Sunday, April 10, 2011

GUEST ARTICLE by Nicholas Scott...."Saying No To The Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011"

Saying No To The Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011

In light of the pending EPA budget cuts, the citizens of the United States now face the real possibility of what would amount to a “stop-work order” on the 40 year old, extremely beneficial (benefits that outweigh costs at a 40:1 ratio) Clean Air Act.

You’ve heard it correctly. Senator James Inhofe is spearheading a movement towards eliminating the EPA’s flagship regulation; one that has effectively protected the public health for decades. The Clean Air Act works to drastically at reducing harmful pollution, specifically greenhouse gases. This nefarious proposal will prolong America’s addiction to oil and other ancient energy technologies. It will delay any sort of forward movement towards a cleaner, progressive energy economy.

Inhofe’s propsed would force the EPA to watch idly as the big oil and coal companies ravage the environment. Accountability will be a thing of the past for polluters. One would think the Senate has learned their lesson from the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico; but apparently that is not the case.

Luckily, not everyone is as blind as the U.S. Senate appears to be at this moment. In an article from Politico, two energy investors – one Democrat, one Republican – explain what’s at stake:

We are not experts in vote counting or horse trading. But we do know how investors and markets will respond if Congress ultimately fails to put a market-based price on carbon. The response from capital will be brutal: Money will flow to places like China, Europe and India - and U.S. jobs will go with it.

The path to creating more U.S. jobs is simple: Pass legislation that eliminates uncertainty and levels the playing field, and investors will fund projects that create good jobs here at home. Rules bring certainty, certainty spurs investment, and investment creates jobs.

So while proponents of Inhofe’ Energy Tax Prevention Act may feel that lifting the Clean Air Act’s restrictions will increase revenue, stimulate the economy, and create job growth – they may have the wrong idea. Rather than moving the economy forward, the U.S. Senate may move it significantly in the wrong direction.

What makes this motion even more unbelievable is that the science of climate change is clearer and more disturbing than ever. Heat waves are getting worse, the ice caps are shrinking faster than ever, and scientists are telling us that the world is setting new temperature records almost every month, every year, and every decade. Furthermore, the EPA has stated that 160,000 cases of premature death, 130,000 heart attacks, 1.7 million asthma attacks, and 13 million lost work days have been prevented due to initiatives such as The Clean Air Act. It was these very same regulations that have contributed to the extremely low number of  mesotheliomia related deaths, dropping the annual rate down to under 3000 per year. This statistic alone is a remarkable feat, considering the mesothelioma life expectancy is shorter than 14 months at most.

This issue seems to be a rare case where good policy (the limitation of greenhouse gas emissions, protecting public health, taking the necessary steps toward a clean energy revolution) and good politics with strong poll results seem to align. But still, the U.S. Senate appears ready to ignore both the good policy and good politics in favor of what seems to be a partisan agenda. We must not let them do it. Call your senators and tell them “no way” to the Energy Tax Prevention Act.