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House panel hopes to air inconvenient truths about EPA's 'war on coal'

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Opinion,Ron Arnold,Columnists,Climate Change,EPA,Coal

President Obama wants to stake his legacy on fighting global warming even if he has to fake it, which he does.

That inconvenient truth will get a hearing Thursday by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and it won't be pretty. The Subcommittee on Energy and Power, led by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., will convene the “Standing up for Jobs and Affordable Energy” hearing, an appropriate nickname for the expected slice-and-dice of “EPA's Proposed Carbon Dioxide Regulations for power plants.”

In early June President Obama's heavy-handed Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a radical plan to destroy existing U.S. coal-fired power plants by imposing a deliberately impossible carbon dioxide emission limit -- reduction of 30 percent by 2030.

Upon examination, the rule offers no real benefit to anyone — beyond EPA’s armed enforcers — and costs to everyone, which prompted the subcommittee hearing.

Whitfield set the hearing’s tone in a news release: “Under the guise of regulating power plants, President Obama’s agency is seeking to expand its regulatory reach over the entire electricity sector.

“Committee members are concerned over EPA’s unprecedented reach, and the potential of this plan to increase electricity prices, eliminate U.S. jobs, and threaten grid reliability, with no meaningful effect on future climate patterns.”

The panel will examine only one witness: Janet McCabe, the Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation.

Whitfield is deeply committed to oversight of this rule. In an email exchange, he told me, “This is a very important hearing, as it will be the first time President Obama's radical EPA comes to the Hill to defend the agency's latest proposed rule designed to shut-down coal-fired power plants -- a rule the administration is pushing through without Congress' direction or approval, despite its potential to completely disrupt our energy sector and cripple our economy.”

I asked about some of the highly controversial legal and policy issues surrounding this proposal. Whitfield said, “We have questions for Ms. McCabe about her agency’s authority and overreach in writing this proposed rule and how EPA’s actions will impact Americans and their jobs and pocketbooks."

The record of EPA's testimony before Congress invites cynicism, for it is without honor or conscience, not to mention the absence of facts. McCabe, as did her predecessor Gina McCarthy - now EPA boss - will predictably deflect tough questions because the truth would outrage most Americans and deny Obama his nightmare legacy. We can expect mischaracterization, obfuscation and flat-out lies.

Whitfield appears unlikely to put up with that. He said, “As I have promised repeatedly, Obama’s assault on affordable electricity will not go unchecked.”

McCabe faces a tough sell with this proposed rule: Everything EPA has said about its benefits has been ignominiously debunked, some from unlikely quarters. For example, the EPA's claim that the rule will create $30 billion in climate benefits by 2030 has been deflated by the liberal Brookings Institution.

In their report, “Determining the Proper Scope of Climate Change Benefits,” Brookings fellow Ted Gayer and Vanderbilt University economist Kip Viscusi revealed that the EPA cleverly selected an “apples and oranges” methodology that overstates the benefits so the regulation looks more attractive.

The "apples" are $30 billion in benefits worldwide and the "oranges" are the American taxpayers who pay the whole world’s bill.

It's something like asking New York City to pay the water bill for every toilet flush in China - and pleading America's public health and welfare to convince New Yorkers to pay up.

We can thank the Obama administration's shameful Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Carbon for developing those "worldwide guidelines" in 2010 to deliberately swindle the American people. Even Democratic President Bill Clinton wouldn't allow that, issuing Executive Order 12866 in 1993 requiring regulations to benefit the U.S. citizenry only, not the world.

To see through Obama’s slimy stratagem, the Brookings scholars did an “apples and apples” comparison on his proposed anti-coal rule, and found the domestic benefit amount is only about $2.1 billion at the lowest, ranging up to an optimistic $6.9 billion at the top. But the estimated compliance cost is $7.3 billion.

Get it? In the best of all possible Obama worlds, American taxpayers are down nearly half a billion bucks and missing 40 percent of their electricity.

The Brookings report concluded that estimated climate benefits are “largely conjecture and certainly overstated.” And we’re expecting McCabe to tell the truth about that under oath?

I hope Whitfield gets around to asking McCabe about how much the once-respected-but-now-turned-shill American Lung Association loves the EPA. The ALA ought to love the Obama administration a lot: ALA's 591 federal grants amount to $43,016,875, according to USASpending.gov. As a cogent post on JunkScience.com said, “EPA owns the American Lung Association.”

But not entirely: Big Green foundations own a substantial chunk too: The Foundation Search database posts 2,806 grants to ALA totaling more than $76 million, with millions coming from Environmental Grantmakers Association members, tagged with purpose statements like pushing EPA to hit coal-fired power plants, do media advocacy and grassroots organizing.

Come to the American Lung Association for all your propaganda needs.

Thursday's McCabe testimony comes on the heels of collapsed U.N. negotiations to repair failing global carbon markets, the International Monetary Fund's slashed forecast of U.S. economic growth to a shocking 2 percent, and the headline-grabbing opposition of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Australian leader Tony Abbott to "climate measures that would destroy their economies,” which our Climate Cultist in Chief Obama seems insanely eager to embrace.

Memo to McCabe: the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

RON ARNOLD, a Washington Examiner columnist, is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.
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Ron Arnold

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