The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

The Best & Worst to Come: Environmental Policy

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CongareeSwamp

The Policy Council’s Best & Worst examines environmental legislation to anticipate in the 2010 session. Taxpayers need to be vigilant for initiatives that will have little or no impact on global climate change or local environmental protections – but will drive up costs for South Carolina homeowners and consumers.

At the same time, be on the lookout for the good ideas we hope will resurface in the coming year – measures that let local communities guide environmental decision-making, and returning control over the energy market in the state to the private sector.

For the full analysis, visit the Policy Council’s report on the Best & Worst ideas in state environmental policy.

Here’s a quick look at the good and the bad:

Best Ideas for 2010

1)       Empower Localities. Whenever possible the General Assembly should defer to localities regarding environmental concerns.

2)       Privatize the Energy Market. The state’s monopoly power over energy distorts the market, reducing competition and increasing costs to consumers.

3)       Energy Deregulation. Legislation creating energy regulatory bodies is 40 years old, and its original mission to bring energy to rural areas is obsolete. It’s time to loosen state regulations on energy providers.

Worst Ideas for 2010

1)       Mandating a Renewable Energy Portfolio. Legislation requiring electric utilities to expand the use of renewable energy resources threatens to cost jobs and raise consumer utility bills.

2)       Cap and Trade. This sweeping legislation now in Congress would create a system that caps CO2 emissions at a politically acceptable level and creates a global marketplace to buy and sell allotted emissions levels. We estimate that the bill would cost South Carolina 18,965 jobs by 2020.

3)       More Subsidies for Hydrogen. Federal and state lawmakers persist in pushing hydrogen technology that experts agree is “one of the least efficient, most expensive ways to reduce greenhouse gases.”

Nothing in the foregoing should be construed as an attempt to aid or hinder passage of any legislation. Copyright 2009. South Carolina Policy Council Education Foundation, 1323 Pendleton Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201.

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Written by SC Policy Council

November 2, 2009 at 2:41 pm

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