Obama’s Energy Power Grab

Obama’s Energy Power Grab

Posted By Rich Trzupek On December 30, 2010 @ 12:43 am In FrontPage | 9 Comments

The USEPA announced its intention to deliver yet another body blow to the power and petrochemical industries, piling on another layer of unneeded, unwanted and economically disastrous regulations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States. Before we consider the agency’s latest move, let’s take a moment to consider all that has been done and will be done in the name of fighting the non-existent problem of global warming. States and the feds are already moving forward with at least six major regulatory programs designed to reduce the use of fossil fuels and thus decimate the energy sector:

  • New CAFÉ  Standards – This is arguably the least bad of the bunch, because the due date for the new 35.5 miles per gallon Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard is at least a few years out (2016). Nonetheless, the new CAFÉ standard [1] will make automobiles more expensive – as even the White House admits – less safe (lighter cars don’t do as well in accidents as compared to heavier ones) and will do almost nothing to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Renewable Portfolio Standards – More than thirty states, encompassing about three quarters of the population of the United States, have adopted Renewable Portfolio Standards [2]. These standards require using ever decreasing amounts of electricity generated by the combustion of fossil fuels.
  • Regional Trading Programs – States in three parts of the country, the east coast, the west coast and the midwest, have formed partnerships to create regional cap and trade programs. The east coast cap and trade program [3] has been up and running for two years. The west coast and midwest programs will “go live” in the near future.
  • Permitting of Greenhouse GasesRecent USEPA guidance [4] directed state permitting authorities to treat greenhouse gases as regulated pollutants when considering the construction of new major sources and major modifications to existing sources. Permitting authorities are further directed to apply the Best Available Control Technology standard to the control of greenhouse gases from these sources.
  • New Ambient Air Standards – The USEPA’s new ambient air standards [5] for “traditional” air pollutants are so ridiculously low that it’s virtually impossible for any new facility to comply with them. This is thus a back-door way of ensuring that no new fossil fuel fired power facilities can be built.
  • New Hazardous Air Pollution Rules – The USEPA’s new rules limiting emissions of hazardous air pollutants from industrial boilers [6] are also draconian. Again, the net effect will be to ensure that new industrial boilers powered by fossil fuels are just about impossible to construct.

So, contrary to what environmental groups and leftist politicians would like you to believe, we’re already doing an awful lot to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use – far too much in my opinion – and we will continue to pay the economic price for these disastrous policies. Yet, the USEPA isn’t content. They have decided to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act and that legislative framework demands the construction of even more regulatory layers. The latest will be New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) which will, for the first time, create numerical limits on greenhouse gas emissions generated by fossil fuel burning power plants and oil refineries.

Despite the use of the adjective “New” in the acronym, NSPS standards apply to both new and existing sources of air pollution emissions. Typically, the agency uses a specific date in time to distinguish between new and existing sources. Sources built before the cut-off date have one emission limit to meet and sources built after have a different, more stringent limit. Given the record of Lisa Jackson’s USEPA so far, we can expect that the agency will adopt greenhouse gas emission limits on existing sources that will force some facilities to close and the rest to spend billions in retrofits. And the new source limit? Expect that to be so ridiculously low that nobody will even think of building a fossil fuel fired power plant or new oil refinery in the United States ever again. Of course, given the list of the other onerous regulatory initiatives provided above, building new energy or petrochemical infrastructure is no longer a feasible option anyway.

USEPA announced its intention to develop greenhouse gas emission limitations for the power sector and oil refineries as part of two proposed settlement agreements [7] between the agency and several states and environmental groups who filed suit against the USEPA over greenhouse gas issues. As part of the settlement agreements, USEPA promises to have greenhouse gas emission limitations in place for the power industry by May 2012 and limitations on petroleum refineries in place by November 2012. The agency describes this as a “common sense approach” to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and maintains that it is setting “a modest pace” in developing this massive new regulatory structure. More amazingly, USEPA administrator Lisa Jackson had this to say [8] about developing new greenhouse gas standards:

 

 

We are following through on our commitment to proceed in a measured and careful way to reduce GHG pollution that threatens the health and welfare of Americans, and contributes to climate change,” Administrator Lisa Jackson said. “These standards will help American companies attract private investment to the clean energy upgrades that make our companies more competitive and create good jobs here at home.

This is of course the same Lisa Jackson who believes that the Clean Air Act is solely responsible for American economic growth [9] over the last forty years. This latest statement by the delusional director shows that she’s drifted even farther into a green fantasyland. Eliminating America’s ability to use a cheap, domestically plentiful source of energy to power industrial growth isn’t going to attract a dime of private investment. Undercutting America’s ability to turn crude oil into refined products isn’t going to create one good job at home. Jackson is spinning yarns, utilizing all the right buzzwords, like threats to “health and welfare,” “attract[ing] private investment,” and “creat[ing] good jobs,” but those words are as hollow and meaningless as any ever uttered by the most cynical of professional politicians. The actions of Jackson’s USEPA and Congress’s continued unwillingness to rein her agency in guarantee that economic recovery and job creation will continue to be an impossibility as long as the Obama administration is in charge.

Could the Obama Administration be Blocking Gulf Clean-up Efforts Intentionally?

Could the Obama Administration be Blocking Gulf Clean-up Efforts Intentionally?

June 18th, 2010

By Floyd and Mary Beth Brown

At first blush this sounds like an outlandish question with a conspiratorial twist. The corollary question goes like this: Is the Obama administration intentionally scaling back clean-up efforts in the Gulf in an attempt to maximize the damage so Democrats in Congress will have an excuse to take effective control over yet another major sector of our economy and impose crippling and draconian new taxes on the American people?

We first learned of this controversy reading Sher Zieve who wrote in the Canada Free Press: “Obama is doing the bare minimum so that destruction will be at an all-time maximum — in order to shove his Cap and Trade bill (which will complete our destruction) down our throats.”

Zieve added: “The BP oil disaster was custom-made for The Obama… The effective oil-skimmer systems utilized by the Saudis and others would work to greatly minimize the damage being caused to the US Gulf Coast. But, The Obama continues to drag his heels as States and lives are destroyed.”

Fox News reported that when the Dutch government offered to help us clean up the oil spewing from the leaking BP oil rig, Obama initially turned them down cold. Norwegian and Dutch firms offered to help us too, but Obama said no.

It is reputed that the Roman Emperor Nero played his fiddle while Rome burnt to the ground so he could falsely blame the disaster on Christians and thereby rationalize a campaign of persecution against them.

Is it possible that Barack Hussein Obama and statists on Capitol Hill are using this crisis as an excuse to drive prices up at the pump, drive your utility bills through the roof, regulate your behavior and diminish your standard of living in this already queasy economy?

This much is certain — in spite of what Obama told the American people during his Oval Office address to the nation, he did not adequately respond to this crisis. The administration has clearly failed in terms of organization and the use of resources available to the federal government.

Moreover, it’s now indisputable that statists on Capitol Hill are attempting to exploit this disaster to push so-called cap and trade legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell recently revealed: “At the same time as Americans wonder when this gusher will ever be plugged, we hear word that the administration and my good friend the majority leader want to piggy back their controversial new national energy tax — also known as cap and trade — to an oil spill response bill that could and should be an opportunity for true bipartisan cooperation. So here again, we see the administration using a crisis, in this case the disaster in the gulf, as an opportunity to muscle through Congress another deeply unpopular bill that has profound implications for small business and struggling households.”

But why let something as trivial as the truth get in the way when it comes to pushing an extreme “green” agenda? Liberals like Barack Obama made this problem worse so they could “solve” the problem and, as we’ve come to expect, they plan to “solve” the problem by making it worse.

So, true to form, Obama declared a moratorium on off-shore drilling and to make matters worse, Obama wants to institute a massive new energy tax, masquerading as sound energy policy (so-called cap and trade), that will dramatically raise the cost of just about everything you produce or consume, deprive you of income, control your behavior and repress your liberties.

Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, once said that you should never let a good crisis go to waste and Barack Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill aren’t about to let this crisis go to waste. He may pontificate about holding BP to account but Obama and his leftist cronies fully intend to exploit this crisis to sneak liberty-stealing cap and trade legislation past the American people.

Obama’s Gulf Speech – The Day After In One Sentence

Obama’s Gulf Speech – The Day After In One Sentence

“So that’s what it’s like to play President.”

Wanted: Oil Spill Czar

Wanted: Oil Spill Czar

Posted By Michelle Malkin On June 18, 2010 @ 12:03 am In FrontPage | 7 Comments

Here is the Obama Disaster Management Theory: In times of crisis, you can never have enough unelected, un-vetted political appointees hanging around. Nearly two months after the BP oil spill, the White House will now name an oil spill restoration point person to oversee recovery efforts in the Gulf of Mexico. Too many czars have already spoiled this administration’s credibility. Might as well pile on another.

The new oil spill czar is not to be mistaken for the old oil spill czar, U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who was officially designated the “National Incident Commander of the Unified Command for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico” on April 30. Allen was appointed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano 10 days after the disaster, which Napolitano claimed the administration had been on top of since, um, “Day One.”

Fifty-six days later, President Obama has deemed the leadership skills of Allen, Napolitano, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, environmental czar Carol Browner, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the rest of his self-declared “all hands on deck” crew insufficient. The new disaster czar also comes on top of the “National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling,” created by executive order on May 22 and “tasked with providing recommendations on how we can prevent and mitigate the impact of any future spills that result from offshore drilling.”

As I’ve noted before regarding Obama’s czar-mania, this White House has bypassed the Senate advise-and-consent role and unilaterally created a two-tiered government. It’s fronted by cabinet secretaries able to withstand public scrutiny (some of them just barely) and then managed behind the scenes by shadow secretaries with broad powers beyond congressional reach. Bureaucratic chaos serves as a useful smokescreen to obscure the true source of policy decision-making. While past administrations dating back to the Nixon era have designated such “superaides,” none has exploited and extended the concept as widely as Obama has (we’re up to the 40th appointed czar, by Washington-based watchdog group Judicial Watch’s count).

It’s government by proxy and government by press release all rolled into one.

According to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, the latest commissar will have the power to oversee government efforts “to increase the health and the vitality of the species there, the wildlife and the natural beauty that we all know is the Gulf of Mexico.” This will make the power-grabbing environmental lobby happy. And the new czar appointment will feed the photo-op-hungry news cycle. But instead of rushing to move “past the cleanup and response phase of this disaster,” shouldn’t this czar-crazy regime concentrate on the immediate mitigation tasks at hand?

Folks in the Gulf don’t need any more Romanov-style apparatchiks or blue-ribbon crony panels to show them the way toward relief. Florida public officials and foreign shippers say the protectionist Jones Act is preventing vessels from abroad from providing cleanup aid. And Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal has exposed White House obstructionism and delays in approving the construction of barrier walls to stop the oil spread.

After waiting weeks for approval, Jindal received a green light from the White House to put up just five barrier islands — a minuscule amount of his plan. Tired of waiting for approval of the rest of his plan, Jindal this week ordered the National Guard to circumvent the Beltway foot-dragging and start building the walls immediately.

Executive leadership doesn’t need to be outsourced when the executive in office knows how to lead. While Obama squawks, Jindal acts. While Washington appoints more gasbags, the National Guard is dropping sandbags.

The president’s czar fetish is his crisis crutch — a desperate, public relations habit that he can’t break. What 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue needs is a visit from retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, the Hurricane Katrina military relief coordinator who offered timeless and timely advice for the disaster-stricken: Don’t get stuck on stupid.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com.