published Monday, July 9th, 2012

Lamar sells out

How much is a vote worth? Tennesseans now know the answer since Sen. Lamar Alexander traded his vote in defense of the wrongheaded, ridiculous Utility MACT regulation in return for $200,000 in ads courtesy of an alarmist environmental outfit.

Alexander's support for keeping the MACT -- or Mercury and Air Toxics Standards -- regulation in place left many in Washington, D.C. and Tennessee scratching their heads. After all, the MACT regulation is considered the cornerstone of President Obama's War on Coal. The scheme will shutter coal plants across the United States and reduce America's coal energy supply by roughly a third. MACT increases America's reliance on foreign oil and will cause electricity prices to soar, while doing almost nothing to improve the environment.

The supposed goal of the MACT regulation is to reduce the amount of mercury in the air. Every power plant in America combined, however, accounts for just half of one percent of all mercury in the air we breathe. The coal-powered plants targeted by MACT represent just a fraction of that tiny number.

That miniscule reduction in mercury comes at a colossal cost. The EPA's own -- likely lowball -- estimates figure that the MACT standards will cost more than $10 billion per year. Tennesseans will see a 13.5 percent jump in electricity prices as a result of the regulation, according to a report from the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Late last month, the Senate had the opportunity to kill this price-hiking, job-killing legislation. However, a vote to overturn the MACT regulation failed -- just barely. One of the deciding votes was Alexander, who was one of only five Republicans who voted to uphold the economically destructive policy. In fact, five Democrats voted to overturn the scheme.

So why would Alexander turn on Tennesseans and buck logic to support keeping a rule in place that does almost nothing to improve air quality or health, while killing jobs, making energy more scarce and increasing electric bills? The answer came last week when the Environmental Defense Fund announced it was launching a $200,000 ad campaign to thank Alexander for his vote in support of MACT.

If the environmental extremist group sounds familiar, it should. The Environmental Defense Fund is the organization most responsible for banning DDT on the grounds that it reduced the thickness of bird eggs. Without DDT to kill mosquitos that carry malaria, an estimated 50 million people have died from the disease. The Environmental Defense Fund's efforts to ban DDT is now widely considered among the worst public policy failures in human history.

The Environmental Defense Fund also managed to slow attempts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reinforce levees in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina by protests and dubious attempts to tie the project up in court. Oops.

It's revolting to think that Tennessee's senior senator would put the wishes of the wackos at the Environmental Defense Fund before the needs of Tennesseans, but apparently that's what happens when an organization is willing to spend $200,000 patting him on the back.

In 2008, while on the campaign trail, Barack Obama admitted that under his energy plan, "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket" as a result of the regulations he planned to slap on fossil fuels. Obama continued, "if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can -- it's just that it will bankrupt them."

Obama proved as good as his word thanks, in part, to his unlikely henchman, Lamar Alexander.

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In reality, DDT is banned in the US, but not worldwide. It is used in many countries. Yet people still die from malaria. Attributing all of the deaths since 1972 to it? Highly irresponsible. Especially since you ignore DDT-resistance in mosquito populations.

You really should be more skeptical of the alarmist fearmongers who want you to be more afraid of activists than you are of the consequences of the actions they're pretending to get you to support. They twist the facts to make up their own narrative.

And you buy it. Hook, Line, and Sinker.

Huh. Seems you are the ones guilty of what you condemn in others.

You probably don't even realize the cost of burning coal, even though Ronald Reagan was railing about it thirty plus years ago. Think about it.

July 9, 2012 at 12:26 a.m.
nucanuck said...

There always remains the possibility that Alexander voted his conscience.

July 9, 2012 at 2:42 a.m.
EaTn said...

I think Alexander has been apprised of the statistics of the quality of air and supported the health of the people instead of the money.

July 9, 2012 at 6:27 a.m.
librul said...

Thank you, Lamar.

July 9, 2012 at 6:58 a.m.
DJHBRAINERD said...

So why would Alexander turn on Tennesseans and buck logic to support keeping a rule in place that does almost nothing to improve air quality or health, while killing jobs, making energy more scarce and increasing electric bills? The answer came last week when the Environmental Defense Fund announced it was launching a $200,000 ad campaign to thank Alexander for his vote in support of MACT.

Or maybe it was the ALMOST nothing it does to improve air quality or health that led him to vote this way. But between the lines of your hyberboil I read how mad your handlers are about the outcome. 200k sell out , for a senator who is a millionair? Nice try . How much did you sell out for when you wrote this editorial? Probably less than that.

July 9, 2012 at 8:10 a.m.
conservative said...

Did you ever notice that the "free riders" as Pelosi calls them will often identify/reveal themselves?

There is tremendous cost to these unnecessary regulations but if you are one of the 47% of American households who pay no federal income taxes then it is just other people's money and you could care less.

July 9, 2012 at 8:17 a.m.
moon4kat said...

Lamar Alexander is turning into an honorable statesman instead of an industry shill. Thank you, Senator, for representing the people instead of coal corporations and their lobbyists.

July 9, 2012 at 8:22 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Conservative,

You don't know what you're talking about.

http://taxvox.taxpolicycenter.org/2010/04/15/about-those-47-percent-who-pay-“no-taxes-”/

July 9, 2012 at 8:23 a.m.
conservative said...

easy....

Unfortunately for you I read your and comment and for the first time read your source, You assumed no one would read your source and I'm sure that is generally true. I guess it's just not your day.

I wrote "47% of American households who pay no federal income taxes"

Your source wrote "About half of taxpayers paid no federal income tax last year."

Your source also wrote " Last June, my colleague Bob Williams posted a TaxVox article that reported 47 percent of American households paid no federal income tax in 2009. Bob was exactly right"

Let's see if you learn anything here.

July 9, 2012 at 9:58 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Conservative,

Unfortunately for you, I read the WHOLE article.

I know what you wrote. But if you go on to read that only about 14% paid no income or payroll taxes. Remember to always read the article in it's entirety.

I have another article.

http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3505

"The 51 percent and 46 percent figures are anomalies that reflect the unique circumstances of the past few years, when the economic downturn greatly swelled the number of Americans with low incomes. The figures for 2009 are particularly anomalous; in that year, temporary tax cuts that the 2009 Recovery Act created — including the “Making Work Pay” tax credit and an exclusion from tax of the first $2,400 in unemployment benefits — were in effect and removed millions of Americans from the federal income tax rolls. Both of these temporary tax measures have since expired.

In 2007, before the economy turned down, 40 percent of households did not owe federal income tax. This figure more closely reflects the percentage that do not owe income tax in normal economic times."

As you can see, you are misinterpreting the data. You are trying to sell this "freeloader" propaganda but you're only spreading misinformation. The 47 percent number means absolutely nothing and it has been shown to be an anomaly. The vast majority of those people do pay income and payroll taxes. They are not "free riders".

I guess it's just not going to be your week. And I know you won't learn anything. You're far too brainwashed for that. But please, keep trying to spread your propaganda and misinformation. I'll be right there waiting!

July 9, 2012 at 10:25 a.m.
conservative said...

You were caught. Keep digging.

Write something longer that no one will read.

July 9, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Caught doing what? Showing that you have no clue what you are talking about? You got me there.

I have provided TWO articles that speak against the validity of your assessment and how the statistic you provided is being misused. I've done my digging. And YOU were caught.

LOL! Yeah, blame it on the length of the post. I'm sure it's not your fault you can't read.

July 9, 2012 at 10:35 a.m.
nucanuck said...

c-man's reading is not the problem, it's the reading comprehension.

July 9, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.
Easy123 said...

nucanuck,

You're probably right. I'll have to keep it short and sweet next time. Maybe use some pictures, graphs, pie charts, etc.

July 9, 2012 at 10:43 a.m.
Leaf said...

Another falsehood in this opinion piece is: "Every power plant in America combined, however, accounts for just half of one percent of all mercury in the air we breathe."

In actuality coal plants account for 40% of US manmade mercury emmissions. We don't breath all of it. Most of it falls into the ground or water and we eat or drink it instead.

The EPA's proposed standards are projected to save as many as 17,000 lives every year by 2015; prevent up to 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and 11,000 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children every year; avoid more than 12,000 emergency room and hospital visits annually; and prevent 850,000 lost work days every year. The monetized benefits from the improved health standards are estimated to be $59 billion to $140 billion annually, compared to annual compliance costs of approximately $10.9 billion. The EPA also projects that the proposed standards will create up to 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term utility jobs.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Mercury_and_coal

Coal is dirty, and don't let the paid industry shills try to tell you otherwise.

July 9, 2012 at 10:45 a.m.
328Kwebsite said...

After that massive coal ash spill, Senator Alexander needed to do something. If you think the environment is not a concern, imagine a pile of burned trash bigger than Cameron Hill sliding into your drinking water. That's what happened up in Kingston.

When we have piles of burned coal ash garbage mudsliding into the water supply, it's time to have reasonable environmental controls. Really, it's past due.

Our response to that coal ash spill has been to dredge up the coal trash-mud and put it on rail cars to ship it to central Alabama. We have done little or nothing to put a stop to our massive coal garbage generation problem.

If that sludge had poured over some yuppie lawns and country clubs, the Free Press would be preaching the importance of conservation. We need to do what's right by our people. That includes not creating massive piles of garbage we ignore until a crisis destroys valuable resources like the drinking water supply for many communities.

Our problem is not that Senator Alexander has accepted this or that. Our problem is that we have done almost nothing about our garbage problem. The main reason why: public sanitation is unprofitable. Compare the money poured into manufacturing a good or service with the amount of money spent on processing the trash. It'll become obvious that large segments of our economy are based on the idea of ignoring our trash. It doesn't have to be that way. Really, if businesses were inventive, we'd see a large increase in the establishment and operation of trash processing and recycling businesses. As it is, we haven't even scratched the potential.

Stop the next mudslide of trash before it starts. Don't reprimand politicians for trying to do the right thing by our people and the environment.

July 9, 2012 at 1:59 p.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

The last time I read about Utility MACT it demanded further reduction in the really bad stuff like oxides of sulfur, cyanide and mercury but it does not waste resources trying to sequester carbon. I think Senator Alexander is doing us all a favor by supporting this legislation.

It would not surprise me if the Democrats try to attach carbon restrictions to the bill and end up killing it before it can become law.

July 9, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.
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