Where do you want it? Head or Gut?

Posted by Jason | Posted in Global Warming, Government | Posted on 09-11-2009


In the movie “The Last Boy Scout”, Bruce Willis would ask people that he was about to punch, “Head or Gut?”. If you were an unlucky person who didn’t understand the question, you got both. This is similar to how the government treats industries that they want to get involved in. Apparently, the utilities are asking for the gut, thinking it will be less painful.

The executives’ desire for prompt action is colliding with Washington’s focus on other issues and growing reluctance to tamper with power-industry costs during a weak economy.

An American Electric Power coal plant, with a new carbon-capture unit, in New Haven, W.Va. Most power companies don’t think any effective, affordable technology exists to capture and store their carbon-dioxide emissions.

Some executives said last week they think intervention by the Environmental Protection Agency would be doomed because, for the most part, all the agency can do is order firms to install “best available control technology.” Most power companies don’t think any effective, affordable technology exists to capture and store carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants.

Most power companies prefer so-called cap-and-trade legislation to EPA regulation because the former is expected to give them greater flexibility on how to comply and thus cost them less than EPA regulation, they say.

Still, plenty in the utility sector continue to oppose legislation to cap carbon emissions.

Under cap-and-trade legislation — which the House has passed but the Senate hasn’t vote on yet — the government would require companies to hold permits to emit greenhouse gases. Over time, the government would issue fewer permits, bringing emissions down gradually while allowing companies to trade the permits among themselves. Companies that find it too expensive to reduce their own emissions could pay other firms to reduce theirs. They could also invest in activities that offset carbon-dioxide emissions, such as planting trees.

The EPA would be “forced to pursue a technology road map that doesn’t exist,” warned Jim Rogers, chief executive of Duke Energy Corp., Charlotte, N.C., who also has lobbied the Hill repeatedly to pass a bill.

John Rowe, head of Exelon Corp., Chicago, said that EPA regulation would be “more arbitrary, more expensive, and more uncertain for investors and the industry than a reasonable, market-based legislative solution like cap and trade.”

The executives said they want legislation — and soon — because utilities need to make billions of dollars of investments in coming years and risk bad choices in a legislative void.

via Some Utilities Push Congress to Act on Carbon Emissions – WSJ.com.

Guess who the people are who don’t understand the question? That would be the you and me. We are about to get both in the form of a huge increases in the cost of living. This will come in our utility and health care costs. Not only that, each one of these touches every other part of our lives. Every business is going to be affected by these increased costs, which means they will have to raise prices of their products.

Instead of picking either head or gut, utilities should throw the first punch. They should be telling the public/customers what this means to them. Then again, the government could tell them they can’t do that. Look at Humana during the health care debate. But hey, luckily we still have freedom of speech right?

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[...] from should they be involved, to which policy is best. Once that happens, you are back to the “head or gut” question. WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission began to lay the groundwork for a bigger [...]

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