After a series of left-wing Supreme Court decisions, conservatives finally received some good news. In a 5-4 majority opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the Environmental Protection Agency must scrap their new mercury rules because it didn’t take into account the costs of the regulations before deciding to adopt them.
The EPA is not necessarily prohibited from limiting mercury emissions from power plants, but must simply conduct a cost-benefit analysis on such regulations. Scalia was joined by fellow conservatives Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito as well as moderates Anthony Kennedy and Chief Justice John Roberts.
“The agency must consider cost—including, most importantly, cost of compliance—before deciding whether regulation is appropriate and necessary,” Scalia wrote in a 15-page opinion.
The first-ever mercury rule, adopted in 2012 as apart of President Obama’s new global warming regulations, was challenged by 21 states and a few energy industry organizations. According to the Wall Street Journal, about 460 of the 600 power plants under the rule are coal-fired plants.
“The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants,” Daniel P. Schrag, a member of the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology said a few years ago. “A war on coal is exactly what’s needed.”
Since congress could not pass Cap-and-Trade legislation, President Obama decided to simply create new environmental regulations from the stroke of a pen. The government set a goal of forcing coal-based plants to cut its emissions by 30 percent over the next 15 years.
No matter how politicians decide to fight climate change, it will hurt the economy.
A study of the impacts of a carbon tax plan proposed by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) could eliminate over 500,000 jobs, increase electricity rates by 20 percent, raise natural gas prices by more than 40 percent, and cost a family of four approximately $1,000 in income per year.
In 2012, there was a significant backlash from a group of Latino Democrats in the California Assembly, who were worried that California’s Cap-and-Trade law would hurt poor and middle-class Hispanics. Democrat Henry Perea proposed Assembly Bill 69, which would establish a three-year suspension on the cap-and-trade program’s requirement to buy permits for transportation fuels.
Climate change legislation also pitted California’s blue-collar workers against “limousine liberals.” A lot of rich people, like billionaire San Francisco hedge fund businessman Tom Steyer, can profit enormously off green energy and scaring the public about climate change. Of course, higher gas and electricity prices is worth it for the few people who profit off it.
Moreover, some argue that Earth is more important than the economy. The problem is that climate change legislation would do nothing to improve the environment.
“But it’s for a good cause, right? After all, we’re saving the planet! Another study concluded that even if the United States were to halt all carbon emission, it would only reduce the global temperature by .08 degrees Celsius by the year 2050.
Is it really worth it to wreck our economy, to abandon modern inventions like light-bulbs, automobiles, air conditioning, and toilets, returning to those glory days of lanterns, horse-drawn carriages, hand fans, and outhouses–to lower the global temperature by less than a tenth of a degree?”