On the EDge: EPA mandate a good first step

OPINION – It doesn’t matter how many jobs you save, if you can’t breathe the air, none of that matters.

Still, that’s how the two sides are lining up in the wake of Monday’s controversial plan to eliminate carbon emissions from fossil-fuel burning power-generating plants by 30 percent by 2030.

In introducing the most aggressive step against global warming, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy said: “We have a moral obligation to act.”

Opposition, of course, is lining up.

“We will introduce bipartisan legislation that will prevent these disastrous new rules from wreaking havoc on our economy in West Virginia,” Rep. Nick Rahall, D-West Virginia, said in a statement.

Rahall’s opposition is based on what he calls a significant loss of jobs that will occur when the EPA regulation is implemented, a charge refuted by the White House.

“What we’ve seen every time is that these claims are debunked when you actually give workers and businesses the tools and the incentives they need to innovate,” President Barack Obama said.

It wasn’t that long ago that a local power-generating operation planned for just across the state line, not far from Mesquite, was run out by residents opposed to yet another coal-powered plant.

Coal was the basis of our energy platform for many years. It served its purpose in the days before we realized just how dangerous it was to the environment.

We had millions of men and boys employed in the coal mines all across the country, toiling in the dangerous, backbreaking work of bring coal from the bowels of the Earth to power our homes, industry, lives.

But, we are long overdue in finding a healthier, more environmentally friendly power source.

We’re depleting our supplies of coal, we’re depleting our supplies of oil, and reasonable minds are well aware of the dangers posed by going nuclear, as evidenced at Chernobyl, Fukushima, and Three Mile Island.

A recent Pew Research Center poll reveals that 67 percent of us believe that there is “solid evidence the Earth is arming,” and 54 percent believe “the effects of global warming have begun.”

This comes just weeks after a panel of scientists disclosed the collapse of a large section of the West Antarctica ice sheet and proclaimed the ensuing melt is unstoppable and will lead to a rise in the sea level of up to 10 feet or more in the coming centuries. According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change rises in sea level could flood many South Seas Islands and overtake large parts of Southeast Asia. The report goes on to state that about 100 million people live within three feet of mean sea level, with much of the world’s population concentrated in vulnerable coastal cities, making Louisiana and Florida high-risk areas in the continental United States. The inevitability, according to scientists, is that the impact of global warming will make many coastal regions worldwide virtually uninhabitable.

This is but a part of the dangers ahead if stricter environmental regulations are not implemented.

The constant release of pollutants into the atmosphere is eating larger chunks out of our ozone layer; release of pollutants into our rivers, streams, and oceans is fouling the water we need to sustain us; greenhouse gases from unsound agricultural practices are exacerbating the problems.

According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the temperature in the U.S. has increased by two degrees in the last 50 years and precipitation has increased by 5 percent. To the uninitiated, that seems like a small increase, however within the scientific community, these numbers are huge.

That’s why as stiff as these new EPA regulations may seem, they are necessary and long overdue.

Very, very long overdue.

We have, for more than 40 years, talked a lot about how our reliance on fossil fuels – from the gasoline we pump into our cars to the fuels we burn to turn on our lights – makes us vulnerable.

We have experienced gasoline rationing, seen prices soar outrageously during high energy-consuming times, seen rolling blackouts instituted in highly populated areas of California.

The result?

Futile attempts at alternate energy sources.

Yes, we have more wind farms, solar panels, and bio-diesel fuels in the energy pipeline than before but not enough, sadly, to stop the assault on nature.

Hybrid vehicles?

Sales pretty well follow the price of gasoline. When gas prices go up, so do hybrid sales. When they stabilize, hybrid numbers plunge.

In other words, we’re not doing much to preserve this rock we’re all perched upon, and if we keep pushing deadlines for cleaner power further into the future, we will eventually run out of tomorrows and it won’t matter anyway.

We have given the energy industry far too long to develop alternatives to the same old thing with the excuse that it’s too expensive. Doing nothing is too expensive.

The threat of jobs is nothing more than political hyperbole. Dedicating those current resources to new industry will keep those people employed as the transition is made.

It will take courage, of course. The money thrown at our leaders by the energy industry is substantial, but we can no longer place the environment on a back burner.

That’s why as controversial and far-reaching as this EPA mandate is, it is nowhere near the answer to the current environmental crisis.

We need more brave steps forward in returning nature to its most natural state and keep politics, greed, and ignorance out of the equation.

No bad days!

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Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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  • David Dalley June 3, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I applaud the EPA.

    We need to ban all carcinogens . Including cigarettes, weed, and the coffee bean industry….which pollutes the air more than any industry in the industry.

    • lynnhowlyn June 3, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      I see your computer sadly doesn’t have a ‘sarcasm’ font … one that I’m certain you intended to use. 🙂
      But we all got the point you are making – and most of us are in full agreement with you.

  • lynnhowlyn June 3, 2014 at 10:32 am

    ” … a significant loss of jobs that will occur when the EPA regulation is implemented, a charge refuted by the White House.

    “What we’ve seen every time is that these claims are debunked when you actually give workers and businesses the tools and the incentives they need to innovate,” President Barack Obama said.”

    This makes me feel so much better since those in the White House and the Congress – especially those aligned with the current Administration – would NEVER lie to us. ROTFLMAO!

    November of this year – and in 2016 cannot come soon enough.

    • McMurphy June 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      Prior to the sequestration the White House predicted that hundreds of thousands of Federal workers would lose their jobs. Actual loses according to the GAO — a handful.

  • Johnson June 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    We all remember “Like your Doctor? “keep your Doctor” and “like your plan? “you can keep your plan”.

    same promises, different day


    Even the EPA Director admits that these new “rules” will significantly raise electricity rates for residential consumers.
    So is everybody who likes these new rules like Ed does, really happy for the coming increases in rates? So, I guess the city of Seattle was planning ahead by increasing it’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour….another “great” thing I’m sure Mr. Kociela is also happy about, to pay for increased electrical rates. But that’s another story for another time. Stay tuned for Ed’s next column on the greatness of the $15.00 per hour minimum wage in Seattle WA.

  • Just an Old Man June 3, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    If your So concerned and want change let see you set the example and NEVER fly to Cabo again. Ride a horse or burro there from now on. You talk the talk, LET see you Walk the Walk.

    Yes the climate has been warming, well since the LAST ICE AGE.

    • Brian June 3, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      I agree. Unless Ed is walking around in hemp clothes that he made himself and hasn’t seen the inside of car or plane in decades he can and the EPA can feed their plan to their pet unicorns (the excrement of which is the only current viable alternative to coal, aside from pixie dust). I am so freaking sick of lefties telling me I can’t do X, Y, and Z, while they are doing 10 times more of X, Y, and Z than the average citizen could ever dream of doing. If we could burn hypocrisy in these power plants we’d all have free electricity. I’m sure Ed is sincere in his desire to help the environment, but the problem is he also believes gore, obama, and the lefties in control are sincerely concerned about the environment, too. They aren’t. They only care about control, power, and personal wealth. Stop listening to what they say, and start watching what they do, and that becomes immediately apparent.

      • McMurphy June 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm

        You mean like Al Gore and his private jet ??

  • JSD June 3, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I was surprised to learn that coal only accounts for 6% of CO2 emissions world wide. Cutting 30% of the U.S. share will not amount to a hill of beans as far as ‘global warming’ is concerned. It will, however, inflict everyone with higher utility rates.

    • McMurphy June 3, 2014 at 5:18 pm

      China is bringing on-line one new coal fired power plant a day. India and other developing countries are consuming more and more carbon based energy, and show no signs of cutting back. The US cutting back 305 will have no effect on word-wide carbon pollution.

  • WE R ALL SCREWED June 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Ed, don’t be ridiculous… The EPA has about as much of a chance of reducing carbon emissions as they do with stopping all the worlds volcanoes from erupting and forest fires from burning.

  • behonest June 3, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I don’t agree. We want cleaner air. Taking an all or nothing does nothing to achieve our goal. Just raise your hands. Who wants cleaner air? It’s either yes let’s work on it or no let’s keep polluting as much if not more. Make a choice and go vote!

  • JAR June 3, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Not being really up on all the causes for our planet warming up more than 2 degrees over the last 500 years, can someone explain to me, (or) point out the most likely of the following possible sources is the real dragon.
    #1. Volcanoes? #2. burning coal for power? #3. depletion of the rain forest?
    #4. heavy winded politicians/EPA officials? or maybe #5. the millions of taco carts on the southern California streets (and maybe the Cabo area), using wood or propane as the heat source for their mobile grills?

  • Be honest your stupid June 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Be honest, if you want to drive, have a/c, eat processed food, use electrical products then you have to except pollution. Problem is this country was a head of a the world in knowledge, know how, and drive, making our lives easy. We have now helped every other country rise up and become more advanced in all this except in EPA standards. Therefore we can led all others for a better EPA friendly world! but that takes effort which the rest of the world is not willing to do. So you can understand its like believing that everyone at a greatful dead concert should get high, so Ed you light up and start smoking a fat one, believing that the smoke you blow out will help get the others stoned. Of course they don’t you get busted you go to jail and no one cares. Kind of like the USA driving the economy in the toilet in the name of clean air. One thing about it all the liberals pollute a lot more air by talking out their aureus. By the way Diesel engines and coal burners put out very little pollution and H2o.

    • WE R ALL SCREWED June 8, 2014 at 5:35 pm


  • I'm Honest, Too June 3, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    This is a well written piece. Ed specializes in fiction, and fine fiction this is!

  • Just an Old Man June 4, 2014 at 8:24 am

    “It’s either yes let’s work on it or no let’s keep polluting as much if not more.”
    No it NOT. In 1971 you could not see the Mountains or Catilina Island from southern California. Today it is 100 times better than it was, yet to hear the Eds of the world you think it was 1000 times worse. They improved it but now they are worried that they have to made it sound bad to keep thier jobs and money coming in.


    Ed, aren’t you due for a vacation soon??? That place on the Mexican coast sure does look good from here.

  • zzzz June 4, 2014 at 9:14 pm


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