08.31.2015 1

Obama’s war on the poor continues

By Rick Manning

downwiththeepaThe past few years have been marked by Obama releasing new regulation after new regulation designed to increase the price of low-cost, readily-available fuel so that higher-cost, less-available alternatives become economically viable. The resulting higher electricity costs represent the most regressive form of regulatory taxation imaginable as the less fortunate have almost no way, short of being cold, of avoiding the costs.

The stated objective of lowering carbon emissions might make sense if these very regulations weren’t projected to have the perverse effect of encouraging the continued and expanded burning of these fuels in countries with significantly lower environmental standards while costing hundreds of thousands of American jobs.

When coupled with the Obama Administration’s goal of establishing a Trans-Pacific Partnership that will encourage outsourcing manufacturing to nations with virtually non-existent environmental protections, the net result would be fewer well-paying jobs here at home to help raise the middle class and more pollution worldwide.

But this may be considered an esoteric argument. One Obama EPA regulation that would have an obvious devastating impact on the very poor is the EPA’s rule on residential wood heaters. This regulation would make the cost of manufacturing heaters that burn wood prohibitively expensive denying consumers a low-cost means to safely heat their homes using wood.

In spite of the belief of those who cash government paychecks every other week, many people in our nation depend upon burning wood for heat in the winter even in the affluent Washington, D.C. area. Nationally, one in ten homes depends upon wood heat in some form with just under two percent using it as their primary source.

The need is so great that the men at Chesapeake Church in Calvert County, Maryland, spend a couple of weekends in the late fall and winter chopping and delivering wood to those who depend upon burning that wood to stay warm.

This is not a vanity, return-to-the-rustic-days-of-old crackpot fantasy of better living that entices Birkenstock-wearing enviros to cook and heat with wood. No, it is survival for people who find themselves struggling to put food on the table.

Yet, the elitists at the EPA are trying to regulate safe, wood-burning heaters out of existence, leaving the poor to use dangerous alternatives to survive sub-freezing temperatures.

Fortunately, Representative David Rouzer (R-N.C.) has introduced legislation to repeal this War on the Poor regulation saying, “The federal government has no business telling private citizens how they should heat their homes.”

It is expected that Rouzer will be working with his colleagues in the House in September to attach language to the upcoming government funding bill which will stop the wood-burning heater rule in its tracks.

With winter on the way, Congress needs to act to protect the less fortunate by allowing them to choose affordable alternatives to safely heat their homes. The only better option would be to force the EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to trade places for a few weeks in February with those who depend upon wood heat in sub-freezing temperatures and see if she changes her mind about her Agency’s attempt to force the poor to sacrifice basic necessities on the altar of climate change.

The author is the president of Americans for Limited Government.

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