Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Warmists embellish the truth

Yesterday, before heading back to the National Hurricane Center to help deal with Sandy, Chris Landsea gave a great talk here at CU on hurricanes and climate change (we'll have a video up soon). In Chris' talk he explained that he has no doubts that humans affect the climate system through the emission of greenhouse gases, and this influence may affect tropical cyclones. He then proceeded to review theory and data from recent peer-reviewed publications on the magnitude of such an influence. Chris argued that any such influence is expected to be small today, almost certainly undetectable, and that this view is not particularly controversial among tropical cyclone climatologists. He concluded that hurricanes should not be the "poster" representing a human influence on climate.

After his talk someone in the audience asked him what is wrong with making a connection between hurricanes and climate change if it gives the general public reason for concern about climate change. Chris responded that asserting such a connection can be easily shown to be incorrect and thus risks some of the trust that the public has in scientists to play things straight.

This exchange came to mind as I came across the latest exhibit in the climate science freak show, this time in the form of a lawsuit brought by Michael Mann, of Penn State, against the National Review Online and others for calling his work "intellectually bogus" and other mean things (the actual filing can be seen here). I will admit that for a moment I did smile at the idea of a professor suing a critic for lying (Hi Joe!), before my senses took back over and I rejected it as an absurd publicity stunt. But within this little tempest in a teapot is a nice example of how it is that some parts of climate science found itself off track and routinely in violation of what many people would consider basic scientific norms.

In Mann's lawsuit he characterizes himself as having been "awarded the Nobel Peace Prize." Mann's claim is what might be called an embellishment -- he has, to use the definition found at the top of this post, "made (a statement or story) more interesting or entertaining by adding extra details, esp. ones that are not true." An accurate interpretation is that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change did win the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, and the IPCC did follow that award by sending to the AR4 authors a certificate noting their contributions to the organization. So instead of being a "Nobel Peace Prize Winner" Mann was one of 2,000 or so scientists who made a contribution to an organization which won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Here we might ask, so what?

I mean really, who cares if a scientist embellishes his credentials a bit? We all know what he means by calling himself a "Nobel Peace Prize Winner," right? And really, what is an organization except for the people that make it up? Besides, climate change is important, why should we worry about such things? Doesn't this just distract from the cause of action on climate change and play right into the hands of the deniers?  Really now, is this a big deal?

Well, maybe it was not a big deal last week, but with the filing of the lawsuit, the embellishment now has potential consequences in a real-world decision process. A journalist contacted the Nobel organization and asked them if it was appropriate for Mann as an IPCC scientist to claim to be "Nobel peace prize winner." Here is what the Nobel organization said in response:
Michael Mann has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Mann's embellishment has placed him in a situation where his claims are being countered by the Nobel organization itself. Mann's claim, rather than boosting his credibility actually risks having the opposite effect, a situation that was entirely avoidable and one which Mann brought upon himself by making the embellishment in the first place. The embellishment is only an issue because Mann has invoked it as a source of authority is a legal dispute. It would seem common sense that having such an embellishment within a complaint predicated on alleged misrepresentations may not sit well with a judge or jury.

This situation provides a nice illustration of what is wrong with a some aspects of climate science today -- a few scientists motivated by a desire to influence political debates over climate change have embellished claims, such as related to disasters, which then risks credibility when the claims are exposed as embellishments. To make matters worse, these politically motivated scientists have fallen in with fellow travelers in the media, activist organizations and in the blogosphere who are willing not only to look past such embellishments, but to amplify them and attack those who push back. These dynamics are reinforcing and have led small but vocal parts of the climate scientific community to deviate significantly from widely-held norms of scientific practice.


Science Or Propaganda from Britain's official meteorologists?

The UK Met Office display the above graph prominently on their website. It is the temperature plot, based on the long running CET (Central England Temperature series).

The message is clear. Temperatures suddenly started climbing rapidly around 1980, a classic hockey stick.

If you look closely, you will notice that the graph begins just before 1780. Yet the CET series actually began in 1659, so why did not the Met show the full graph?

I have used exactly the same data, which is available on the Met Office website here, to produce the graph below for the full period.

I have used the same temperature scale , with a six degree range. Even with this scale, there is very little sign of any hockey stick. Certainly there was a bunch of warm years around the turn of the century, but they were only slightly warmer than earlier periods, notably the 1730’s. And in recent years there has been a decline in temperature, which the running five year averages illustrate on the graph below. Indeed the average temperature over the last five years is no higher than several years during the 1730’s.

By the way, so far this year, the CET anomaly is running at 0.28, which would give an annual temperature of 9.76C. This would certainly not be unusually high by 20thC standards, and would bring the five year average down another notch. (You may just be able to make out the green line at the end of the Met graph, which represents this year).

Which brings us back to the question I posed at the start. Why did the Met not show the graph in full?

It seems to me that to produce a partial graph, which begins at an abnormally cold period, can only have been done in order to mislead.


Self-contradictory European energy policy

Governments are erasing the environmental "benefits" from expensive renewables by allowing coal use to increase

Andrew Brown, one of Shell’s most senior executives, also warned that shale gas would not have the same impact in the UK as it has in the US, where is has been heralded as a new era of cheap energy.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Brown, Shell’s upstream international director, said the UK and Europe were “missing a trick” in their policies.

“There are a lot of subsidies going towards renewables. Gas and coal are having to compete to be taken into power generation,” he said.

Because cheap gas is reducing coal demand in the US, there is “a lot of cheap coal in the marketplace”. As a result, Europe is burning more coal, while demand for gas – which emits much less CO2 than coal – is declining.

“You have this ridiculous situation where cash-strapped Europe is putting a lot of money into renewables to reduce CO2, meanwhile allowing ... the power generators to take much more coal and back out gas,” he said.

“All the benefits you’re getting from the renewable energy are being counteracted by far too much coal.”

Mr Brown said the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), designed to reduce emissions by placing a price on carbon, “doesn’t work”. “CO2 is priced at such a low level it’s meaningless,” he said. “We want a higher CO2 price. Power generators would then make the right economic decision for Europe, for gas. Renewables and gas work very well together.”

Germany is one of the most high profile cases of a country that has invested heavily in renewables to curb carbon emissions – but is now burning increasing volumes of polluting coal.

The UK has also seen an increase in coal-fired generation as the economics have become more attractive than burning gas – although many of the most polluting coal plants will be forced to close over the next three years.

Many within Government are enthusiastic about gas and believe UK shale gas will ensure cheap supplies. The Chancellor has said he is mulling shale gas tax breaks “so Britain is not left behind as gas prices tumble on the other side of the Atlantic”.

But Mr Brown cautioned: “There is potential here but it won’t change the UK gas market as has happened in America.” Shale gas could however “play an important role in helping the UK with its energy security”, he said.

The Government is expected to allow controversial “fracking” for shale gas in the UK to resume within weeks.

A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said it agreed that “the EU Emissions Trading System needs to be strengthened” and so was pressing for Europe to adopt a 2020 emissions reductions target.

This was also why it had introduced the carbon price floor in the UK, which will push carbon costs above current ETS levels, he said.


Denmark Won’t Support wind company through Financial Hardship

The Danish government won’t provide direct support to Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) should the world’s biggest maker of wind turbines need a bailout to stay afloat.

Aarhus, Denmark-based Vestas, which has been hurt by higher-than-budgeted costs to develop its V112 turbine and cuts in green energy subsidies, said in July it agreed with its banks to defer a so-called test of financial covenants, delaying loan payments after losses eroded its cash flow. The government is now saying it won’t step in to bridge any periods of financial distress at the company to prevent it going bankrupt.
Enlarge image Denmark Says Won’t Support Vestas If Turbine Maker Needs Bailout

Vestas in 2012 announced two rounds of job cuts that hit more than 3,700 employees, or a sixth of its workforce, to reduce fixed costs by more than 250 million euros ($323 million). The company is struggling to stay competitive as it faces declining demand in Europe and the U.S. Photographer: Ken James/Bloomberg

“We cannot and will not support a single company,” said Martin Lidegaard, Denmark’s Energy Minister, in an e-mailed reply to questions. “It is against the government’s general state aid policy.”

Vestas in 2012 announced two rounds of job cuts that hit more than 3,700 employees, or a sixth of its workforce, to reduce fixed costs by more than 250 million euros ($323 million). The company is struggling to stay competitive as it faces declining demand in Europe and the U.S.

The world’s largest wind turbine maker would consider selling about 500 million euros in shares to existing investors if talks on a strategic cooperation with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (7011) fail, said two people with knowledge of the matter last month.

Shares in Vestas sank as much as 2.5 percent to their lowest since Aug. 16, and were 2 percent down at 30.12 kroner as of 9:47 a.m. in Copenhagen. The stock has lost 51 percent this year, versus a 26 percent increase in the OMXC20 benchmark index of Danish companies.
No Discrimination

Denmark, which is also home to the wind power division of Europe’s biggest engineering company Siemens AG (SIE), has set itself a goal of becoming a hub for new developments in green energy technologies, Lidegaard said.

Still, the government won’t favor local suppliers in tenders and will base any decisions solely on competitive considerations, the minister said.

“Price will be the determining criterion,” in Denmark’s plan to tender new offshore farms with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts,” Lidegaard said. “There will be no discrimination.”
Austerity Effect

Shares in Vestas rose earlier this month after Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said tough economic conditions shouldn’t deter investment in renewable energy. Denmark plans to get half of its energy supply from wind by 2020, installing 3300 megawatts of new turbines with 1,500 MW offshore and 1,800 onshore.

Outside Denmark, austerity is weighing on subsidies for renewable energy in crisis-stricken Europe and the outlook for turbine makers is hampered by the expiration of tax breaks in the U.S. Increased supply of natural gas is also hurting demand for wind energy.


Windmills Overload East Europe’s Grid Risking Blackout

Central and Eastern European countries are moving to disconnect their power lines from Germany’s during the windiest days. That’s when they get flooded with energy, echoing struggles seen from China to Texas over accommodating the world’s 200,000 windmills.

Renewable energy around the world is causing problems because unlike oil it can’t be stored, so when generated it must be consumed or risk causing a grid collapse. At times, the glut can be so great that utilities pay consumers to take the power and get rid of it.

“Germany is aware of the problem, but there is not enough political will to solve the problem because it’s very costly,” Pavel Solc, Czech deputy minister of industry and trade, said in an interview. “So we’re forced to make one-sided defensive steps to prevent accidents and destruction.”

The power grids in the former communist countries are “stretched to their limits” and face potential blackouts when output surges from wind turbines in northern Germany or on the Baltic Sea, according to Czech grid operator CEPS. The Czechs plan to install security switches near borders by year-end to disconnect from Europe’s biggest economy to avoid critical overload.

Wind Farms

The bottleneck is one of many in the last eight years as $460 billion of wind farms were built worldwide on plains, hills and at sea before networks were fully expanded to deliver the power to consumers. Upgrading Germany’s system alone to address capacity and technical shortfalls will cost at least 32 billion euros ($42 billion), its four grid operators said in May.

Germany installed more than 8,885 megawatts of wind energy since 2007, mostly in the north. Now it’s studying how to build the power backbone to connect to the industrialized south, home to hundreds of factories such as those of chemicals manufacturer Wacker Chemie AG (WCH) and Siemens AG. (SIE) The electricity detours through the Czech Republic and Poland when German cables can’t handle the load as the countries’ grids are interconnected.

The problem may intensify with the approaching winter. With an insufficient north-south connection, Germany’s power network came close to a collapse last February when high winds in the Baltic sea flooded it with power and the Czech Republic and Poland threatened to disconnect their grids. The coming winter can be critical, German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler said last week.

Aging Plants

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to shut down aging atomic plants and exit nuclear power by 2022 following last year’s reactor meltdowns in Fukushima, Japan, exacerbated the power imbalance. Germany more than ever will have to rely on power generated in the more windy north.

“We do understand that the Czech and the Polish grid operators are concerned about market and system security,” Volker Kamm, a spokesman for grid operator 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, said in a phone interview from Berlin. “We are seeking a constructive solution.”

Lack of grid connections, such as in China, or oversupply as in Texas have made wind energy’s global rollout a lumpy process. Wind farms in West Texas earlier this year were paying utilities to use their electricity on particularly gusty days because they can still earn $22 a megawatt-hour in federal tax credits.

Excess Flows

Utilities like Prague-based CEZ AS (CEZ) and Warsaw-based PGE SA (PGE) are occasionally forced to disconnect some coal-fired plants in the western parts of the Czech Republic and Poland because of excess power flowing from Germany. CEZ’s Prunerov plant is often a casualty of the unplanned flows, CEPS said.

“Measures we’re using are costly and at times not sufficient,” said Jerzy Dudzik, an executive from Poland’s grid operator PSE. PGE had to adjust generation schedules at its Dolna Odra and Turow plants, he said.

Both Poland and the Czech Republic are planning to install so-called phase-shifter transformers in the trans-border area with Germany to regulate power flows and protect their transmission networks. While the Czechs are still negotiating with Germany on other short-term solutions and pushing for a creation of smaller power-trading areas with realistic capacity allocation, they’re already counting on installing four transformers by 2017, CEPS said.

‘Free Lunch’

“The Germans are using our infrastructure in an excessive manner,” CEPS board member Zbynek Boldis said in an interview in Prague. “At this point they’re getting a free lunch.”

Germany’s eastern neighbors have also said that the common German-Austrian power market puts them at a disadvantage since they must reduce cross-border transmission capacity because of trades between the two nations and have to take costly measures to protect their grids.

Southern Germany imports power from Austria’s pumped- storage hydroelectric power stations in the Alps during peak periods, again using the Czech grid while excluding the Czechs from the benefits of trading within a single-border area.

“Traders within the Austrian-German common zone don’t need to bid for capacity in auctions even though they’re using up the capacity of its neighbors, who do have to pay,” CEPS’s Boldis said. “That’s discrimination.”

The German-Austrian common market’s physical transmission capacity doesn’t correspond with the volume of transactions between the two countries, so they end up using the Czech, Polish, Slovak and Hungarian grids, Boldis said. The four countries want Germany and Austria to redraw the power-trading map, creating smaller areas that would better reflect electricity flows.

“Electricity follows a path of least resistance in the grid, according to the laws of physics,” Boldis said. “The result is that our transmission system is overloaded, we have security threats.”


Obama’s ominous EPA Plans for 2013

The November elections will determine the direction of US climate policy—and therefore also energy policy and the pace of economic growth: jobs, standards of living, budget deficits and inflation. Obama has already promised to make climate change the centerpiece of his concern—with all that implies: “Green” energy policy, linked to loss of jobs (Keystone pipeline disapproval), rising gas prices (ethanol mandates), and crony capitalism (Solyndra).”

By contrast, Romney is a climate skeptic—and Ryan has been quite outspoken: the perfect anti-Gore. The science supports Romney-Ryan—notwithstanding the UN-IPCC, and the bulk of the climate scientists living high on the hog on government grants.

All of this emerged from campaign rhetoric—but it needs to be spelled out more clearly. Note that Obama no longer promises to “heal the Earth and stop the rise of the oceans.” He has also been uncharacteristically quiet about his efforts to “make electricity prices skyrocket.” But there is more in store if he is re-elected and unleashes the full regulatory apparatus of the EPA.

Senate report

Earlier this month, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla. ), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, released a new EPW Minority Report entitled, “A Look Ahead to EPA Regulations for 2013: Numerous Obama EPA Rules Placed On Hold until after the Election Spell Doom for Jobs and Economic Growth.”

This report enumerates the slew of environmental regulations that the Obama-Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has delayed or punted on before the election while President Obama is trying to earn votes; but the Obama-EPA plans to move full speed ahead to implement this agenda if President Obama wins a second term. As this report reveals, these rules taken together will inevitably result in the elimination of millions of American jobs, drive up the price of gas at the pump even more, impose construction bans on local communities, and essentially shut down American oil, natural gas, and coal production.

President Obama has spent the past year punting on a slew of job-killing EPA regulations that will destroy millions of American jobs and cause energy prices to skyrocket even more,” Senator Inhofe said. “From greenhouse gas regulations to water guidance to the tightening of the ozone standard, the Obama-EPA has delayed the implementation of rule after rule because they don’t want all those pink slips and price spikes to hit until after the election. But President Obama’s former climate czar Carol Browner was very clear about what’s in store for next year: she told several green groups not to worry because President Obama has a big green ‘to-do’ list for 2013—so they’ll get what they want. As a result, hard working Americans will lose their jobs and be subjected to skyrocketing energy prices

This report also importantly puts the spotlight back on an Obama-EPA that has, as the Washington Post said, earned a ‘reputation for abuse.’ It serves as a stark reminder that President Obama has presided over a green team administration that works every day to ‘crucify’ oil and gas companies and make sure that ‘if you want to build a coal plant you got a big problem.’

Rules Delayed or “Punted” until 2013 by Obama-EPA:

Greenhouse Gas Regulations: These regulations—which President Obama himself warned would be worse than global warming cap-and-trade legislation—will be an enormous burden on the American people. These rules will cost more than $300 to $400 billion a year, and significantly raise the price of gas at the pump and energy in the home. It’s not just coal plants that will be affected: under the Clean Air Act (CAA), churches, schools, restaurants, hospitals and farms will eventually be regulated.

Thus far, EPA has issued regulations governing permit programs and monitoring requirements. Earlier this year, EPA proposed the first source-specific greenhouse gas regulations—emissions standards for new power plants. The proposal paints an ominous picture for rate payers: the requirements are so strict, they virtually eliminate coal as a fuel option for future electric power generation. In a thinly veiled political move, the agency has put off finalizing the proposal until after the election. Similarly, EPA has punted on standards for existing power plants as well as refineries—standards which will further drive up electricity and gasoline prices. Once these regulations are in place, EPA will proceed to issue regulations, industry by industry, until virtually every aspect of the American economy is constrained by strict regulatory requirements and high energy prices.

Take for example, farms: under federal permitting requirements, sources (i.e., a farm whose aggregate emissions exceed CAA permitting thresholds) would be required to comply with costly permitting mandates and pay an annual fee for each ton of greenhouse gas emitted on an annual basis. Known as the “cow tax”, there would be a cost-per-animal outcome. EPA itself estimates that in its best case scenario, there will be over 37,000 farms and ranches subject to greenhouse gas permits at an average cost of $23,000 per permit annually, affecting over 90% of the livestock production in the United States.

Ozone Rule: As the New York Times reported last year, President Obama punted on tightening the ozone standard until after the election, admitting that the “regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty” would harm jobs and the economy—but he still pointed to the fact that it will be reconsidered in 2013. EPA itself estimated that its ozone standard would cost $90 billion a year, while other studies have projected that the rule could cost upwards of a trillion dollars and destroy 7. 4 million jobs. By EPA’s own projections, it could put 650 additional counties into the category of “non-attainment,” which is the equivalent of posting a “closed for business” sign on communities. Affected counties will suffer from severe EPA-imposed restrictions on job creation and business expansion, including large numbers of plant closures. The Times concluded: “The full retreat on the smog standard was the first and most important environmental decision of the presidential campaign season that is now fully underway. An examination of that decision, based on interviews with lobbyists on both sides, former officials and policy makers at the upper reaches of the White House and the E. P. A. , illustrates the new calculus on political and policy shifts as the White House sharpens its focus on the president’s re-election.”

Hydraulic Fracturing: Today the Obama administration—through no less than fourteen federal agencies, including the EPA, the Department of Energy (DOE), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)—is currently working to find ways to regulate hydraulic fracturing at the federal level, so that they can limit and eventually stop the practice altogether.

In order to curtail hydraulic fracturing on public lands, BLM, under Secretary Salazar’s control, will be finalizing new regulations sometime after the election, which will have serious impacts on domestic energy production. According to one study, “The total aggregate cost for new permits and well workovers resulting from this rule would range from $1. 499 billion to $1. 615 billion annually. This is a conservative estimate of the delays and costs associated with the proposed rule which equates to about $253,800 per well, and $233,100 per re-fracture stimulation.”

The Obama Administration’s anti-hydraulic fracturing agenda doesn’t stop there. In the months following the election, we can expect the EPA alone to: issue guidance for the usage of diesel fuels during hydraulic fracturing, which will strip states of the primacy granted to them through the Safe Drinking Water Act; complete a study—highly criticized and unsupported by multiple state and federal agencies—desperately attempting to link hydraulic fracturing to water contamination in Pavillion, WY; answer countless petitions filed by radical environmental organizations potentially leading to the back-door regulation of hydraulic fracturing through the Toxic Substances Control Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Clean Air Act; and potentially introduce Effluent Limitations Guidelines for both shale gas extraction and coal-bed methane.

Florida Numeric Nutrient Criteria: As the Associated Press reported, “When the Obama administration agreed to set the first-ever federal limits on runoff in Florida, environmental groups were pleased [. . . ] Nearly three years later—with a presidential election looming and Florida expected to play a critical role in the outcome—those groups are still waiting.” In 2009, EPA issued a Clean Water Act (CWA) determination that it would set federal numeric nutrient water quality standards for Florida. The proposed standards EPA unveiled in 2010 were criticized for being technologically and economically infeasible. Florida established its own nutrient criteria, and in 2011, petitioned EPA to withdraw the agency’s January 2009 determination that numeric nutrient criteria are necessary in Florida, repeal federal rulemaking completed in 2010, and refrain from proposing or promulgating any further numeric standards.

In June 2012 a Florida administrative law judge ruled that the state acted within its authority by establishing Florida-specific numeric nutrient standards for the state’s inland waters. Florida certified its standards on June 13, 2012 and submitted it to EPA for approval. EPA had 60 days from this date to approve the rule or 90 days to disapprove it. EPA has only sent back an “initial response” that gives no indication whether or not EPA will approve the Florida rule. EPA has thus far punted both on enforcing their own standards and on responding to Florida’s petition to establish their own standards.

EPA’s Water Guidance: EPA’s proposed new guidance document for waters covered by the CWA, proposed in April 2011, reinterprets recent Supreme Court decisions to allow EPA to expand federal control over virtually every body of water in the United States, no matter how small. EPA’s own analysis of the document estimated that up to 17% of current non-jurisdictional determinations would be considered jurisdictional using the new guidance. Further, the guidance applies to the entire CWA, which will result in additional regulatory responsibilities for states. This dramatic expansion has received tremendous push-back from the regulated community, states, and municipalities who do not want to have extensive new federal authorities and the costs associated with additional CWA compliance pushed through in guidance. As Inside EPA reported in the spring of 2012, the guidance looks to be delayed until after the election. This guidance, much like greenhouse gas regulations, failed to pass as legislation when Democrats enjoyed overwhelming majorities in the House and the Senate.

Storm-water Regulation: In 2009, EPA announced, as part of the Chesapeake Bay Settlement Agreement, that the agency would propose new nationwide storm-water rules by September 2010, with final action by November 2012. EPA’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking proposed to expand the universe of federally regulated storm-water; establish a first-time standard for post-construction storm-water runoff; require first-time retrofit requirements on storm-water systems—which could include mandates on cities to change existing buildings, storm-water sewers, and streets; and mandate the use of “green infrastructure” techniques (like “green roofs,” rain gardens, permeable pavement) to replace conventional stormwater management practices. All this will put enormous cost burdens on states and municipalities and on anyone who owns property or wants to develop property. If the final rule does everything EPA has proposed, it could be the most expensive rule in EPA history. According to EPA’s website, the proposal has been punted until June 2013, and the final rule is due in December 2014.

Tier III Gas Regulations: EPA is preparing to propose a rulemaking called Tier III, which reduces the content of sulfur in gasoline from 30 ppm to 10 ppm. The cost of this rule could be up to $10 billion initially and $2. 4 billion annually, and it could add up to 9 cents per gallon in manufacturing costs; these costs would inevitably be passed on to consumers at the pump. As a recent Energywire article explained, many on the far left believe that political motives caused President Obama to delay this rule until after the election.

Boiler MACT Rule: EPA’s Boiler MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) standards are so strict that not even the best-performing sources can meet them, so many companies will have no choice but to shut their doors and ship manufacturing jobs overseas. The rule has been projected to reduce US GDP by as much as 1. 2 billion dollars and will destroy nearly 800,000 jobs. Because of bipartisan Congressional opposition to the standards, the agency is now reconsidering certain aspects of the rule. In what can only be seen as another politically calculated move, the new rule is now being held by the White House, presumably until after the election. Not only is this creating uncertainty among the regulated community, it is also fueling speculation that very few changes have been made to the rule and that the White House would prefer that it not be made public until after the election.

Cement MACT Rule: EPA’s Cement MACT rule could cause 18 plants to shut down, throwing up to 80,000 people out of work. As more and more cement has to be imported from China, concrete costs for the construction of roads, bridges, and buildings that use cement could increase 22% to 36%. As with Boiler MACT, due to Congressional opposition, EPA is now reconsidering certain aspects of the rule, which will not be seen until after the election.

316(b) Cooling Towers Rule: EPA is planning to require the use of strict protections for fish in cooling reservoirs for power plants under the Clean Water Act. EPA’s own estimates put the draft rule costs between $384 million and $460 million per year and have benefits of just $17 million—a cost benefit gap of more than 22 to 1. As the Washington Guardian noted about the delay, “In its latest election-year delay of regulations, the Obama administration said Tuesday it will defer until next year acting on a Clean Water Act rule that could require expensive new construction at power plants to lower fish deaths. The postponement by the Environmental Protection Agency was not unexpected, with the agency having only recently completed a public comment period on its latest data. Still, the move to add another 11 months to the rulemaking marks the latest step by the administration to delay potentially controversial environmental rules until after the November election.”

Coal Ash: EPA’s proposed coal ash rule could cost $79 to $110 billion over 20 years, destroying 183,900 to 316,000 jobs; this will have disastrous impacts in states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Missouri. As the Charleston Gazette reported, “Despite initial tough talk on the issue, [EPA administrator Lisa] Jackson issued a regulatory proposal that did not settle on a particular strategy.” Politico also noted, “EPA is sitting on proposed regulations to declare coal ash to be a hazardous substance. . . Administrator Lisa Jackson has said the agency will issue a final coal ash rule by the end of the year, but environmentalists and coal ash recyclers aren’t convinced.”

Farm Dust Regulations: EPA has been regulating farm dust for decades and may tighten the standards as part its review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for coarse particulate matter (PM10). Tightening the PM10 NAAQS would have widespread implications for rural America, as it could be below the amount of dust created during normal farming operations, and therefore be impossible to meet. If the standard is tightened, the only option for farmers to comply will be to curb every-day farm activities, which could mean cutting down on numbers of livestock or the tilling of fields, or they may have to shrink or even end their businesses altogether.

Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule: EPA’s Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Rule would require farmers and ranchers to develop and implement costly oil and gasoline spill prevention plans, placing a tremendous burden on the agricultural community. The original deadline was set for November 2011, but the rule was delayed due to pressure from Congress. EPA set a new SPCC deadline of May 10, 2013.


This lengthy catalog of EPA horrors does not include schemes being hatched but not yet disclosed. Nor does it include initiatives by “junior EPAs”—such as the cap-and-trade planby CARB (Calif Air Resources Board).

Clearly, if Romney-Ryan are elected, they will have their hands full just reining in the EPA—an essential step in restoring economic growth. They will need all the help they can get from the next Congress.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


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