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Bucyrus affair shows costs of environmental rules

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Publication: Waukesha Freeman (Conley); Date: Jul 1, 2010; Section: Opinion; Page: 8A

A black mark for the green economy

Bucyrus affair shows costs of environmental rules

Last Thursday when the U.S. Export-Import Bank denied a loan guarantee to Reliance Power Ltd. in India, Wisconsinites got an instant lesson of what Democrats really think an environment-friendly economic future should look like.

The loan guarantee would have allowed a Wisconsin company, Bucyrus International, to sell mining equipment to the company in India. Because the equipment was for coal mining, the “carbon footprint” for the project was too big for the bank under the Obama administration’s new environmental rules, and the U.S. Export-Import Bank said no.

One thousand people could have been added to this country’s unemployment rolls, including 300 jobs right here in Wisconsin.

The reactions were predictable from Gov. Jim Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic candidate to replace Doyle. They hoped President Barack Obama would “pleasepretty-please” make this bad coal industry company the exception to Obama’s pristine coalfree world.

Which, of course, misses the whole point of Obama’s new environmental policy. Obama does not want to protect jobs in the nasty coal industry, whether it’s mining equipment or burning the coal in power plants. Obama wants to “move beyond coal,” eliminate coal’s carbon footprint, reduce greenhouse gasses, stop global warming, and save the Earth from one more Al Gore speech.

Obama should have been feeling pretty good right now. Environmental groups like the Sierra Club were saying this decision by the bank was a good one. They don’t want it reversed. Maybe all those steel workers that would lose their jobs will take up gardening on city rooftops growing organic arugula instead.

Obama was in a tough spot. After all, Doyle was an early endorser of Obama during the presidential campaign, and Obama personally recruited Barrett to run for governor to succeed Doyle.

I’m sure Obama gave Doyle and Barrett all the due consideration he gave them during the Asian carp crisis. Oh, look, there’s one of them swimming off the shore of Summerfest right now.

What Obama should ask Barrett and Doyle is, “Why are these jobs so important?”

That may sound callous, but it is not like Doyle and Barrett were too interested in letting a few jobs interfere with the Democrats’ environmental agenda so far.

Before the legislative session abruptly ended this last spring, Governor Doyle was pushing for legislation that came from his global warming task force. The bill would have imposed alternative fuel requirements on the state’s power production.

The bill would have increased electric rates between 6.4 percent and 12.5 percent. The increased energy costs would have meant the loss of 43,000 jobs in Wisconsin.

Under Governor Doyle and President Obama, the Wisconsin economy lost 7,900 private-sector jobs in May, using seasonally adjusted numbers. There was a net loss of 37,400 private-sector jobs from last year, using seasonally adjusted numbers.

The economy is going in the wrong direction. The only jobs being added are government jobs – 7,900 in May, according to seasonally adjusted employment figures.

So with the thousands and thousands of jobs that are already being destroyed, and with the thousands and thousands of jobs the Democrats want to destroy with the new “green economy,” somebody should ask, “What is so important about saving these particular jobs?” After all, it’s only 300 here, a thousand nationwide.

What are a few more bodies on the unemployment lines when there’s environmental progress to be made?

Of course, we know the answer. It’s an election year and this just became a very public example of the Democrats’ environmental policies throwing people out of work. Meanwhile, don’t look behind the curtain while other jobs that run afoul of the global warming alarmists are just casually destroyed in the name of the planet.

So if the Obama administration suddenly feels magnanimous and allows these jobs to survive, the question the employees might be wondering is, “how long?”

I wonder which candidates their unions endorsed.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

JAMES WIGDERSON

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