A Glimpse Into How Gas Prices Are Affecting Local Economies (Harry Reid Territory, No Less) And The EPA Makes A Power Grab

It’s kind of ironic when Dems who are deliberately keeping energy costs high are causing so much damage to their own constituents. Such is the case of Harry Reid (D-NV), the current majority leader of the Senate. Check this out from the Las Vegas Sun:

Southern California gamblers who regularly drive to Las Vegas have cut back their visits by a third because of record gas prices, and those who still come say they’ve cut their gambling back by 29 percent, a new poll has found.

The findings indicate that gas prices are having a greater impact on tourism than can be gleaned from statistics generated by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. They compile key figures such as the number of visitors who drive or fly to Las Vegas, hotel occupancy and room rates, but don’t try to quantify how gas prices affect tourism.

Medick said he wasn’t attempting to quantify the drop in tourism, but rather to identify why some gamblers have stopped coming and at what point they are priced out of Vegas because of gas prices.

The survey follows one he conducted in 2005 gauging the response of Southern California gamblers to gas prices that had risen to more than $3 a gallon at the time.

About 48 percent of the polled Southern California gamblers in 2005 said gas prices had affected their decision to drive to Las Vegas casinos, but the survey didn’t ask motorists to explain what the impact was.

The tourism industry is huge in Las Vegas as well as other major resort destination such as Orlando, Florida and Honolulu, Hawaii. All tourism will take a hit as a result of skyrocketing energy costs and the economy as a whole will take a major downturn unless Congress joins President Bush in calling for more domestic energy production.

It almost seems like justice that Harry Reid’s home state should be among the first to begin feeling the pinch of inflated gas prices as brought on by the Democrat-controlled Congress.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

Survey: Gas Prices Deter Southern Californians
Liz Benston
Las Vegas Sun
July 8, 2008

And the Heartland Institute has issued a warning about a new set of rules that the Environmental Protection Agency is seeking to impose on us. These new rules really amount to an attempted power grab by a group of people who have no accountability whatsoever.

Here are some key points:

Two weeks ago, EPA staff leaked a draft of the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on “Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act,” which was published in Energy Washington. This document and the policy direction it takes pose a major concern for consumers.

The White House deserves credit for recognizing and opposing the huge economic costs and proposed government restructuring of the recently defeated Boxer-Lieberman-Warner global warming bill, but this draft ANPR is even worse policy than that flawed and rejected bill.

1. The leaked ANPR provides a roadmap to economy-wide regulation of greenhouse gases; it is not a solicitation of comments for a proposed rule.

Normally, federal agencies release Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking to obtain preliminary information prior to issuing a proposed rule or to decide whether to propose a rule. This document goes far beyond that first step. EPA is not requesting preliminary information, but instead is providing a roadmap to economy-wide greenhouse gas regulation.

2. EPA’s ANPR supports “all pain, no gain” regulation.

Reducing emissions is painful. An analysis of a carbon “cap-and-trade” proposal considered by the U.S. Senate in 2008 — the Lieberman-Warner Act — found it would destroy between 1.2 and 1.8 million jobs in 2020 and between 3 and 4 million jobs in 2030; impose a financial cost of $739 to $2,927 per year by 2020 on national households, rising to $4,022 to $6,752 by 2030; and would increase the price of gasoline between 60 percent and 144 percent by 2030 and the price of electricity by 77 percent to 129 percent. (National Association of Manufacturers / American Council for Capital Formation, “Study of the Economic Impact from the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act,” 2008.)

3. The science underpinning ANPR is lacking.

Policymakers should be appalled by the lack of sound scientific analysis in the leaked ANPR. The science is important because the point of the document is to help the EPA Administrator determine whether greenhouse gases “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare or to explain why the scientific uncertainty is so profound that it prevents making a reasoned judgment on such a determination.” This is the entire point of the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

4. Apparently EPA has not independently assessed the science; it defers to the United Nations.

EPA apparently has not independently assessed the science of global warming. Instead it seems to rely exclusively on the global warming reports from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This is disturbing because the IPCC’s reports are not peer-reviewed and they do not include the latest science. The IPCC cut-off for science papers was May 2006. (For a critique of the IPCC’s latest report, along with more recent research and data on issues ignored by the IPCC, see Singer, S. Fred, ed., Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate, Summary for Policymakers of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, Science and Environmental Policy Project, April 2008; http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=22835)

5. Congress, not EPA, should be the principal in developing energy and climate change policy.

The proposed ANPR is an attempt by a rogue agency within the executive branch of government to establish new regulation under the Clean Air Act without the consent of Congress. This type of regulation is the prerogative of elected officials, who are accountable to the electorate and must authorize such activity, not unelected bureaucrats.

The regulatory changes envisioned in the ANPR are sweeping, even breath-taking. If such a vast expansion of the regulatory state is to be brought about, it must be a legislative effort, not a purely regulatory effort. This effort by EPA appears to be designed to force Congress to enact greenhouse gas regulations that would redistribute wealth rather than address climate change or energy policy. Congress should not be forced to act at regulatory gunpoint.

The Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill was an attempt by members of Congress to address the issue of climate change. The bill failed because constituents, labor unions, and special-interest groups contacted their representatives — elected officials — and indicated their strong displeasure with the economic costs, the reorganization of government, and the impact on domestic energy supplies. Because it is accountable to voters, Congress defeated the bill. EPA must not be allowed to circumvent this democratic procedure.

This needs to die before it goes any further. The EPA has stepped way out of bounds here.

You can access the complete article on-line here:

EPA Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR): Alert 1
Heartland Institute
July 9, 2008

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