Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This week on Who Is Bashing the EPA...

...our host is co-chair of North Dakota Energy Forum, Terry Fleck!

He makes the same 'stop the EPA!' case like from the ND Chamber of Commerce. Fleck's argument is basically that EPA bureaucrats are evil who will magically make energy costs double or triple.

It is quite, let's use the word "cute", to see Fleck aim to take a supposedly noble position as trying to protect "our most vulnerable citizens". You can go to the ND Energy Forum website and read the content which largely tries to instill the idea that we are chained to continuing massive fossil fuel usage, and anything that the fossil fuel industry does not like is claimed going to cost you directly big time plus destroy tons of jobs. Nobody move or the economy gets it!

They do at least have a "Climate Change" section (which is more than half the size of the "Taxes Hurt" section where they beg to not lose any industry tax breaks!), and they do say any policy should be "environmentally effective", whatever they want that to mean. But then all their other demands swing the door wide open to reflexive opposition to any action, which has effectively been their policy. From what I can tell the entirety of their recognition of greenhouse gases warming the climate and the need to address that is this:
Global climate change is extraordinarily complex and challenging because the main source of greenhouse gas emissions is the energy that heats our homes, powers our factories and offices, and gets Americans to school and work.
Sure, you can want to maintain a livable climate, but you will have to give up staying warm and having a job & education!

But enough shooting fish in the barrel of the ND Energy Forum website for now - I want to get back to Fleck's letter and more of its "cute"ness. It is interesting how he expresses that Congress should "hammer out an effective new law to thoughtfully transition America and the world to a carbon-constrained economy" when his organization's contribution to the national discussion on the issue is essentially, "Taxes Hurt".

Most gut-turning is how Fleck just throws the EPA under the bus, tossing around the term "bureaucrats" like an epithet. At least he did not call them "faceless", I suppose. It is not surprising that unsubstantiated claims of skyrocketing energy costs get thrown out to oppose action to protect the climate, but Fleck is not content with just that. He actually criticizes the EPA for having its priority be the environment rather than, say, oil industry profits.

Fleck compares EPA regulatory action to deal with greenhouse gases to being on death row and that it would be a "regulatory juggernaut". Does he mean like how the Minerals Management Service (MMS) came down so harshly on the oil & gas industry over the last decade? Wait, more like the opposite of that is what happened.

The Murkowski "Dirty Air Act" Amendment that Fleck is selling is a theatrical sideshow, not one branch in a momentous fork in the road. The real fork in the road choice we have is between continuing to do nothing while throwing out excuses and road blocks to action so that we commit ourselves to ever greater environmental damages and growing costs, or we can take the needed action to pull our carbon footprint off the greenhouse gas pedal that has us careening toward climate disaster.

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