Morning Bell: Stop Enviro-Crony Capitalism…Stop the EPA

Conn Carroll /

Two competing solar power companies, Ausra and BrightSource Energy, recently filed plans to build plants in the California desert. Both firms’ plans affected wildlife habitat. But only Ausra’s plans were hit with complaints demanding expensive and cumbersome environmental studies. The reason? Ausra had rejected demands that it use only union workers to build its solar farm, while BrightSource pledged to hire labor-friendly contractors.

As the New York Times reports today, big labor is using California’s environmental regulations to shake down power companies trying to build new plants in the state: “If they refuse, they say, they can count on the union group to demand costly environmental studies and deliver hostile testimony at public hearings. If they commit at the outset to use union labor, they say, the environmental objections never materialize.” As harmful as this racket is to California’s economy, new regulations proposed by the Obama administration will empower other special interest groups to shake down businesses nationwide. (more…)