Jason

Second Class Lion Taming

The question of whether or not to ‘allow’ marriage to persons who identify based on their activities is absurd.

Is that not what the supreme court is being asked to validate? In the case before our Nation’s highest court, the justices are being asked to determine whether California’s 2008 Proposition 8 as enacted by voters is constitutional.  they are being asked to either affirm the decision of United States District Court Judge Vaughn Walker,  who overturned it on August 4, 2010; his argument being a violation of both the Due Process clause, and Equal Protections clause of the 14th amendment.

A inaccurate understanding of the 14th amendment if ever there was one.

Due Process guarantees a process under which something might be taken.  It allows the imposed upon person or class to prepare a defense or answer to actions being used to deprive an individual, or group, a particular thing.  It also requires law to be sufficiently understandable or substantive.

So is language prohibiting marriage between same sexes vague or understandable?

The ballot text reading “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California. should be considered clear.  Based upon that, voters by a 52-48% margin agreed to it.  The motivations of the voters nor understanding of the full ramifications of passage cannot be legitimately parsed by a court and if so, under only the most subjective terms.  Being clearly stated, the language defines well enough the result of passing such a measure.

The other possible Due Process violation is the depriving from one class by law; something to which it is entitled, or has a right to. Jim Crow laws which forbid public services that whites enjoyed, to blacks, would be a classic and easily understood example.  The argument was then presumably, heterosexual partners enjoy a recognition of marriage, not afforded to homosexual couples.  In fact the conclusion by the judge:

“Plaintiffs challenge Proposition 8 under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. Each challenge is independently meritorious, as Proposition 8 both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation”

And he then uses an explanation of Due process, as that which

“protects individuals against arbitrary governmental intrusion into life, liberty or property. “

Except, there is no intrusion.

The “Right To Marry” as demonstrated by the citations in the decision, has been recognized.  However, Judge Vaughn purposefully sought to ignore the more broadly accepted definition of marriage, which would have settled the matter without further argument; the part being that marriage is defined as between a man and a woman.  Plaintiffs in the case were essentially arguing that the judiciary must redefine that which has thousands of years of tradition, and has no reason to be changed except to suit their desired outcome; one that voters in the state of California deemed to be illegitimate.

The Plaintiffs were never denied due process, as their arguments were heard, and simply rebuked as non conforming to the definition they wished to have assigned to their relationships.  They were never denied equal protections, as they too could exercise marriage, which by definition is a covenant between a single man and a single woman; but not something they ‘desired’.   They could still seek another of opposite sex for marriage as anyone else might.

The burden of reaching any particular designation rests squarely upon the person seeking it.  If ‘Marriage’ is what a woman wants, then there is nothing that government can do to prevent her from seeking and marrying a man; and a man likewise seeking a woman for said purpose.  No unfair burden has been placed on the persons seeking marriage, except that for it to be recognized that they should be of opposite gender.  Their rights are IDENTICAL to those who would naturally seek out such a relationship.

Because calling it marriage doesn’t automatically make it so.  No more than calling me “Dr. Gillman. ”

I haven’t earned the title.  I haven’t the prerequisite skills, or knowledge, yet under the redefining of institutions nothing like this should be off the table.  Its my ‘RIGHT’ to be a doctor. I demand my title! Oh and by the way, Catholics are Jews, and Jews are Catholics.  And any freak who thinks they can sing can be called Lady Gaga.  And while we are at it, Dennis Lennox is a lion tamer.  No experience necessary, just toss him in there, because defining him as such makes it so.  No really.. do that, and I buy the argument.

Right?

The judge in his ruling is attempting to DEFINE marriage based on his own subjective analysis, when it’s recipe has been a clearly established static since before the destruction of Sodom.  It simply IS what it IS.  Up is up, down is down, and water is wet.  Imaginative claims that redefine our language, and thus, our cultural norms, do not become more relevant because we are more accepting or tolerant.  Words have meaning, and in this case, it is no different because of an immature refusal to accept what it is.

Immaturity so quickly displayed with the language used toward anyone who might challenge the assertion that homosexuality is normal, and particularly now as rational people decline to agree with a broad brush of definitions re-casting standards in our culture, for the sake of the 2%. Displayed too easily when  temper tantrums might well be celebrated by media outlets, and make great reporting.  Immaturity and name calling tantrums that hardly advance any socially redeeming discussions.  Should we craft policy and change our language to suit those who throw them?

MarriageClubAdditionally, under Judge Vaughn’s ruling, the right to marry carries over into other bizarre possibilities.  His opinion and published claim of “irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation” might well meet a new threshold of tolerance someday when a judge who uses Vaughn’s decision as precedent, declares his own claim of “irrational classification on the basis of mammalian orientation” with a man or woman in love with their dog, or wildebeest.

Or whatever it is that Mooooves them

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RightMichigan.Com Endorses Blake Edmonds For Michigan Republican Party Youth Chair

Though we apply a decent dose of critique and praise at times, we don’t always officially endorse from here.

History will demonstrate that its hard to do so, without a near guarantee at some point that we eat crow.  Some folks make mistakes, and we might even be associated with those mistakes when, and if, that time comes.  In fact, associations are often a good indication of a candidate’s character, or at the very least, his or her ability to discern the good from the bad.  An occasional judgment lapse doesn’t define a person, and as well, a minor success or effort does not either. However, we must embrace those who bring the whole package in a productive manner.

We must look at the big picture.

Today, we start with the recognition that our young voters have not only been misled by current political events, but their indoctrination in our failing public education system completes the corrosive understanding of government and politics.  Folks, we recognize the need to concentrate first and foremost on that big picture by stepping up our outreach to our younger voters and activists. We need to embrace them.  Not only to rebuild their trust in traditional conservative values as espoused in our Republican platforms, but get them involved as it is THEIR future we are fighting for.

blake-edmondsTo reach them, RightMichigan.Com endorses the selection of Blake Edmonds for the Michigan Republican Party Youth Chair.

Blake has been fortunate enough to have had a solid family values background, a sense of self reliance, work ethic, and skills that have allowed him to develop a college Republican organization that has kept the interest of his peers for more than a single meeting.  He is willing to expand upon those skills statewide with a realistic strategy of growth by inclusion and involvement.  This last point cannot be over-emphasized. Without a sense of belonging, its hard to rally the effort needed to win elections and spread a constitutional Republican message. A history of his efforts point to a likelihood of success as youth Chair.

We note the clearly conservative voices in support of Blake as well with Jen Gratz (HERO of Michigan’s MCRI effort) Sarah Ledford, (incumbent youth chair) Jeff Sakwa, (2012 candidate, MSU trustee) and Dave Agema, who has demonstrated that there is room in the Republican party for ethical conservative leadership.  On Blake’s site one can find some quite favorable commentary.   Association with these conservative stalwarts, along with a well considered plan of action, complemented by results already achieved by bringing a conservative Republican message to our youth, seals the deal.

A last word needs to be said however.  for Blake, and others whom we may endorse in the next few days, it is important that he is allowed to accomplish what needs to be done.  That requires a commitment to a party environment that fosters inclusion.  Clearly, it would be helpful to consider a change at the top of our state party, so that such talent is not held back by a repressive central control.

And THAT, We will address shortly.

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Oxygen Deficiency

Often I marvel at the complete disconnect associated with the left, and its assumptions on all manner of issues.

It is incredibly difficult to hold back an utter contempt for the mental state suggesting that defense of personal liberties requires the use of force and abrogation of others’ rights. And frankly, its hard to overcome disgust with such wretched thinking that suggests protecting children from [the possibility of] abuse is best done by murdering those children before they can take their first breath.

And someone having the nerve to state objections to such obvious violence, invites scorn from a part of society that has disconnected itself from humanity. It draws fire from those who have had their souls stripped from them by expanding relativity and acceptance of violence toward fellow human beings through ‘new media’ entertainment, virtual slaughter, and the promotion of abortion as morally superior to the possibility of abuse.

DeficientThe air around people such as these can be quickly consumed with tiresome rhetoric and hyperbole. The vacuous assumptions, and particularly the words spewing like flame, burn all that is breathable and starve those who inhale too deeply, of that which allows recognizable conscious discourse. In fact one might assume the dream state of the affected left is nearly complete when seeing the responses to a simple statement of fact as reported recently by our local newspaper:

“Commissioner Jason Gillman rallied other commissioners against the grant application. Gillman said he couldn’t support providing any type of aid to Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan, regardless of the program.

“The organization is designed to kill babies,” Gillman said. “The nicer side of it is only there to mask its evil intent. That is to kill babies.”

The report was accurate. It was what was said to the reporter when the interview was given a day before publication. It was a statement of what should appear obvious when looking at the history and outcome of planned parenthood’s operations.

And the story received quite a bit of attention. Particularly edgy about it are those who occupy the left’s vocal ranks. On Facebook, the paper’s promotion of the article drew a few comments:

Craig Hexham I’ve never been an “advocate” for PPNWM, but following are some of the services described by them. “Comprehensive physical exams (male/female); Breast, cervical, testicular cancer screenings Colposcopy, biopsy; Birth control methods and emergency contraception; Pregnancy testing and options information/referral; STI testing and treatment; HIV testing (results in 20 minutes); Condom distribution (three free per day); Treatment of genito-urinary infections HPV vaccine (for women ages 18-26).” I looked, and didn’t see “kill babies” ANYWHERE in their website or other locations.

Some of these things speak for themselves about what PP promotes through its programs. Basically, “its OK to go out and mess around – we’ll get you ready for your next round of promiscuity”. In fact, if one were to look at the promotion of bad choices to an extreme, looking HERE can drive home the point quite well:

“One of the hardest things about dating, sex and relationships is the possibility of being rejected by someone you are attracted to or in a relationship with. You may worry that your current or potential partner(s) will reject you if they find out you are living with HIV.

.. Some countries have laws that say people living with HIV must tell their sexual partner(s) about their status before having sex, even if they use condoms or only engage in sexual activity with a low risk of giving HIV to someone else. These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.

Uhh .. what?

And the newspaper reporter had in fact looked at this and said “that’s planned parenthood international – It isn’t the same”. So this information didn’t make it into the article, though it was discussed at the meeting where the grant request was “Spiked”. And likewise, the very argument is being made about PP of Northern Michigan. “We don’t do abortion service up here..” Yet as even alluded to by the Hexem comment above, (pertinent in bold) they provide ‘referrals’ for those who are ‘afflicted’ with the ‘disease’ of pregnancy; including bus fare and recommendation of termination elsewhere.

But Hexem’s words are likely the most reasonable coming from those in support of PP.

The other comments:

“This County Commissioner should be banned from public office the next voting cycle.”
“Jason Gillman: Your closed minded and cold hearted views are such a disappointment to me.”
“What a moron and embarrassment to the community.”
“YEAH!!! Jason Gillman’s term as a county commissioner as ended. Beware, he will turn up on another board or worse yet run as a state legislator.”
“Morons.”

All just angry emotional outbursts. But these same folks who scoff at terrorist tea partiers, decry gun violence, and want hands off their bodies are eager to advocate violence:

Sally Neal maybe he should have something else cut off…..after he’s endured COMPULSORY PREGNANCY……

Sally Neal how bout we institute a required IQ test for public office; it would definitely prevent this kind of moron from ruining womyns’ lives…..probably the only thing he has control of…….anyone know where he lives?

Is that a threat Sally? Oh my.

And that is just a small part of the disconnect. It continues when they seem to think that the feelings of Planned Parenthood have been hurt. Enough so that it warrants a lawsuit.

Sue them! Sue this guy.
Someone put this to the courts, please. You can’t do it and we can’t allow him or them to get away with it. They thumb their noses without a hitch because they think God is on their side and therefore are above the law… and heaven awaits them. It’s no better than suicide bomber thinking.

Yeah.. because its pure terrorism to want to protect a life. And because there are some who profess the truth about certain organizations, its actionable.

Yawn. Predictable, insipid, unimaginative, and impossibly frequent.

And of course all the moral authority that makes the killing babies option superior comes from enlightenment that is simply not available to tea folk. Humble bumpkins that we are, cannot understand that “abstinence training prevents the abortions” that we abhor. Add to this how at the same time condoms and pills do the same. Why if we would just understand that the money being asked for was only for that, then it would be clear we wouldn’t have to oppose the killing of the defenseless in the womb.

“Planned parenthood provides free or low cost birth control to women, and studies clearly show that this results in a SIGNIFICANT reduction in abortions – nearly 80%. And considering that abortions are a very small percentage of Planned Parenthood services, defunding this organization actually increases abortions from unwanted pregnancies. Kind of missing the forrest through the trees for the dumbed down, don’t you think?”

If WE would only understand how the duplicitous agenda of planned parenthood is for the best after all.

Perhaps its best to ignore the fact that PP promotes irresponsible active sexuality on the one hand, as mentioned with the pamphlet mentioned above, and the birth control programs, in order to appreciate the value of its ‘abstinence’ and promiscuity training.

There is no doubt in my mind, to reach that point in understanding, the canary is dead, the flame is out, and the head must be under water.

 

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Merry Christmas

The perfect man who died for our imperfections has his birth celebrated today.

Amidst the gifts that we pass among ourselves, nothing can compare to the ultimate endowment given to us with the birth of Jesus Christ. Nothing can compare to the gift God bestowed upon those of us who are less than perfect.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

No one on this day, can say he or she is without charity, or at the very least a significant dowry unless they would turn it down.

A Merry Christmas to our readers.

May this be a joyous and fruitful time for you and your families.

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Perhaps An Indicator Of Support?

Perusing the standard reading list, I came across the video being promoted by BarackObama.com as a trainer for convincing your reticent (and wiser) relatives to support the liar in chief.

After choking down my lunch after watching half of it, I did my patriotic duty and gave it the rating it deserved.

Apparently the majority of viewers agreed with my assessment.

Acting is not in the cards for these young heads full of mush and stewed tomatoes.  Convincing the population that Barack Obama is worthy of a second term will require a brainwashing on the order of Jim Jones and a potent flavored sugar drink.

Hey Koolaid!

View it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqPTUv0FBgM&feature=player_embedded#!

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The Back Up For RightMichigan.com

As the frustration set in with yet another SCOOP failure, we have decided to start preparing this site as a back up for when RightMichigan.com is down.

Its not here as a complete replacement, but as an enhancement and is on a clean server with an easier to use WordPress template.  Pictures will also be hosted from RightMi.com as well.

Accounts will start as author accounts and featured stories will be front paged as mgt deems fit.

Stay tuned for more developments.

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EPA – ALA – Chesapeake Conspire? Michigan Clearly A Target

Rent seeking deluxe.  Obama Admin Takes Rent Seeking To A New Level.

I have been adding to this all week, and have tried to make it as concise as possible, but as more information became available editing was required.  Let me know if its hard to follow.

I wrote at the beginning of the month about the coal fired plant in Marquette being threatened by a new and extremely aggressive set of EPA  rules.  The shutdown of that plant of course would leave in question the future of paper mills, and the electrical needs of yoopers.  At least the future of the cost being at all affordable.  The jobs that would be lost as higher costs come to bear also joined by a literal health care crisis as fewer would be insured, and less money in the pockets of those Michiganders would encourage poorer health choices.

Health, of course is the victim of the ‘boogeyman’ coal fired power industry.  You’ve seen the ubiquitous American Lung Association “coughing baby” ads supporting the Obama EPA’s push to shut down the coal industry, right?  What might surprise you is that those ads are funded in part by Chesapeake Energy, the country’s second-largest natural gas producer.

Coming amidst an impending decision by the EPA on the Utility MACT (maximum achievable control technology)  rule that is expected to lead to job loses, plant shutdowns, and rolling blackouts across the country, this strange partnership raises a question.  What does Chesapeake stand to gain, by pouring money into a seemingly disparate organization with extremely different objectives and priorities?  Politico writes:

The ads come as the coal industry is at war with the Obama administration over new rules to curb pollution from coal-fired power plants. The EPA is expected to issue new rules on Friday to curb air toxics from power plants, which are estimated to cost industry about $10.9 billion each year.

Stricter rules for power plants are expected to offer a competitive advantage to the cleaner-burning natural gas industry.

Oh, so its an end-justifies-the-means kind of thing.  Rent seeking.  But when questioned, Chesapeake officials have stated that the flood of cash to ALA is merely business as usual for the company, which donates to “a wide variety and number of health and medical-related organizations.  Well that’s very responsible of them, bravo for being so charitable.

Or is it?  (Below)
The article continues:

But Chesapeake and ALA’s relationship goes deeper than just simply writing a charitable contribution.

The American Lung Association thanked Chesapeake in its 2010 annual report for its “generous” funding of a nationwide advertising campaign titled “Fighting for Air.” The ads feature blue skies and children and tout the group’s advocacy work on clean air issues.

Chesapeake also announced a $500,000 contribution to the association in 2008 to match donations for the group’s Clean Air Initiative, a public education campaign about air quality.

So Chesapeake is a private company looking out for its economic interests.  But isn’t the American Lung Association purporting to be some sort of public health authority in these ads?  Aren’t Americans supposed to be able to trust non-profit health organizations to act with integrity when advancing a policy agenda?

“It comes as no surprise that Chesapeake is trying to buy credibility for its lobbying objectives,” said National Mining Association spokesman Luke Popovich. “But that the ALA would sell its credibility to a gas company should disturb those who still view the ALA as an impartial voice.”

Apparently the American Lung Association has no problem letting itself be used as a pawn in a corporate chess game, as long as it keeps the checks coming in the door.

And now the scare campaign has transformed into real action by the EPA, and a reality of a BILLION Dollars in added cost to Michiganders is upon us. The Obama EPA, along with an eagerly capitulating American Lung Association, and a rent-seeking competitor perfectly willing to advocate higher costs through its ‘philanthropy’ have decided we are still a little too rich for our own good.  The MACT rule goes into effect in a few hours.

The EPA’s Utility MACT rule has reportedly was signed on Friday., and will begin its assault on coal-fired plants, including the Marquette Michigan facility immediately.  The Institute for Energy Research has released a new analysis of the anticipated plant closures estimating that a total of 30 GW (up from a previous estimate of 28 GW) of power will be taken offline as a result of the rule’s passage.

In a curious irony, the very day that the new rule was issued, a power outage delayed the start of a 49ers football game.  This comes just days after a group of mostly Democratic New England Senators raised the alarm about grid unreliability leaving Northeasterners without power during winter storms.  But of course, it seems like an excellent idea to take even more power offline.

Below is a summary of what has happened so far and what is expected to happen over the coming weeks and months if the Utility MACT rule remains as-is.

Utility MACT Update – (as published by the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council)

  • Rule Signed – Several sources have said the EPA signed the rule on Friday evening, but it has been very closely held, leading some to believe that many of the details are still being inked.
  • Details Slipped Out, But Nothing Certain – The final rule is expected to be pretty close to the proposed rule, which is unfortunate.  The rule suffers from statistical errors, inaccurate technological assumptions, and inadequate economic and reliability analysis.  Given that the rule is one of the most expensive air rules ever, the American public deserves better.
  • Costs Still Likely To Be High – The EPA power-sector rules will impose significant costs on consumers and on industries that depend on affordable and reliable power to remain competitive in the international marketplace.  For every one job that may be created in order to comply with the rule, we expect four higher-paying energy and manufacturing jobs to be lost.  Already this is the most expensive rule ever written for power plants. According to the EPA’s own analysis, this one regulation could cost as much as $130 billion. This is more than the utility industry has spent over the past four decades to comply with all of EPA’s other rules.  An analysis by NERA of this and other pending EPA regulations projects jobs losses of 183,000 jobs per year and energy prices could increase by $170 billion.
  •  Health Benefits are From Other Non-MACT Rules – Unfortunately, most of the rule’s benefits come from reducing soot emissions.  But those emissions are already well controlled by the Clean Air Act, meaning Americans can expect few incremental health benefits from this expensive rule.
  • Timeline Stills Remains in Question – One of the issues that seem uncertain is the timeline issue.  Many operators have said they will shut down facilities if they are required to add new controls within three years.   EPA has said they would be flexible to issue extension, but many utilities aren’t interested in that option as it requires them to admit violating clean air laws.  There are also rumors about the administration drafting some sort of presidential memorandum clarifying that the EPA administrator can invoke existing authority under the Clean Air Act to provide a one-year extension, but those details still remain unclear.
  •  Reliability Issues Remain on the Table – The EPA and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have been told by over 50 public officials, individual states, and experts that electric reliability could be in jeopardy — the first time such widespread reliability concerns have ever been raised about EPA regulations. For an across-the-board discussion of retirements and possible impacts on reliability, take a look at the ERCC letter to the Cass Sunstein of Nov. 14 – first section.  It summarizes our views in one spot.  We also respond to the recent DOE reliability assessment here and reflect on the NERC assessment here.
  • Inhofe Files Disapproval Resolution – Senator Inhofe has filed a joint resolution disapproving Utility MACT.  The Congressional Review Act (CRA) provides that once the resolution has 30 supporters, the resolution may be discharged from the committee of jurisdiction (Environment and Public Works) and placed on the calendar.  At that time, the resolution can be considered under “privileged motion” status (i.e. not subject to amendment, or to a motion to proceed to other business) and passed by a simple majority vote. If passed by both chambers and signed into law, the joint resolution would effectively overturn Utility MACT.
  •  AP Story Details Mercury Issue By Plant –  Dina Cappiello has a major AP Impact story out today that details some of the impacts of the new EPA rule.  Her detailed survey said as many as 68 plants could close.  These plants generate enough electricity for more than 22 million households, but are some of the some of the oldest and highest emitters in the country.  The survey is based on interviews with 55 power plant operators and on the Environmental Protection Agency’s own prediction of power plant retirements.  The story also adds that even with these power losses, the plants’ “demise probably won’t cause homes to go dark.”

“Probably” seems to be the way decisions are continuing to be made in government.  The source quoted here (Electric Reliability Coordinating Council) has an interest in maintaining sufficient electrical generating capacity.  Sufficient for Manufacturing, heating our homes, and providing for the conveniences we have grown accustomed to in our daily lives.  Director Scott Segal adds the following points today in a memo:

“As you may have seen, it looks like EPA has said that it will make a major Clean Air Act announcement at a children’s health center tomorrow at 2:00pm.  It is likely that EPA will be unveiling the utility maximum achievable control technology (Utility MACT) final rule that the Administrator purportedly signed last Friday.  In anticipation of this event, we thought it might be helpful to ask and answer some pertinent questions related to the rule.

   Is Utility MACT likely to be a costly rule in terms of jobs?
Answer:  Utility MACT will undermine job creation in the United States in several different ways.  It will result in retirement of a significant number of power plants and either fail to replace that capacity or replace it with less labor-intensive forms of generation.  It will increase the cost of power, undermining the international competitiveness of almost two dozen manufacturing industries, and it will reduce employment upstream in the mining sectors.  All told, it is anticipated that the rule will result in the loss of some 1.44 million jobs by 2020.  While some jobs are created by complying with the new rule, the number and quality of those jobs is far less than those destroyed.  We estimate that for every one temporary job created, four higher-paying permanent jobs are lost.  The bottom line:  this rule is the most expensive air rule that EPA has ever proposed in terms of direct costs.  It is certainly the most extensive intervention into the power market and job market that EPA has ever attempted to implement.

    EPA says the benefits of the rule greatly outweigh the costs.  Is that true?
Answer:  Unfortunately no.  Most of the benefits EPA claims to the rule come from reducing soot emissions.  But EPA also is on the record saying that most of these soot benefits come in areas already achieving the Agency’s prescribed standards for soot.  EPA has said that soot emissions in those areas are already so low that they pose no threat to human health and the environment, even for very susceptible populations.  Therefore, the rule is expected to have almost NO incremental health benefits over and above what current law is achieving.  Recently, former OMB official and current George Washington University expert on regulatory affairs Susan Dudley wrote that the rule likely has no real benefit and is so costly that it will actually undermine public health.  See http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-a-environment/200539-epas-risks-outweigh-rewards-for-new-mercury-rule

    EPA is announcing its rule at a children’s health facility – does that mean it has an impact on children’s asthma?
Answer:  No.  There is no direct relationship between today’s action and children’s asthma.  EPA has reported that “between 1980 and 2010…total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 67 percent.”  See http://epa.gov/airtrends/aqtrends.html#comparison  Over this same period – as soot (or particulate matter) emissions have fallen sharply, childhood asthma rates have increased – likely as a result of better-insulated homes or other indoor exposures.  The broader strain on treatment facilities from the rule is evident.  With respect to treatment costs, it is important to note that U.S. hospitals spend $8.5 billion annually on energy, often equaling between one and three percent of a hospital’s operating budget. Additionally, EPA estimates, in the U.S., the health sector is the second most energy-intensive commercial sector. Under Utility MACT and interstate rules, energy costs are estimated to increase 23.5% over the next decade. Hospital administrators will have no choice but to pay attention to the cost of energy as these surging energy costs will squeeze hospital budgets like never before. Without adequate power supply, built upon a foundation of stable and cost-effective coal-fired generation, the healthcare sector and the American public can expect rapidly increasing costs that consumers can ill-afford.  A real threat to the control of asthma symptoms, however, is the availability of lower cost, over the counter epinephrine inhalers, which regulators citing the Clean Air Act will be pulling off the shelves on December 31 – making the cost of addressing asthma symptoms go up by a factor of three.  See http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2011/12/07/banning-epinephrine-inhalers-fda-making-it-harder-breathe

    There are public health “experts” present with EPA.  Doesn’t that add credibility to their claims?
Answer:  You can’t be sure.  The American Lung Association has been paid some $20 million by the EPA over the past ten years.  Then, at events like this one, the ALA stands up and defends EPA rules – or even buys advertisements on EPA’s behalf.  See http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/40175  Given that ALA’s endorsement of the final Utility MACT was offered before they could have possibly reviewed EPA’s work, their views must be met with some skepticism.   Indeed, seven physicians that serves in the US House of Representatives wrote the EPA Administrator complaining that EPA’s rule has few health benefits and may even injure public health due to its high costs and impact on employment.  For a copy of that letter, see http://burgess.house.gov/UploadedFiles/09222011_Letter_to_Lisa_Jackson.pdf

    Not all utilities oppose the rule.  Why is that?
Answer:  Some power companies have business models that allow them to charge more for the power they provide as the wholesale clearing price for energy increases – even if they are spending no more money on compliance with new regulations.  For these companies, the more expensive environmental regulations are for their competitors in other regions, the higher the clearing price will be, and the more money they will make.  Somewhat perversely, this economic reality gives these companies a motive to support the most expensive and least flexible EPA rules – provided they fall primarily on their coal-fired competitors.  For a description of this, including quotes from earnings calls, see http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704694004576019730082447432.html

   EPA says that it has ensured greater flexibility in the Utility MACT rule now.  Why isn’t that enough?
Answer:  While we are still reviewing it, at first blush, the final rule appears to be pretty close to the proposed rule, which is unfortunate.  The rule suffers from statistical errors, inaccurate technological assumptions, and inadequate economic and reliability analysis.  Given that the rule is one of the most expensive air rules ever, the American public deserves better.  As for relying solely on EPA to grant discretionary amounts of additional time, that can be dangerous from a planning and reliability perspective.  As the nation’s grid operator – the NERC – observed, it is better to address the timing and scope of the regulation at the front end.

    Do the states support EPA’s actions?
Answer:  At least from a reliability perspective, most do not.  Concern with reliability is widely shared by some 27 states as reflected in briefs filed in the deadline case regarding Utility MACT, letters from governors, and rulemaking comments filed by public service commissioners and other state officials. For example, attorneys general representing half the states noted that Utility MACT “has the potential to undermine significantly the reliability of our Nation’s electrical supply and significantly increase the cost of electricity to the consumer.” Amer. Nurses Ass’n v. Jackson, Civ. No. 1:08-CV-02198-RMC.  Of particular interest are the views of state public utility commissions – the frontline for reliability concerns – around the nation. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission found that the rule “could lead to expensive upgrades at greater cost to ratepayers or premature retirement of fossil units which could compromise system reliability.” The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio wrote to EPA that, “The current and foreseeable economic environment indicates that Ohio’s ratepayers will be hard-pressed to absorb rate-shock due to the implementation schedule advanced in the proposed rule.”

Its a sure bet Michigan jobs will go away in certain parts of the upper peninsula, and given the backhanded way in which the current white house occupiers pee where they eat, it is likely not an isolated concern.

A billion here, a billion there.  Hardly any pressure on the working stiffs when those costs are passed along.

Right?

You Betcha! (0)Nuh Uh.(0)