Sunday, June 30, 2013

ToT: Tobin pretends to understand science and economics

I'm frequently amazed at how comprehensively a single person can illustrate the depth of a problem simply by saying what they think.

In this case the problem is the inability of some Republicans to cooperate with anyone they identify as an adversary. Here District 1 Representative (really the senior and better title, but he insists on ignoring it in favor of the supposedly grander Speaker of the House) Andy Tobin rails against the Obama administration's plan to bring the Navajo Generating Station into something resembling compliance with US laws against egregious polluters.

But before he gets to his complaint, he tips his hand to what it's really about: "... the federal government has fought against Arizona leadership ...." Note the delusion that "Arizona leadership" is on anything like a par with federal power. Note the self-importance required to imagine that the federal government cares in the slightest what he or Jan Brewer thinks. Note the comical and ignorant use of ellipses.

Andy complains that the EPA wants the station's operators to install new scrubbers at cost of something like a billion clams. Then he proudly states the station's economic value as $20 billion over thirty years. Leaving aside the preposterous idea that we'll still be generating significant energy from this or any other thermal coal plant in thirty years, simple arithmetic says that the state recovers the value of the upgrade in a little over a year. Sounds like a good loan risk to me.

Of course, the dollars and cents of the deal are not Andy's problem, rather it's the idea of the federal government coming into Arizona (like it ever left) and doing its job, presumably as he became so accustomed to its neglect under the Bush administration.

Air quality is not just for the tourists, it's how we survive on the planet. Andy's selective reading of the DoEnergy study (which we can expect will favor energy, duh) — or, I should say, of the choice excerpts circulating from ALEC in brief bullet points, no doubt involving words no longer than four syllables — ignores the very real benefits of cleaning up the plant for everyone who lives downwind, primarily natives, Utahns and tourism business in Southern Utah, which obviously Mr Tobin cares nothing about.

His dire warnings of shutting the plant down are pure hokum, obviously. I look forward to his apoplexy when the new rules come down from the new CO2 policy that  the President outlined last week. Better dust off some of those binders of energy legislation you've personally blocked, Mr Tobin, and look for ways to put our solar and wind-energy industry to work.

No comments: