Posts filed under Policy and Legislation

Watch Out for the Rhetoric Tomorrow Night

Democratic presidential candidates take the stage tomorrow night for the first Democratic Primary Debate on CNN at 9 p.m. EST. Most of the contenders, particularly frontrunners like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, are expected to show off shiny platforms that vilify fossil fuels. Taking it a step farther, these candidates will show they are in lock step with the president’s climate agenda, especially his recently issued Costly Power Plan.

Hillary Clinton is already rallying for the plan saying, “It’s a good plan, and I’d defend it. We can and must go further.” Candidates Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee all also publicly support the plan.

What the candidates will fail to vocalize is that the plan they are touting has the exact same costly flaws attached to it as the “cap and trade” legislation from Obama’s earlier years – which ended up ousting over three dozen of its supporters from their political seats.

Cap and Trade

Instead of learning from the past, the Democratic candidates are doubling down on the president’s plan to regulate where he couldn’t legislate. They will tout their credentials as champions for the working class yet they support energy policies that will leave families paying more for electricity. They will tell us broad support exists for action like the carbon plan despite recent political history showing us this type of policy is a political loser. Is this what we want from our next president? Someone who says one thing and does the opposite?

When you’re watching the debate, think twice about the candidates on stage who are supporting this political loser. If you’re appalled by a potential president who will continue to champion this faulty carbon plan – regardless of the facts – at the expense of our country’s taxpayers, it’s time to stand up against the current administration’s misguided carbon agenda.

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

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.

A second try at cap-and-trade

This op-ed originally appeared in The Washington Times on September 7, 2015. 

Democrats embracing President Obama’s carbon-regulating Clean Power Plan may want to be cautious and consider recent history. The president’s final regulations resurrect a “cap-and-trade” program so unpopular it cost many supportive Democrats their seats in Congress just five years ago.

Cap-and-trade programs are broadly unpopular because they create an artificial marketplace where electricity generators have to buy credits to emit carbon dioxide. These costs then get passed along to households and businesses in the form of higher electricity bills.

As a candidate in 2008, President Obama conceded this point telling The San Francisco Chronicle, “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” Not surprisingly, when the president tried to move this plan through Congress it faced strong opposition.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought the cap-and-trade plan to the House floor the next year, where it narrowly passed by a 219-212 margin, with 44 Democrats opposing the bill. It was a vote that made vulnerable Democrats even more vulnerable, and it was ultimately for naught.

Despite having a robust Democratic majority in 2009 and 2010, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declined to bring the cap-and-trade bill to the Senate floor. His Democratic colleagues were undoubtedly aware of the policy’s unpopularity as a 2009 Pew Research poll found Americans who were familiar with the legislation opposed it by a 2 to 1 margin.

A year later, Democrats faced the wrath of an electorate not eager to see higher energy prices. The party lost its House majority and more than two-dozen representatives who voted for the cap-and-trade package were swept out of office.

One of the most notable was Rep. Rick Boucher, a well-respected 14-term Virginia lawmaker who was instrumental in helping the bill pass the House. When asked, a former Boucher chief of staff said, “I don’t think there’s any question about it, cap and trade was the issue in the campaign. If Rick had voted no, he wouldn’t have had a serious contest.”

Unfortunately, this electoral rebuke did not slow the president’s desire to inflict this unpopular program on the American people.

The president’s Clean Power Plan, which he is attempting to implement as a regulation rather than through the legislative process, will set unique carbon limits for every state. States projected to be over their limit will then face the choice of switching to different fuel sources that would be costlier or buying surplus emissions “credits” from states that are under their carbon limit. That last option, which many states will be forced to take, is essentially a cap-and-trade program.

This cap-and-trade regulation pits states against one another, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) picking winners and losers. In this case, the losing states are made up almost exclusively of states that rely on coal to generate electricity. Under the final regulation, the EPA gave 22 states more stringent emission reduction requirements than were initially included in the proposed plan. Of these 22 states, 21 rely on coal to help keep electricity prices affordable. The collective average retail electricity price for these 21 coal-dependent states was 12 percent below the national average last year.

Higher energy costs aren’t going to be any more popular in 2016 than they were in 2010, especially because these costs disproportionately hurt lower- and middle-income families. When energy prices increase, these households are forced to make some terrible decisions. According to a survey of low-income households, 24 percent reported that they had gone without food for at least one day as a response to high energy bills. Thirty-seven percent said they went without medical or dental care, and 19 percent said that someone had gotten sick in their household because their home was too cold. Now the president wants them to pay even more.

From a broader economic standpoint, the EPA’s regulations will inflict pain over the entire country. The true cost of the plan won’t be known for some time, but the proposed regulation was projected to cost more than $40 billion per year, raise electricity prices in 43 states, and have practically zero impact on global climate change. It’s no wonder that legislatures, governors and attorneys general representing 32 states expressed opposition to the EPA’s proposed regulation. Unfortunately, those concerns seem to have been largely ignored.

The president once famously quipped that “elections have consequences,” but now he is undermining the electoral process by ramming through a program that couldn’t even get through a Democratic-controlled Congress. No president should be able to unilaterally raise energy prices on states. As a lame-duck president, he doesn’t have to worry about facing voters again. Other Democratic lawmakers and candidates do, however, and they support this plan at their own peril.

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.

EPA Carbon Emissions Plan and Cap and Trade – A Carbon Copy

In an attempt to preserve his political legacy, last month President Obama unveiled his final carbon emissions plan – the most far-reaching energy regulation in the nation’s history. What President Obama, and Hillary Clinton who endorsed the regulation and vowed to build on it if elected president, fails to mention is that: This illegal regulation is a dressed up version of the unpopular “cap and trade” legislation from five years ago.

The reality is “Obama / Clinton Cap and Trade II” has all the signs of being the next political loser for candidates and incumbents who support it.

Some quick political history:

  • A bad vote. Five years ago, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives lead by then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi barely passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, or “cap and trade,” despite vocal bipartisan opposition and outcry from constituents.
  • Writing on the wall. Concerned about the political consequences they would face at the ballot box in 2010, Senate Democrats called on the White House to drop their efforts and then let the bill languish in the House.
  • “Cap and trade” bust. The bill ultimately failed because it did not have enough support from Senate Democrats despite having a super majority at the time.

Months later, members of Congress who voted for “cap and trade” were “slaughtered” at the ballot box by voters in the 2010 mid-term election. These legislators paid the price for ignoring the concerns of voters on issues that impact their pocketbooks.

Five years later:

Instead of taking the lessons of the past to heart, the president has chosen to implement “cap and trade” by executive fiat through the Environmental Protection Agency. The history books show us “Obama/Clinton Cap and Trade II” plan is a political loser for public officials. Current office holders and those seeking public office should take note and act to stop President Obama’s carbon plan from becoming an all too costly reality.

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.

Committee Report on EPA-NRDC Collusion Raises Eyebrows on Capitol Hill

It’s no secret the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Resources Defense Council are joined at the hip on the onerous, carbon regulations being foisted on the American public. It’s been going on for years.

A new Congressional report shows the depths of this cozy relationship.

In its report, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works reveals how EPA has been colluding with wealthy environmental activists to create these carbon rules, which place the greatest burden on those Americans who can afford it least.

Not only will Americans be left with sky-rocketing electricity prices, they will also be at risk of a weakened electric grid unable to handle massive changes mandated by EPA’s plan. Even worse, the purported health improvements are nothing more than a smoke screen designed to hide the fact that the plan will do nothing to meaningfully reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Senate EPW Blog Post_Graphic_FINAL_08.10.15

Here are just a few of the ways EPA and environmental activists attempted to pull the wool over the eyes of Americans:

Wild goose chase: The report cites numerous accounts of EPA officials repeatedly misleading the public, news media and Congress about their negotiations and dealings with environmental activists in order to breathe life into the carbon emissions ruling.

Getting cozy: The report details the “cozy relationship” among EPA officials and environmental activists. To avoid public transparency, they were often communicating through personal email accounts and holding meetings away from EPA headquarters.

According to email records between key EPA and NRDC players, “senior EPA officials continued to have numerous phone calls and meetings in July 2013 with NRDC staff, including several to discuss technical analysis and modeling that NRDC has developed to support its policy proposals.”

Political chess: EPA manipulated rule-making deadlines to avoid public backlash before the 2012 Presidential and 2014 midterm elections. They even went as far as to devise a “sue-and-settle” scheme, where negotiations among EPA and environmental activists were made behind closed doors.

Even more disheartening is the strong-arming of EPA Science Advisory Board members to “back down from review,” in order to block scientific and scholarly input and push the plans into the hands of the president.

The evidence of a carbon rules political cartel is overwhelming. With EPA and environmentalist groups running amok, Congressional oversight is more important than ever.

It’s time the American public knows more about exactly what is going on between EPA and wealthy environmental activists. Spread the word!

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.