Sunday, September 6, 2015

Washington and Wisconsin corporate special interests drag out failed Doom & Gloom "end of the U.S. economy" Warnings about EPA rules.

It's a marvel to watch grown adults in the business community act like whiny victims of a "bully" government unfairly looking out for the health and welfare of the American public.  

Industry and big energy even have the balls to use the same half century old failed arguments against the EPA's new standards. The heck with saving lives and keeping our food supply plentiful. And isn't it about time we question their corporate patriotism every time they threaten to leave and relocate offshore, running from their responsibility to pay for infrastructure, an educated workforce and maintain a healthy work environment? Heck, even in conservative circles, they would be called freeloaders. 

On WKOW's Capitol City Sunday, Greg Neumann's guests offered up a comparison; Tyson Cook of Clean Wisconsin pitting history and science against whiny Washington corporate special interests who wouldn't look out of place yelling from a city street corner about the end of the world. Take special note of these obvious contradictions:
1. While corporate opponents of the EPA's new regulations claim they want sensible cost/benefit considerations, behind the scenes in Washington, they're very close to a Republican majority that will eliminate the EPA and regulatory oversight of our environment. Snakes.

2. While warning how manufacturing will move overseas or go out of business with the new EPA rules, WMC's Kurt Bauer bragged about a company relocating from Mexico to Wisconsin. Huh?

3. While both Bauer and Jay Timmons of the National Assoc. of Manufacturers appreciated our cleaner air and environment, they also still oppose the decades of EPA rules and regulations that gave it to us. 

4. When confronted with their past failed doom and gloom predictions, both Timmon's and Manley changed the subject.

5.There's No Technology? "The EEI study proved false because it ignored the innovation and savings that occur … The EPA found that the Clean Air Act 19 prompted the deployment of new technologies to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, which are ingredients in acid rain and smog."

A few details from a quick Google search:
When it comes to air-pollution reductions, coal and utility companies’ objections to government protections feel like “Groundhog Day” moments. Recently, these industries have again predicted that government pollution limits would result in skyrocketing electricity prices. Their past predictions of doom were wrong, and so are their current claims that the EPA’s first carbon-pollution cuts for power plants would be disastrous.

Over the past 40 years, experience has taught us that industry predictions of apocalyptic costs from pollution-control requirements do not occur. In the 1970s, electric utilities and other industries forecasted huge utility rate hikes from the new clean air law, but in 1982, the CBO concluded that the changes in cost were actually low.

…helped safeguard millions of people from smog, acid rain, and soot particles. These contaminants can lead to respiratory ailments, trigger asthma attacks, and even cause premature deaths. The recent hyperbolic rhetoric around EPA proposals to finally control carbon pollution from power plants is simply a repeat of past hysteria.

An EPA assessment found that there were “net, direct, monetized benefits ranging from 5.1 to 48.9 trillion dollars, with a central estimate of 21.7 trillion dollars, for the 1970 to 1990 period,” due to reductions in diseases, learning impairments, and premature deaths … lower electricity rates in 2009 than in 1990—in 2009 dollars—even after complete implementation of the acid rain provisions of the Clean Air Act. 

Here they go again: Coal and utilities predict huge rate hikes from carbon cuts … keep in mind that utility rates will rise regardless of whether or not the EPA limits carbon pollution from power plants because utilities must invest in revitalizing their electricity delivery infrastructure. The National Journal recently reported that “Your Utility Bill Is Going Up (and There’s Nothing You Can Do About It).”
In fact, back in 1972 one economist predicted the fossil fuel industry’s plan of attack:
At a Senate Public Works Committee Clean Air Act hearing in 1972, Robert J. Rauch warned that polluting companies’ strategy: “An industry confronted with environmental regulations commissions an “expert” study to show that the costs of complying with the regulations would be prohibitive. These cost estimates are then highly publicized and used to generate public demand that the standards be relaxed. Once publicized these cost estimates take on a life of their own—mere repetition assures their acceptance.

[EPA press release - November 29, 1990]: The deplorable state of the environment enabled EPA to successfully argue that cost was not an issue. "Pollution was egregious. It would have been difficult to spend dollars unwisely.” The Agency's strong stand led to strict enforcement of the Clean Air Act … refused to grant extensions requested by automobile manufacturers to meet hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide standards … forcing the adoption of the catalytic converter. Many efforts to trim EPA's authority--to kill requirements for tall stacks, to curtail efforts to prevent significant deterioration of air cleaner were beaten back.
I wonder how many Republicans would react to this outrageous attack on the energy industry by…Reagan:
President Reagan in 1983 … established task forces to deal with such issues as ground water, risk assessment, dioxin, and acid rain. Enforcement was reinvigorated. Civil penalties increased in number and size. And 2,000 new employees were hired. President Bush in 1989 … the Montreal Protocol agreed to a full phase-out of CFCs. Most uses of asbestos were banned. Enforcement figures have been the highest in the Agency's history. Wetlands protection was significantly strengthened. Polls continuously affirm popular support for environmental protection and a willingness to pay for it.


Anonymous said...

Meh, science, numbers, and history are liberal plots. Be a real 'Murican businessman, ignore them, and try to steal as many profits as you can, no matter the consequences.

Jake formerly of the LP

nonquixote said...

CEOs under pressure to run short term profits have run the gamut of available sources for milking any sector of industry when nearing retirement or a short tenure at any particular company. Offshoring of jobs has run its course as has foreign manufacturing and using profits to buy back and raise the value of their own stock prior to cashing in. The last vestige of unreasonable profits is literally dumping the costs of, therefore actual pollution onto the environment. My layperson summary of this piece.

Paul Craig Roberts this weekend:

President Richard Nixon established the Environmental Protection Agency in order to reduce the external or social costs that corporations impose on the environment. However, the polluting industries were not slow in taking over or capturing the agency, as University of Chicago economist George Stigler predicted.

A basis of economic theory is the absurd assumption that man-made capital is a perfect substitute for nature’s capital. This means that if the environment is used up and ruined, not to worry. Innovation and technology will substitute for nature. This absurd foundation of economic theory is why there are so few ecological economists. Economics teaches not to worry about the environment.

To sum up, the One Percent have enriched themselves at the expense of the economy’s potential and everyone else.