Texas Gov. Rick Perry may be announcing his bid for president this Saturday, according to Politico.
And last week, in an interview with CBN News, Perry gave a preview of his approach to federal environmental policy by explaining that he prays for the EPA to roll back emissions and air quality standards:
Frankly I pray for the president every day. I pray for his wisdom, I pray that God will open his eyes. I wish this president would turn back the health care law that’s been passed, ask that his EPA back down these regulations that are causing businesses to hesitate to spend money.
Unless Perry is talking about reductions in hospital expenditures because of improved public health, his belief that EPA regulations of mercury, air toxics, and carbon emissions will cause businesses to stop spending money is exactly the opposite of what analysts say would happen.
As power providers prepare for potential standards by installing environmental-controls equipment and building cleaner generation, manufacturing and construction jobs are created — possibly representing up to $200 billion in economic activity, according to a 2010 report from Charles River Associates:
[B]etween 2010 and 2015, the power sector will invest almost $200 billion on capital improvements, including almost $94 billion on pollution controls and over $100 billion on about 68,000 megawatts of new generation capacity. Constructing such new capacity and installing pollution controls will create a wide array of skilled, high-paying jobs, including engineers, project managers, electricians, boilermakers, pipefitters, millwrights, and iron workers.
Despite the strong economic case for environmental health, Perry has done more than just pray for an end to EPA regulations: Last year, he challenged a court decision allowing the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases, saying the authority puts “countless businesses, farms, even large churches in their crosshairs.”
Meanwhile, Perry continues to pray for the end of an ongoing drought in Texas that has crippled countless businesses and farms throughout the state. Texas-based climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon says, “it may well be the worst drought on record for agriculture.”
In a major public event in the lead-up to his candidacy, Perry convened a gathering of 30,000 evangelicals in Houston last Saturday, where attendees prayed for political leaders, the economy, and, of course, more rain. Saturday’s gathering was another chance for churches in the state to come together and ask for the drought to break:
“We’ve prayed for rain for the past several weeks,” [Rev. Richard] Jones said. “I don’t know if God is trying to get our attention … It seems like things have to get desperate. I’m all for what Gov. Perry is doing and think it took a lot of courage for him to call for this prayer meeting.”
With areas of Texas facing the worst drought since the dust bowl of the 1930’s, Perry called for a three-day prayer for rain in April. However, the problem has only gotten worse since then.
Prayer is a powerful thing. But as greenhouse-gas emissions spew uncontrolled into the atmosphere and heat waves get more intense, causing dangerous smog to form in urban areas, praying for an end to EPA regulations is not exactly sound environmental policy for a presidential candidate to be advocating.
Get Grist in your inbox