Editor's Note: This column was co-authored by Willie Soon.
In December 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency released new Clean Air Act “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.” Once again, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson touted the supposedly huge benefits of controlling emissions of mercury (Hg) and other air toxics from U.S. coal- and oil-fired power plants (or electric generating units, EGUs).
The people of Idaho may welcome this new rule, since EPA’s miraculous modeling machine has promised to prevent “six premature deaths” and create “up to $54 million” in health benefits by 2016 – even though not one coal-fired EGU in Idaho fits the EPA’s final rules. Even the District of Columbia, which has only one oil-fired unit, will somehow, magically realize “up to $120 million” in health benefits, presumably from new restrictions on coal-fired units in Maryland or Virginia.
The average U.S. citizen, however, can be excused for no longer being willing to be penalized by EPA – the Extreme Punishment Authority – for such minimal, imaginary and manufactured benefits.
In fact, the final rule may be the most expensive one ever devised by EPA. And yet, even EPA admits, the alleged “hazards to public health” from mercury and non-mercury emissions from American EGUs are “anticipated to remain after imposition” of the new regulations.
As to benefits, EPA computer models claim Hg emission cuts will reduce average per person “avoided IQ loss” by an undetectable “0.00209 IQ points,” with estimated “total nationwide benefits” of $500,000 to $6.1 million by 2016. For the electric utility sector, says EPA, net job creation from the rules will be “not statistically different from zero” and could be between minus 15,000 and plus 30,000 jobs.
In fact, the new regulations will likely eliminate tens of thousands of jobs annually, especially in energy-intensive industries that rely on low-cost electricity to survive and face growing competition from foreign companies that pay far less for energy, labor and raw materials. Small businesses will also get hammered.
“EPA cannot certify that there will be no SISNOSE from this rule,” the agency admits. “SISNOSE” is EPA-speak for “significant impacts on a substantial number of small entities.” In other words, the rules are likely to inflict significant economic harm on small businesses, and thus on the health and welfare of numerous (former) small business owners, employees and families. The agency failed to explain why it has once again ignored the adverse impacts on human health and welfare caused by its rules.
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