EPA seeks ‘public input’ on
cutting emissions? Well, here goes
A front-page article in the Globe Tuesday reported that Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, was planning to repeal a rule limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and that the EPA is seeking “public input on how best to cut emissions from natural-gas and coal-fired power plants” (“EPA set to end rule on emissions”). OK, here’s my input.
One reason that the fossil-fuel business is so lucrative is that the costs to society of dumping greenhouse gases freely into the atmosphere — so-called externalities — are not considered in the costs of doing business. If even a fraction of the costs of global warming, such as infrastructure to mitigate the effects of rising sea levels, were charged to all parties that sell or consume fossil fuels — a process often referred to as “carbon pricing” — then alternative energy could compete fairly in the marketplace and greenhouse gas emissions would decrease.
Note that carbon pricing does not impose burdensome regulations; rather, it allows markets to operate effectively when the costs of fossil fuel use are calculated fairly. Economists on the left and right have been arguing for carbon pricing for decades; let’s do it now, in Massachusetts if not nationally.
A growing list of environmental rules dashed by Trump
The list of environmental protection rules that are threatened by this administration is getting longer. Donald Trump is on a personal mission to undo everything that was achieved in the last decade, so the threat of reversing the Clean Power Plan should not shock anyone.
It is quite clear that the coal lobby is the best ally of Scott Pruitt, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt is a longtime friend of the fossil fuel industry, and coal industry lobbyists have been appointed at the EPA under Trump. Just this month, another one was picked to help Pruitt run the agency.
The Trump administration is pushing the coal industry agenda while creating false hopes for the coal mining communities, promising jobs that are not coming back and rewinding the clock on basic environmental protection principles. These are troubling moves.
Our local politicians here in Massachusetts have a chance to do better than the federal government, by stopping the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure, as New York did; expanding the renewable energy portfolio; and divesting from coal and other fossil fuels. These are the only right moves.
We’re moving backward on
clean energy while China advances
With the declaration by the Trump administration that “the war against coal is over,” while the Chinese government is on a fast pace to replace coal with solar, our country is moving backward in time on clean energy, and our nation and the rest of the world is being set back for generations to come, with catastrophic environmental results. So sad.
Give the agency a new name
The Trump Administration should change the name of the Environmental Protection Agency, to reflect the focus of its work under this administration, to the Environmental Degradation Agency.