If this is the “job” of the administration, when do they start working on it? From here it looks like they’re on a work stoppage. Maybe they’re protesting working conditions.
Whatever the reason, they’re not on this job now. And time is running out for hundreds of thousands of “folks” still out of work or laboring in jobs that aren’t “good.” Time is also running out for Democrats hoping to win Senate seats in November by supporting the president’s climate plan. National Mining Association (NMA) surveys in eight key states show registered voters aren’t likely to vote this November for any candidate who supports the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to euthanize coal plants and raise utility bills.
Sometimes there seems to be two administrations and they’re pursuing diametrically opposing objectives. The first tries to address fears of a public worried about stagnant incomes, declining standards of living and poor job prospects. NMA’s polling confirms voters by overwhelming majorities want the president to make jobs and the economy, not environmental regulation, his top priority. The White House sees the same polling numbers, so feels obliged to pay lip service to the “great unwashed” in the steppes beyond the beltway who are struggling with immediate problems brought on by a near comatose economy. “People are concerned about electricity prices going up,” said the president in a news flash to the League of Conservation Voters.
Then there is the other administration — the one encouraged by presidential edicts — that ignores these broad public concerns to focus instead on the concerns of earnest environmental alarmists staffed by anti-coal activists. This is the administration that pursues a root and branch reorganization of the nation’s power grid to make it less responsive to American households and more responsive to the environmental lobby.
This strategy may win a peace prize in Sweden but it won’t win votes in Peoria. A nationwide poll conducted by Pew in June found barely 2% of Americans considered the environment a priority, suggesting how few are following the environmental leaders who have the president’s ear. No matter. This is the administration that is setting national energy policy with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who helpfully clarified that White House support for an all-of-the-above energy strategy is no longer operative. In a June interview with the fawning Bill Maher, she gleefully summarized the goal of the president’s climate action plan.
Maher: “Some people call it a ‘war on coal.’ I hope it is a war on coal. Is it?”
McCarthy: “Actually, the EPA is all about fighting against pollution and fighting for public health — that’s exactly what this is.”
Fighting for public health? Here’s a test: put this magazine down, step outside and take a deep breath. You think your health is damaged by the air you’re breathing? As for environmental benefits, both McCarthy and the president have admitted there are none. The real purpose of this plan isn’t to reduce global climate change — that’s not possible from a country whose greenhouse gas emissions aren’t causing the climate to change. It’s to shame the countries who are the massive greenhouse gas emitters into stop using affordable coal-based power and condemn millions of their citizens to another generation of energy poverty and raise the costs for their exporting industries.
There are not one but two heroic assumptions here: curbing emissions from China and India will reduce climate change and the assumption that these countries will raise their energy costs just because we’re dumb enough to raise ours. On this basis, the administration, ignoring warnings about grid reliability and economic impacts, will swap low-cost for high-cost electricity, stick consumers with the bill and jeopardize an estimated 224,000 jobs a year. Policies like this could explain why in early July the president’s economic approval rating fell to 40%.
If the last administration’s war in Iraq was unpopular, this administration’s war on affordable electricity may be even more so.
Luke Popovich is a spokesperson for the National Mining Association, the industry’s trade group based in Washington, D.C.