What criteria does the Obama administration use to craft new regulations? The answer is unclear. When developing regulations effecting coal and oil-fired electric generating units they seem to maintain
their motivation is our health and welfare with a sensitivity to economic impact. In March of this year EPA
Administrator Lisa Jackson announced the EPA’s proposed new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and stated, “At the EPA, we are eager to work with the American people through the coming public comment period, so that we can craft safeguards that best protect our health and strengthen our economy.”
Furthermore EPA estimates that reducing emissions would save 17,000 lives every year beginning
in 2015, to say nothing of preventing thousands of illnesses, emergency room
visits, and missed work days. Preventing those human casualties will save
millions in health-care costs and prevent millions more in economic losses from
illness and absenteeism.
Industry experts claim that standards cannot be met by 2015 as a result, plants that
can’t be upgraded in time must be taken off-line in 2015. With less power available on the grid, electricity prices are forecast to spike by 11.5 percent nationwide in 2016, causing hundreds of thousands of job losses across the economy, according to National Economic Research Associates.
According to Bernstein Research, the EPA’s rules will slash reserve capacity—i.e., the availability of electricity generating capacity to meet peak demand and plug power interruptions—resulting in increased power
outages of longer duration. In a hot summer like this one, that means rolling blackouts, loss of air conditioning, and potentially heat-related deaths.
Add to that the recently announced new federal regulations that would raise fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, hitting an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025—a 40 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared to today.
Senator Boxer said: “The first-ever federal standards for trucks and buses that the Obama Administration announced today will significantly cut fuel costs for truck owners, and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil. It is also a historic step forward in our nation’s efforts to reduce dangerous air pollution, which will benefit families in California and across the nation.”
While that sounds great on the surface, the truth is these new standards will actually result in the maiming or death of countless Americans. Sam Kazman of the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained the MPG standard “has been killing people for the last 30 years, It forces cars to be…made smaller and lighter….They are simply worse in just about every type of auto collision.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration actually
backs Kazman up. It estimates that smaller cars are responsible for an additional 2,000 deaths each year. As Reason reports, “a 2002 National Academy of Sciences study concluded that CAFE’s downsizing affect contributed to between 1,300 and 2,600 deaths in a single representative year, and to 10 times that many serious injuries.”
These new regulations will also harm our already beleaguered economy. The Center for Automotive Research
says the new standard will raise the price of cars by about $7,000. Nicolas Loris explains
how those higher costs can lead to job loss: Higher prices reduce demand and force people to hold onto their older vehicles longer. Reduced demand means fewer cars produced, which means automakers have to shed jobs. The Michigan-based consulting firm Defour Group projected that a 56 mpg standard would destroy 220,000 jobs.
It is likely that Obama’s aggressive new fuel efficiency standards will result in an escalation of casualties and a
negative impact on our economy. So whether it is fuel efficiency standards or Air Toxics Standards,
this administration is not concerned with crafting safeguards that best protect our health and strengthen our economy at all.