Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Higher electric prices?

June 9, 2015 In a major victory for the Obama administration, a panel of federal judges has blocked a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's planned efforts to limit carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants.
Tuesday's ruling does not prevent future legal challenges against the rules but states that a challenge before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit came too early, as EPA has not yet finalized its climate rule. That action is expected later this summer.
The case, brought by coal company Murray Energy and a coalition of states led by West Virginia, was an early skirmish in the high-stakes legal battle over the rules, which stand as the centerpiece of President Obama's second-term climate-change agenda.
It was highly unusual in that it attempted to challenge the legality of a federal rule before it had been made final. At least two of the judges on the three-judge federal panel appeared hesitant during oral arguments in April to side with state and industry challengers, suggesting that such a move would break with long-held precedent and open the floodgates to future legal challenges against not-yet-final rules.
"Petitioners are champing at the bit to challenge EPA's anticipated rule restricting carbon-dioxide emissions from existing power plants. But EPA has not yet issued a final rule. It has issued only a proposed rule," stated Judge Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the majority of the three-judge panel. "They want us to do something that they candidly acknowledge we have never done before: review the legality of a proposed rule. But a proposed rule is just a proposal."
Tuesday's decision does not mean, however, that the rule is safe from future legal attacks. The legal opinion did not delve into the wide array of arguments that opponents have marshaled in support of their effort to dismantle the regulation, leaving an opening for an all-but-guaranteed onslaught of lawsuits sure to arrive once the rule is made final.
Nevertheless, the ruling arrives as a key victory for the administration.
"EPA is pleased that the court has denied the challenges to our proposed Clean Power Plan and confirmed our assessment that they are premature," Liz Purchia, a spokesperson for the agency, said. "The Clean Power Plan is built on a time-tested state-federal partnership established by Congress decades ago in the Clean Air Act that gives states important flexibility to design plans that meet their individual and unique needs."
Environmentalists were also quick to applaud. "Today's decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals is both a big win in protecting our communities and families against the massive carbon pollution from power plants and an important victory for a fair and democratic rule-making process," Vickie Patton, the general counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, said.
The decision delivers a blow to Republican opponents of the regulation who had hoped that the panel of conservative judges would rule in their favor.
Republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have vowed to fight the regulations tooth and nail, accusing the administration of attempting to wage a war on coal by pushing the regulatory regime forward.
McConnell has urged states not to comply with the rule and vowed to do everything in his power to fight back. But lacking the necessary votes to override a presidential veto, McConnell's bid to sink the rule looks more likely to succeed in the courts than in Congress.


  1. We have an abundance of cheap food in this country, and an epidemic of obesity. I see a bit of a parallel here.

  2. Here we have 4 coal fired power plants scheduled for shut down. The PUC will not raise rates to convert or replace the plants. They believe it's a Federal Issue as it's their rule.

    Should get a bit tight on electricity when the shutdowns begin. We do have one of the leanest coal plants in the country which is also being shut down. Maybe the state will go on an electric diet in the summer and shutdown the air. 88 yesterday and getting warmer. A few years ago, hey structure our rates to the more you use the higher your rate.

    1. I believe that if it were not for Nixon, the entirety of America would today have the same, pollution clouded skies that block the sun like they do in China. We can't objectively have both clean air and dirt cheap power. I'd settle for a decent middle ground, which as we know cannot be had these days. In the context of judging one solution while ignoring the convolution of 40 years of energy decisions, it is easy to point out how stupid, ridiculous, idiotic, insane and economically destructive the EPA is. You would never do that of course because you never criticize the government.

      still, sarcasm aside, this is a problem. Liberals want clean air and alternative energy to be a big part of the solution, there is not, however, enough money or technology to make this a scalable effort that will pay for itself. Any serious money that is committed to this cause now can only be reaped by generations of the future. Considering how long we have been just handing the future a bag of dogshit with a promise that there is really a sandwich inside, we are not going to make any sacrifice now.

      On the flipside, the conservative approach is that all cheap energy is good energy and that oil spills, train explosions and air pollutions are just small prices to pay in order to live the dream of being free. I'll concede liberals are not entirely realistic here Lou, but by the same token, every time the free market starts to get expensive and people start buying smaller cars or start finding other ways to conserve, some miraculous effort gets launched to make fossil fuels cheaper or air standards relaxed to encourage more coal. This isn't going to get any better.

    2. The EPA has done a great job cleaning up the air and water.

      When do we reach the point of diminishing returns where a little bit more kills the average American?

      In Colorado, we have the cleanest coal fired plant in the country. It will be shut down next year. The state PUC will not allow rate hikes to pay for fines, the utility won't eat the cost. 4 other plants are schedule to be shut down in the next 3 years. There are no replacements being built or conversations as the PUC views it as a Federal problem so the state rate payers should not pay more.

      Almost time to leave Colorado. Brownouts will certainly happen if the government goes ahead with the plan.

      As a side note, people are unwilling to step up and cover the desert with solar panels as the desert tortoise lives there. And wh wants to look at a sea of solar panels.

      People are unwilling to convert Kansas and Nebraska into wing turbines as where would the food come from??? The problem is everything is a compromise. Solar in the desert, wind power are not great solutions as transporting electricity a few hundred miles to a city is inefficient and costly.

      So here we are today.
      1. We want healthcare, free or cheaper yet Max and his friends are unwilling to take a 50% cut in pay. (I don't blame you)
      2. We want alternative energy yet don't have the technology to make it happen as reasonable rates. Maybe we can tax the rich to pay for electricity for the poor.
      3. We want to regulate ditch water. An interesting concept.
      4. We want to get rid of coal. The Federal government has no money, just our tax dollars to subsidize the conversion. The states have no excess dollars. The utility doesn't want to eat the cost as they have shareholders to answer to.

      So there we are, when does reality set in?

    3. Here in lies the problem when do we have to much government/regulation?

      A few years ago I worked a project for a company managing the installation of fiber outside San Fran in existing conduit. Pop the lid, shoot a line in a conduit, pull a rope and fiber duct into the conduit. Not 1 shovel of dirt to be moved.

      State and Federal law required I hire a native American to observe the installation in case we were to uncover Indian artifacts. Guess what, We paid the native American 60K for him to sit in a pick up truck and watch us pull fiber into the conduit.

      Mission accomplished, no artifacts.

      When is there to much government regulation??

    4. Healthcare is it's own boondogle. It's been a really interesting six months spent with my preceptor, I think he is really a rare breed in that he genuinely has a sense of stewardship for the system. he is a really good doctor and has good reviews and at times, he really puts his patients on the spot and asks them why they need to see a specialist. I've seen it myself. We get a new patient and they come in with records and we find that they have had the same nuclear stress test several times because a different doctor couldn't be bothered to ask them for records or simply decided to just send them out because they could. My preceptor spends enormous time explaining to patients that he won't do a particular test because the answer won't add anything to the treatment plan. Sometimes the patients get really pissed, but he stands his ground.

      If you think about it, I'm essentially a scab busting the doctors union. For a short period of time, physicians will make money off of NP's because they will let us do the work while they rake in money for not doing more really than consulting. Eventually though, when enough states pass laws to let NP's practice without an MD doing nothing more than signing a chart, NPs (like me?) will just open up their own practice. Heck, I think my preceptor would like see me buy his practice so he can go on to other things.

    5. Doctors, lawyers, teachers all the way to cab drivers and unionized trash collectors have, though ‘trade associations’ pushed government to enact laws and regulations which, in actual fact, do little more than protect these interested parties from competition. Had it not been for doctors associations many jobs and opportunities would have already flowed to just as capable if not as highly paid people. As a result real competition between people such as yourself would drive improvements and economies in service as each works to find better ways to attract clients. This is true of legal assistants, cab drivers and nail painters. Get the government out of picking winners and losers and you will find the real cost of products and services… most generally, in protected industries those costs will fall… This of course requires individuals to be responsible for their own research and to live by their own decisions…. If, like with your preceptor, a patient receives advice and acts to the contrary… they must be forced to suffer the consequences of their own actions. But of course as we steadily march in the direction of state administered medicine, regulations on both the practitioner and the patient will steam ahead at full speed. Burnie Sanders recently made a comment about how could we possibly need 21 different deodorants… I wonder just how much R&D would have gone into a state produced product or one with so many regulations that real R&D was impossible and how many jobs you need to produce only one variety… particularly when you need to protect both black and white garments from stains…. Who needs black and white garments anyway… Mao grey serves the purpose.

    6. As always TS, fair points. I don't know if you know doctors who are thrilled to work with insurance companies rather than the government. As for now, nobody is telling my preceptor how to practice and even if we eventually get to a single payer plan, they still aren't going to do so. They may say they won't pay for certain treatments without a solid rationale for them, but that is already the world we live in with insurance companies who routinely deny coverage.

      I have mixed feelings about the role I will be assuming. With another year of real experience, I think I probably could handle a lot of the patients we see everyday. That said, I remain very frustrated, and so does my preceptor for that matter, at the lack of preparation we receive relative to the role we will assume. I'm working really hard to learn this stuff and my preceptor is actually very supportive. But part of what worries is seeing people come in who just don't understand medicine who could be seriously harmed by someone who doesn't know what they are doing. Which is one part of the free market thing that has always bothered me.

      If there was no regulation, anyone could hang up a shingle and make any kind of promise they want. When they harm someone, they can just walk away and set up shop somewhere else, which is exactly what snake oil salesmen did before the government started to make illegal to do so. I'm not for complete regulation of everything, but contrary to the blue meth capitalists, I believe that thoughtful regulation can foster competition rather than stunt it to protect special interests groups. And it can also make life fair for the consumer.

    7. The problem here is what constitutes adequate regulation. The original food and drug purity act made it illegal to sell knowingly dangerous compounds as medicines. Those were sensible laws that reinforce the idea that if you deliberately harm someone or attempt to harm someone, you are legally culpable(Society also held you socially culpable as well). The second addition to that act was one of fraud… to knowingly mislead someone. Fraud is illegal in each and every state and has been so sense common law addressed it many years before the US was a gleam in England’s eye. There is regulation… now all we need to do is actually have a system of justice that deals with the guilty…. All of the guilty. We also need people to think for themselves. Like it or not, moving the responsibility away from the individual creates many more problems for a society than it protects.

      A couple of points. The US federal government and for that matter state and local government rarely bother themselves with actually constructing a curriculum for which proficiency will get you a ‘license’…. They leave that task to the ‘experts’…. The ones who own and run trade unions… the ones who have a vested interest in preventing competition and insuring that no one deviates from what they say is the correct way. Licensing fees for 95% of professions are a fund raising activity for the government and a control mechanism for the industry.

      I have made comment in the past about how the government dispenses bogus food, drug and health information ostensibly for the common good.

      A couple of resent and related articles:

      These issues like most government endeavours today are corrupt. Democrats, being the supporters of government see little relevance in libertarian and Tea admonishments to seriously limit government involvement but the root of our problems reside in the fact that government is no longer an honest representative of the people. Remove many of the functions that the government never really had(Under any reasonable reasoning of the constitution) and you give the government less reason present corrupted information.

      You bring up the dreaded insurance company again…. Well, I have to ask, as I have so many times before… how did insurance become a feature of routine medicine?... how did insurance even become a feature of the American paycheck?

      It goes to the subjects of honesty and integrity… both from our elected officials and those who elect them. How can we hope to elect honest governance when we pay them to make laws that are fundamentally designed to booger thy neighbour…..

      Salon published this astonishing bit of contemplation… While I take issue with a couple of the more partisan pokes and it deals fairly singularly with the cronyism that money can buy instead of all the types of votes money can buy, generally it addresses the REAL issues head on…


      Its time we stop rationalizing the theft of a note pad from our employer and its time we start electing people based on their integrity… It won’t be easy… we have been rationalizing and bastardizing what makes for good government for a good many years. The reason some feel the overwhelming need for government regulation and government hand holding is because they can no longer trust anyone.. not the doctor they choose, the hair dresser they engage…. Not even themselves.

    8. All good points TS. It comes down in many cases to the meanng of words and the Supream court has the opportunity later this month to redefine marriage, and rule to modify what the Affordable Care Act actually says word for word. Yes it is all about trust and a reliance on what used to be known as common sense before that phrase lost it's meaning.

    9. Another thought Max:

      “As for now, nobody is telling my preceptor how to practice and even if we eventually get to a single payer plan, they still aren't going to do so.”
      Your preceptor is indeed held to a multitude of regulation and constraint on the types of care and advice he/she can administer without putting their license in jeopardy.





      These are just a quick search and they say nothing of the medical practices and ‘ethics’ drilled into them as students and interns.. Board certified doctors are in many respects a product of the exact same system that turns out our learned and single minded Keynesian economists…. And any doctor who chooses to follow studies and guidance not ‘approved’ by current medical thinking will at a minimum be ostracized by their community or ultimately drummed out of the business altogether… Just because your doctor happily resides within current medical thinking does not mean that he isn’t constrained by it…

    10. Actually William, if we are really honest about the subject…. The Supreme Court has the ability to define what constitutes a civil union… marriage is (at least for the past several hundred years) been the purview of the religious community.

      Where I have a problem with the right is that they, in no less measure, want to twist the constitutions provisions of ‘promote the general welfare’ into laws that regulate the individual behaviour of its citizens. As I have said before, if the government wishes to busy itself in placing a ‘certified’ stamp on the legal association of people, then it must do so for all…. If the government cannot see the difference between black and white then the distinction between male and female should be just as irrelevant.

      While I agree that marriage between men and women is exceedingly beneficial to a society and its stability and agree that it should be promoted by every church, business and even as fatherly comments from the bully pulpit of our president, we can’t make exceptions in the meaning of the constitution for marriage and then have a problem with things like Obamacare… They are both government sticking its nose where the constitution gave it no authority to be.

  3. Replies
    1. You wish you could make that kind of money.

    2. I can admit that when I see that, it is ridiculous.

    3. Were they related to Sen. Warren?

  4. If there was no regulation, anyone could hang up a shingle and make any kind of promise they want.

    And when there is to much regulation? Is it more costly? How many new codes were added with the passage of the ACA? How much time does it take? How much is to much regulation? Is it when it cost more to complete the paperwiork for government reporting? When the person spend 50% of the time working on paperwork?

    Obviously there is a need for licensing of professionals however where does government stop and the physician begin?

    As a side note, I have never had a problem with an insurance company turning down a treatment recommended by a doctor.

    1. I just underwent a procedure last month. I was in the hospital 8 days, shared a nice room with another patient, experienced very good care.

      Hospital room only Bill for 8 days: $108,000
      Amount paid by my insurance company: $37,000
      My deductible is around 6K, I paid about 2-3K for the room.

      All other fees, tests, and doctor's Billing was not included in the $108K

      Here in Jersey where there are more lawyers than anywhere else on the planet I'm sure the doctor's had to order some cover your ass tests.

      Anyway, I am better now, regaining strength, glad we paid insurance for all those years.

  5. I dunno Louman. Here in NC we convert our coal plants to natural gas as opposed to shutting them down. Why do you suggest that to Hickenlooper. And if you listen to the news no state hates coal fired plants like NC. Coal ash it's all the rage here. It's dangerous shit and Duke Power has tons and tons of the stuff and they don't know what to do with it.

    1. The Hick has nothing to do with the decision.

      The PUC can raise rates to pay for the replacement and conversion of the coal fired plants. At this point they are of the belief that it is not the responsibility of the rate payer to shoulder the burden. They believe it's should be addressed by the EPA who is making the ruling. As a second possibility the utiity should convert the plants at their costs. Unlikely as that impacts the companies profitability and the share/bond holders.

      Instead they have opened the market to competition on hopes someone else will build a power plant. Today the competition is purchasing power as a wholesale rate from the utility and selling it slightly less than the utility.

      I did look at you coal ash comment and did a little research on the internet. Several by product if coal combustion are actually usable.
      ly Ash

      Fly ash is a fine, powdery substance that "flies up" from the coal combustion chamber (boiler)and is captured by emissions controls, such as an electrostatic precipitatoror fabric filter "bag house," and scrubbers.

      This material is virtually identical in its composition to volcanic ash with pozzolanic properties ideal for concrete that built the structures of Ancient Rome we appreciate 2,000 years later. More than half of the concrete produced today in the U.S. uses fly ash in some quantity as a substitute for traditional cement. Among the world's most renowned bridges, skyscrapers, roads, dams, and a wide range of other construction projects were built using high-performance fly ash concrete mixes to achieve superior strength and longevity. Builders routinely use 40 percent fly ash mixes. That amount can reach 70 percent or more in massive walls, girders, dams, and foundations.

      Besides concrete, fly ash is also used in composite materials, such as in aluminum metal alloys for lightweight auto parts and synthetic lumber for outdoor decks and fences.

      Raw material in concrete products and grout
      Feed stock in the production of cement
      Fill material for structural applications and embankments
      Ingredient in waste stabilization and/or solidification
      Ingredient in soil modification and/or stabilization
      Component of flowable fill
      Component in road bases, sub-bases, and pavement
      Mineral filler in asphalt

    2. Bottom Ash

      Bottom ash is agglomerated ash particles, formed in pulverized coal furnaces, that are too large to be carried in the flue gases and impinge on the furnace walls or fall through open grates to an ash hopper at the bottom of the furnace. Physically, bottom ash is typically grey to black in color, is quite angular, and has a porous surface structure.

      Bottom ash can be used as a replacement for aggregate and is usually sufficiently well-graded in size to avoid the need for blending with other fine aggregates to meet gradation requirements. The porous surface structure of bottom ash particles make this material less durable than conventional aggregates and better suited for use in base course and shoulder mixtures or in cold mix applications, as opposed to wearing surface mixtures. This porous surface structure also makes this material lighter than conventional aggregate and useful in lightweight concrete applications.


      Filler material for structural applications and embankments
      Aggregate in road bases, sub-bases, and pavement
      Feed stock in the production of cement
      Aggregate in lightweight concrete products
      Snow and ice traction control material

      Boiler Slag

      Boiler slag is the molten bottom ash collected at the base of slag tap and cyclone type furnaces that is quenched with water. When the molten slag comes in contact with the quenching water, it fractures, crystallizes, and forms pellets. This boiler slag material is made up of hard, black, angular particles that have a smooth, glassy appearance.

      Boiler slag is generally a black granular material.

      Boiler slag particles are uniform in size, hard, and durable with a resistance to surface wear. In addition, the permanent black color of this material is desirable for asphalt applications and aids in the melting of snow. Boiler slag is in high demand for beneficial use applications however, supplies are decreasing because of the removal from service of aging power plants that produce boiler slag.


      Component of blasting grit and roofing granules
      Mineral filler in asphalt
      Fill material for structural applications and embankments
      Raw material in concrete products
      Snow and ice traction control material

      Flue Gas Desulfurization Gypsum

      The second most common use of CCPs is flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum in wallboard. This material is produced by emissions control systems (scrubbers) that remove sulfur and oxides from power plant flue gas streams. Residues vary, but the most common uses in construction applications are FGD gypsum (or "synthetic" gypsum). This material is used in more than 40 percent of the gypsum panel products (wallboard) manufactured in the U.S. FGD gypsum can be used in cement production and geotechnical applications. It can also be used in self-leveling floor applications. The agricultural industry also uses this material to treat undesirable soil conditions and to improve crop performance.


      Raw material for wallboard
      Fill material for structural applications and embankments
      Feed stock in the production of cement
      Raw material in concrete products and grout
      Ingredient in waste stabilization and/or solidification

    3. Duke has too much of the stuff louman. There are 14 Duke Power owned Coal ash "ponds" in this state alone. they have been caught pumping the stuff into the Cape Fear River trying to get rid of it. I know all the things that can be done with it but when you produce more then you can recycle ....you have a problem don't you.