June 2 2014

Environmental Writer: New Regs Are ObamaCare for the Atmosphere

Charlotte Hays

Quote of the Day:

You can think of the power plant rules as Obamacare for the atmosphere: numbingly complex in an effort to ensure flexibility and fairness, based on a market system, and likely to transform a key sector of the economy for decades to come. Oh, and also guaranteed to be intensely polarizing.

  --Jason Mark in the Daily Beast

If that seems like an indictment of the administration’s new energy regulations, which a coal miner calls the most crippling ever, it is not intended that way.

Mark is wildly enthusiastic about the new regulations. He doesn’t quite put it this way, but he recognizes the 600 plus pages of regulations released this morning for what they are: Obama unbound.

This is what environmentalists wanted and for this they stuck with President Obama.

Mark notes that “in an ironic twist” the new regulations, which aim at cutting carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, will force (Mark uses the word “encourage”) states to participate in the kind of cap and trade system that was rejected by the Senate.

Rather than an “ironic twist” this is President Obama's preferred way of governing. Can’t get a law through Congress? Just write some regs.

The administration is charging states rather than companies with reducing emissions, and the system will be horrendously complex.  

As is usually the case with President Obama’s policies, this one appears to focus on job-destroying regulations rather than innovation.

AEI’s James Pethokoukis has a good blog post examining the reliance on harsh regulations rather than innovation. He ends with this quote from Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus:

But US emissions are today declining not because of cap and trade — it died in the Senate two years ago — but because we are awash in natural gas. And we are awash in gas neither because of caps nor taxes nor regs but because of a government technology push started by Presidents Ford and Carter. … Over the next century, global energy demand will double, and perhaps triple. But even were energy consumption to stay flat, significantly reducing emissions from today’s levels will require the creation of disruptive new technologies. It’s a task for which a doctrine focused on the efficient allocation of scarce resources could hardly be more ill-suited.

The Free Beacon has a good story on how many jobs these regs will kill.

I think this bodes ill for the Keystone pipeline. A president whose administration releases a set of environment regulations this draconian has no intention of okaying the pipeline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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