Let’s face it. Heat treating is an energy-intensive business. If only the energy we use could be less costly, the savings would go right to the bottom line. Energy is cheaper for some of us in certain parts of the country, but I’m always concerned when I see our government trying to take away some of the benefits we may be enjoying. How are they doing that? In this column, we will take a look at some of the ways so that you can protect your business whenever you have a chance.
According to a recent report by IBISWorld, “In the three years to 2017, the price of heat-treatment services will decline slightly as firms continue to adopt robotic automation and goods manufacturing continues to shift overseas.” If this prediction is accurate, we can hardly afford to pay more for process inputs such as energy.
One of the ways our government is increasing the cost of energy is by pushing a global-warming (GW) agenda. The Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the chief proponent of this agenda and its message. E-mails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show that the EPA is coordinating with groups that want to entirely do away with fossil fuels. E-mails also show that the EPA lied publicly about a rule making new coal-fired power plants practically impossible to operate. Needless to say, this regulation would increase the cost of electricity.
The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) responded to this rule with a statement in December saying that this proposed plan “could raise electricity costs, damage competitiveness and hurt American steel jobs.” The EPA’s agenda is in line with groups such as the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and those positions are far from centrist.
As a result, Dr. Jay Lehr, who was instrumental in establishing the EPA back in 1971, is suggesting that the EPA be devolved to the states. The national EPA would be “replaced by a Committee of the Whole of the 50 state environmental-protection agencies.” The EPA’s purpose was to “draw attention to the mounting environmental pollution problems.” In its first decade, Lehr helped write a significant number of important and effective environmental legislative bills. He indicates that since 1981 when liberal activist groups began using the EPA to advance their political agenda, “not a single environmental law or regulation has been passed that benefitted either the environment or society.” Since the EPA is no longer doing what it was designed to do, devolving it to the states will “save billions of taxpayer dollars and improve environmental protection while reducing unnecessary and counterproductive regulation.” Sounds like something worth supporting.
Have you noticed a terminology change lately when environmental restrictions of CO2 are discussed? The EPA (and the media) no longer talk about a harmless gas, which is our planet’s plant food. They refer to “carbon” as if the goal is to remove soot from our air. Who wouldn’t want to reduce carbon soot from the air? On the other hand, why do we want to remove nature’s plant food (CO2) from the air?
Why does the EPA want to restrict CO2 emissions? Most recently they say it’s about increasing the investment in renewables and clean energy. Even if true, it’s important to remember that not only will switching to more renewable-energy sources increase energy costs for our heat-treat facilities, the living standards will be lowered in the U.S. and around the world. This is brought out in a book titled The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels by Alex Epstein. You might want to check it out.
The EPA’s ultimate goal is to reduce CO2 because of its supposed effect on GW. Space does not allow me to expound on why mankind’s impact on GW is not an issue, but I will quote William M. Gray, a professor emeritus of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. He says, “Higher levels of atmospheric CO2 should be more beneficial than detrimental to humanity. Increased levels of atmospheric CO2 will bring about enhanced vegetation growth, a small global rainfall increase and a very slight global temperature rise – all positive changes for mankind.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.