“EPA in the dark on electricity costs”
Such is the title given Rebekah Rast’s piece for NetRightDaily — even though I suspect that there are those directing the EPA who know precisely what it is they’re doing, and precisely why they’re doing it. So they aren’t really in the dark so much as promoting darkness.
On Jan. 17, 2008, President Obama revealed to the San Francisco Chronicle what is finally becoming reality for America’s main energy producers.
He said, “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has followed the president’s agenda and is nearing its goal of bankrupting many coal-fired power plants. By hyper-regulating air pollutions, carbon dioxide, mercury and other air emissions, if government policies stay on the same course, the coal industry is facing a losing battle.
However, it won’t just be coal miners and power plant workers who lose should the EPA continue to get its way. Every American that flips on a light switch or likes their air conditioning loses this battle. If you are of the thinking that these overreaching regulations on coal aren’t so bad, you better not complain about a much higher electricity bill.
Institute for Energy Research data shows that 34.7 gigawatts (GW) of electrical generating capacity will close as a result of the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule (Utility MACT) and the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) regulations—nearly 10 percent of our coal energy capacity. And that’s just the result of two rules placed on coal by the EPA.
A Sierra Club estimate is even more generous, expecting the closings of 319 coal-fueled generating units totaling 42,895 megawatts or 42.9 gigawatts—about 13 percent of the nation’s coal fleet as a result of these overbearing rules on the coal industry.
However, these rules are having no impact on the demand for coal. Despite the EPA restricting coal production there is still a constant worldwide demand for the resource. Therefore, energy prices have nowhere to go but up.
By 2015, when coal power plants must abide by environmental rules or shutdown, residential customers can expect to pay 10 percent higher electricity costs, or between $150 and $330 a year more than what they are paying now.
But some states can expect to see even higher prices. For example, families and businesses in Illinois could pay 20 percent more for electricity by 2014. In fact, Chicago public schools may have to find an extra $2.7 million a year to keep the lights and heat on and computers running.
Is shutting down a cost-efficient, productive industry worth all this additional cost?
That’s the nub, isn’t it? But again, let me take a different tack: the real question to ask here, from the perspective of the progressive ideologues, is what will the result of such additional costs, and how might those additional costs be parlayed into a further expansion of a centralized socialist government?
And at the risk of giving, say, Rick Moran, a heart attack from all the unhelpfulness and Visigothery that follows, let’s just accept for the moment — as a crazy, crazy, fringe extremist hypothetical proffered by paranoiac bitterclingers who simply don’t know How Washington Works™ — that what Obama, Axelrod, Ayers, and all the New Left warriors who have infiltrated and re-configured the Democrat Party (and spent years in academia drawing up blueprints for how to effectively “fundamentally change” the United States into a European-style democratic socialist state run by a permanent ruling class) are doing is part of a larger and more deliberate plan. That is, let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that the Obama Administration’s overall policy arch is both tactical and strategic, and aimed at something larger than simple quotidian pragmatism — that what they’re trying to do is exactly what the promised to do, “fundamentally transform” the US, and that at least part of the delight they get out of doing so is the knowledge that they have successfully mainstreamed so much of what is essentially Marxist philosophy into the parlance of contemporary “liberalism” such that it is accepted by the American electorate, rather than rejected outright as the alien infiltrator to constitutional republicanism and free market capitalism that it really is.
Recall, this was the stated goal of at least one faction of the New Left after it suffered an overwhelming rebuke in the early 70s; and recall that Obama, having attended conferences on New Left and Marxist strategy and ideology, is perfectly aware of such arguments, and gravitated toward them.
Couple with this the fact that Obama is, at heart, a narcissist and faculty-lounge radical, and it becomes quite plausible to believe — if you happen to tend toward Visigothery and bitterclingerness — that what we’re seeing play out here is an attempt by the organized New Left to bring about a kind of political and cultural coup (as I, a confirmed Visigoth, have been arguing for some time now). After all, I’ve been in the academy. I’ve listened to the leftist snobs pretend that they could deconstruct and then re-build society into a kind of socialist Utopia, so brilliant are they and so deep is their understanding of the human condition; and that if only they could gain control of government and of the markets — to direct, manipulate, control, organize – then the “masses” (whom they don’t want living in their neighborhoods, mind — but that doesn’t mean they don’t LOVE THEM) would finally been granted the kind of dignity that only their caring champions and intellectual betters can grant them.
From that perspective — that the Obama Administration, with all its leftist czars and progressive academics and longtime socialist and Marxist sympathizers, is actually acting upon the progressive dream, fast-tracked when they found themselves with perhaps once in a generation supermajorities, and now being reinforced through Executive Order, imperial edict, and Justice Department complicity — all of what we’re witnessing is anything but haphazard, ineffectual, or unintended.
To wit: the US is facing crushing debt and deficit, largely as the result of entitlement programs it cannot sustain. Obama’s answer? Create the single most expensive entitlement program ever and add that to the system’s burden. On top of that, divide the country into classes and tribal groups, pitting them against each other, in order to raise taxes on the productive class with the promise of redistributing the collected wealth to the underclass — the latter of which keeps growing, thanks to an overweening government that already takes, once compliance costs are factored in, 36 cents of every dollar of GDP, and thanks to attacks on the productive class who can no longer create jobs or generate wealth to add to the economy.
On top of that, raise the costs of doing business — and of living, generally — by decimating the energy sector. Make sure that the costs of fuel and electricity skyrocket, that availability is severely diminished, and that the populace, led by left-funded and approved malcontents, is readily Balkanized and prepared to launch street “protests”.
Add into that legalized illegals to overburden local economies, and the recipe for social conflagration is obvious.
– At which point in crisis, the system (the hope is, and the plan has been) breaks down — and a fundamental re-thinking of how America is to function as a society is “debated”. And the complete unraveling of the social fabric can then be pinned on an outmoded system that relies on the caprices of a dispassionate market rather than a caring central government peopled with champions of the “middle class” — with the solution on offer being a benevolent technocratic ruling authority that, in exchange for “liberties” you don’t really need (and that you’ve long used incorrectly — otherwise, how would society have unraveled?), you’ll get the care and protection you do. The implausible “framework” of “personal responsibility” will finally fall, replaced at long last by the liberating “framework” of embracing your subjugation.
And the left’s bright lights and planners and “thinkers” will be there to guide you to this new Nirvana. Permanently.
Now, conceived of this way — that all the disparate elements of such a fantasy we’ve seen over the last few years were in fact intended as part of a larger, more coherent plan drawn up by lifelong leftist progressive ideologues, crazy and fringe though just such a supposition is — we can at least begin to see the outline of what it is that has been happening to the country. And once we add in the institutionalization of all sort of leftist ideological assumptions — be they in language, hermeneutics, university and secondary ed curricula, pop culture, and the “neutral” and “objective” mainstream press — it is certainly at least worth considering, at least for one teeny tiny, let-yourself-go-and-be-a-fringe-whacko moment, that yes, It Can Happen Here.
Not only that, but it is.
– Either that, or we can go on pretending Obama and his cohort are good men and women who simply have differing policy views — and that to conceive of them as anything short of pedestrian Democrats is presumptuous, unseemly, and, at its worst, may be seen by some as racist. And there’s nothing worse, as a “pragmatic,” thinking “conservative” or Republican, than to be tainted by the stink of the fringe types who see conspiracies to overthrow our constitutional republic in every little SCOTUS decision or takeover of 1/6 of the economy by the federal Leviathan.
Just my thoughts. YMMV.