Obama’s Enviro-Racketeering

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Interestingly, the act that started this chain of ridiculousness included an alternative that allowed companies to actually pay a tax – in the form of “credits,” whose price the EPA would set – in lieu of actually buying cellulosic ethanol. In EPA-land, this would be an alternative form of compliance, even though it would do absolutely nothing to address the concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on foreign oil that the act supposedly solved. The “credit” scheme smells, in other words, like a back-door carbon tax cleverly disguised in a “green” bill that Democrats pushed through and the all-too-eager-too-please George W. Bush dutifully signed.

When oil companies didn’t bite at the credit deal, Jackson decided to get the cash anyway, in the form of the fines that the EPA is allowed to levy thanks to the power that Congress has given this out-of-control agency. Indeed, the fines could have been a lot larger, but when going after big companies that might fight back, the EPA has to balance what they figure they can get without a prolonged court battle versus the time and expense of going through such a judicial exercise. In the grand scheme of things, one expects that the oil companies will do the same math and decide it’s easier to pay the EPA than to pay yet another army of lawyers. If that sounds a lot like legal racketeering, it’s probably because it is.

Did the EPA have to demand penalties in this case? No. That was a choice and, given the extreme leftist ideology of this administration and its EPA chief and given Obama’s desperate need to generate revenue by any means possible, it’s sadly no surprise that Lisa Jackson did what she did. But it’s beyond reason that we ever got to this point in the first place. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 gave the EPA administrator the power to waive or change the requirements for cellulosic ethanol if supplies were not available or if the cost was too high. Jackson could have – and should have – waived the requirement, but she chose not to.

There are those who would counter the equity and reasonableness arguments presented above by saying that the EPA should be forcing technological advancements and that these kinds of penalties accomplish that end. To this I would respond: nice thought, but perhaps you should step over here into the real world for a moment.

First of all, oil companies are not going to be the ones to develop cheap means of producing cellulosic ethanol. Oil companies employ geologists and engineers; they know about refining and exploration. They don’t have the people or the expertise to explore complex bio-chemical processes. There are companies out there with that kind of expertise and the government is pumping hundreds of millions of our tax dollars into them in the effort to discover this latest version of the energy world’s Holy Grail. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 alone included $50 million in grant funding specifically targeted toward cellulosic ethanol research. Levying punitive fines on oil companies to penalize them for the failures of all that government-mandated and funded research makes no sense. But, the EPA and the Obama administration have long since abandoned common sense altogether.

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  • Ken

    This is just the tip of the iceberg. The ultimate goal is to have regulations for the average household to control energy use. Don't think so, look at the development of the electrical outlet with a lockout device on it developed with government subsidies.

  • Gamaliel

    The Obama administration appears to believe that if the oil companies wanted to they could produce cellulosic ethanol. Anyone who has done scientific research knows that you don’t know the difficulty in advance of developing a certain product, and that it’s almost always more difficult than appears on the surface and even if you can develop it, it may require more expense and energy to produce that it yields. Obama is throwing money at Solar energy boondoggles with the same ignorance. He thinks that by throwing money at these companies solar will become an energy alternative to gasoline. He is more likely to get more energy by simply burning the money.

  • Big Irish

    BHO (pissbeuponhim) should be tried for treason – what a disgraceful – pathetic – piece of slime this dirt bag is – GET RID OF HIM!!!!

  • pagegl

    There's an old Texas saying… wish in one hand and sh!t in the other, guess which one fills up first. Some folks just refuse to see the validity of that ol' truism.

  • Rifleman

    Hussein’s energy policy is the equivalent of a person jumping out of a plane without a chute with the assumption they’d find or make one before they hit the ground.

    • Rich Trzupek

      Dude – I'm going to be on "Fox and Friends" tomorrow morning talking about this story with the gang and I am SO stealing that line! Nice one.

      • Rifleman

        No prob, and you can't steal what's given to you. Anything good I write is always fair game. Seeing any terms, sayings, ideas and analogies I come up with go far and wide is the finest compliment, I don't care who gets credit for 'em.

        Crap I must have missed, I meant to thumbs up your reply.

      • Ken

        I saw the interview, Rich. Dead on as usual!!

  • tanstaafl

    "If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets." – Frank Hebert

  • phillyfanatic

    Obama is using class and race warfare in energy, in jobs, in corporation bashing and apparently the Stupid Party, is going along with him. When we conservs know that the EPA is killing free enterprise such as our eco. domestic energy outlets: why are conservs blasting free enterprise activities. It just gives Obama's class eco. warfare more cred. Stop it now Pubs and go after the real villains in our economy like the EPA, not legal corporations giving investors profits and producing products we all need.

  • Rick_in_VA

    Does this REALLY surprise anyone?

  • Jerome from Layton

    There is a consistent pattern to this administration:
    Spend gobs of money (borrowed from the Chinese fascists) on stuff that won't work.
    And prohibit, deny, or delay things that do work.
    I'm looking for a word…oh, yes,
    TREASON! It's the only one that explains it.

  • Flowerknife_us

    The notion that the government has no energy policy is absurd. They do have one and it is to have no energy It is bad enough to burn ones food. Burning somethin that does not exhist really takes the cake.

    Remember to say HI to the DHS.

  • truckwork

    If you're looking for a reason why the economy is in such bad shape this action takes the cake. What is the result that the fines ultimately cost:
    1. Higher prices at the pump.
    2. Higher prices at the pump means that all products that are transported by truck, train, plane and any other sort of hydrocarbon fuel will eventually be higher.
    3. Who pays those higher prices? The consumer, you and me. So who pays the fines? We all do, anyone who consumes these services and products.
    4. With less cash now available, we can't afford other consumer products/services and other businesses go out of business.
    Why is this so hard to understand in the Whitehouse. Businesses and corporations don't pay taxes!

    • johnnywoods

      The White House well understands what they are doing because they are doing it on purpose. Four more years of this bastard and we may not have a country left.

  • tarleton

    The origins of the enviromentalist movement lie in the wreaked political ideologies of the 20th C…the anti capitalism of communism and the anti-humanism of nazism …specifically , the german romanticist movement and the ''vandervogel'' of pre WW1 Germany
    Ever tried watchng the movie ''sound of music '' through nazi eyes ?…Hitler and Goebbles would have LOVED it as it was exactly the type of world they were trying to build ….young healthy german youth dressed in leaderhosen and white dresses /ponytails, out in the great oudoors enjoying the spectacular alpine sceenery , and all to the ''sound of music '' ….haha , I can just imagine Hitler squirming in his seat and nodding with approval at the wonderfully germanic humour and sentimentality …the movie would have dovetailed nicely with Himler's organic ''blood and soil'' ideology …the whole movie could have been screened around the Reich with the change of one single word ….nazi to communist ,; after all , the aristocratic Von Trapp family had a great deal more to fear from the Reds than their home grown Nazis