Obama Turns from Raising Gas Prices to Raising Electric Rates

Obama Turns from Raising Gas Prices to Raising Electric Rates

By Killing Coal, EPA Rule Will Impoverish Consumers and Destroy Manufacturing Jobs

Washington DC, March 27, 2012 – The Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency today released a final rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from electric utilities that will ban the construction of new conventional coal-fired power plants. The result will be to raise electric rates for consumers, businesses, and manufacturers.

“President Obama has decided to apply the same policy magic that is raising gasoline prices to electricity prices,” said Myron Ebell, Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment. “The Obama EPA’s new global warming rule will raise electric rates in the heartland states that get most of their electricity from coal. These are the states where American manufacturing is now concentrated precisely because they depend on affordable electricity from coal.”

“President Obama says he wants to get the economy going and create jobs, but EPA’s action today is a job killer,” Ebell continued. “President Obama vowed when he ran for president in 2008 to bankrupt coal, but EPA’s new rule will do much more than kill coal. The higher electricity prices caused by the EPA rule will close American factories and send jobs overseas.”

“EPA is proposing this rule to limit greenhouse gas emissions even though EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has admitted that it will have no effect on global warming,” Ebell concluded.

“By effectively requiring the use of carbon capture and storage technology that is not commercially available, EPA’s standards violate the plain language of the Clean Air Act and even EPA’s own standing interpretation of the statute,” said William Yeatman, Assistant Director of CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment.

“EPA’s rule is an affront to the Constitution’s separation of powers,” said Marlo Lewis, Senior Fellow in CEI’s Center for Energy and Environment. “Congress never voted to ban investment in new coal electric generation. Indeed, Congress declined to pass less onerous versions of Obama’s ‘bankrupt coal’ agenda when Senate leaders abandoned cap-and-trade. Congress needs to reassert its constitutional authority, overturn the rule, and rein in EPA.”


“The Obama agenda seeks to control the way we live, work, and act by controlling the sources of energy we use. This rule gives more power to Obama regulators by giving fewer sources of affordable energy to American consumers.”
— IER President Thomas J. Pyle

WASHINGTON D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing today to issue a proposed rule for greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, a move that industry experts believe “effectively bans new coal plants” in the United States. Currently, coal-fired energy provides nearly 45 percent of America’s electricity needs, while solar and wind energy provide a combined 2.33 percent.

IER President Thomas Pyle released the following statement in advance of EPA’s proposed rule:

“President Obama promised to bankrupt coal-powered electricity in the United States, and this latest rule — when combined with the administration’s new rules for mercury emissions and cross-state pollution — makes good on that promise. Already, towns like Craig, Colo., whose economies rely on coal-fired electricity generation, are struggling under the burden of Obama regulations.

“Because the administration couldn’t shut down towns like Craig through cap-and-trade laws, the President has determined to impose his agenda through the EPA. This development is not surprising, given the president’s assurance that cap-and-trade was ‘just one way of skinning the cat.’

“The United States has the largest coal reserves of any country in the world with 486 billion short tons of technically recoverable resources. States like Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Montana lead the nation in producing this valuable resource for affordable electricity. If the EPA’s new rules are finalized, entire industries across the United States will be pushed out of business — and jobs with them.

“The EPA’s increasingly politicized rule making is clear. Administrator Lisa Jackson and her regulatory enforcers are advancing an agenda that gives tremendous financial benefit and market advantage to the president’s closest allies in the renewable sector and satisfies the ideological demands of environmental extremists who want to destroy traditional energy in America.

“The Obama agenda seeks to control the way we live, work, and act by controlling the sources of energy we use. This rule gives more power to Obama regulators by giving fewer sources of affordable energy to American consumers.”


EPA unveils power-plant standards
By: Erica Martinson
March 27, 2012 12:23 PM EDT

The Obama administration took a major step forward on the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions when the EPA on Tuesday released its long-awaited rule limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new coal-fired power plants.

It essentially means that new coal-fired power plants will have to capture their carbon dioxide emissions — either for storage or, in many cases, to send the CO2 to oil and gas drilling operations where it can be used to help extract fossil fuels. It also gives a big leg up to natural gas-fired plants.

“Right now there are no limits to the amount of carbon pollution that future power plants will be able to put into our skies — and the health and economic threats of a changing climate continue to grow,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a statement.

Already, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) says he will seek a Congressional Review Act vote to halt the rule.

“We were successful in stopping their job-killing agenda through legislation when we defeated cap and trade, now our fight is to stop them from forcing it on the American people through regulations,” he said.

The CRA — which requires 30 co-sponsors to get a Senate vote — would give senators the chance “to decide whether they will stand with President Obama” or against his environmental and energy agenda, Inhofe said.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), author of the ill-fated cap-and-trade bill, said the proposal “is a breakthrough.”

“It sets achievable limits on dangerous carbon pollution, spurs investments in new clean energy technologies and provides certainty for industry,” Waxman added. “And it shows the president is listening to scientists, not extremists who deny the existence of climate change.”

“EPA’s proposed standard reflects the ongoing trend in the power sector to build cleaner plants that take advantage of American-made technologies,” the agency said in a factsheet released with the proposed rule.

EPA said the decision to limit greenhouse gases is consistent with the Supreme Court’s 2007 decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, after which EPA determined that “greenhouse gas pollution threatens Americans’ health and welfare by leading to long lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment.”

The agency and environmentalists supporting the standards are quick to point out that it mirrors current trends in power generation: natural gas is up, and new coal plants are all but dead.

“Because of the economics of the energy sector, the EPA and others project that [natural gas combined cycle technology] will be the predominant choice for new fossil fuel-fired generation even absent this rule,” the proposed rule says. “In its base case analysis, the EPA does not project any new coal-fired EGUs without CCS to be built in the absence of this proposal through 2030.”

This article first appeared on POLITICO Pro at 12:19 p.m. on March 27, 2012.


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