Disturbing Admission at EPA Hearings

Disturbing Admission at EPA Hearings

On Tuesday March 1st The House of Representatives was holding a hearing dealing with EPA’s sweeping nationwide regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA is set to regulate (read tax) the largest “polluters” to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to the air. You know that pollutant that makes all trees, plants and crops grow. This tax will result in higher costs of doing business for the nation’s power generating facilities and most manufacturing plants. It will increase the cost of doing business across the board for many other smaller businesses and will likely inhibit companies from hiring new employees. Back in February Republican Fred Upton said “Needless to say the Chinese government and other competitors have no intention of burdening and raising the cost of doing business for their manufacturers and energy producers the way E.P.A. plans to do here in America. Our goal should be to export goods, not jobs.” Without a doubt this will not only push up everyone’s utility bills but will also stoke the inflationary fires that are already burning.

During the hearing Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) was questioning EPA’s Chief of Air Programs and Greenhouse Gas Regulations, Gina McCarthy. He asked her “Do you know what the level of CO2 right now is generally speaking in the atmosphere?” Her answer was “Well actually I don’t have that figure.” The Chief of the EPA’s Air Programs and Greenhouse Gas Regulations doesn’t know how much carbon dioxide is in the air. Upon hearing this answer I wondered if my hearing was going bad. One would assume that the Chief of EPA’s Air Programs would have that figure right off the top of her head. The response to the question made me wonder what else does the EPA not know about carbon dioxide? One thing is for sure, EPA thinks carbon dioxide is pollution. Don’t tell that to the owners of real greenhouses. They might not know that elevating the levels of CO2 to 1,000 parts per million to increase growth might kill their plants, at least according to the EPA’s way of seeing the world.

What if Joe Barton was to ask a scientist who did not believe in man-made global warming a question like “Mr. Horn do you know what the instrument we use to measure temperature is, generally speaking?” Answer “Mr. Representative, Sir I don’t have that information at this time.” To be the Chief regulator of such a potentially far reaching and costly program and not know that CO2 is 390 parts per million must have made heads turn in Congress that day, I know mine did.

Ms. McCarthy is said to be highly trained and unquestionably qualified for the job. Scientific American claimed “Although Ms. McCarthy has a tough road ahead, her experience and achievements prove she will rise to the challenge. She has shown true leadership in Connecticut and Massachusetts implementing a multi-pollutant approach to clean up the air in those states.” My question is this. If the directors of such potentially significant programs don’t know the basic facts they may also lack the deeper knowledge necessary to make wise critical decisions. If those decisions lead us in the wrong direction an already fragile economic recovery could be at risk. In the broader view, our competing counties are forging ahead with practical, proven energy policies. If EPA is allowed to retard our ability to compete with these counties we may find ourselves so far behind in the ability to produce affordable energy that we won’t be able to catch up.

Ms. McCarthy may not know carbon dioxide but she does have experience in her field. As head of Connecticut’s DEP she helped develop the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the nation’s first mandatory cap and trade program. That program called RGGI is actually a tax on each resident and business owner in Connecticut and the other 9 RGGI member states. The charge for operating REGGI is hidden in the electric bill each month. A few months back I did some digging and found the charge in the lower half of my bill. Maybe that hidden expense is part of the reason New Hampshire just dropped out of the system. More states in RGGI may be waiting to follow New Hampshire’s lead.

Ms. McCarthy actually said “I never really thought of myself as a regulator. Actually, I am a strong believer in markets. I really think our job is to make sure that the work we do is valued and priced in the markets appropriately. And so I am a true believer in democracy — in having government intervene when it needs to and not when it doesn”t.” In this case it doesn’t. Extracting vast sums of money from something every business and person needs, affordable energy will only hurt. That money will then be dumped into the bottomless pit of government spending with no positive impact at all either on the climate or our economy.

Is the United States going to keep up with China and maintain a leadership role in the world? Not if the EPA is allowed to stick its hands into one of the most important sectors of life, energy production. Who is going to build new power plants if they don’t know the depth of damage EPA is going to inflict in the coming years? Uncertainty breeds inaction. Inaction breeds stagnation and that’s not what we need right now or anytime. It would appear that de-funding the EPA is the only answer.

© 2013 Energy Tribune

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