The Coming Environmental Battlegrounds; Green Agenda Threatens Economic Future
Byline: Paul Driessen, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
When American voters re-elected President Obama, they also returned his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Interior and Energy departments and wide-ranging agenda for fundamentally transforming our nation.
This will mean cementing Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, higher taxes and rampant spending. It also will bring more disputes over energy and environmental regulations, the vanguard of Mr. Obama's determined campaign to eliminate hydrocarbons that power our economy and to embrace more green energy. The conflict will be fought primarily on six battlegrounds:
Carbon taxes: Hurricane Sandy presented a fresh pretext for regulating and taxing hydrocarbons. No respectable climatologist or meteorologist believes atmospheric carbon dioxide conjured up the destructive storm, but climate alarmism always has been about political science, not real science.
Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott's Managed Carbon Price Act imputes a cost for CO2 emissions and compels energy producers and users to buy carbon permits. The president is considering a direct carbon tax that he says will raise billions of dollars annually and reduce deficits. Both ought to be dead on arrival in the House. Another pointless round of United Nations-sponsored climate treaty discussions will take place soon in Doha, Qatar.
The real threat is EPA regulations limiting CO2 from power plants and other sources by executive fiat.
With China, India and other developing countries massively increasing their greenhouse gas emissions, none of these proposals would reduce atmospheric CO2 levels. They would, however, put government in charge of our entire economy, sharply increase energy prices for every business and household, kill millions of jobs, ensure that new tax revenues never materialize, and hurt poor families most.
War on hydrocarbons: America has abundant hydrocarbons, onshore and offshore, including centuries' worth of natural gas for heating, petrochemicals, electricity generation and vehicles. With little to hold their pre-election anti-energy instincts in check, the White House, EPA and Interior may still oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, further delay onshore and offshore drilling, and unleash a blitzkrieg of new rules on hydraulic fracturing and coal-fired power plants.
That would stifle job creation, revenue generation and economic growth while leaving the nation dependent on despotic regimes and costly renewable-energy schemes.
Renewable-energy preferences: Antipathy toward oil, gas and coal is matched by the pincer move of mandates, fuel standards and subsidies for wind, solar and biofuel power. The first pitched battle will decide whether the production tax credit for wind-based electricity will be extended again.
Other battles will be fought over corn for food versus cars; growing opposition to bird-killing industrial wind facilities and habitat-smothering solar projects; the impact of pricey renewable energy on families, hospitals, factories, businesses and jobs; and corrupt corporate cronyism among politicians and the heavily subsidized campaign contributors they keep in business.
Unequal treatment under law: Mandates and subsidies are not enough to keep industrial wind facilities solvent. …