Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama administration to push for more government control in 2015

Here’s a rundown on some of the planned regulations, courtesy of Fox News. (H/T Dad)

Excerpt:

The Obama administration is trying to get fossil-fuel fired power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The EPA proposed the rules last year and is set to finalize them by summer 2015.

[…]Among them is a controversial EPA proposal to expand regulatory power over streams and wetlands. The agency, set to finalize the rule in April, estimates it could impose costs of between $162 million to $278 million per year…

[…][D]etractors claim it is an opening for the EPA to claim authority over countless waterways, including streams that only show up during heavy rainfall. Critics warn this could create more red tape for property owners and businesses if they happen to have even small streams on their land.

Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, has called it an effort to “control a huge amount of private property across the country.”

In another EPA initiative, the agency is looking to October to finalize sweeping ozone regulations.

In proposing the limits on smog-forming pollution linked to asthma and respiratory illness in November, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy argued that the public health benefits far outweigh the costs and that most of the U.S. can meet the tougher standards without doing anything new.

“We need to be smart — as we always have — in trying to find the best benefits in a way that will continue to grow the economy,” McCarthy said. Of reducing ozone, she added: “We’ve done it before, and we’re on track to do it again.”

But business groups panned the proposal as unnecessary and the costliest in history, warning it could jeopardize a resurgence in American manufacturing.

[…]The rules are estimated to cost industry anywhere between $3.9 billion and $15 billion by 2025. That price tag would exceed that of any previous environmental regulation in the U.S. Environmental groups are pushing for stricter limits still.

On other fronts, the Federal Communications Commission could move in a matter of months to propose new “net neutrality” rules. Obama weighed in on that debate late last year, urging the FCC to regulate the Internet like other utilities.

The White House is calling for an “explicit ban” on deals between broadband Internet providers and online services like Netflix, Amazon or YouTube to move their content faster, a potential new source of revenue for cable companies.

[…]Meanwhile, the National Labor Relations Board has issued new rules for so-called “ambush” union elections — speeding up elections and requiring employers to give unions contact information for workers. The rules take effect in April.

These regulations will have nasty effects on job-creating companies and that will work its way down to consumers, who will have to eat the costs. But at least the social engineers will feel really good about themselves, and without having to do the hard work of creating products and services that people will actually pay their own money for of their own free choice.

The very funny thing about this is how unionized blue-collar Democrats complain that they cannot compete with countries abroad, then vote in the very people that make them uncompetitive. You can bet that leaders in other low-cost countries do not pass laws to make them less competitive. And that’s why everything is manufactured abroad. Democrat voters bring these problems on themselves by electing socialists who hamstring American industry.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

As record cold and snow hits US, Obama set to solve global warming by executive action

First, it looks like the Midwest is going to be hit with unexpectedly large amounts of snow and record cold.

Fox News reports.

Excerpt:

Residents across the Rockies and Upper Midwest dug out from under a foot or more of snow on Tuesday, after waking up to frigid temperatures that plunged as much as 50 degrees overnight. The rest of the Midwest and the East are expecting a dose of the icy weather later this week thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend.

[…]Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was buried under more than 14 inches of snow — with at least another foot expected before the storm moves out Wednesday. As much as 13 inches of snow fell in northern Wisconsin, while some Minnesotans awoke to 15 inches of fresh powder, with more snow expected.

The weather prompted school closures across the region, including at Northern Michigan University. Multimedia journalism student Mikenzie Frost said she was headed out the door to figure skating practice early Tuesday when she got a text from the school saying classes were cancelled.

[…]The blast of frigid air crawled all the way to the Texas Panhandle, where temperatures tumbled overnight from the 70s into the teens. In Oklahoma City, where Monday’s high was 80 degrees, the low Tuesday morning was 30 degrees — a 50-degree drop — while similar balmy weather in Missouri was replaced by temperatures in the 20s, along with a light dusting of snow.

The region’s coldest temperatures hit the Dakotas, where single-digit temperatures — already about 30 degrees below normal — came with frigid wind chills dipped into the negative 20s in Dickinson, North Dakota.

[…]Residents of Glenrock, Wyoming, aren’t as lucky. More than 1,000 buildings in the town lost service because of a pipeline problem, and temperatures were hovering between zero and 5 degrees in some parts of the state.

In Colorado, temperatures fell into the teens — about 20 to 30 degrees below normal — where they’re expected to stay through Thursday, prompting officials to move a Veteran’s Day ceremony indoors in Denver.

[…]Roads in parts of northern Michigan were in “very poor condition,” with 2 to 3 inches of snow falling an hour on Tuesday morning, National Weather Service meteorologist Justin Titus said. But there were no delays reported Tuesday at Sawyer International Airport in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport saw the brunt of the cancellations and delays Monday, with about 175 cancellations, while about 19 had been cancelled Tuesday out of hundreds of flights, according to the airport.

Elsewhere in Minnesota, the State Patrol said at least two people were killed in accidents on icy roads, and troopers handled 475 crashes and more than 700 spinouts statewide by Monday evening. In eastern Wisconsin, snow-covered roads were blamed for a school bus crash that sent the driver and an aide to a hospital, WBAY-TV reported.

This sounds like January or February weather, so what is it doing here in early November?

The radically leftist Politico has some news about Obama’s response to this global warming, now that the midterm elections are over.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration is set to roll out a series of climate and pollution measures that rivals any president’s environmental actions since George H.W. Bush signed a rewrite of the Clean Air Act in 1990 — a reality check for Republicans who think last week’s election gave them a mandate to end what they call the White House’s “War on Coal.”

Tied to court-ordered deadlines, legal mandates and international climate talks, the efforts scheduled for the next two months show that President Barack Obama is prepared to spend the remainder of his term unleashing sweeping executive actions to combat global warming. And incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will have few options for stopping the onslaught, though Republicans may be able to slow pieces of it.

The coming rollout includes a Dec. 1 proposal by EPA to tighten limits on smog-causing ozone, which business groups say could be the costliest federal regulation of all time…

[…]On top of all that, the administration is expected in the coming weeks to pledge millions of dollars — and possibly billions — to help poor countries deal with the effects of climate change.

Now one thing people need to understand is that any kind of tax increase or burdensome regulation costs businesses money, and they pay for these setbacks by laying off workers and/or raising prices and/or shipping jobs overseas. In fact, environmental regulations are exactly the kind of thing that would cause companies to outsource and offshore their operations.

The Washington Times re-caps Obama’s record on energy policy.

Excerpt:

President Obama has intentionally hamstrung domestic energy production under the delusional theory that the U.S. economy can thrive on so-called green power. As Mideast turmoil threatens the oil supply, the price of domestic crude has jumped above $100 a barrel and gas at the pump now exceeds $3.46 a gallon. This shows just how dangerous the Obama administration’s economic and energy policies can be to our wallets.

There can be no doubt that the president took deliberate action to block access to the nation’s energy resources. A federal judge recently found the Interior Department in contempt for ignoring his order overturning the oil-drilling moratorium the administration imposed following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On Feb. 22, Judge Martin Feldman upped the pressure by insisting that the department act on five pending permits within 30 days. Permits that would, under normal circumstances, be processed in two weeks have been ignored for four to nine months. “Not acting at all is not a lawful option,” Judge Feldman wrote. The department had no choice but to issue the first permit since the spill on Feb. 28.

Interior pinned the blame for delays on technical problems. Yet, as the department dithered, oil companies atrophied and employees lost work. According to a study released in January by the business alliance Greater New Orleans, Inc., the moratorium cost Louisiana about 25,000 jobs. Houston-based Seahawk Drilling, the most recent victim of the drilling ban, announced Feb. 18 that it had filed for bankruptcy and agreed to a buyout from a competitor. The jobs of the company’s 494 employees are in jeopardy, according to USA Today.

All this activity to stop global warming, which John Kerry considers to be a bigger threat than terrorism, even though we have had no global warming for the last 18 years.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

EPA proposes 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions

The Wall Street Journal reports.

Excerpt:

The Environmental Protection Agency will propose a draft rule on Monday seeking a 30% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 from existing power plants based on emission levels from 2005, according to two people who have been briefed on the rule, setting in motion the main piece of President Barack Obama’s climate-change agenda.

The rule, scheduled to be completed one year from now, will give flexibility to the states, which must implement the rules and submit compliance plans to EPA by June 2016. States can decide how to meet the reductions, including joining or creating new cap-and-trade programs, deploying more renewable energy or ramping up energy-efficiency technologies.

Each state will have different percent reduction standards, and the national average will be 25% by 2020 and 30% by 2030, these people said.

The proposed rule will regulate carbon emissions from hundreds of fossil-fuel power plants across the U.S., including about 600 coal plants, which will be hit hardest by the standard.

“EPA will release its proposed carbon pollution reduction rule on Monday,” EPA spokesman Tom Reynolds said. “Until then the agency will not comment on any information that may or may not be in the proposal.”

So let’s work out what follows next. If emissions are cut, then production will be reduced. It’s a law of economics that when supply goes down, and demand stays the same, then prices will rise. Either that or the power plants will have to become more efficient, which also costs more money. Are you ready for higher electricity prices?

Update: Republicans say EPA regulation will up to 800, 000 jobs.

Filed under: News, , , , ,

Just the thing to fix our 0.1% GDP growth: a massive hike to electricity prices

From the leftist Poitico.

Excerpt:

The EPA will launch the most dramatic anti-pollution regulation in a generation early next month, a sweeping crackdown on carbon that offers President Barack Obama his last real shot at a legacy on climate change — while causing significant political peril for red-state Democrats.

The move could produce a dramatic makeover of the power industry, shifting it away from coal-burning plants toward natural gas, solar and wind. While this is the big move environmentalists have been yearning for, it also has major political implications in November for a president already under fire for what the GOP is branding a job-killing “War on Coal,” and promises to be an election issue in energy-producing states such as West Virginia, Kentucky and Louisiana.

[…]But for coal country, the rule is yet another indignity for an industry already facing a wave of power plant shutdowns amid hostile market forces and a series of separate EPA air regulations. Coal-state Democrats like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin have joined the criticism, echoing industry warnings that the fossil fuel was crucial to keeping the lights on in much of the U.S. during this past brutal winter.

“You have another polar vortex next year, how many people will lose their lives?” Manchin asked at a POLITICO energy policy forum Tuesday.

[…]It’s not just the coal industry that’s losing sleep over the rule. Manufacturers and industries like oil refining have been eyeing the power plant regulations as the starting gun for a process that will eventually lead to greenhouse gas limits for a wide variety of businesses.

“These regulations could reduce the diversity of our energy supply, increase electricity and compliance costs for American businesses and shrink our competitiveness,” said Ross Eisenberg, vice president for energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “We can’t sit by silently while that happens.”

The EPA’s rule proposal is supposed to go live on June 2nd. Plenty of time for people in red and purple states to decide whether they prefer gay marriage to low electricity bills. I would say that the chances of the Republicans taking the Senate now is up near 75%.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

American Spectator praises Australia’s bold new conservative leader

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia

Well, I think we can get some encouragement from this article from the American Spectator.

Let’s take a look at his policies and appointments:

On economic policy, his government has moved in the opposite direction of those who favor Dodd-Frank-like behemoth approaches to the financial industry. Instead it’s opted to simplify regulation. As the minister responsible for the reform bluntly pointed out, “no amount of legislation will ever be a guarantee against another Storm Financial.” Indeed it’s often excessive regulation that creates opportunities for financial shenanigans by industry insiders.

Regarding the welfare state, Abbott’s minister for Social Security, Kevin Andrews (another conservative politician-thinker), has announced a major overhaul of a welfare system that was starting to drift in a distinctly European-direction. Predictably the left are up in arms. But so too are those rent-seeking Australian businesses who now find themselves dealing with a government uninterested in subsidizing them. That’s nothing, however, to the fury that greeted Abbott’s disbanding of the climate-change bureaucracy established by the preceding Labor government.

[…]The first sign of Abbott’s seriousness about obstructing the left’s long march through the institutions was his government’s appointment of the policy-director of the center-right Institute of Public Affairs to the nation’s Human Rights Commission. This was widely seen as the beginning of an effort to re-balance an organization long criticized as monolithically left-wing. Since then Abbott has indicated that major changes are coming to the ABC: Australia’s government-funded institutional — and ideological — equivalent of the BBC.

[…]Along the same lines, Abbott’s education minister, Christopher Pyne, has initiated a review of the national curriculum implemented by the previous government. A moment’s glance at the curriculum’s treatment of history soon illustrates the extent to which it seeks to downplay Australia’s indisputably Western heritage. In the words of Sydney’s Cardinal George Pell, “Europe, Britain and the United States are mentioned 76 times, while Asia is referred to on more than 200 occasions.” This disparity is odd because although Australia is certainly in Asia, no objective observer could say that Australia is “of” Asia. Moreover, while Australian students learn about “Gaia” and other deep-green fantasies in grade 9, many Australian universities find they need to put the same students through remedial English classes once they begin college.

Then there are Abbott’s initial steps on the international stage. Take, for instance, his recent remarks at Davos. Much of the address was devoted to pushing a strong free trade agenda and insisting that governments should let business do what it does best: promote lasting economic growth. “After all,” Abbott said, “government doesn’t create wealth; people do, when they run profitable businesses.”

In the same speech, however, Abbott made the conservative point that economic prosperity and freedom can’t be sustained in a value-neutral world. Nor did Abbott shy away from relentlessly pressing one of the most important moral arguments for free trade articulated long ago by Adam Smith: that economic freedom, combined with the right institutions, radically reduces poverty faster than any other approach. “No country,” Abbott added, “has ever taxed or subsidized its way to prosperity.”

All in all, the address added up to a solid integration of sound economics with conservative principles. That’s what makes Abbott different from, say, Canada’s Stephen Harper or Spain’s Mariano Rajoy. Abbott happily engages in the indispensable task of moral suasion in favor of conservative positions. What’s more, he’s quite good at it. With his rare combination of plain-speaking and intellectual substance, Abbott makes conservative ideas sound, well, reasonable to the average voter.

Now, I personally thought that prime minister Stephen Harper of Canada was the best leader of any nation out there, but I had not been following Australian politics as much as I should be, and now I think I’ll give the crown to Abbott. He seems to have a good fusionist view that integrates economic policy and social policy, and that makes him better than Harper, in my view. I would like to see Abbott flex his muscles on foreign policy, as well. Something to look forward to.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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