Home Energy and Environment The EPA’s Clean Power Plan: The 2015 Virginia General Assembly’s “ObamaCare?”

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan: The 2015 Virginia General Assembly’s “ObamaCare?”

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It’s looking like debate and legislation on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan could be the 2015 Virginia General Assembly session’s “ObamaCare” for Republicans and Tea Partiers. Turns out the Koch-brothers’ front group Americans for Prosperity is weighing in big time, and GOP gubernatorial hopeful, Sen. Frank Wagner, has jumped on the bandwagon big time.  

Note that Sen. Wagner is Co-chair of Joint Senate/House subcommittee formed to deal with legislation on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  That Subcommittee’s first meeting was held on Wednesday, with Sen Wagner running the meeting and only one invited speaker. Who was that speaker, you ask? That’s right, none other than our old friend David W. Schnare, General Counsel at the Energy & Environment Legal Institute., there to provide “analysis” (hahahaha) of the “Proposed Clean Power Plan Rule Issued Under § 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.”  First, a bit of background on Mr. Schnare:

The author of the report, David Schnare, [was] a a Senior Fellow of the Thomas Jefferson Institute. Schnare runs a blog where he has some interesting things to say. For instance:

*Environmental activists are “very sick people” who “quietly rejoice over the potential of millions (billions?) of starving people.”

*On global warming, he constantly belittles concerns over it and questions the science. For instance, in August 2007 he wrote, “In a paper soon to be published, Scott Barrett explains why we are not facing a global emergency, why we need not act precipitously and without sufficient regard to the economic consequences, and why we will never reach, nor need to reach an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases.” Schnare also claims that “the Scandinavian moose emits 2,100 kg of methane a year, equivalent to the green house gases emitted by an automobile trip of 13,000 km” and concludes, “Thank goodness hunters shoot 35,000 of them each year.”

*Also on global warming, Barrett writes, “When it comes to global warming, I’m a skeptic because the conclusions about the cause of the apparent warming stand on the shoulders of incredibly uncertain data and models.” Regardless, he writes, “a strategy of relying exclusively on reduction of greenhouse gases is doomed to failure.”

*Barrett also claims that “reliance on, and vigorous implementation of greenhouse gas reduction is basically a racist approach with progressive tax-like implications that will further divide the rich from the poor.”

Also see Audio: Interview with Bob McDonnell’s Favorite Global Warming “Skeptic”. for more on this…er, character.

Anyway, Sen Wagner, who invited Mr. Schnare to speak, seems to be in full partisan, crazed, anti-EPA mode at this time, despite the vulnerability of his district to sea-level rise,. And Schnare, of course, is simply a hit man for the fossil fuel industry.  I’ve got his Power Point presentation (click here to see it), and it’s a doozy.  Schnare starts out by claiming that if the EPA adopts the Clean Power Plan, “will cause more premature death than it will avoid” (WTF?!?), supposedly because rates for electricity will rise so high (not true) that the poor will not be able to afford health care or to feed their children. Seriously, I am not making this crap up.  

Meanwhile, I hear that fellow Republicans, Virginia State Senators Wagner and Ben Chafin, plus right-wingnut Delegate Jackson Miller, were quick to chime in with  their deep “concerns” that the EPA rules would be hurting poor Virginians. Yeah, I know, since when do folks like Wagner, Chafin and Miller have any “concerns” about poor Virginians?  Hint: never.

By the way, Schnare’s Energy & Environment Legal Institute is a real piece of work. Of course, it’s Koch funded.  That almost goes without saying. Also interesting, it changed its name after being found to have violated campaign finance laws in Montana.  In its prior incarnation, it submitted a FOIA to go after Climate Scientist and Professor Michael Mann’s emails at UVA.  Its current specialties include attacking wind energy and renewable energy generally. A great bunch of folks, in other words….not.

As if all this isn’t bad enough, yesterday the Koch brothers’ front group, Americans for Prosperity, sent a letter out to all General Assembly members attacking the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and promoting the so-called RASP Bill (courtesey of the viciously anti-environment, pro-polluter ALEC, of course), while Senator Charles Carrico (R) introduced SB 740–the same bill that Pennsylvanoia passed to obstruct implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan regulations limiting carbon pollution from coal fired power plants.  

Bottom line: it’s looking like Republicans are planning to make the 2015 Virginia General Assembly their “war on the environment” session, following their “war on health care for poor Virginians” jihad in 2014.  I mean, is the Virginia GOP an Onion parody, an attempt to emulate “Dr. Evil,” or what?  Just bizarre.

P.S. In reality, the Clean Power Plan represents a great opportunity for Virginia on economic and environmental grounds. Unless, of course, you’re a fossil fuel executive, or bought-and-paid-for lobbyist/legislator/etc.