American Electric Power Chairman Michael Morris announced last week that his company would be forced to close five coal-fired power plants, spend an additional $8 billion refitting other plants, and lose 6,000 megawatts of its coal-generated capacity if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency follows through with its latest proposed regulation of coal power plants. That's just fine with President Obama and Lisa Jackson, whom he appointed as EPA administrator. Their goal is to put people like Morris and utilities like AEP out of the coal-fired generation business.
Since the White House's signature environmental policy, cap and trade, died in the Democrat-dominated 111th Congress in 2010, Obama has sought to use the Clean Air Act to do by bureaucratic decree what he could not achieve through the legislative process: force Americans to stop using fossil fuels to generate the energy that our society must have to function on a daily basis. The EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule for power plants will take giant steps toward doing exactly that.
Through executive order and bureaucratic fiat, this President is stripping away our economy bit by bit and making us MORE, NOT LESS, energy dependent on foreign sources of energy. Well, this whole mercury thing must be at epidemic levels, to do something so radical, right? Wrong:
Despite the fact the mercury pollution levels have been decreasing worldwide for two decades, the EPA's proposed rule would force power companies to install costly new mercury-scrubbing equipment on existing coal-power plants. The EPA says this will reduce mercury emissions from coal plants by 91 percent. But the EPA's own Regulatory Impact Analysis also concedes that the new regulation will lead to "new lower levels of consumption as a result of higher market prices." That is bureaucratese for saying Americans will have a lower standard of living because they will have to pay more for energy.
Surely this is merely an unintended consequence, right? Wrong again. Jump back to the days of candidate Obama:
In January 2008 he told the San Francisco Chronicle, "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. ... Coal power plants, natural gas, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers." Sure enough, the Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois consumers could see their electricity bills jump an estimated 40 to 60 percent in the next few years if the proposed EPA rule is implemented.
DON'T WORRY THOUGH! THE EPA SAYS THIS WILL BE A JOB CREATING REGULATION:
Not to worry, according to the EPA, which claims the proposed regulation will create 30,000 new jobs: "Regulated firms hire workers to operate and maintain pollution controls. Once the equipment is installed, regulated firms hire workers to operate and maintain the pollution control equipment." But if more regulation creates jobs, why has unemployment during Obama's tenure in the White House stubbornly remained above 9 percent?
Regulations are never the answer. Recovery summer was a joke. It was a nonstarter. All of these new regulations do not create jobs or create new opportunities. They kill communities and our standard of living.