Thursday, July 14, 2011

Regulations that actually save money, or so says the EPA.

Black is white.  The earth is flat, and monkeys really can fly.  Stimulus creates wealth, and government can issue regulations that actually save the country money.  Hi, and welcome to the bizarro world. 

Last week, the EPA finalized a new rule to “help states reduce air pollution.”  I would personally like to ask those states if they consider the EPA a respected business partner or a lying, cheating hooligan.  I digress.  Companies have until January 1 to comply.  Can a major coal plant retro fit its equipment to comply with this new rule in less than six months?  Doubtful.

This new rule mandates that power companies reduce air pollution that contributes to particulates and ground level ozone.  The EPA swears that tens of thousands of lives will be spared, saving us billions in avoided healthcare costs.  It also promises that any increase in electric rates will be minimal, and this action will not interrupt the flow of electricity to power-hungry cities.  Well, proving that deaths were avoided is impossible to measure, but we can certainly capture the increase in rates and the reduction in generated power.

Luminant, run by EF Holding Company, operates 12 coal fired power plants in Texas.  They announced plans to “materially reduce power generation” at some plants and “mothball” others to comply with the new rule. A company spokesman said six months weren’t enough time to comply.  Most reasonable people know six months isn’t enough time – just as unreasonable regulators at the EPA know it’s not enough time.  With already tight supplies, this additional reduction in supply could lead to shortages and significant price increases.

America gets half its power from coal, and there are over 500 coal plants that may need retro fitting to comply.  These costs will be passed on to consumers, acting as a tax and reducing our wealth.  Power companies in KY have said consumers can expect average increases of 20% in electric rates for the next five years.  KY gets 90% of its power from coal.  Upset? Don’t be.

Remember, this is the bizzaro world.  The EPA said everything would be fine.  These rules will save you money – there are no costs, only benefits.  Hey, I just saw a monkey fly by my house!

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