Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saving Green By Going Green, Followup

Today, I sent the following letter to my congressman Cory Gardner:

I am writing to urge you to vote against the TRAIN Act, which will delay implementation of key environmental protections that could save thousands of lives. While proponents of the TRAIN Act claim that they are interested in ensuring that the benefits of regulation exceed the economic costs, their actual actions clearly show that this is not what they are concerned about. First of all, the EPA already does cost-benefit analyses of its regulations. If TRAIN Act proponents believe these analyses are flawed, why wouldn't they just fix them, rather than wasting time starting all over? Second, the latest version of the TRAIN Act explicitly blocks the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Mercury and Air Toxics standards. If proponents were really interested in making an honest inquiry as to the costs and benefits, why would they write into the bill what conclusions they want before even doing the analysis? Finally, the pro-pollution lobby's own words prove their dishonesty. The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a key pro-polluter lobbying group, on the front page of its website ( states that proposed EPA regulations would "eliminate more than a million American jobs". However, if you click through to their own analysis you will find that is not true - they actually claim it will eliminate 1.4 million "job-years", totaled over an 8-year period, which is not the same thing. If the pro-polluter lobby can't even get basic facts straight, why should we believe anything they say?

I'm not too hopeful as to what Gardner will think about this issue, given that he is a staunch conservative and as far as I can tell from his votes, has hasn't voted on the pro-environment side on any recent bills. I don't see anything on his web site where he supports "protecting the environment." However, one of the proposals he supports, the Business Cycle Balanced Budget Amendment, says it will "force government to budget itself in a countercyclical manner", which actually makes economic sense. However, the actual proposal says that the budget limit for each year is an (inflation-adjusted) average of revenues for the past three years, and I don't think that's what "countercyclical" means.

1 comment:

Dan Mont said...

Not only is it not counter-cyclical, it is PRO-cyclical. If revenues are going up -- then the economy is growing -- so if you then allow for more spending you are increasing spending while the economy is growing, which is pro-cyclical. Same thing in the other direction.