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Reply #24: Ah Yes. The Tried And True 'Environmental Regulation' Red Herring [View All]

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Strelnikov_ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-05-05 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #10
24. Ah Yes. The Tried And True 'Environmental Regulation' Red Herring
Edited on Mon Dec-05-05 03:43 PM by loindelrio
Environmental regulation has had little to do with the current abyss we face regarding our energy infrastructure. Free market 'planning' has much to do with the crises we are facing. That is, companies left on their own will pursue their own bottom line with little regard for infrastructure redundancy.

Since the 70's, I seem to remember that 2/3rd's of the nations refineries have been closed. The reason was consolation at larger facilities to effect economies of scale, and to eliminate and over-capacity. So, along comes a hurricane, 10% of refining capacity gone.

In the late 90's electric generating utilities made a run toward building natural gas fired power plants. This was primarily due to these plants being much less costly to build than coal fired plants, part of this differential being the cost of 'cleaning up' coal emissions. This was also due to Yergin's ridiculously optimistic estimates of natural gas reserves. Along comes a hard winter, 25% of the east and west coast generating capacity gone.

Did the cost of environmental regulation influence the decisions made by energy companies, without a doubt. However, complying with environmental regulation is just a cost of doing business. And the incremental savings of the absolute minimum like Texas would require over, say, a Minnesota, is not that great. The difference between Minnesota and China probably is significant, but I wonder how the people of Harbin like their wide-open free market right now.

No, the problem we are facing today is the result of a poorly regulated free market energy infrastructure system, not environmental regulation.

Oh, and regarding ANWR. None of the oil companies are interested. The attractiveness of ANWR was being able to use the Alaskan pipeline. Problem is, due to accelerating global warming, the pipeline is falling apart and will need major repairs exceeding what could be justified by ANWR's relatively paltry amount of oil.
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