Is the Biden Administration Celebrating Earth Day or Lenin’s Birthday With Its Regulatory Onslaught?

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is the director of The Heartland Institute’s Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and Linnea Lueken ([email protected]) is a research fellow with the Robinson Center.


Our friends and colleagues have often commented in the past on the fact that it seems fitting that Earth Day, April 22, coincides with Vladimir Lenin’s birthday. After all, many of the environmental groups who take to the streets to celebrate Earth Day each year are watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside. They hate capitalism and consider free markets the environment’s great destroyer.

This year, the authoritarian leanings of the elitist environmental cabal inside and outside the Biden administration is on full display. Never in the history of the federal regulatory state has there been such a concerted assault on individual choice.

We all want clean air, water, and pristine landscapes. But the Biden administration’s regulatory onslaught has nothing to do with making the environment better. Indeed, if Biden and company have their way, they will drive endangered whales to extinction, foster greater use of slave- and child-labor, and pollute the air and waters around the globe in a vain effort to control the climate. Of course, it’s not really about controlling the climate, it’s about controlling people – elites enforcing their desires on the unwashed masses, purportedly for their own good.

How do they hate consumer freedom? Let us count the ways. They hate average peoples’ choices of furnaces, air conditioners, stoves, lightbulbs, refrigerators, clothes washers, and gasoline and diesel-powered cars to start with. Regulations proposed in the past few weeks and months by the Biden administration would remove the vast majority of the most popular, least expensive, most effective models of these appliances and vehicles from the market.


What the heck does banning gas stoves, micromanaging what kind of lightbulb you use, and forcing internal combustion engine cars off the road accomplish? Mostly, just human suffering. But the elites’ obsession with “greenhouse gases” and climate change seems to give them cover to do whatever they want to average people, to the acclaim of those in the lapdog media.

A few months ago, word leaked out that the Biden administration was planning to ban gas stoves. Amid public backlash, Biden’s team claimed it was a lie, probably Republican disinformation, because Biden had no plans to ban gas stoves. Yet, at the same time, his officials were drafting regulations to do just that, and have now proposed the rule.

The Department of Energy just finalized “efficiency” standards for a multitude of appliances like AC units, refrigerators, washing machines, even portable air purifiers, and yes, gas stoves. While the administration may not be doing door-to-door stove confiscations (yet), only about 4 percent of stoves currently on the market would make the cut. The most affordable gas stoves aren’t among the 4 percent that meet Biden’s new standards, meaning yet another product will be priced out of poor- and middle-class Americans’ budgets.

The government claims the gas stove regulations are good for us because they will save us $1.50 per year on energy costs for the life of the stove. Gee, thanks. No doubt these new efficiency standards will be just as obnoxious and unhelpful as those that came before, increasing maintenance costs and the price of the product, not delivering on promised savings, and decreasing functionality of the appliances targeted.


They’re going after lightbulbs again too, not satisfied with almost completely kicking warm incandescent bulbs off the shelves, the DOE is now micromanaging bulb efficiency for decorative fixtures, track lighting, and other accessory uses. This will remove billions of bulbs from the market, and once again force everyone to buy the more expensive products.

In the meantime, Biden just introduced the most extreme regulations ever on the car industry, demanding that 67 percent of cars sold in the U.S. need to have zero tailpipe emissions by 2032. Say goodbye to all but one of the top 10 best-selling vehicles for the past few years, five of which were pick-up trucks, led by the Ford F150. No currently popular pick-up truck or full-size SUV can meet the Biden administration’s new carbon dioxide emission standards—and that’s by design.

These rules will have a devastating impact on the planet and people in countries that typically mine for critical minerals necessary to keep these products functioning. More mining, much more mining, will be necessary. Green technology, including electric vehicles (EV), uses far more critical minerals than traditional energy sources.

EVs are also very expensive. Electricity, as well, is becoming more expensive. Government mandates and restrictions have made it so. These new rules will only force people who previously had the freedom of a personal vehicle into using public transportation (which is perhaps the goal). Worse yet, only 10 EVs actually qualify for the tax credit Biden says will make them more affordable.


And just in case you’re thinking, well, I can avoid this stuff, I’ll just keep my old appliances and car, and will retreat to a little house in a rural area where I will be left alone – nope. Already, one of the most powerful banking executives in the world suggested publicly that, should you and your community be hesitant to allow land to be used for their “green” energy schemes, the government should just take the land from you. Welcome to the new era of eminent domain!

We’ve already seen huge energy cost spikes, making it more expensive to heat your home and keep the lights on, but this administration wants to add more to this burden.

Democrats are all about “soaking the rich,” right? So why do their environmental policies disproportionately target everybody else? Unless it’s not about helping people and the environment at all.

The Biden administration likes to prattle on about environmental justice, while its policies soak the working class with injustice. The rich, along with the “Big Guy” and Hunter’s elite buddies, won’t be materially impacted by these rules. Making it too expensive for the poor and middle class to heat and cool their homes, while spending more on lighting, and making it too expensive for them to own cars and trucks, that hardly seems just.

Oh yeah, and happy Earth Day.

The opinions expressed in guest op-eds are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of



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