Posts filed under Current Affairs

Senators Make Their Stance Clear on EPA’s Overreaching, Costly Carbon Plan

Republican Senators didn’t mince words when debating the legality, impact and insignificant environment benefits of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new carbon rule during Tuesday’s Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works “Economy –wide Implications of President Obama’s Air Agenda” hearing.

EPW Chairman Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma pressed the acting administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation Quality Janet McCabe to justify why the agency and the Obama Administration are imposing such a costly rule on Americans when negligible environmental benefits are expected.

“These regulatory actions are based on dubious science and are the culmination of improper collusion with extremist environmental groups and their sue-and-settle tactics,” Chairman Inhofe said in his opening statement.

Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan cut to the chase and called out EPA’s flagrant disregard for the rule of law during the hearing.

“Does it disturb you that 32 states are opposing the Clean Power Plan and 16 have already have requested a regulatory stay?” the senator asked of EPA’s Janet McCabe. “When states sue you that’s a pretty good indication they don’t like the rule,” he said.

Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia – both from states that will be severely impacted by the plan – warned this federal overreach will have serious consequences on our country’s taxpayers.

Energy costs in Capito’s state alone are predicted to increase between 17 and 22 percent.

“This is going to have a cost to them, a human cost,” Senator Capito said.

Wyoming Senator John Barrasso drove home the fact that EPA’s myopic plan has very few environmental benefits.  “You can only reduce the dust once and accrue the health benefits once. Not over and over to justify different rules,” he said.

Tuesday’s hearing was a step forward in holding the Obama Administration accountable for their legally flawed attempt to usurp control of energy distribution and raise electricity prices nationwide. We thank these right-minded Senators and look forward to future congressional and judicial action that will invalidate this overreaching, expensive plan.

Preparing for Battle, Defending States’ Rights

The Obama Administration cast a dark shadow over the states when the Environmental Protection Agency issued its carbon plan in August.  It’s a regulation so flagrant in its encroachment on states’ rights that it’s uniting attorneys general across the nation – and across party lines – in opposition.

These AGs – more than 20 are expected to be part of the action – understand the carbon regulation will result in soaring electricity prices that will decimate the pocket books of middle- and low-income families who already spend up to 17 percent of their modest budgets on energy. Thankfully, they are prepared to defend their states’ rights and keep electricity prices affordable by using the power and resources at their disposal.

Don’t take my word for it, however, check out what these right-minded AGs have to say on the matter.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who is steering the coalition fighting the carbon rule, said, “This rule is the most far-reaching energy regulation in the nation’s history, and the EPA simply does not have the legal authority to carry it out. With this rule, the EPA is attempting to transform itself from an environmental regulator to a central planning agency for states’ energy economies.”

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller also decried the legality of the regulation, saying it is “an overreach of historic proportions and this regulation of electrical power generation goes far beyond what Congress authorized the agency to do.”

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway argues the regulation will devastate the livelihood of his state’s residents. “It is apparent the Obama administration is doubling down on policies that hurt Kentucky,” he said. “I have challenged the President in the past and won — that is just what I plan to do in this case. This is about the future of our commonwealth and ensuring that our state doesn’t bear the brunt of an ill-conceived Washington, D.C., regulation that hurts Kentucky coal and Kentucky jobs.”

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange pointed out the problems it would cause for his state when he said, “Under the EPA rule, Alabamians’ average annual household energy bills could rise by more than $800 a year by the time the plan is fully implemented. This places an undue burden on those who can least afford it, including the poor, the elderly and others on fixed incomes.”

These AGs and many others are determined to save their states – and their states’ residents – from Obama’s executive overreach. We are hopeful even more will take up this cause and fight alongside them against this legally flawed, costly carbon plan.

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.

When EPA Can Pick and Choose, We All Lose

How many times have you watched a sporting event and been convinced the referees officiating the game made calls unfairly favoring one team over another? Just as referees are supposed to call games objectively and without bias, government should stay out of the business of picking winners and losers.

In its final carbon rule, however, the Environmental Protection Agency did just that when it imposed on 22 states more stringent emission reduction requirements than originally proposed.

Final Rule Percentage Map_FINAL_08.28.15

All of these states – except Rhode Island which has no coal-fired electricity generation – rely on coal to maintain affordable electricity prices. The collective average retail electricity price for the 21 coal-reliant “biggest loser” states was 12 percent below the national average in 2014. In contrast, Rhode Island’s electricity price was 49 percent above the national average.

EPA’s picking and choosing amounts to a big loss for consumers in all states forced to reduce CO2 emissions, but it hits the “biggest loser” states especially hard. Rising energy costs and declining family incomes are already straining the budgets of America’s lower- and middle-income families. Households with pre-tax annual incomes below $50,000, representing 48 percent of the nation’s households, already spend 17 percent of their after-tax income on energy costs. Many of these families are forced to make tough choices when their energy bill arrives each month. EPA’s carbon rule makes those decisions that much more difficult.

EPA’s pursuit of its illegal plan follows a dangerous trend of government agencies picking winners and losers in the energy marketplace. No matter where you live, this amounts to the makings of something much worse than just a bad call. When government is allowed to pick and choose, we all lose.

Growing Up With Coal: Hillary Clinton and Coal Country

President Obama’s tireless pursuit of his climate legacy is well-timed with the 2016 election cycle, especially when it comes to Hillary Clinton and how she is addressing the impact Obama’s carbon regulations will have on coal communities.

During her 2008 run, Clinton proudly touted her loose ties to coal country, emphasizing America’s need for coal and the crucial role clean coal technology will play in our energy future. In the wake of the president’s final carbon plan, however, Clinton now speaks of coal in the “past tense.” Reporters say she is walking a fine line between supporting the interests of voters in coal-producing states and appeasing environmentalists and donors aligned with Obama’s plan.

As someone with strong ties to coal country, I’m not “ready” for Hillary’s pseudo-support of the region and the hard working Americans who live there.

When Clinton expressed her support of President Obama’s carbon regulations, she was no longer walking a fine line – in fact, she crossed it. By promising to defend and build upon the costly and illegal plan, Clinton will place the “everyday Americans” she purports to champion in the crosshairs, raising energy costs and destroying jobs for families in coal communities.

Clinton would do well to cease with her “past tense” rhetoric, as coal currently helps support 700,000 jobs and provides nearly 40 percent of our nation’s electricity. The coal industry is very much a part of America’s present and is key to meeting our growing energy needs in the future, but by supporting the president’s plan, Clinton is turning her back on all of those it employs. Like the President, it’s well past time she prioritizes the families she claims to fight for over the support of elitist environmentalist activists she seeks.

EPA Outdoes Itself with Final Carbon Plan, Consumers Pay the Price

When it comes to bureaucratic overreach, the Environmental Protection Agency just took the proverbial cake when issuing its final rule regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. In doing so, EPA usurped the authority of virtually every state in the nation, while unleashing both sky-high energy cost increases for consumers and irreversible damage to the reliability of America’s electric grid.

EPA’s final rule is the most expensive ever imposed on the electric power sector. According to analysis of the proposed rule conducted by NERA Economic Consulting, consumers will see double-digit electricity rate increases in 43 states if the plan is implemented. These increases will be particularly devastating for the 59 million low- and middle-income families who may be forced to choose to keep the lights on or food on the table.

How else does the final rule affect America?

  • The nation’s electricity grid will be jeopardized. Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. coal fleet is currently scheduled to retire, largely due to recent EPA policies. Once coal plants go offline, they cannot be brought back online to generate electricity during times of greatest demand. As a result, America’s grid, which is not prepared to operate on renewable energy sources, would require an estimated $2 trillion in upgrades by 2030.
  • Perhaps the biggest blow of all, EPA’s carbon regulations will have virtually no effect on its stated purpose: climate change. At best, the rule will reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations by less than one-half of one percent, global average temperature by less than 2/100th of a degree and sea level rise by the thickness of three sheets of paper – all at a cost few can afford.

Because EPA deliberately misinterpreted the Clean Air Act, this illegal rule engendered the opposition of elected and environmental officials from 32 states and legal experts. In fact, President Obama’s former law professor, renowned constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe, likened the regulation to “burning the Constitution.”


Mike Duncan, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said it best today: “This rule fails across the board, but most troubling is that it fails the millions of families and businesses who rely on affordable electricity to help them keep food on the table and the lights on.”

We will continue to fight until this illegal takeover of America’s energy system is overturned by the courts. Stay tuned for updates on how America’s Power is making sure electricity remains affordable for all Americans.

A Look at the Paris Climate Talks and the Use of Coal in China and India

By Emma Battle and Cedrick Dalluge

Later this year, more than 190 countries will meet in Paris, France with the aim of formalizing a global agreement to address climate change. The talks, known as COP21, will have two main goals: to curb global warming and to provide funding to help countries invest in cleaner technologies. The U.N. believes the first goal will require a cut in global greenhouse gas emissions of 40 to 70 percent by 2050. The second is based on mobilizing $100 billion per year in funding. Paris attendees are likely to arrive, therefore, with high expectations and tight purse strings. While many world leaders originally hoped COP21 would produce a binding international treaty, political tensions and recent conversations point to the potential for looser, unenforceable pledges, particularly from developing countries.

For example, both India and China have been vocal about their focus on empowering their middle classes, developing their infrastructures and growing their economies. Their paths towards this progress are marked by a similar trend: reliance on low-cost, abundant energy – chiefly coal. China has lifted more than 400 million people out of poverty since 1980, arguably the greatest poverty alleviation movement in history. That nation’s reliance on reliable, affordable coal-based electricity has allowed it to rapidly develop its infrastructure and grow its economy. Its neighbor, India, now seeks to follow suit, using coal-based electricity to end widespread energy poverty and empower its growing middle class.

While some negotiators in Paris this November may forget coal’s history as a tool of economic growth, it’s important this overall message does not get lost in translation: coal, one of the planet’s most abundant resources, still serves as a conduit for empowerment. After watching coal help power the growth of other nation’s economies for decades, developing countries around the world seek to do the same.

It will be interesting to watch how the Paris talks play out, given the many different countries in attendance. No matter the debate, we are hopeful pragmatic voices will speak out in favor of an approach that allows continued economic empowerment for all nations through the use of all of our natural resources.

Coal Keeps America Thriving

Yesterday, the EPA held public hearings on its proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new coal and gas-fueled power plants.   EPA’s proposal sets an unattainable standard based on technology that hasn’t been proven on a full-scale power plant making it all but impossible to build any future, technologically advanced coal plants in the United States.

This isn’t the right path forward for American energy policy.

The right path forward includes all of our energy resources, especially our most affordable, reliable, domestic fuel source: coal.

The president says he supports an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy, but in reality his administration is pursuing an “all but one” energy agenda.

We know how important coal-based electricity is to millions of Americans.  Energy from coal helps keep our lights on, our homes warm and our electricity prices affordable.  That’s why yesterday, as the EPA held its hearing, we circled the nation’s capital with a message for the president:

We can’t change policy by ourselves, which is why we need your help.  We’ve launched a campaign to let the EPA know that they must protect American jobs and ensure we all have the affordable, reliable power we need to fuel our lives.

Sign our letter today and tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that you deserve affordable, reliable power.