It is an issue that has the potential to bludgeon our economy and hit home as hard as any being discussed today and the Left knows it. No, I’m not talking about ObamaCare, I’m talking about energy freedom and the lengths that the Left is going to in order to shut down opposition to their plans.
On July 29, Americans for Prosperity Georgia is hosting our “Stop The EPA Power Grab” rally (www.afpgeorgia.com for details) at noon in Atlanta at the epicenter of the national fight for energy freedom – the Environmental Protection Agency’s public hearings in front of the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center – on President Obama’s proposed carbon dioxide reduction rules. New federal laws are already threatening to limit free speech at the energy freedom rally with an EPA that is worried activists will show up en masse and shine a national spotlight on these disastrous proposed energy rules. Just this week, Kentucky resident Alex DeSha was making arrangements for about 50 Kentuckians to attend when he found out their driver’s licenses wouldn’t be accepted as identification. The EPA explained that new security provisions that take effect July 21 will require that people with driver’s licenses from Kentucky and nine other states show a passport or some other kind of federal identification, such as a military ID. Hard working Kentucky citizens, also in line to be affected greatly by these new rules are taking time out from their busy lives to come protest with Georgia and being turned away by bully energy bureaucrats. This is the sad irony of an administration that says a state ID is enough to vote but not enough to attend a government hearing and free speech gathering.
The truth is, the Left knows that Georgians and Americans at large are quickly being turned on to the rigged game they’ve been playing with America’s energy resources under the guise of “climate change” or “global warming”. The Left has run the numbers and we have, too. It has nothing to do with environmentalism when the EPA, itself, estimates that adopting these rules will prevent .018 ºC of warming by year 2100. Why so little impact? Because the very thing these rules are meant to address – the impact of man-made carbon dioxide emissions – are a specious culprit, at best. Earth’s atmosphere is composed of 78 percent nitrogen gas, 21 percent oxygen, and 1 percent other trace gases. Carbon dioxide is one of these trace gases, comprising much less than 1 percent. Only four of every ten thousand air molecules are carbon dioxide. The number one green house gas in the atmosphere, contrary to statements by the Sierra Club, is not CO2, it’s the water vapor that crowds out atmospheric CO2 by a factor of 500 to 1.
Energy drives our economy and our quality of life. It affects the cost of virtually every good and service we buy and provides thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Georgia. These draconian rules, perhaps as much as any other, threaten Georgia (and the nation’s) energy affordability, job creation, and economic growth. The rules require states to reduce their carbon emissions by 30 percent of 2005 levels. In Georgia, it’s worse. Our state will face one of the largest reductions in carbon emissions — 44% of 2012 levels — which will have a huge impact on Georgia business and working families. This is because Georgia, like some other states, gets a larger percentage of its power from coal. That’s power that makes your electricity reliable and your electricity bills affordable. Currently, Georgia has 9 coal power plants that generate one-third of their electricity from coal. It ranks 14th among the states in terms of coal use. Coal and natural gas remain the most cost-effective and reliable options for electricity generation in the state, and their widespread use helps contribute to Georgia’s below-average electricity prices.
Stopping the EPA power grab has nothing to do with a lack of environmental consciousness and everything to do with a humanitarian concern for our fellow Georgians, the jobs that would be lost and the rising cost of living at a time when the cost of living is strained enough. It’s a stand against a government agency that is being used for a naked government power grab. Georgians’ quality of life relies on energy freedom and it should not be sacrificed for a clever political power play.
Joel Aaron Foster is State Communications Director and Grassroots Coordinator of Americans for Prosperity Georgia.