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In the Dark in the Midwest



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Detroit, Mich. — Ex-senator Rick Santorum calls the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill a “huge wealth transfer from coal-fired states and the Midwest to the coasts.” But Midwesterners may be the last to know.

I was traveling over the weekend from Detroit to Lexington, Ohio, north of Columbus and the MSM’s blackout of the climate bill’s potential impact — legislation that draws a bull’s-eye on this very region of the country — was astonishing to behold. Ohio gets 86 percent of its energy from coal and the National Mining Association — using data from the Energy Information Agency — estimates the cost of Waxman-Markey to Ohio consumers by 2012 to be over $600 million in energy costs [see PDF here]. Studies done by outfits such as the Heritage Foundation predict electricity rate increases of 90 percent, gas price increases of 74 percent, and a rise in the average family’s energy bill of $1,500. Yet none of these statistics was covered — if the climate bill debate was covered at all.

Indeed, in the Lexington, Mansfield, and Columbus papers I read, there was minimal, barely visible, wire-service coverage. The Columbus Dispatch did file a story Friday called “About the Bill,” which read like something straight off the Sierra Club’s shelf. A sample:

Q: Other than costs potentially being passed along to consumers, will this affect most Americans’ day-to-day lives?

A: This bill will put smaller, more efficient cars on the road, swap smokestacks for windmills and solar panels, and transform the appliances you can buy for your home. But some changes will occur more quickly than others.

Wow! Sounds great. Can I have another?

Admittedly, this is by design. Washington has purposefully crafted a complicated, back-door tax increase in the hopes that voters won’t notice until its too late (and even then, the pols will blame rate increases on evil utilities). But isn’t that what a press watchdog is for?

None of the papers reported the cost studies. None of them referenced Europe’s failed cap-and-trade experience. None of them mentioned that global temperatures are falling.

The major story of the week that the EPA had covered up its own report that global warming science is flawed — the story that should be on the front page of every Midwest paper — was broken, not by the press, but by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (home of Planet Gore’s Chris Horner).

A friend of mine last Friday stayed close by his car so that he could listen to Limbaugh’s coverage of the climate bill debate. Because without talk radio and websites like Planet Gore, he would have been in the dark — a fitting metaphor for a region of the country that could find it more and more costly to turn on the lights.



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