Posts filed under Affordability

New numbers reveal EPA’s plan will send electricity prices soaring

New analysis from NERA Economic Consulting on the Environmental Protection Agency’s final carbon rule for existing power plants reveals what we’ve been saying all along –consumers and businesses will be hit hard by skyrocketing electricity price increases. With its expensive price tag of nearly $300 billion, you would expect to see significant environmental benefits, right? Wrong. The so-called Clean Power Plan will have no effect on its purported claim of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.

Here’s a rundown of how the dice fall if EPA’s rule goes into effect:

  • States get hit hard. Utah, North Dakota and Wyoming are disproportionately affected by the costly power plan and will experience electricity rate increases in excess of 40 percent.
  • Cap and trade by another name still means higher electricity rates. EPA claims its cap and trade lookalike scheme is cost-saving and “efficient” but NERA’s analysis proves otherwise showing a national average increase as high as 14 percent.

These numbers are especially dire for the 59 million middle- and low-income families who bring home on average less than $2,000 a month and already spend 17 percent of their hard-earned dollars on energy. To make ends meet and keep the lights on, they’ll have to shave precious dollars off of other necessities like groceries and health care.

The conclusion of NERA’s analysis is clear: higher electricity prices are on their way courtesy of EPA. It’s time the president and his bureaucratic chums look at the math and determine if they’re really willing to put our country’s families into financial turmoil in order to fulfill their political goals.

For a full picture of the how the numbers will play out if the president and EPA have their way, click here.

EPA’s Carbon Plan’s “Numerous Legal Deficiencies” Glare During House Hearing

The House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing on “EPA’s CO2 Regulations for New and Existing Power Plants: Legal Perspectives” drove home some glaring truths about the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon plan. Chief among them is the fact the plan is blatantly illegal and that EPA is vastly exceeding its authority to craft and impose state energy policy.

It was evident at the hearing that the administration and EPA bypassed the legislative branch when imposing its so-called Clean Power Plan to ensure it avoids being shot down in Congress.

Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said, “The discrepancy between what EPA is trying to do and what the Clean Air Act actually allows is so wide that I am confident that these rules will not withstand judicial scrutiny.”

Experts and elected officials across the board compared the likeness of EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan to the Obama Administration’s “cap and trade.” West Virginia’s general solicitor Elbert Lin  and expert legal witness Allison Wood both testified that EPA’s carbon scheme is “cap and trade” reincarnated – legislation  which failed in a Democratic-controlled Congress five years ago because it was expensive and impractical for American taxpayers.

Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said, “The EPA is regulating where the administration failed to legislate, issuing final rules for CO2 emissions from new and existing power plants that seek to fundamentally change the way we generate, distribute, and consume electricity here in the United States.”

It was made apparent, however, that EPA’s plan is much bigger than just a legal battle. Behind all of the legal technicalities, the financial future of millions of American families is at stake.

Upton warned, “Left unaddressed they [EPA’s plan] could lead to higher electric bills, an increased likelihood of blackouts, and lost American jobs. The new EPA’s regulations on their own do significant damage – but cumulatively they will break the camel’s back.”

We commend Congressmen Upton, Whitfield and the expert witnesses who testified about the truth behind EPA’s illegal rule and for standing up against the administration’s blatant attempt to usurp  states’ constitutional authority.

Just How Aware is the President During Energy Awareness Month?

It’s tough to think of October as Energy Awareness Month when the same administration that conjured up the concept is the same one touting a new rule to limit carbon emissions from new and existing power plants. The president’s plan will be a disaster for American families, especially low-income and minorities, raising their electricity prices and threatening energy reliability.

For a president who devoted an entire month to energy awareness, how could he be so blatantly unaware of his plan’s costly implications?

President Barack Obama proclaimed October the first ever Energy Awareness Month in 2009.  The original Energy Awareness Month encourages Americans to make smart energy choices and invest in energy efficiency and innovation – great ideas all of us can support up to a point.

Flash forward six years and it seems the focus has changed. Obama renewed the proclamation again this year, however, now there’s an emphasis on implementing an illegal and unworkable carbon reduction plan that will raid American household budgets. Obama’s plan hits consumers with costs that will drastically increase electricity prices for families and businesses. According to a study of the proposed plan, consumers and businesses can expect to pay a whopping $41 billion or more in implementation costs every year.

The administration may be rallying for its carbon plan during its so-called Energy Awareness Month, but a huge swath of the country is not. In fact, elected officials in 32 states  are on the record publically opposing the plan and better than 20 state attorneys general are expected to take legal action against the rule because it violates states’ rights.

Is the president unaware of the well-founded, widespread dislike for his plan? Or, is he so wedded to meeting his legacy goals that he just doesn’t care what costly consequences will be heaped on American families and businesses? Sadly, it appears to be the latter.

Energy awareness should mean being conscious of the outcomes our national energy policies produce.  It should mean endorsing sound, commonsense policies to ensure households and businesses have the energy they need, at prices that will not cause them to go bankrupt.  The overreaching carbon plan being foisted on the states and all of us fails those tests and should serve as a clarion call to make elected officials across the country aware of the ramifications of putting political agendas ahead of real world priorities.

Spotlight on States: Texas

As America’s second-largest state with a population of nearly 27 million, Texas certainly has the right to describe itself as big. The state’s electricity demand can also be described as such, because it takes a lot of power to meet Texas’ growing energy needs. To keep lights on across the Lone Star State, Texas relies on affordable, reliable energy from coal to generate 34 percent of its electricity.

Harnessing the power of coal is especially beneficial for Texas’ ratepayers, as it helps keep the state’s electricity prices more than 8 percent below the national average. This is hugely helpful to the 4,000,000 low-income families who call the state home and are living on only $2,000 each month. Texans also have ample opportunities to find quality employment in the coal industry, as it provides 41,560 direct and indirect jobs.

Sadly, another thing that can be described as big is the threat the Environmental Protection Agency’s finalized carbon regulations pose to Texas. If left unchallenged, these rules will force the state to shutter its coal power plants in favor of more costly and less reliable energy sources. Consequently, electricity rates for families and businesses will shoot up, while the loss of coal-related jobs will cause employment prospects to take a nose dive.

State leaders recognize the negative implications of EPA’s rule and are putting up a Texas-sized fight to stop the agency’s vast power grab. Attorney General Ken Paxton vowed to sue EPA should the agency continue on its unlawful path.

Less than three weeks ago, Dr. Bryan Shaw, a former EPA staffer and now chair of Texas’ Department of Environmental Quality, offered his expert opinion on EPA’s rule to Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Environment. According to Shaw, “the resulting effect of increased cost of power and power shortages, such as rolling blackouts, would…jeopardize the personal and economic health of Texas citizens.”

Whether a state is the size of Texas, or the size of Iowa, deciding how to best meet electricity demand is a big decision that should be made by those who know their state best. Allowing EPA to make these decisions only serves to jeopardize our nation’s energy and economic security. Its crucial states like Texas continue to stand up to EPA’s harmful regulations and fight for America’s right to continue benefiting from affordable, readily available coal-based electricity.

Spotlight on States: Nevada

As part of his recent climate change tour, President Obama traveled to Las Vegas last month for Senator Harry Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit. The president touted his administration’s recent environmental regulations during his remarks, declaring his carbon plan will have a positive effect on states like Nevada. We decided to take a closer look at the reality of Nevada’s energy needs and economy in comparison to President Obama’s claims.

  • Energy Choices: The president claims his plan will give consumers the “freedom” to choose “more efficient” forms of energy. To meet the emissions reduction target outlined in the plan, however, Nevada will be forced to use more expensive (and less efficient) intermittent sources of energy favored by the Environmental Protection Agency. In reality, the state, and consequently its consumers, actually have very little freedom at all under the rule.

    Congressman Cresent Hardy
    put it well when he stated that “Nevada and other states should continue to lead the way to safely and responsibly develop options tailored to [their] unique resources.” Like other states, Nevada’s energy portfolio is designed to meet its own energy needs and achieved this balance on its own – not as a result of heavy-handed mandates from Washington, D.C.

As the administration continues its push to sell its costly carbon plan, it will be especially critical to dive deeper into the real impact the regulation will have on the states. The decisions state officials make about the plan will have a lasting effect on the well-being of the families and businesses that call these places home.

Raise Your Voice and Help Protect Affordable Energy

For more than a year, the America’s Power Share Your Story initiative has allowed us to hear what affordable coal-based electricity means to hundreds of Americans. From a family of four in Missouri, to a small business owner in Ohio, to a single mother in Florida, people across the country have told us about the positive impact low-cost electricity has on their lives, families and communities.

A recent submission from Coleman of West Virginia really hit home with me and seemed to perfectly capture why affordable energy plays such a critical role in our daily lives:

“I look around this room. Is there anything I see that has not been created, sustained, or delivered without the benefit of cheap available energy?”

Coleman’s story prompted me to take a look at look at my surroundings. The food I’m eating, the clothes I’m wearing, the chair beneath me, the lights above my head – nearly everything around me is made possible through affordable power and the related positive effects it has on our society.

As you go through your daily routine today, I challenge you to look around and think “would this be possible without affordable energy?” In nearly every instance of modern life, the answer is no. Low-cost electricity from coal not only helps keep the modern conveniences we enjoy affordable – it is one of the very reasons our nation has become the advanced economic leader we are today.

Take a moment to think about what affordable power means to you and consider sharing your thoughts with us. We want to hear your story, because it’s the voices of people like you who can help make sure affordable electricity from coal continues to be one of the greatest advantages of American life.

What Candidates Are Saying About Obama’s Carbon Rule

The 2016 presidential race is heating up, and so are candidates’ positions on the administration’s illegal carbon plan that will mandate emission reductions from new and existing power plants in 49 states.

Where does your candidate stand? A rundown of candidates for and against the rule, as well those who have yet to make a public statement, are listed below.

Anti-carbon rule

  • Jeb Bush: The former Florida governor said, “President Obama’s Carbon Rule is irresponsible and overreaching. The rule runs over state governments, will throw countless people out of work, and increases everyone’s energy prices.”
  • Marco Rubio: The Florida senator reminded us Hillary Clinton’s endorsement of the regulation and declared, “As president, I will immediately stop this massive regulation. I’ll pursue a sweeping overhaul of the regulatory system to make sure costs and benefits of new rules are accurately accounted for and that localities, states and industries can meet the timelines I set forward.”
  • Rand Paul: The Kentucky senator warned, “But in my state, this is going to be higher electric bills and it’s going to be more unemployment. So we’re steadfast against it, and I will do everything I can to repeal this rule.”
  • Chris Christie: The governor of New Jersey made a scathing statement about the plan and declared it “is yet another example of the Obama administration inappropriately reaching far beyond its legal authority to implement more onerous and burdensome regulations on businesses and state governments alike.”
  • Carly Fiorina: The former chief executive of Hewlett Packard and GOP hopeful told RealClearPolitics she would repeal the entire package of Environmental Protection Agency carbon emissions rules once in the White House. “They’re terrible. Every single one of them should be repealed,” she said.
  • Mike Huckabee: The former governor of Arkansas is adamant about his opposition and said it would “bankrupt families” and described the plan as part of a “carbon crusade.”
  • Ted Cruz: The Texas senator argued President Obama’s rule is a “lawless and radical attempt to destabilize the Nation’s energy system, is flatly unconstitutional and – unless it is invalidated by Congress, struck down by the courts, or rescinded by the next Administration – will cause Americans’ electricity costs to skyrocket at a time when we can least afford it.”
  • George Pataki: The former governor of New York opposed the president’s plan when he said, “This is a classic top-down, government-imposed solution. It will result in higher costs of energy, an increase in the vulnerability of the electrical supply, and I think it’s just completely wrong.”
  • Rick Santorum: If elected to the White House, the former Pennsylvania senator said he will swiftly reverse Obama’s final rule. At a 2016 presidential forum sponsored by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, Santorum stated, “The regulations that we’re seeing coming out of this administration have nothing to do with science. It’s like a quasi-religious crusade for them. They want to eliminate fossil fuels. They don’t care about the impact.”

Pro-carbon rule

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has made it known she’s an avid supporter of Obama’s plan and recently said, “It’s a good plan, and as President, I’d defend it.” Clinton also vowed to “build on” the plan, which is eerily similar to the 2009 cap and trade legislation she and President Obama both championed.

The former governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee publicly thanked the president and EPA for announcing the rule while Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley took to the Twittersphere to express support.

Mum’s the word

Candidates Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jim Gilmore, Jim Webb, and Lindsey Graham have yet to oppose or support the rule. In December of 2014, Graham signed a letter to Gina McCarthy asking for the rule’s withdrawal, but has not made a public statement on the rule since its release in August.

As the countdown begins for tonight’s second Republican primary debate, it’s time to demand all presidential candidates show their true colors when it comes to Obama’s carbon plan.

Affordable energy prices, economic progress and our nation’s energy infrastructure are all at stake thanks to Obama’s aggressive plan. Make sure when you’re tuning in to tonight’s debate, you ask yourself not only who you want to see run our country, but who has the interest of hardworking, energy-using Americans in mind.

Make sure candidates answer your carbon plan questions during the CNN debate tonight. Submit your question by tweeting or visiting CNN’s website.

Kelley Earnhardt Miller on Affordable Energy and Our Schools

As a mom of three, I’m keenly aware of my family’s budget. I know when the cost of certain necessities like food and electricity go up, it can be a delicate balancing act to ensure my family isn’t hurt by these fluctuations. Too many of our families across the country, however, aren’t able to meet unexpected costs and must make difficult choices about where their hard-earned dollars are spent.

The importance of affordable energy extends beyond our homes and impacts nearly every aspect of our lives from services and institutions vital to our communities to the food in our children’s lunch boxes. With schools across the country welcoming back students this month, I’m also reminded of the critical role coal-based electricity plays in powering America’s classrooms. From computers, to science labs, to the lights in the gym, affordable energy has a direct impact on our children’s educational experiences.

With the electricity we need at an affordable rate, our cities and counties can pay teachers what they deserve, invest in facilities and focus on what’s important – instead of losing sleep over high power bills. If schools are forced to worry about their budgets because of rising energy costs, essential services too often get cut as a result. These cuts can have a profound effect on our kids’ happiness, health and success in learning.

Consider what affordable energy means for your community and learn more about how you can take action to protect low-cost electricity.