Posts Tagged Mike Lee
A few short weeks ago, Senator Mike Lee of Utah proclaimed that his balanced budget amendment was the only solution for America’s fiscal problems. Ultimately, when push came to shove on the matter he was forced to back down. Unfortunately for the nation, his refusal to compromise on a real working solution cost us our perfect credit rating. Tea Party principles and not the best interests of the country were in play until the very end.
The problem for Utah, however, remains. We’ve found ourselves within a void of no-return. We’ve aligned with the forces of Mike Lee without the benefit of a true leader. Leadership can best be described as making decisions that benefit the most number of people, or making decisions that adversely affect the fewest. The credit downgrade debacle, no matter how you slice it, produced no clear leader within our Senate delegation. Taking a stand at any cost is not leadership.
What’s worse is that Mike Lee’s identity will slowly drift away from the Tea Party Collective and morph into something that defines most politicians — the desire to be re-elected. We see it happening with Senator Hatch this year while he attempts to party with the Tea Partiers. It’s not about doing what is fashionable or following the trends. It’s about doing the right thing, for the right reasons, every time.
Back when Utah had a governor who thought global warming existed, and who also though we might need to take significant steps regarding our air pollution, the state funded a study by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc, with the help of the Harvard School of Public Health. It estimated, predictably, that each year over 2 billion dollars in health and water costs are wasted, and approximately 200 lives lost due to coal plant power production in Utah. Not to mention that other “externality” to coal power, global warming.
Wow! Our state funded study showed us that that nasty air we see every winter is bad for us? It’s time for us all to come out for energy efficiency and renewable energy power generation, right? Say farewell to King Coal right Governor Herbert?
Of course not, this is Utah, and what happened next was also as predictable as it is sad.
According to a report at KSL.com, the state “sidetracked (the study) and refused to vouch for it — after it ran into a wall of opposition from industry.”
The study figured $8 million per death, using long established statistical methods.
Clean energy advocate Arthur Morris was at a state meeting where industry representatives denounced the study.
“Kind of went crazy,” Morris said. “It was a little bit surprising to me that they were so incensed by valuing people too much.”
“Anything that would increase energy costs gets our attention,” said attorney Jim Holtkamp, air quality chairman for Utah Manufacturers.
Of course, no one seems to have quibbled with the 202 lives lost, just how much dollar value was placed upon them. Which, makes some sense, I suppose, when all you really care about is the bottom line.
Supposedly “public meetings” were held when the study came out a few months ago. Check out Rocky Mountain Power’s statement to KSL about their meeting:
We disagree with the study’s conclusions. Rocky Mountain Power participated in an initial review of the published study along with a broad group of Utah business stakeholders including the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Utah Manufacturers Association, Utah Association of Energy Users, Utah Industrial Energy Consumers, Utah Mining Association, Deseret Power and others. Together, we identified enough concerns with the assumptions used in the study’s analysis to determine that its results should not be relied on.
-Jeff Hymas, Rocky Mountain Power
Funny, I wonder why clean air advocates and “the public”, never heard about any meeting, and somehow all of the business stakeholders managed to get the news…
It’s time to choose clean air over dirty air, and make the state pay attention to this study and do something about it. The study not only shows the cost of the current path, but was designed to show the benefits of changing course. It estimated the cost of substituting energy efficiency and renewables for 1/3 of the least efficient coal plants and found:
To achieve even more dramatic co-benefits, if approximately one-third of Utah’s most inefficient and polluting coal generators are replaced with a rigorous energy efficiency program and either gas or renewable energy, externalities amounting to $70 – $79 could
be realized for each MWh of coal retired or displaced.5
Did I say cost, sorry I meant savings, as that number “exceeds the cost of most electrical generation.”
If anyone out there would like to participate in getting this study publicized and forcing the state to do something about it, feel free to attend this Thursday’s 6pm meeting of the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE), at the University of Utah Orthopedic Hospitals’ 3rd floor conference room. All who care about Utah air quality are welcome, whether health care providers or not. I will summarize the meeting and action plan in a post after Thursday night.
I’m at work but can answer comments or questions about the meeting after 5 or tomorrow.
By the way, hello and thanks for having me, I’m a physician in Salt Lake, and I’d much prefer cleaner air!
A week ago, U.S. Senate candidate Mike Lee sat down with the Salt Lake Tribune’s Robert Gehrke for a wide-ranging interview. When asked if taxpayers ought to pay the economic costs of the BP oil spill, Lee answered candidly.
SL TRIBUNE: Currently there’s a cap on liabilities that BP is expected to pay $75 million dollars. There’s legislation that Bill Nelson sponsored to increase that liability to $10 billion dollars. The oil companies say that will put them out of business. Is that something you would be supportive of, increasing that cap on liability for environmental damage?
MIKE LEE: No.
SL TRIBUNE: Why is that?
LEE: This company is reliant, the entire industry, is reliant on the insurance its provided by law. Now had that cap not been in place, we would be facing a completely different question. But you have a set of settled expectations that you give to a business when it decides to make an investment in this. Our country benefits from this type of activity and allows us to produce more oil and allows more of our petro dollars to remain in the United States. We’ve relied on that, and to take that away I think would be a mistake.
SL TRIBUNE: Does that leave taxpayers on the hook for part of the damage?
LEE: Well yea probably does. And the government can look at that and say look, we put this damages cap in place, so we understood what that meant.
SL TRIBUNE: Isn’t that equivalent to a bailout?
LEE: I don’t think, well, I don’t think that’s equivalent to a bailout. I think that’s the government saying there’s some things its going to — if you look at the Outer Continental Shelf, something over which the United States has jurisdiction, and the United State wants to clean that up, then it’s free to do so. There’s nothing in that liability cap that requires the Federal government to do it. Well I’m not sure that necessarily means the taxpayers will end up paying the bill. It maybe the industry generally will just contribute to it. In fact I would expect other people involved in offshore drilling will have a part of the clean up because they would want to to show this can be done safely and when disasters do happen it can be cleaned up.
Mike Lee’s philosophy is what I call “Wall Street Socialism.” Corporations want to privatize their profits and socialize their losses (or simply dump negative externalities like oil spills on the public). Bumper-sticker version: “Taxpayer Bailouts for Billionaires.”
Vote for Sam Granato, or else this guy will be our new senator.
Posted by in This Blog on June 17, 2010
KNRS 105.7FM has fired Bob Lonsberry, arguably the most influential conservative talker in Utah radio. The reason given is KNRS claims his ratings had slipped after they switched to a different rating system and changing from AM to FM. This excuse is preposterous since Bob Lonsberry has been extremely popular and very influential in Utah Politics which is most likely the cause of his forced exit from KNRS.
Bob Lonsberry is very influential and played a roll in the undoing of Senator Bob Bennett at the Utah Republican Convention. Lonsberry was very vocal in his opposition to the three term Senator and has sent shock waves through the Utah and National Republican establishment. Lonsberry’s firing is the establishment’s backlash against what they see as an assault to their power.
The other contributing factor that may have led to KNRS dumping Bob Lonsberry is the fact that he endorsed Tim Bridgewater against Mike Lee. Bridgrwater has suspended all advertising from KNRS in response to the Lonsberry firing. Energy Solutions is backing Mike Lee’s Senate campaign and also happens to be one of KNRS’ main sponsors. Could their be a connection? I certainly hope not but if so it could spell trouble for Mike Lee among conservatives who listened to Bob Lonsberry, which are many. Just ask Bob Bennett.