NEW ORLEANS — Sitting in a cavernous Mercedes-Benz Superdome in front of green builders and central planners, billionaire and climate crusader Tom Steyer denounced the pursuit of wealth once people have enough of it.
Easy enough for him to say.
Steyer, sandwiched between Maryland Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and author Paul Hawken at last week’s 2014 Greenbuild conference in New Orleans, told the thousands gathered on the football field that wealth isn’t his main driver in life.
“I’ve never been driven by money,” Steyer said. “I mean, it may seem funny for someone who was a businessperson for 30 years and an investor.”
For the next minute or so, Steyer pontificated on the meaning of life and the merits of pursuing healthy family relations and working toward a common good.
Debating the merits of one’s life choices at a posh green conference in one of the nation’s biggest party cities might come easy for the billionaire, who jets around the country pushing his green agenda.
Such a discussion might not be had in homes and apartments of Americans struggling to recover after the Great Recession, everyday people who depend on low heating and fuel costs to survive. Weightier issues, like how to pay the power bill or put food on the table, might prevail.
Yet, Steyer and his climate pals like O’Malley want to make energy more expensive for ordinary Americans. For example, look no further than the Maryland governor, whose aggressive green agenda caused Marylanders’ energy bills to skyrocket.
Or, consider the job losses occurring under the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s strict power-plant regulations announced earlier this year. The United Mine Workers, who endorsed President Barack Obama in 2008 but sat out in 2012, estimates the new rules will cost more than 75,000 jobs by 2020 and 152,000 by 2035.
And those are just the direct jobs — miners, rail operators and others. Apply the economic multiplier to the losses and the results could be catastrophic, especially for states heavily dependent on coal production.
The rules, union chief Cecil E. Roberts said in a prepared statement, endanger retirees who need their companies to fully fund pensions and health benefits.
“That puts hundreds of thousands more — mostly senior citizens living on already-low fixed incomes — squarely in the crosshairs of this rule,” Roberts warned….