 230,000 new jobs remember this: They’re government employees-they do not produce goods or revenue in any way. Plus their salaries will not be paid by profits they make but by your tax dollars which means $21 billion in new tax revenue needed…or more tax hikes somewhere.
Have you had a lot of fun watching the price of gasoline shoot out of sight this year at the pump? That will be just the appetizer. Thanks to new regulations from the Obama administration, power companies will shut down a significant number of coal-fired plants by 2014, and without any other reliable sources of mass-produced electricity, consumers will see their bills go up as much as 60% (via Instapundit and Newsalert):
Consumers could see their electricity bills jump an estimated 40 to 60 percent in the next few years.
The reason: Pending environmental regulations will make coal-fired generating plants, which produce about half the nation’s electricity, more expensive to operate. Many are expected to be shuttered.
The increases are expected to begin to appear in 2014, and policymakers already are scrambling to find cheap and reliable alternative power sources. If they are unsuccessful, consumers can expect further increases as more expensive forms of generation take on a greater share of the electricity load.
You won’t just pay more to the utility company, either. The Chicago Tribune runs the math on public-sector cost increases in just their city:
What analysts know is that a portion of ComEd bills that pays electricity generators to reserve a portion of their power three years into the future will increase more than fourfold. That would translate into increases of $107 to $178 a year for an average residential customer in ComEd’s territory, starting in 2014, according to calculations by Chris Thomas, policy director for consumer advocacy group Citizens Utility Board.
In 2014 those so-called capacity costs are expected to add approximately $2.7 million over the previous year to electricity bills in Chicago Public Schools, $3.3 million for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and $5.4 million to the city of Chicago, according to an analysis by Tenaska, aNebraska-based power development company that wants to develop a coal-fed power plant in central Illinois that would meet stringent regulations because it would capture and sequester emissions.
It’s the EPA gift that keeps on … taking.
Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight.
Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico would take about 45 days. He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area. “We think the issues were really not major,” Slaiby said, “and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in.”
The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site.
The EPA’s appeals board ruled that Shell had not taken into consideration emissions from an ice-breaking vessel when calculating overall greenhouse gas emissions from the project. Environmental groups were thrilled by the ruling.
“What the modeling showed was in communities like Kaktovik, Shell’s drilling would increase air pollution levels close to air quality standards,” said Eric Grafe, Earthjustice’s lead attorney on the case. Earthjustice was joined by Center for Biological Diversity and the Alaska Wilderness League in challenging the air permits.
At stake is an estimated 27 billion barrels of oil. That’s how much the U. S. Geological Survey believes is in the U.S. portion of the Arctic Ocean. For perspective, that represents two and a half times more oil than has flowed down the Trans Alaska pipeline throughout its 30-year history. That pipeline is getting dangerously low on oil. At 660,000 barrels a day, it’s carrying only one-third its capacity.
Production on the North Slope of Alaska is declining at a rate of about 7 percent a year. If the volume gets much lower, pipeline officials say they will have to shut it down. Alaska officials are blasting the Environmental Protection Agency.
“It’s driving investment and production overseas,” said Alaska’s DNR Commissioner Dan Sullivan. “That doesn’t help the United States in any way, shape or form.”
The EPA did not return repeated calls and e-mails.
The average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline hit $3.86 on April 25, more than $1-a-gallon higher than a year earlier and less than 25 cents away from the record high price of gasoline set in July 2008.
In fact, per gallon prices are more than $2 higher than when Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009. Yet the president has been nearly exempt from criticism on the issue of rising prices, despite a six-month drilling moratorium and more regulatory hurdles for industry.
The Business & Media Institute found that out of the 280 oil price stories the network evening shows have aired since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, only 1 percent (3 stories) mentioned Obama’s drilling ban or other anti-oil actions in connection with gasoline prices.
Instead of asking whether Obama’s anti-oil policies could be increasing the cost of gas, the networks blamed other factors such as Mideast turmoil or the “money game” played by speculators. Certainly, the turmoil in Libya, Egypt and surrounding nations has increased worries about oil production and can influence the price. But the networks also should have looked for explanations much closer to home, like Obama’s many regulatory actions taken against the oil industry.
First there was the drilling ban, which was later overturned by federal courts as illegal. Seahawk Drilling, a Texas-based shallow-water drilling company cited that moratorium as the cause of its bankruptcy filing saying, they "have been adversely affected by the dramatic slowdown in the issuing of shallow-water permits in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico following the Macondo well blowout."
According to The Heritage Foundation, the Obama administration moved on to a de facto moratorium after the ban was overturned. Add to that the EPA’s desire to regulate the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions and new environmental regulatory hurdles for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude from Canada to the U.S. and create many American jobs.
Despite all of these actions on the part of the Obama administration, ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows have barely mentioned them in stories about rising gas prices.
Two weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule that subjects dairy producers to the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure program, which was created in 1970 to prevent oil discharges in navigable waters or near shorelines. Naturally, it usually applies to oil and natural gas outfits. But the EPA has discovered that milk contains “a percentage of animal fat, which is a non-petroleum oil,” as the agency put it in the Federal Register.
In other words, the EPA thinks the next blowout may happen in rural Vermont or Wisconsin. Other dangerous pollution risks that somehow haven’t made it onto the EPA docket include leaks from maple sugar taps and the vapors at Badger State breweries.
Thank God the EPA has finally stepped in and realized the critical milk spill dangers which have been plaguing this nation since its inception. Fortunately for many of our younger readers, you don’t recall how it was in the bad old days before the EPA came into its full powers. Why, in our day, my own mother used to feed us hot dogs that were boiled in water rather than being cooked on an open flame. And – prepare yourselves – she would dump the hot dog water right down the sink.
I can only imagine the number of harmless carp in the Erie Canal and Hudson River who died at this woman’s hands.
This is just….you can’t make this stuff up. Really?
This week, National Journal asked a rather interesting question this that implied it head has been fully tucked in the sand when it comes to recognizing the long term implications of Obama’s environmental policy.
As the EPA readies itself to enforce a handful of rules limiting carbon emissions – a backdoor Cap and Trade policy known as the “Tailoring Rule,” which severely and arbitrarily limits the amount of greenhouse gas emissions many industries are now allowed to produce – the National Journal sleepily wonders what the effect these rules will have on the affected industries.
There are a few responses that take a theoretical approach to the question, but National Journal and it’s guests don’t have to go far to look for a real answer, supported by research. According to a study published recently by the National Alliance of Forest Owners, the Tailoring Rules will have a definite – and immediately felt – negative impact on the economy.
A newly released economic impact study finds that the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule” jeopardizes over 130 renewable energy projects, between 11,000 and 26,000 green jobs, and $18 billion in capital investment across the country. The risk of reduced capacity also could prevent as many as 30 states from meeting national renewable energy targets.
In addition, the disappearance of the biomass industry, for example, would cut into the US energy supply, sapping over 5000 megawatts of renewable electricity generation from the US grid and eliminating over 50 million tons of wood biomass from the energy marketplace. And that finding follows on the heels of another study, imperil 134 biomass power generators slated to open in the coming years, depriving those states of thousands of jobs. Specific examples of EPA-related delay are not hard to find, either.
Obviously, the answer to National Journal’s question is clear.
Via Big Government
After initially appearing to retreat in the face of the midterm onslaught, Barack Obama and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson have decided to pursue an end-run strategy to impose regulation on energy producers regarding greenhouse-gas emissions. The move sets up a confrontation between the White House and Congress, which has already signaled a willingness to play hardball with Obama on regulatory innovation:
The Obama administration is expected to roll out a major greenhouse gas policy for power plants and refineries as soon as Wednesday, signaling it won’t back off its push to fight climate change in the face of mounting opposition on Capitol Hill.
The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to a schedule for setting greenhouse gas emission limits, known as “performance standards,” for the nation’s two biggest carbon-emitting industries, POLITICO has learned.
Under the schedule agreed to by EPA, states and environmental groups, the agency will issue a draft greenhouse gas performance standard for power plants by July 2011 and a final rule by May 2012. The agreement – which comes after states and environmentalists challenged the George W. Bush administration’s failure to set the standards – requires EPA to issue a draft limit for refineries by Dec. 2011 and a final rule by Nov. 2012.
The White House Office of Management and Budget has signed off on the schedule, according to a litigant in the legal fight.
Earlier, it appeared that the White House had backed away from the regulatory approach, at least for the next year or so. This change comes at an unusual moment when Obama had started to win some bipartisan cooperation from Congress on his other priorities, notably START and DADT. Whatever momentum and trust Obama built with that and the tax deal will rapidly dissipate if the EPA starts operating outside authority granted or desired by Congress.
With reports predicting brutally-cold weather to envelop much of the U.S. in the coming weeks, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations could make it harder for Americans to stay warm. According to the National Center for Public Policy, the EPA’s regulatory war on greenhouse gas emissions will drastically increase costs for the majority of Americans who get their heat generated from coal.
Coal happens to be the chief emitter of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, making it the EPA’s public enemy number one. And in absence of a comprehensive energy bill, the agency’s strategy has instead been to regulate and cap its use, which is bad news for the country’s coldest regions.
According to a press release from the National Center for Public Policy, the Congressional Research Service this year has already predicted that the average American household will spend $986 just for heat this winter. As far south as Atlanta, Georgia, hundreds have already waited in line for government assistance programs to help pay their energy bills.
“With millions of Americans unemployed and struggling to keep their homes warm, the need for government assistance will only increase,” said Deneen Borelli of the National Center for Public Policy’s Project21. “Heavy demand and higher prices due to the Obama Administration’s assault on the fossil fuels we rely upon are going to stretch charities to their limits and beyond,” she said in a press release.
Borelli went on to say that “By having the EPA regulate carbon emissions, [EPA Administrator] Lisa Jackson is laying the foundation for the 2010 version of bread lines by supporting efforts that will raise energy costs.”More here
Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is seeking a federal investigation after a newspaper’s report of lead content in some reusable grocery bags.
The Democrat told The Associated Press that many of the reusable grocery bags sold nationwide are manufactured in China. Schumer plans to announce Sunday that he is contacting the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
There is less concern that the lead would easily rub off on food when the bags are new, but there is a concern that as bags wear down lead could accumulate in landfills, creating a potential environmental hazard.
Last week, the Tampa Tribune found some bags had lead levels that concerned health officials.
The Tribune found that lead appears to be in a form that’s not easily extracted or “leached” out. But over time, lab experts note, the bags wear down and paint can flake off.
"When our families go to the grocery store looking for safe and healthy foods to feed their kids, the last thing they should have to worry about are toxic bags," Schumer said in a statement.
The EPA has admitted that tough new greenhouse gas regulations will “slow construction nationwide for years,” while only reducing global temperatures by 0.0015 of a degree Celsius, CNSNews.com reports.
CNS cites a GOP minority report, issued last Wednesday, which says a series of proposed and partially implemented new regulations on industrial boilers, greenhouse gas emitters, and ozone levels will put over 800,000 jobs at risk with little environmental benefit.
“The authors cite the EPA’s own staff to show that greenhouse gas regulations, which would require major sources of CO2 (carbon dioxide) to obtain permits and limit their output, could seriously harm the economy if implemented,” CNS news reports.
Obtaining those permits, the EPA said in a June 3 report referenced by CNS and obtained through the Federal Register, would cause “delays, at the outset, that would be at least a decade or longer, and that would only grow worse over time as each year, the number of new permit applications would exceed permitting authority resources for that year.”
The report adds that during that time “tens of thousands of [permit applicants] each year would be prevented from constructing or modifying,” and that companies trying to obtain permits would “be forced to abandon altogether plans to construct or modify.“ The backlog could ”slow construction nationwide for years, with all of the adverse effects that this would have on economic development.”
CNS explains the reasoning behind the regulation:
All of these complications stem from EPA’s desire to regulate mobile sources of greenhouse gases — primarily automobiles. By issuing a finding last spring that carbon dioxide is a danger to public health, the EPA is able to regulate mobile output of the gas; but the ancillary effect is that stationary CO2 emitters — factories, schools, office buildings — are now subject to those Clean Air Act regulations as well.
Actually, it’s not just the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s minority contingent that fears the loss of nearly a million jobs from new EPA rules on greenhouse gases and other emissions issues. It’s also groups like the United Steel Workers, Unions for Jobs and the Environment, and experts like King’s College Professor Ragnar Lofstedt. Hot Air got an exclusive look at a report that the EPW minority staff will release later this morning detailing the economic damage that an activist EPA will do to the American economy, and which will come at perhaps the worst possible time, both economically and politically.
The executive summary spells out the stakes involved in the effort to rein in the EPA:
- New standards for commercial and industrial boilers: up to 798,250 jobs at risk;
- The revised National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone: severe restrictions on job creation and business expansion in hundreds of counties nationwide.
- New standards for Portland Cement plants: up to 18 cement plants at risk of shutting down, threatening nearly 1,800 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs;
- The Endangerment Finding/Tailoring Rules for Greenhouse Gas Emissions: higher energy costs; jobs moving overseas; severe economic impacts on the poor, the elderly, minorities, and those on fixed incomes; 6.1 million sources subject to EPA control and regulation; and
In fact, the new regulations threaten to put entire industries out of business. The new standard for boilers, titled “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters” and called the Boiler MACT, creates a standard that literally no producer in the US meets at the moment. The industry group Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) represents end-user firms that employ 750,000 in various industries, and they concur:
IECA members have 6 units that were part of the best performing units and none can comply with the standards based on the best performing units. Based on the analysis of the data EPA used to develop these standards, it appears that none of the coal-fired boilers in the source category can meet the proposed standards.
The state of Texas today sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in a federal appeals court in Washington DC, claiming four new regulations imposed by the EPA are based on the ‘thoroughly discredited’ findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and are ‘factually flawed,’ 1200 WOAI news reports.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says the rules are illegal and if imposed, will cost Texans in higher energy costs and tens of thousands of lost jobs.
"The state explained that the IPCC, and therefore the EPA, relied on flawed science to conclude that greenhouse emissions endanger public health and welfare," Abbott said. "Because the Administration predicated its Endangerment Finding on the IPCC’s questionable facts, the state is seeking to prevent the EPA’s new rules, and the economic harm that will result from these regulations, from being imposed on Texas employers, workers, and enforcement agencies."
The IPCC has become the target of criticism from other climate scientists, with numerous revelations of sloppy research, junk science, and allegations of cronyism, lack of transparency, and attempts to suppress contradictory opinions in the research which contributed to the IPCC’s 2007 findings.
Michael Fox can literally see where his job ends.
The 14-year veteran of the West Virginia coal mining industry is about a year and a half out from finishing his current project, and he can see the boundaries of the site. He doesn’t know whether there will be any work left for him after that, since a wave of environmental regulation has put his firm’s other permits on hold.
"Unless we can get a permit, we can’t extend the job no farther," he said. "Right now, I don’t know if I can make it or not."
Fox, who is married and has three kids, was among the hundreds of Appalachian miners who rallied in Washington, D.C., Wednesday in a bid to pressure the Obama administration to loosen restrictions on coal mining in their states. They say the rules amount to a de facto freeze on a chunk of the industry, jeopardizing jobs in one of the most economically depressed parts of the country.
Since last year, The Environmental Protection Agency has stepped up regulation on mountaintop coal mining across six Appalachian states because the explosives that are used to remove mountain surfaces send debris into rivers and streams, endangering the environment.But with the stricter rules in place, the industry, which is considered the lifeblood of Appalachian towns, argues it’s under attack. Workers and advocacy groups that represent them say the rules unfairly target their region and require mining firms to meet unrealistic standards.
They say the hold-up threatens mining jobs, industry investment and small businesses in the region that rely on the salaries of well-paid miners to keep their economy humming.
"It’s causing the elimination of jobs across Appalachia," said Bryan Brown, executive director of the Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security, or FACES of Coal. "At a time when the nation’s trying to get people back to work, it’s threatening to take people’s jobs away."