05.10.2012 0

EPA and radical environmentalists work to take America back to the 20th Century—B.C.

By Rebekah Rast — As if a war on America’s coal industry wasn’t enough, it turns out natural gas isn’t a friend to the environment either — or nuclear, hydro and in some cases wind power.

What’s left? Solar?  But then there’s the uncertainty of how to properly dispose of solar panels if they break or lose their power because of the chemical process used to make them.

What, if any, energy sources does this country have left that are deemed environmentally fit for today’s strict “green” standards?  How has America found itself in a place where its critical energy sources are in jeopardy?

It is as if today’s radical environmentalists would like to see America as it was in the 20th Century — B.C.

With allies to this extreme environmental movement strategically placed throughout this administration, in the White House and in radical “green” groups throughout the nation, it is no wonder Americans are being regulated back to a time before humans existed.  The sad part is this reckless agenda is moving full-steam ahead, taking jobs, livelihoods and America’s prosperity along with it.

For example, as video evidence proves Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official Al Armendariz saying in 2010 he would “crucify” oil and gas companies to send a message, it is no secret that the coal industry has been under countless attacks.

One particularly egregious act by the EPA against the coal industry is its rules on mercury emissions.  The EPA has found mercury to be a harmful and threatening element to the well being of humans and all blame for the emissions of it appear to have landed on coal power plants.  It is important to note that U.S. power plants account for less than 0.5 percent of all the mercury in the air Americans breathe.  Virtually all of the other 99.5 percent of mercury in the environment comes from natural occurrences like forest fires, volcanoes, subsea vents, geysers and other sources, including food.

But now, in order to eliminate this 0.5 percent of mercury emitted from U.S. power plants, utility companies either go out of business or have to spend billions of dollars just to attempt to meet these new standards.  Knowing that thousands of jobs would be at risk as a result of this new regulation, and that coal is an integral part of America’s energy supply, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) will place a resolution on the floor of the Senate that will require an up or down vote on whether or not to allow this EPA regulation to go into effect.

“Mercury is a natural part of the Earth’s environment yet the EPA in its infinite wisdom has decided to target the relatively low amount of mercury that is emitted by coal-fired plants in the U.S.,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG). “These regulations require these power plants to be retrofitted with new technologies that will cost tens of billions of dollars to implement, while failing to prevent more than 99 percent of mercury from being emitted into the environment. It is hard to find a costlier regulation that would achieve so little.”

Sen. Inhofe hopes to bring his resolution, S.J. Res. 37, to the Senate floor after Memorial Day and pull out a win for the coal industry.

But even if enough members support rolling back the EPA on this standard, the coal industry still has numerous battles to fight as the EPA and “green” groups continue on with their mission to rid America of its use of coal.

Staying true to form, another EPA guideline attacks the mountaintop mining of coal.  The Clean Water Act requires streams to be kept cleaner and to a higher standard than that of tap water.  Even EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said of the new guidelines, “the goal is a standard so strict that few, if any, permits would be issued for valley fills.”

Furthermore, the coal industry has also been punished for Carbon Dioxide emissions—yes, that same element that is critical to life. The EPA proposes that new fossil‐fuel‐fired power plants meet an output‐based standard of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt‐hour (lb CO2/MWh gross).  Most natural gas power plants built since 2005 already meet this new standard.  And lending a “helpful” hand to coal power plants, the EPA suggests new technology such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) to rein in their emissions.  The problem is this technology is prohibitively expensive and will likely result in the shutting down of coal plants across the nation.

It is from all these radical EPA regulations that the coal industry is at risk of falling prey to the “green” agenda.  Now that attacks on coal are across the board, extreme environmental groups turn their heads to another critical fossil fuel to America’s energy source—natural gas.

Take for example the methods used by radical environmental group Sierra Club and you will begin to understand the manipulation and coerciveness of this “green” agenda.  Sierra Club crawled into bed with Chesapeake Energy—a natural gas giant—and collected $26 million dollars to fight coal plants.  Once progress was made on that front and lawsuits and regulations abounded against the coal industry, Sierra Club decided natural gas wasn’t environmentally friendly either. And if that’s not enough, radical agendas like those of the Sierra Club are often rewarded with taxpayer dollars.  You see, taxpayer dollars are rewarded to those groups who successfully challenge the EPA, which creates a lot of incentive for “green” groups to push the regulations of the EPA even further.

Now taking all this into consideration, pretend for a moment the EPA and radical environmentalists succeed in shutting down America’s domestic supply of fossil fuels.  Just to give you an idea, coal, petroleum (oil), and natural gas together meet around 84 percent of U.S. energy demand.

What substitute would compensate for this loss?  Renewable energies?

Data from the Institute of Energy Research (IER) states that about 8 percent of all energy consumed in the United States in 2010 was from renewable sources: hydropower, biomass wood, biomass waste, biomass biofuels and wind.

Eight percent will not even come close to meeting the energy demands of America, yet alone become a substitute for fossil fuels.  Yet even with this knowledge environmental groups and the EPA continue to rally against America’s proven and reliable energy sources.

Without fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, America will be left with no source of reliable and cost-effective energy.  Even precious solar panels and wind turbines require other sources of energy to be built.

And if you’re thinking worst-case scenario that at least humans could attempt an energy-less America by using a wood-burning fire for survival, you’d be wrong because that too emits way too much pollution and would require too many trees — these same radical environmental groups would contest.  America better start preparing for 20th Century, B.C., if it is forced to continue along this path.

Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) and NetRightDaily.com.  You can follow her on twitter at @RebekahRast.

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