Posts filed under Policy and Legislation

Congress Reminds Obama of His Plan of Empty Promises

President Obama will soon be heading to Europe to sell his so-called Clean Power Plan to world leaders. Before he goes, however, the gaping holes in his rule will be showcased during Wednesday’s House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing appropriately titled, “The Administration’s Empty Promises for the International Climate Treaty.” Led by Texas Congressman and committee chairman Lamar Smith, the hearing will reveal exactly what Obama and EPA are delivering to our country and to leaders around the world: empty promises.

We’ve told you before the president’s power plan will cause huge spikes in electricity costs. Now NERA Economic Consulting vice president Dr. Anne Smith will explain just how our country will be impacted by detailing NERA’s recent study which found the power plan would:

  • Raise energy prices in all of the Lower 48 states
  • Cause peak year price increase of at least 20 percent in 28 states and more than 30 percent in 14 states
  • Cost up to $292 billion in compliance costs

Chairman Smith said, “The pledge to the U.N. is estimated to prevent only a 0.03-degree Celsius temperature rise. There is a reason the president chose to bypass Congress in order to negotiate a climate deal on his own. The president’s plan gives control of U.S. energy policy to unelected United Nations officials. This plan ignores good science and only seeks to advance a partisan political agenda.”

With financial distress this plan would cause and next to zilch environmental benefits, it’s clear why 27 states are suing the Obama Administration and legislators in both chambers are filing a resolution of disapproval to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from enacting its costly plan.

President Obama should remember one thing when he’s bragging about his power plan to other nations at COP21: His own country isn’t backing him up because his plan causes too much economic ruin for American families. It’s time the president think about just what he’s actually selling – a shiny yet costly and ineffective plan at the expense of American families – when he goes to Paris.


Carson and Trump need to stop hiding on EPA carbon plan

We’re well into Halloween season and we’re asking Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson to take off their masks during tonight’s Republican Presidential Debate in Colorado. Residents in coal-powered states like Colorado, which derives 64 percent of its electricity from coal, deserve to know what the two leading candidates have in store for President Obama’s carbon plan. The costs of this plan on American families are simply too high for these frontrunners to ignore.

It’s imperative Trump and Carson – who have yet to inform the public where they stand on the president’s expensive scheme, which drastically cuts carbon emissions in both new and existing power plants and cost taxpayers billions  – do so during tonight’s debate.


The debate titled “Your Money, Your Vote,” conveniently serves as a vehicle for Carson and Trump, as well as the eight other GOP hopefuls attending, to tell the country how they plan to defend taxpayers against this costly measure.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Florida Senator Marco Rubio have publicly denounced the plan and their states are suing EPA for its lawless attempt to take over how states generate electricity. Carly Fiorina and Rick Santorum vow to stop the expensive regulation its tracks if elected president while Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz all warn EPA’s illegal plan will cause energy prices to soar for consumers.

That takes us back to Trump and Carson. The 59 low- and middle-income households—nearly one million in Colorado alone— who won’t be able to afford to keep the lights on if energy prices soar are wondering: how will these two presidential hopefuls combat EPA’s money-sucking plan?

They may be popular in the polls, but now it’s time for them to put away their Halloween costumes and turn their attention to the financial wellbeing of our country’s consumers.

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.

Hearing exposes the ugly truth about EPA’s carbon plan

Our take-away from the Energy and Power Subcommittee hearing last week: The Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon rule, endorsed by President Barack Obama, is a one-way ticket to economic disaster. Not only will it cost American taxpayers $192 billion a year, it will also force households in 39 states to deal with soaring, double-digit electricity price increases.

Fred Upton of Michigan, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, defended states and electric-bill-paying residents during the Oct. 7 hearing. He described EPA’s current carbon scheme as a “massive economy-wide energy tax” and rightly compared it to the unpopular cap and trade legislation of 2009.

Ohio Congressman Bob Latta confirmed these striking similarities and said, “Make no mistake, the Clean Power Plan is merely a rebranding of the administration’s failed, rejected cap and trade legislation. This is another example of the president looking to build a legacy rather than lasting, common sense policy that will benefit the American public.”

Janet McCabe, EPA’s acting assistant administrator in the Office of Air and Radiation, claimed the agency’s carbon plan is considerate of each state’s cost concerns; the expected electricity price increases up to 42 percent suggest otherwise.

“As it is, electricity rates have risen in recent years, and other EPA regulations have been a contributor,” Upton said. “The rules we’re examining today will further add to this burden that disproportionately hurts low-income households and will continue to threaten grid reliability across the country.”

Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo was also outraged by EPA’s calculated attempt to control states’ carbon emissions while hiking up electricity prices. His state alone will face an electricity price increases of up to 31 percent if the plan is implemented.

“These policies could increase electricity and gas prices by more than $750 per year for the average Kansas household when fully implemented, which would be disastrous for our families and businesses,” Pompeo said. “EPA should cease and desist its attacks on Kansas ratepayers.”

GOP leaders Upton, Latta and Pompeo deserve a round of applause for last week’s hearing  likening the Obama Administration’s failed attempt to enact cap and trade to its new, fundamentally flawed scheme. McCabe and her EPA cronies have no choice but to take a hard look at the financial burden Americans will endure if this plan goes into effect.

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.