Column: Dependence isn’t the solution — it’s the problem

Yes, I’m sure my artificially inflated power bills will do wonders for my livelihood?

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. In setting these new limits on greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA has once again done its part in trying to keep the United States from moving toward an economically sound energy industry.

The new restriction to 1,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per megawatt hour is an obvious attack on coal-fired stations. Although this regulation doesn’t go after power plants already in existence, looking forward, it will encourage building power plants that run on natural gas.

Ironically, most new plants would be fueled by natural gas anyway. Natural gas is currently cheaper than coal, so burning it results in a better economic outcome. Why in the world do we need a new government regulation forcing the switch?

The EPA has some great reasons for adding this new restriction. In a Wall Street Journal article, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said the most efficient of new natural gas plants “should be able to meet the proposed standards.” Then she added that natural gas was “already the technology of choice.” This explanation amounts to kicking a dog when it’s down.

Coal is already on its way out. New power plants are already heavily favoring natural gas. The economy is moving toward natural gas and pushing coal out of the market. So, why does the government spend time and resources stepping in to kick a dying dog?

Good call. It’s for the kids. As Ms. Jackson went on to explain, “It will enhance the lives of our children and our children’s children.” Yes, I’m sure my artificially inflated power bills will do wonders for my livelihood?

Oh, Jackson is talking about global warming! Surprise, surprise. But wait, the idea that a restriction on CO2 emissions could actually save the world from the evils of climate change would work -- if the government could restrict the entire world. The problem is, it can’t. Some bureaucrat in Washington telling us what type of power plants to build doesn’t do anything but disrupt the market. Most environmentalists who believe restrictions will save us forget that if we don’t buy our energy here, we will import it. That’s not a question or some sort of abstract judgment on America. It’s a fact. It doesn’t matter who provides the gas that fills up Americans’ tanks. All that Americans care about is that it comes out of the pump.

When a new law is passed in Washington that restricts energy growth domestically, foreign producers benefit. The government has tried forcing collective action on the public before. It doesn’t work the way they want it to. The proper solution is to allow the economy to work its magic. Prices will drop, jobs will be created and the increased amount of capital available will result in innovation. This innovation will result in the growth of new and renewable energy resources. Yes, a growing economy does mean more sales of electric cars and solar panels. Who knew?

The market isn’t quite where Al Gore would like it to be right now, but it’s definitely moving in that direction. The most glaring evidence is Ford’s introduction of the 100 percent electric Fusion & Focus. Yes, that’s right. Viable electric cars are coming from the only one of the big three automakers that didn’t accept a bailout. The best thing the government could do with Chevy was the Volt, which is about as viable as ShamWow.

New and renewable energy resources are becoming more viable every day. Government regulations that restrict our current energy supply do nothing but delay progress. Hey EPA, why don’t you take a hike and enjoy the environment? We’re doing fine here.

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