Archive for January 7th, 2011

USCAP to go into self-induced coma

January 7, 2011

The US Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), the business-environmentalist lobby group that almost made cap-and-trade happen in the 111th Congress, is going dark at least temporarily.

Jonathan Lash of the USCAP member World Resources Institute told Carbon Control News that members,

“have agreed to keep USCAP in existence for the time being and reassess what is going to be possible.”

Apparently with cap-and-trade off the table and internal disagreement about whether to support or fight the EPA’s climate rules, USCAP members have reached an impasse as to what to do next.

So it’s lights out for USCAP for now.

USCAP members lobbied hard and successfully for the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, but then saw disenchanted members fall away, including BP America, Caterpillar, ConocoPhillips, Deere & Co., Marsh & McClennan, Xerox.

Oddly (or perhaps not), USCAP’s lead lobbyist, Merribel Ayres is married to Dick Ayres, a longtime board member of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a radical environmental group that has long been a mortal enemy of most of the USCAP members. The NRDC was among the groups that sued the U.S. EPA to impose California’s emission standards on cars nationwide — a lawsuit that led directly to the EPA’s new and controversial greenhouse gas regulations.

USCAP is little more than a confederacy of dunces (the business members) and sharks (the green members). We look forward to the day when the plug is finally pulled.

In the meantime, let’s take a walk down memory lane and our campaign against USCAP. Do you remember:

  • the Carbon Criminal posters?
  • Sen. Barbara Boxer’s tirade against the posters?
  • Exelon CEO John Rowe receiving his “Carbon Bandit” bobblehead at a Senate hearing?

Bill to repeal bulb ban introduced

January 7, 2011

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) introduced a bill to repeal the 2007 law that bans incandescent bulbs starting in 2012.

Here is Barton’s media release:

Barton leads Republican effort to repeal light bulb ban

WASHINGTON: Reps. Joe Barton, R-Texas, Michael Burgess, R-Texas, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, joined 12 other Republicans to reintroduced the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act or BULB Act, H.R. 91.

The BULB Act repeals Subtitle B of Title III of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which is a de facto ban on the incandescent light bulb.

“This is about more than just energy consumption, it is about personal freedom. Voters sent us a message in November that it is time for politicians and activists in Washington to stop interfering in their lives and manipulating the free market. The light bulb ban is the perfect symbol of that frustration. People don’t want congress dictating what light fixtures they can use,” said Rep. Barton. “Traditional incandescent bulbs are cheap and reliable. Alternatives, including the most common replacement Compact Fluorescent Lights or CFL’s, are more expensive and health hazards – so why force them on the American people? From the health insurance you’re allowed to have, to the car you can drive, to the light bulbs you can buy, Washington is making too many decisions that are better left to you and your family.”

“Thousands of American jobs have been shipped overseas as a direct consequence of this light bulb provision in the Democrats’ 2007 energy bill,” Burgess said. “I have stated all along that exposing our citizens to the harmful effects of the mercury contained in CFL light bulbs, which are being manufactured in China, is likely to pose a hazard for years to come. Not only would this bill be better for the environment, but it would be one step to bringing jobs back to America.”

“These are the kinds of regulations that make the American people roll their eyes. It is typical of a ‘big Washington’ solution to a non-existent problem. In this case it manifests itself as an overreach into every American home, one that ships good jobs overseas and infuriates the American consumer,” added Rep. Blackburn.

Other co-sponsors include: Reps. Todd Akin (R-Missouri), Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Paul Broun (R-Georgia), Ann Marie Buerkle (R-New York), Dan Burton (R-Indiana), Howard Coble (R-North Carolina), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Tom McClintock (R-), Ron Paul (R-Texas), Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), Cliff Stearns (R-Florida), and Don Young (R-Alaska).

Alternatives to traditional incandescent bulbs have many drawbacks. They are all considerably more expensive. The most common alternative, compact florescent light bulbs have a number of problems:

  • Most CFLs are not manufactured in the United States. A recent Washington Post story reported that GE is shuttering a plant in Winchester, Va., killing 200 jobs in the process.
    CFLs contain mercury and have to be disposed of carefully. The amount of mercury in one bulb is enough to contaminate up to 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels. The EPA recommends an elaborate cleanup ritual, including throwing away any clothes or bedding that has come in direct contact with the mercury from the bulb.
  • CFLs are not designed to be turned off and on frequently; the lifespan of a CFL may be reduced by up to 85 percent if you switch it off and on a lot.
  • People with certain health conditions can be harmed by CFLs. Reactions range from disabling eczema-like reactions, to light sensitivities that can lead to skin cancer.
  • The Energy Star program warns that CFLs can overheat and smoke.

Don’t miss GreenHellBlog’s exclusive: EPA’s Mercurial Hypocrisy.

Ohio EPA’s Cancer Scare

January 7, 2011

By Steve Milloy
January 7, 2011,

As if there’s not enough to be worried about already, the Ohio EPA just reported that residents in seven Ohio counties face a great than acceptable risk of cancer from air pollution.

Based on air monitoring data, the Ohio EPA reported that cancer risks ranged from 1.01 additional cancers per 10,000 people in Scioto County to 2.1 additional cancers per 10,000 people in Columbiana County.

But these claims are specious and the scare is irresponsible.

First, even accepting for the sake of argument the dubious notion that the low levels of exposure to the metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at issue actually increase cancer risk, people should be aware of the insignificance of the risk.

Like it or not, about 44 percent of all men and 37 percent of all women will develop some sort of cancer during their lifetimes. This means that of every 10,000 men and women, about 4,000 will develop cancer over their lifetime.

If what the Ohio EPA claimed were true, the 4,000-estimate would increase to perhaps 4,002 — an insignificant and undetectable change that would be lost in the margin of error.

But then, that’s only if there is a real cancer risk from the exposures at issues — and that is doubtful.

There are no scientific studies of human populations showing that typical exposures to the ambient concentrations of the metals and VOCs at issue have ever caused anyone’s cancer risk.

So what the Ohio EPA did was to rely on the U.S. EPA’s risk assessment methodologies — a very dubious proposition.

In the mid 1990s on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, I led a comprehensive study of the EPA’s risk assessment practices – none of which have changed in any significant way since that time.

We found that in the face of omnipresent gaps and uncertainties in scientific knowledge and data, the EPA employs assumptions that are usually not science-based.

In deciding whether or not to label a chemical as potentially causing cancer, for example, the EPA typically relies on laboratory studies in which cancer-susceptible rodents are virtually poisoned with unrealistically high doses of the chemical. If the rodents then exhibit increased rates of cancer, however slight, then the EPA assumes that the same thing will happen in humans.

But mice are not little people. They metabolize chemicals differently than humans — a fact that the EPA only grudgingly admits once in a while when researchers have gone to great effort and expense to make the point as they did, for example, in the case of unleaded gasoline.

The Ohio EPA calculated make-believe, not actual cancer risks. Its cancer alarmism relies on presumptuous assumptions that are scientifically indefensible.

The dirty secret that America’s environmental establishment doesn’t want to acknowledge, much less publicize, is that our air is clean and safe. We are now in an era of ever-vanishingly small returns from ever-increasing environmental regulation.

American manufacturing is on the decline and jobs are going overseas. While there are many reasons for this phenomenon, they include excessive environmental regulation.

Sure the Ohio EPA can tighten its air quality regulations and write more stringent permits to reduce the hypothetical cancer risks to “acceptable levels,” but at some point, employers will say enough is enough and simply move on to more welcoming jurisdictions.

Do Ohioans really want its government to chase away jobs for no good reason, and then be terrorized with baseless cancer scares to boot?

Steve Milloy publishes and is the author of Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” (Regnery 2009).