If Washington’s environmental zealots have their way, individual Kentuckians will find out via their soaring electric bills and unemployment rates: what happens in D.C. absolutely does not stay in D.C.

It’s no coincidence that as the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory mountain grows, coal production in the Appalachian region – including eastern Kentucky – diminishes. Mines close and permits to open new mines – along with the new jobs and economic opportunity that would be created – are held hostage by ideological environmental fanatics, most of whom probably don’t even know how to put a miner’s hat on their largely empty heads.

Groups like Beyond Coal celebrate the fact that 110 out of 522 Appalachian coal-fired power plants have closed. These radical left-wing zealots actually cheer the hardship that results, including the fact that these plant shutdowns equate to a loss of 13 percent of all coal-based electric capacity in the nation.

These extremists are being aided and abetted by the Obama administration, which previously pointed to now-shuttered solar panel manufacturer Solyndra as a “true engine of economic growth” while vowing to destroy Appalachia’s coal industry.

Solyndra, an unproven industry, got a half-billion dollars from taxpayers and failed. The only thing coal miners – who have been proving their productivity for decades – receive from this administration is a slap in the face in the form of a declaration of war on their entire way of life.

This war is being waged with regulations like the EPA’s Utility MACT and coal-ash rules, which the agency itself estimates will place an additional $31 billion annual burden on the economy.

Keep in mind that neither the coal companies nor the EPA itself will bear that cost. Consumers – even the ones who don’t live in coal country and normally overlook this issue – will pay the price for Washington’s regulatory fervor.

A new report by the American Legislative Exchange Council finds that the sweeping new EPA rules are set to hit Kentucky and our adjoining neighbors harder than any other region in the nation.

The study estimates Kentucky will lose more than 12,000 jobs and nearly $2 billion in industry revenue. That’s the ninth-most harm to a state’s economy in the nation as a result of the EPA’s onslaught.

The Bluegrass State is not alone in suffering the wrath of Washington’s do-gooders. ALEC reports that five of the commonwealth’s seven neighboring states would be among the 10 most negatively impacted by the “EPA regulatory train wreck,” including Illinois, West Virginia and Ohio – whose economies would be the first, second and third-most harmed, respectively.

But collateral damages of overheated EPA regulations do not end there.

Fox News Online recently reported that PJM Interconnection – a company operating the electric transmission system for many parts of Appalachia – determined that the 2015 market-clearing price of $136 per megawatt of capacity will be “eight times higher than the price for 2012.”

Since capacity prices comprise only a portion of your electric bill, your rates thankfully won’t go up by 700 percent three years from now.

But, ALEC reports, they will go up – by more than 13 percent, which, as mentioned earlier, is the same amount of power capacity lost by the closure of Appalachian coal mines.

A Washington Examiner editorial summed up these developments by saying: “Ordinary working people will pay the price for (the Obama administration’s) attempt to placate an ideological base consumed by hatred of coal and fear that global warming will soon send tidal waves through the streets of New York City.”

The EPA knows: Someone’s gotta pay, might as well be you.

— Jim Waters is president of the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank.

(22) comments

forksmuggler

Jim Waters is a short-sighted fool.

harleyrider1778

Those purported true costs arent true costs there created and manipulated costs!

harleyrider1778

Of the $31.5 billion, some $19.5 billion are "intangible costs" – that is psychological costs of premature death borne by the smoker and others. Then there are $9.4 billion in “other financial costs” for productivity losses (smoko breaks perhaps?) and $2.2 billion in “non financial costs” such as unpaid labour costs.

In the Collins and Lapsley report there is a discount for savings to the health system from premature deaths. But this is only $700 million on the $1 billion in actual costs to the health system.

On the more nebulous costs, estimated by a "demographic approach", the focus is on the additional number of persons who would have been alive today had there been no smoking deaths over the past 40 years.

“An estimate of 369,161 was provided to the authors by John Pollard (he had no other involvement with the report).”

To get to this $19.5 billion, the authors multiply the reduction in the population (369,161) by the value of the loss of one year’s life ($53,267), after adjustments.

As Dunford points out, this report puts a different value on life than does Access Economics. Whether Access prices obese people more highly than skinny smokers - or Collins and Lapsley believe smokers are worth less than one-third of the value of fat people - we can’t be sure from “the literature”.

Indeed each report mentions “the literature” and the large variation in assumptions included in “the literature”, although they also fail to explain, he says, why the numbers they adopted were relevant to their particular health problem.

In addition, the "value(s) of a statistical life" and the "value(s) of a statistical life year" adopted were significantly different ($6.35 million and $266,843 for obese people, and $2 million and $53,267 for smokers).

Presumably – and these are our words not Dunsford’s - the pricing of a statistical life would also become more complicated when calculating the demographic of people who are both obese and smokers. Do we just average out the $6.35 million and the $2 million?

Dunsford however does point out the gross hypocrisy in the government’s position on smoking and revenue. Governments reap very fat profits from smokers.

Subtracting the financial costs of smoking to the health system at $300 million, plus taxes forgone (from statistical smokers) at $2.9 billion, from the $6.7 billion in taxes levied by state and federal governments on tobacco products, leaves $3.5 billion in profit.

Dunford says the higher welfare payments to smokers could be offset by the pension savings from higher smoker mortality. Still, a $3.5 billion profit from smokers is a tidy amount for the budget.

When it came to the publicity for the “plain packaging” initiative, it would have been helpful, says Dunstan, to cite the $31.5 billion in “costs to society” rather than a more realistic figure.

“Indeed, assuming the media release’s (Roxon’s office) expected reduction in adult smoking from the current 16 per cent of the population to 10 per cent is achieved, the reader could be forgiven for estimating the ‘cost’ to fall by … $11.8 billion,” says Dunstan.

But such an assumption would be wrong as the methodology is flawed.

“The problem with the … definition of costs is the way in which past drug abuse is incorporated into the costs for a given year,” says Dunsford. ‘‘Indeed, if all smoking stopped, (this) methodology would still generate a large cost of smoking in the next year by virtue of the effect of the past deaths.

“This is rather counter intuitive! Arguably it renders the methodology meaningless for the purpose of addressing cost reduction initiatives”.

'Burden of disease' missing

Finally, Dunsford points out that in the case of the beyondblue calculations, the $14.9 billion of annual costs to society from depression did not include a ‘'burden of disease'’ number.

“Does this reflect the often suggested lack of interest by the government in mental health problems? Not so. Burden of disease numbers are available which show DALYs (disability adjusted life years) due to depression are significant – particularly when associated causes of death, like suicide, are included.” he says.

He estimates that about $33 billion of non-financial costs could be added to the annual cost numbers for the personal impact on the loss of wellbeing from the burden of depression.

Dunsford’s work is further proof we can’t place much store in lobby group costs claims. It’s more a case of plucking out a big number and working out some methodology to justify it.

mwest@smh.com.au


harleyrider1778

Slim truth in fat and smoking figures

Michael West
November 23, 2011 - 11:39AM.

A leading actuary has lampooned health lobby figures on the costs of smoking and obesity as being extravagantly inflated and based on suspect methodology.

“The numbers are all over the place,” writes Geoff Dunsford in the September edition of Actuary Australia. And they are “big numbers” – the implication being that they are too big.

“Obesity costs $58.2 billion,” he exclaims, “that’s around twice the cost of age pensions!”

The sheer size of the numbers, argues the Sydney actuary, perverts government policy. It can lead to poor spending decisions. The credibility of the numbers from the health lobby is therefore critical to government policy.

The press and the public have been led to believe that the costs to the system are higher than they really are so the government can “justify use of taxpayers’ money on measures to reduce its prevalence and prevention”.

Dunsford looks at three public health issues: obesity, smoking and depression.

1. “....obesity .... drains the national budget each year by $58.2 billion”, (Sun Herald report, March 13, 2011).

2. “...smoking ... costs our society $31.5 billion each year”, (Nicola Roxon, media release, April 7, 2011).

3. “Depression-associated disability costs the Australian economy $14.9 billion annually”, (beyondblue website)

In the first case, the newspaper story was based on an Access Economics report for Diabetes Australia titled, “The growing cost of obesity in 2008: three years on”.

Access Economics estimated the cost of obesity to Australia at $58.2 billion. And sure enough, this enormous headline number promptly bobbed in the press.

On Dunsford’s analysis, however, the figures are flawed, skewed by the “non-financial” estimates to make obesity seem a lot more costly to the taxpayer than it really is.

The costs break down as $3.9 billion for the health care system, $4.4 billion in “other” costs relating to lost work days, taxes forgone and other productivity losses.

Then there is the big one: $49.9 billion in “non-financial costs”. This relates to “burden of disease” or the personal cost of obesity. Dunsford asks, “how come this is included in a total in an announcement which appears – at least superficially – to represent real money costs?”

The “burden of disease” numbers are calculated by working out “years of life lost through disability and premature death” and Access came up with $6.35 million for the value of a statistical life (VSL) and $266,843 for the value of a statistical life year (VSLY).

Dunsford argues that it is taxpayers and consumers who will end up paying for all this statistical life.

“The elaborate details on labels of packaged food products in supermarkets are testimony to the current massive regulations supporting such details, but more are planned by Food Standards Australia NZ and the National Preventative Health Taskforce,’’ he says.

From there it would only be “a short step” to include take away food and restaurant meals and, already, in certain states of the US, it is a requirement for restaurants to display the calorific value of their meals in the same size print – “including on billboards!”

‘‘The cost of administering the regulations (to the government and the food industry, all of which will ultimately be paid by consumers) will be mind-boggling, but with a focus on the desire to reduce the $58.2 billion cost of obesity, such actions can readily be justified.”

Tobacco figures are smokin'

Geoff Dunsford is similarly wary of the costs estimates for smoking.

Assessing the anti-smoking lobby’s $31.5 billion cost figure – found in “The costs of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs abuse to Australian society 2004-05” by David J Collins and Helen M Lapsley – Dunsford once again shines the torch on the “non-financial” costs and “intangible costs”.

MammothCave

HR then give up cigarettes if you can't afford them. The EPA has no responsibility to smokers. It is tasked to protect the air, water and environment in general. In a proper society, the cost of anything would be the true cost, be it cigarettes (health care costs of indigent smokers borne by the states) or coal for power (water and air pollution as well as mountaintop removal.) The real costs are currently hidden by ignoring the true costs.

Quit whining about smoking. I am not happy about the taxes but I coose to continue to smoke (as do you). But I do not complain about it incessantly (look it up).

harleyrider1778

no Mamouth lets get back to the topic which is EPA;s JUNK SCIENCE they use to push crazy regulations that end up costing poor and rich alike more money to be put in the pockets of green companies! The EPA needs to be abolished just like the smoking bans do! Do you realise electric rates are fixing to go thru the roof because of OWEBUMMER and his EPA regulations. The people wont stand for it,I guarantee you. Its obvious you can afford an electric rate 60% higher right! Most of us cant and it means people freezing to death come winter or not eating just so you think you will get cleaner air and water................my arse!

MammothCave

Let's try to get this discussion back on track and away from smoking (sorry hr).

The true cost of burning any fossil fuel needs to be borne by the consumers of the output of that burning. Coal is dirty when burned and the plants that burn it to produce electricity need to charge for the scrubbers and other pollution-minimizing equipment to minimize the effects of the air and water.

Just like the national debt, we are enjoying cheap electricity while passing the pollution on to our children or grandchildren. The coal companies would rather use mountaintop removal than seam mining because it is easier and therefore cheaper.

The EPA is protecting all citizens' air and water quality. I wish they would address the dumping of the byproducts of MR mining into the hollows and streams of eastern KY. Mining businesses have already proven that their processes are geared to profit maximizing as opposed to civic responsibility. Since they will not be responsible, we must force them to be so.

These companies have already computed the cost of a miner's life so they can do a cost-benefit analysis based on how many miners may die in any given decision that must be made.

The EPA is a necessary evil. We have been forced into it by irresponsible corporate decisions.

harleyrider1778

In 2005, a very important court case concluded. It was McTear V Imperial Tobacco. It was claimed that Mr McTear suffered lung cancer as a result of smoking. ASH ET AL were castigated by the Judge for being unable or unwilling to produce any sort of 'proof' that smoking can cause lung cancer, and that was NOT on the criminal proof requirement of 'beyond reasonable doubt, but on the lesser requirement of 'on the balance of probabilities'. This very important Judgement has been ignored by the press and everyone else who is stitched into Tobacco Control. The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn is that Tobacco Control is a very profitable enterprise to all concerned.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2153723/Pro-tobacco-activists-accused-harassing-abusing-anti-smoking-campaigners-government-considers-banning-branding-cigarette-packets.html#ixzz1x0ql6bJ7

harleyrider1778

I just don't need to ignore scientific proof that second hand smoke is harmful to others to justify why I am against it

How about providing this toxicological proof then if it exists on second hand smoke,they dont even have any on direct smoking...............Your making claims you cant substantiate! It seems your belief mechanism is supplied by second hand smoke one liners and not FACTS.

About 90% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a minor amount of carbon dioxide. The volume of water vapor of second hand smoke becomes even larger as it qickly disperses into the air,depending upon the humidity factors within a set location indoors or outdoors. Exhaled smoke from a smoker will provide 20% more water vapor to the smoke as it exists the smokers mouth.

4 % is carbon monoxide.

6 % is those supposed 4,000 chemicals to be found in tobacco smoke. Unfortunatley for the smoke free advocates these supposed chemicals are more theorized than actually found.What is found is so small to even call them threats to humans is beyond belief.Nanograms,picograms and femptograms......
(1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80).

harleyrider1778

Ya mammouth I assume your really a smoker lmao,you speak exactly like a smokefree pundit!

BTW Nicotine used for insecticides is a dose response issue. Can you even begin to think how many thousands or millions of cigs it would take to equal the same amount used to kill insects as it would take to kill a human.

Oh and that fly in a restaraunt flying above your head while smoking...........ya my second hand smoke never killed one either! LMAO...................

kad2866

MammothCave, thank you for being a smoker with some brains!

Fact is we need clean water and air, regardless of what anyone says. Anyone against clean air and water should be forced to breath smog from an air tank and drink nothing but dirty, polluted water for a few weeks.

djb12030

The thing that gets me is that I actually agree with HR on the issue of the smoking ban. I just don't need to ignore scientific proof that second hand smoke is harmful to others to justify why I am against it.

MammothCave

Wow, One-issue harleyrider displays his double-digit IQ and its cut and paste skills again in his usual rant over smoking. After all, how many legal products will kill the users when used as directed? And yes, I smoke, but not around children or anyone who asks me not to. There is a reason that nicotine is used as a pesticide, if only it would have the same effect. I respect other people's space and curtail my habit as a courtesy to all around me.

Try it for a change hr.

harleyrider1778

DJB I suppose you have a toxiclogy study in your back pocket proving tobacco smoke causes anything in anyone! We've been hearing '' Causes'' for 60 years how about some actual proof for a change!

Ya, its real sad isnt it,they got no proof so they invented terms like''CAUSAL EFFECT'' in epidemiology which doesnt even look thru a microscope to prove causation but by statistical manipulation of numbers!


Here's my all-time favorite "scientific" study of the the anti-smoking campaign: "Lies, Damned Lies, & 400,000 Smoking-Related Deaths," Robert A. Levy and Rosalind B. Marimont, Journal of Regulation, Vol. 21 (4), 1998.

You can access the article for free on the Cato Institute's wesbite, Cato.org. This article neither defends nor promotes smoking. Rather it condemns the abuse of statistics to misinform and scare the public. Levy, by the way taught Statistics for Lawyers at Georgetown University Law School. There is also a popular law school class called How to Lie With Statistics.

The Idiot tobacco control Supposed researchers cant use:

We detected chemicals in tobacco smoke in children or umbilical cord or in anyone because the same chemcials in tobacco smoke are the exact same chemicals in the air naturally! Even continine the metabolite of nicotine is in the food we eat!

bfh

"Thanks to 20 something out of work people like yourself, the Gov't is running right over you and I"M paying for it. Don't you worry sunshine, you keep getting your monthly Obama checks and I'll keep working hard to make sure you do."

How profoundly obnoxious...

djb12030

oh boy here we go again. Harleyrider is back with more reports on "junk science". Once again there is no junk science there is just spin. The only junk science is the kind that doesn't use the scientific method ( you know, like deciding the end result before getting the data.... Like some smokers do to justify their bad habbit instead of facing the fact that they are slowly killing themselves.)

Silas Dogwood

Water's calls a lot of folks names like, "radical left wing zealots". His writing sounds more like the stump speech of candidate trying to energize his base than the articulate rhetoric one expects from a think tank.

harleyrider1778

The article is right on about the EPA and its environuts.

The EPA study on ENVORONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE was tossed as JUNK SCIENCE by the federal court in 1998 following 4 years of investigation. The EPA was guilty of cherry picking its data and then lowering CONFIDENCE INTERVALS to try and achieve a RELATIVE RISK FACTOR that could be fed into the governments SAMMAC computer to spit out fake deaths to second hand smoke. This EPA study is what was used and still is to call second hand smoke a carcinogen.

During the same time period ASH was suing OSHA to instill a rule against indoor smoking. The ASH decided to pull their Federal Lawsuit when it appeared OSHA would pass a rule and a very weak one that was easily complied with by simply opening a window,a door or kicking on the ventilation system..........

OSHA's present policy on indoor smoking:

They concluded that:

All this is in a small sealed room 9x20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes

"For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes

"Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

"For Hydroquinone, "only" 1250 cigarettes

For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time

The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

So,OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)...It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded." -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec'y, OSHA

Its why BOWLING GREENS smoking ban should be REPEALED right now and never should have been made to begin with!

djb12030

I do have a job I am a bartender, you can come in and get wasted while I school you with actual facts any time you want.

Ever think that people like me form these opinions from experience? I have a tattoo of Guatemala on my chest that reminds me of the time I spent there. One thing I remember is the fact that I did my best to not drink any water or eat any veggies unless we knew how they were cleaned. I remember people in my group who accidentally swallowed water while brushing their teeth and spent the next two days laying on the floor having hallucinations. If you took the time to look up actual facts you would know that prior to the invention of the EPA and the FDA illnesses and DEATHS from drinking polluted water and eating tainted food was litterally documented thousands of times more than they are now and they were LESS REPORTED BACK THEN. So even with the cases we know about it is provable that the EPA and the FDA have a much more positive effect on our lives.

As far as the drones. This is a CLASSIC conservative way of making a stupid argument done in two different ways. The EPA is using drones for no apparently good (or good enough) reason. The (modern) conservative says "SEE IT IS DOING SOMETHING BAD SO THEREFOR EVERYTHING IT DOES IS BAD NOW DEFUND IT COMPLETELY." The rational person says "it's doing something bad, lets make a change while keeping the overall good institution in place."

The next stupid part to your "argument" (I put it in quotations as you really didn't make any case you just pointed out a stupid thing that the EPA is doing), is that using drones on American soil is THE CONSERVATIVE POSITION! So the only way you can make a case against my "socialist" regulatory body is to point out the crazy conservative thing it is doing something that would have been illegal had the Bush administration no threw away the 4th Amendment.

That is BRILLIANT!

The All Knowing

djb never, and I mean never fails to amaze. Thanks to 20 something out of work people like yourself, the Gov't is running right over you and I"M paying for it. Don't you worry sunshine, you keep getting your monthly Obama checks and I'll keep working hard to make sure you do. You must be real proud of the EPA (you know those guys that keep your air clean so you don't get cancer, and the ones who will put a stop to Global Warming......or is it climate change....or, well whatever you're calling it these days) for their ability to keep Nebraska cattle farmers in line. They are using drones to monitor private business. Yay for all of us.

Again, a big shout out to djb. Your ability to spread the truth about a "clean" lifestyle is amuzing at best.

Read for yourself.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/EPA_Using_Spy_Drones_to_Fly_Over_Midwestern_Farms/19800/0/38/38/Y/M.html

Lucilius

If you really want to reduce noxious smog, don't worry about coal - just stick a filter on Jim Waters.

djb12030

LOL! This guy sites ALEC as a matter of informational authority? ALEC?! You know somebody is full of total BS when they are looking to ALEC for their info.

Anyway who could disagree with this? We totally need to gut the EPA. Cut the taxes on the rich and say goodbye to the EPA completely. After all who of us enjoys having drinking water that doesn't make them nearly die every time they drink it? Who enjoys breathing the air without getting cancer? NOT ME! And neither should you! After all by having that luxury of drinking clean water and breathing clean air you are keeping rich people from owning another private jet.

Of course a "free-market think tank" would be against having a clean lifestyle. Air is free and water is almost free. If you pollute those things enough people will be forced to pay out of pocket to private corporations to get these things clean much more than they pay to the government through their taxes to KEEP these things clean.

"Oh your tap water is making you sick? This 24 pack of Dasani is only $8 and it comes in these handy dandy bottles. Oh the air is making you cough? This air conditioner is only $100 plus your monthly electric bill."

Jim Water's doesn't look out for the interests of tax payers, as 99% of tax payers will be paying much more with the abolishment of the EPA. Taxes allow the EPA to regulate businesses and keep them from destroying our environment. If you allow them to destroy the EPA you are going to pay MUCH more in the long run.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.