By James M. Taylor, J.D. -
The Obama administration announced proposed power plant restrictions requiring a 30 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels. The regulations allow states some latitude in formulating plans to meet their mandated emissions cuts, but states will almost certainly shut down most or all of their coal power plants to meet the mandates.
Coal is the least expensive widely available source of electricity, but it also emits the most carbon dioxide.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce published a report finding EPA’s carbon dioxide restrictions will kill 224,000 jobs and reduce the nation’s economic output by $51 billion per year. The carbon dioxide restrictions will cost the average U.S. household nearly $500 per year.
In 2009, President Obama urged Congress to pass legislation severely restricting carbon dioxide emissions. Congress rejected the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill despite Democrats holding large majorities in both chambers of Congress.
Democrats and Republicans alike criticized the Obama administration’s newly proposed restrictions and the Obama administration’s decision to circumvent Congress through EPA. U.S. Senators Mark Pryor (AR), Mark Begich (AK), and Mary Landrieu (LA) spoke out against the restrictions, as did U.S. Senate candidates Alison Lundgeran Grimes (KY) and Natalie Tennant (WV).
“While it is important to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, this should not be achieved by EPA regulations,” said Landrieu. “Congress should set the terms, goals and timeframe. Greater use of natural gas and stronger efficiency measures adopted by the industry have already helped us reduce carbon emissions to their lowest levels in 20 years, and this should continue.”
“This proposed regulation is all pain and no gain. This is supposed to be about climate, but even if you trust the United Nations climate models, this regulation would result in no climatically relevant decrease in warming,” said Daniel Simmons, director of state affairs at the Institute for Energy Research. “In fact, EPA didn’t even bother to run a climate model to show how this would affect climate because they knew the results were too small.”
First published at Heartland.org. James M. Taylor is managing editor of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism. He is also senior fellow for The Heartland Institute, focusing on energy and environment issues.