Just How Aware is the President During Energy Awareness Month?

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 9:03 am, October 20, 2015

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

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 4:26 pm, October 15, 2015

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

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 12:18 pm, October 12, 2015

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.

Kelley Earnhardt Miller on Energy Awareness Month

Posted by Kelley Earnhardt Miller at 12:16 pm, October 05, 2015

NASCAR fans know racing takes a lot of energy. I’m always amazed to see how much goes into preparing for a race. The JR Motorsports crew is constantly working—from powering the tools in the pit to tuning up the cars. Countless activities that keep our operation running require reliable, low-cost electricity.

October is Energy Awareness Month, and joining forces with America’s Power gave me greater awareness of exactly how energy works in America. One of the most important takeaways has been learning about how electricity is generated and consumed in the U.S., which is home to abundant and low-cost fuel sources like coal.

By harnessing these resources, and investing in new technologies to produce electricity in a cleaner manner, we’re fortunate to have a predictable and low-cost power supply. Considering that most Americans can be confident the lights will turn on and the heat will flow when we flip a switch, it’s easy to take this comfort for granted. In other parts of the world, on-demand electricity is a luxury that many do not have.

This October, encourage your family and community to learn more about how power is generated in your state. Take action to protect the abundant, low-cost and reliable energy we enjoy today so we can power our progress well into the future.

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

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 10:42 am, October 01, 2015

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

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 1:49 pm, September 30, 2015

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.

Spotlight on States: Texas

Posted by China Riddle at 1:07 pm, September 29, 2015

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

Posted by Julia Treanor at 2:11 pm, September 25, 2015

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.