Helen Whalen Cohen
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This article is a few days old, but it is worth a mention nonetheless. Susan Kraemer at CleanTechnica can barely contain her excitement at the prospect of environmental regulations. In an article titled "Obama's EPA Cues 130 Billion Race to Cut Pollution By 2015", she reports that the EPA will shut down 20 percent of coal plants through the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. She acknowledges the cost of these regulations ($130 billion), but insists that this is actually good for the economy.

How, pray tell, does $130 billion in regulatory expenses transform into a $130 billion boon?

Because it will push coal plants out of the way and free up energy production for green technology, of course!

 

The EPA will shut down an estimated 20% of the nation’s coal plants through the ground-level ozone rule (the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) ) through cap and trade that is about to be implemented in January 2012. Opponents of the Obama administration’s “over-reaching” EPA say these are costly regulations. Financial analysts estimate that the cost of this rule will be $130 billion by 2015. But if that figure is correct, that’s good news for the US economy.

 

Because there is another way of looking at that $130 billion “expense”. One industry’s expense is another industry’s sales bonanza. For the coal industry’s balance sheet, it is an expense, but think about who is going to perform this $130 billion cleanup – fairies? Hardly. This is a job for real American industries.

 

In the most depressed economy since the Great Depression, a slew of US companies will be selling the clean energy solutions (and adding employees to manufacture them) as coal companies must begin a race to have the least polluting coal plants.

Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/13hj9)

Real American industries? Like Solyndra? Given all the green scandals that are coming to light, now might not be the best time to advocate these types of solutions. The kicker, though, comes in the last paragraph of the article:

A hand-full of coal industry plutocrats are simply not able to inject $130 billion into the US economy just taking cruise trips around the Mediterranean or whatever it is that they do with the profits that they don’t spend cleaning up.

If the concern is that coal plants don't put enough money into the economy, then what's going to happen once there are fewer of them? My guess is that we will be left on the hook for more large loans to green technology companies that eventually go bankrupt, and other goodies that could only come about when people like Kraemer decide they know best how companies should spend their profits.

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Helen Whalen Cohen

Helen Whalen Cohen is Associate Editor and Community Manager at Townhall.com.