Wednesday, July 7, 2010

EPA Turns the Screws on Emissions

The EPA has made a couple of somewhat alarming decisions in the past week that bear watching and seem to indicate Team Obama's coming line of attack with regard to Obama's green energy agenda and Cap and Trade.

Last week the EPA rejected the Texas flexible air permits citing violation of the Clean Air Act.  The Wall Street Journal reported on June 30 that Texas has "121 facilities operating under flexible air permits...including some of the nation's largest oil refineries...".  The flexible air-permit program has been in place in Texas for 16 years but now the EPA has decided that it doesn't meet the Clean Air Act requirements.

The WSJ reports:

The federal agency proposed striking down the so-called flexible air permits issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, or TCEQ, last September, saying they violate the Clean Air Act. Under the act, all states have to develop a state implementation plan to meet federal requirements to protect public health. The move won't require oil refiners, chemical and plastics makers, and others to shut their plants immediately, but will force companies to meet stricter regulations in order to earn new, more detailed permits.

These upgrades could cost millions and the costs would naturally be passed on to consumers.  Governor Rick Perry in Texas blasted the move:

"The EPA's irresponsible and heavy-handed action not only undermines Texas' successful clean air programs, but threatens thousands of Texas jobs, families, businesses and communities throughout our state," Perry said in a statement. "It will also likely curtail energy supplies and increase gasoline prices nationwide."
Some of the refineries affected by this order include Shell Oil, Valero, Exxon-Mobil, and BP.   How expensive would it be for them to shut down and move to more business friendly shores, like Venezuela?  For right now, Shell Oil, for one, is saying they'll take whatever steps are necessary to keep working, but for how long?  How onerous will these regulations continue to be?

It's not just Texas that is under fire.  I mean, that would look like Obama has it in for the Gulf coast or something.

The New York Times today reports the EPA will announce rules "for smog and soot-forming emissions from power plants, setting up the start of a rulemaking process that could influence Senate negotiations on an energy and climate bill."

Here we go back to cap 'n  tax.

The cost for putting these new emissions rules in place?

The cost of compliance to utilities and other operators of smog-belching power plants would be $2.8 billion a year, according to E.P.A. estimates.

Guess who gets to pay that?

Jim Hoft reminds you of Obama's pledge to put coal companies out of business:

Of course, that $2.8 billion will be passed on to the American consumer each year. As Obama said in 2008, these new policies will necessarily cause electricity costs to skyrocket.

And just think… It seems like it was just yesterday when Barack Obama was praising the coal industry at a West Virginia coal miner memorial knowing that these policies were on the table.

Yet they voted for him anyway.

All of this is intended to ratchet up the pressure on the Senate to get moving on cap 'n tax where the legislation is stalled and is likely to remain that way.  Environmental reform is one of Team Obama's main agenda items, though, and they'll keep tightening the screws until they get what they want, or until the fall elections finally shut them down.

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