A new EPA rule due to be made final next month called the Clean Power Plan, demands that the states sets state targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants or else they will do it themselves. It is the centerpiece of Obama’s Climate Action Plan announced in June 2013, and compiles with his more recent pledge to the U.N. that the U.S. will cut its carbon emissions by as much as 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025.
The plan is a disaster on so many levels, the most important of which is that it will kill jobs especially in the coal industry. With the U.S. labor participation rate at disastrous low levels, the economy will find it hard recover. On top of that the EPA rule is looking to replace cheap energy with more expensive alternate energy. Over all it will raise the price of energy and place an heavy burden on middle and lower economic class families.
The Heritage Foundation reported that, “without the details of the final regulations, and given the complexities of state plans, it is difficult to fully model the economic effects of the Administration’s Clean Power Plan; however, economic models can provide a snapshot of the economic losses that CO2 regulations would impose. The economic consulting firm NERA projects that whether or not a plan is state-administered or EPA-administered, electricity prices will increase considerably. If states administer the plan, electricity prices will increase by an average of 12 percent between 2017 and 2031, but if the rulemaking is left to the EPA, prices will rise an average of 17 percent during that time period.
A new study commissioned by the National Black Chamber of Commerce predicts the new regulation will leave minority communities with disproportionately fewer jobs, lower incomes and higher poverty than whites.
Over the past few weeks six governors, a Democrat and five Republicans announced that they will not comply with the Clean Power Plan.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), like Pence, has pledged to defy the rule unless major changes are made. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) have identified resisting the rule as a distinct possibility, while West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D) signed a bill requiring legislative approval of any compliance plan.
And both major candidates to be governor of Kentucky — a major coal-producing state — have pledged not to comply.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence became the latest to join their ranks in late June, declaring in a letter to President Barack Obama that he would not abide by the plan “if the final rule has not demonstrably and significantly improved.”
“This rule represents an effort by the administration to continue to advance a climate change agenda through the regulatory state and does not give due regard to the impact that that will have on electricity rates,” Pence said during a press call with reporters, “The best way for this rule to be improved would be to be withdrawn completely.”
At the Southern Southern Legislative Conference (SLC) Sunday, a legislative panel passed
a resolution urging state attorneys general to sue EPA over the rule that targets existing power plants.
Del. Rupert “Rupie” Phillips, a Democrat from West Virginia, wrote the resolution, which passed SLC’s energy and environment committee. His original measure urged states to not submit plans with EPA, but a compromise was struck to direct attorneys general to take legal action first.
“It’s time to draw a line in the sand,” Phillips said. “The EPA is pushing us around like they are a bunch of punks. I just want the states to stand together and say ‘no.'”
A chief concern about refusing to file a plan is having EPA write one instead, said Arkansas State Rep. John Baine, a Democrat.
“As a state, I’d much rather have a plan that I got to pick,” Baine said.
The SLC is the largest of four regional legislative groups that operate under the Council of State Governments. Its 15 member states stretch from West Virginia to Texas and includes Kentucky, Missouri and Oklahoma. Its policy and positions committee is expected to vote on the Clean Power Plan resolution today.
Most states are waiting toll the final rule is released next month to file law suits:
“We ask that you look to your states as an action of this group, to your attorneys general, to your governors to see if we can get as many states as possible to file litigation, joint litigation to the EPA on this,” said Randy Eminger, vice president of the South region for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). “The more we have, the better.”
Eminger said ACCCE tallied 18 states ready to sue as soon as possible. In the Southeast, that includes Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia, according to a map posted at SSEB’s legislator briefing.
The governors or attorneys general of roughly double that amount have at least “expressed concern” over whether the proposed Clean Power Plan, which focuses on Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, is legal, he said.
“There are a large group of states that are really vocal,” he said.
The nonprofit SSEB covers 16 Southeastern states as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Board members include governors and lawmakers from the largely conservative region.
Some states opt for legislative review plans
For a region that contains states that are dominated by the coal industry, the proposed rule has been a tough pill to swallow. That was evident all throughout Saturday’s meeting where speakers constantly referred to the Clean Power Plan as “overreaching regulation” and accused EPA of overstepping its boundaries and interfering with state authority.
In the end whether or not a state submits plans is just a matter of strategy. The key is that this EPA rule will kill jobs and increase energy costs directly and because the products one purchases will also pay higher energy costs consumers will pay for their higher energy costs. The people hurt the most will be the people least able to absorb the damage. Governors and Congress must be convinced to block the regulation.