by THOMAS O’SCANNELL Staff Writer
President Barack Obama is arguably showing more encouragement to environmental activists than ever, and proposed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establish new regulations.
“As president, and as a parent, I refuse to condemn our children to a planet that’s beyond fixing,” says President Obama on his sudden extensive involvement in environmental awareness activities.
One proposal by the EPA is a plan to lessen the amount of carbon emissions by power plants down to a considerable 30 percent.
“Nationwide, by 2030, this rule would achieve CO2 emission reductions from the power sector of approximately 30 percent from CO2 emission levels in 2005. This goal is achievable because innovations in the production, distribution and use of electricity are already making the power sector more efficient and sustainable while maintaining an affordable, reliable and diverse energy mix,” says the EPA.
One of the reasons for the EPA’s proposal of this regulation concerns health. They argue that this new regulation will help stop somewhere from 2,700 to 6,600 deaths caused by smog and other carbon ejection-related issues, as well as prevent 140,000 to 150,000 cases of children’s asthma attacks.
Freshman Zach Jones said, “I’m glad they’re taking precautions for a better environment and I hope the bill passes!”
However, government agencies and members of the Chamber of Commerce and Republican Party argue these proposals are doomed to be a bust.
One of the issues, according to Republicans, that will arise in response to the bill is the loss of jobs in the coal industry. With some industries the EPA targets severely losing value and even folding, those employed in the agencies will ultimately lose their jobs. This would continue to pile on the United States’ unemployment count.
“The administration has set out to kill coal and its 800,000 jobs,” says Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming. “If it succeeds in death by regulation, we’ll all be paying a lot more money for electricity – if we can get it.”
Also, the Chamber of Commerce has said they have calculated that by 2030, the government will be spending $50 billion on enforcing the regulations should they come to light; the EPA is sticking to their guns disagreeing, saying they have estimated the proposal would cost $8.8 billion to maintain by the year 2030.
Vice chairman of the House of Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Steve Scalise, received the proposal very bitterly. He says the costs of the proposal’s enforcement would result in American citizens’ jobs and “cost the economy over $500 billion in lost economic activity.”
“If the bill passes, I worry they may invade workers’ privacy and freedoms. I hope they use caution in this way,” said freshman Dan Hommer.
Still, despite all these accusations of glaring errors in the signing of this proposal, the EPA still says that they would never let the government or its members “ever have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment.”
Another important point made by opponents of the bill is the probable lack of interest shown by other nations. They argue that, even if the United States flourishes from the bill in terms of its environmental protection activities, they say that other very densely-populated countries like China and India will not be convinced and not join in on America’s goals.
However, David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council hails the president for supporting the proposal as the government cannot continue putting off pro-environment bills.
The EPA has said that they will hold four public hearings regarding the proposal near Atlanta, Georgia, Pittsburgh, and Pennsylvania, with more coming in the future.
Not only is the President striving for a better environment, he is striving for a more energy-independent nation and to be able to have other countries follow in America’s footsteps.
What other ways does this proposal affect the United States and its citizens both positively and negatively?