Friday, July 4, 2014

A Tempest In A Teapot

This morning Cathy McMorris Rodgers sent an email to everyone on her list directing us to check her op-ed in the Seattle Times, which she helpfully included word for word in her email. In it she complains that "...drastic energy regulations could cause Washington families to see higher energy bills. And those higher bills, coupled with a weakened economy, would hurt moms and dads already struggling to make ends meet."

What drastic energy regulations is she referring to? The EPA's Clean Power Plan and its effect on Washington state. The plan concerns electrical generation facilities that burn fossil fuels. The goals are:

* Cut carbon emission from the power sector by 30 percent nationwide below 2005 levels, which is equal to the emissions from powering more than half the homes in the United States for one year;
* Cut particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by more than 25 percent as a co-benefit;
* Avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits;
* Shrink electricity bills roughly 8 percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.

But those benefits don't concern our congresswoman. This is what she's concerned with:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced proposals that would require Washington state to cut its carbon emissions by a staggering 72 percent — a rate higher than anywhere else in the nation.

Washington has one coal-fired electrical generation plant and it's located in Centralia. Here's a news report about that plant from three years ago.

Washington's only coal-fired power plant will shut down one of two boilers by 2020 and phase out coal-burning entirely by 2025 under an agreement between TransAlta and environmental groups, according to a proposal released Saturday. 
The 1,376-megawatt power plant has been an environmental target because it spews out considerable air pollution. It is the state's top point source of greenhouse gases, toxic mercury and ozone-causing nitrogen oxide, and second in sulfur dioxide that causes acid rain, according to Department of Ecology data. 

Not that it matters much, but notice the EPA had nothing to do with this. What we have here is a single fossil-fuel burning electrical plant that will be converting to natural gas and reducing its carbon emissions. So why is she making a fuss and trying to score political points? Maybe because she's in the Republican leadership and that's what they do.

I would like to point out that the plant is owned by Transalta, the same company trying to foist the Keystone XL pipeline on our country, which our congresswoman has been an avid cheerleader for. It would appear our congresswoman is more interested in helping corporate "persons" instead of real people who would benefit from reduced pollution and cheaper electricity. But she still puts on appearances.

McMorris Rodgers ends her op-ed:

As one in four people continues to struggle with long-term unemployment, our country must make every effort to pursue innovative energy opportunities that are pro-job and will continue spurring America’s energy renaissance — a renaissance that will strengthen the economy for the future and leave a stronger America for our children and grandchildren.

Wait...25% of our population struggles with long-term unemployment? Do any numbers she comes up with ever have a remote connection to reality?

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