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Obama puts priority on EPA over economic recovery

Do you have liberal friends who deny that more government regulations mean higher consumer costs? In an op-ed for the Battle Creek Enquirer, Hillsdale College professor Gary Wolfram notes how a full 8 percent of America's total electricity capacity is now on the chopping block thanks to newly proposed regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Not only would these new regulations mean higher energy costs for consumers, but Wolfram points out how such regulatory zeal also poses significant threats to the country's economic recovery (emphasis mine):

With concern over a slowing U.S. economy and 13.9 million unemployed, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is promulgating new rules that will threaten the economic recovery.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff estimates that as much as 81 gigawatts of coal-generated electricity, which is about 8 percent of the entire U.S. electricity capacity, would be eliminated from the power grid by new EPA regulations on power plant emissions. Such a drastic effect will raise the costs of production, reduce the reliability of the power grid and result in a substantial drag on economic growth and employment.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter's Commission on Coal recommended that the U.S. boost the use of coal to offset the importation of foreign oil. Today, coal is our most abundant and affordable energy source. The U.S. has been referred to as the Saudi Arabia of coal. Coal accounts for 45 percent of our nation's electricity generation, and more than two-thirds of Michigan's electricity generation. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the U.S. has about a 200-year supply of coal, an energy supply that is not subject to the vagaries of foreign politics.

With the knowledge of these facts it is remarkable that the EPA should be threatening the coal industry with overbearing regulations. The problem is not necessarily any particular regulation, although each one is sufficiently onerous to reduce economic growth, but the combination of the regulations.

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