The Alabama Free Market Alliance (AFMA), a conservative advocacy group founded by Alabama’s Republican National Committeeman Paul Reynolds, embedded an “undercover” film crew with environmental protestors for several days last month in an effort to get the unvarnished truth about their agenda.
On Thursday, AFMA published the video of their findings, and some of what they captured on video is disturbing, to say the least.
The video was released in partnership with Free Market America, another conservative group that rose to national prominence in 2012 with the release of a video titled “If I wanted America to fail” that has received almost 3 million views on YouTube.
Free Market America’s founder Ryan Houck narrates both videos.
In the latest video, which can be viewed above, environmentalists are shown rallying in Washington, D.C., in favor of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) newly proposed energy regulations, which Houck frequently refers to as an “energy tax.”
“We dressed in the very best hippie costumes we could find,” Houck says in the video. “It helped us observe the hippie in its natural habitat, capturing authentic and unrehearsed answers to questions about the EPA’s new energy tax, like ‘What about the thousands of jobs that will be lost?'”
Houck got a variety of troubling responses to that question.
“The job loss is actually quite trivial and there’s relatively few people that work in that field,” one environmental activist said plainly.
“I’m sorry for the coal miners except they might be safer if they get other kinds of jobs,” added another. “Millions of people have lost jobs — billions for all I know. We certainly can do it for something worthwhile.”
That “something worthwhile” is the saving of the planet, according to the environmental activists. Many of them seemed to be genuinely convinced that the only way to avert a catastrophe is to do something drastic about climate change.
One protestor went as far as to say that a maximum birth rate policy “might be a good ideal” to lessen humans’ impact on the environment.
“It’s unfortunate that some of the more intelligent people, some of the better educated people are the ones who are deciding to have the smallest environmental footprint and cut down on the population growth, when families that are very poorly educated and very poor are having more children,” an activist said. “That worries me. We’re dumbing down the world, dumbing down the U.S. population… Less educated people controlling the country. Eventually they will be the majority.”
The most common idea for stopping climate change among the activists, though, was shutting down the coal industry.
“It shouldn’t be burned anywhere,” one activist said. “It should stay in the ground. And they should cover the coal mines with solar panels and wind generators.”
They are optimistic that the EPA’s new regulations on coal-fired plants will accomplish exactly that.
The EPA is mandating the State of Alabama cut power plant carbon emissions by 27 percent by 2030. More than half of all the electricity Alabama Power generates in the state comes from coal-fired plants. Additionally, more than 16,000 Alabama jobs are dependent upon the coal industry, which has an estimated $1.3 billion economic impact on the state.
The EPA will finalize its stricter standards in mid-2015. The agency will then give each state a year to design a plan to implement the new regulations. States will have the option to upgrade their existing coal-fired units and promote “renewable energy,” or abandon coal all together. If a state does not produce an implementation plan, the federal government can intervene and impose one on them.
Business groups and the coal industry are adamantly opposed to the new regulations, claiming they will be the realization of President Obama’s 2008 concession that his energy plan would cause energy rates to “necessarily skyrocket.”
A study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce predicts the Obama administration’s environmental mandates will cost the United States more than 220,000 jobs over the next several years.
According to the study, the proposed regulations will have a disproportionate impact on southern states, where energy costs would jump by $6.6 billion per year over the next decade-and-a-half. The “East-South-Central” region of Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky would see its GDP shrink by an estimated $2.2 billion and would lose 21,400 jobs as a result of the plan.
But the environmental activists in the Alabama Free Market Alliance video were calling on the president to go further
“President Obama could do more by executive order,” one activist said.
“While these certainly aren’t mainstream views, they are troublingly common among the modern green movement,” Houck says in the conclusion of the video. “Parts of this video may be funny, but the EPA’s new energy tax isn’t. It’s not about the industries or companies, it’s about people — ordinary folks who punch a clock or flip a light switch once in a while. If you do either of those things, then you are the one paying for the EPA’s new energy tax.”
Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims
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