President Obama visited Trinity Structural Towers in Newton, Iowa. yesterday. Trinity is a business that produces the huge steel pedestals that support wind turbines for the windmills that are popping up all around Iowa and the nation. The business is located in one of Maytag’s old production plants and employs some former Maytag employees.
President Obama toured the plant and spoke with workers before making his speech in front of the 170 people gathered on the factory floor. His visit highlighted how Iowa’s wind industry has created good paying jobs in Iowa.
Obama’s visit to Newton undoubtedly helped to highlight Iowa’s alternative energy industry, but that issue comprised only one segment of his remarks. Obama spent considerable time talking about climate change and advocating for his cap and trade policy. Under his proposal, the government would set a limit, or cap, on the amount of a carbon that can be emitted into the atmosphere by any one entity. Companies and individuals would then be issued emission permits.
Obama’s cap and trade proposal has plenty of critics – some even on his own side of the political aisle – and it coincides with other new regulations coming from his administration. A new EPA proposal would charge farmers thousands of dollars per acre because farmers engage in carbon producing activities when putting their fields into production. This new proposal ignores the fact that these same farmers are planting millions of carbon consuming/oxygen producing plants.
One also has to wonder what Obama’s cap and trade proposal would mean to a company like Trinity. While they produce products that are used to build energy producing windmills, the company basically creates huge steel tubes. The amount of energy and the carbon emitted in producing these enormous structures has to be considerable, and that doesn’t even take into consideration the impact of transporting these structures to their final destinations.
Another theme in Obama’s speech was that there are some things that we can all do to use less energy. Once again, Obama said that Americans should make sure their tires are inflated properly to make sure they are getting the optimum gas millage for their vehicle. He also said that, if every American would switch out one regular light bulb for a compact florescent bulb, we could power 3 million homes.
Obama also continued to support tax credits for people who buy energy efficient furnaces, but said we need to look for other home appliances where we could cut energy use. Obama called for more efficient refrigerators and dishwashers. I thought these were odd comments to make in a factory that once housed a proud Iowa company that produced those products.
Obama said that politicians in the past have been unwilling to make the difficult decisions to help curb America’s thirst for energy, but he said he is not afraid to lead on the issues of energy and environment. He admitted that it will not be easy, and all Americans will have to sacrifice.
It seems certain that Obama’s new regulations will have a major impact on life as we know it. While having the government mandate tire pressure, thermostats, and light bulbs is one thing, Obama’s cap and trade policy will certainly increase the costs of essential goods for all Americans, which is a sacrifice that Americans simply cannot bear during these tough financial times.
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