Via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The federal government is set to impose drastic new regulations on carbon dioxide that will saddle Wisconsin families with higher energy bills and eliminate thousands of jobs — and now we need our leaders to fight back.
In a few months, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will finalize rules requiring states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30% by 2030. The EPA is pressuring states to submit plans detailing how they intend to comply with the rule.
The bottom line: Wisconsin should reject the EPA’s calls to submit a plan. The regulation is an assault on our state’s sovereignty that Wisconsin families simply cannot afford.
Wisconsin is fortunate to have affordable electricity thanks to an abundance of low-cost, reliable power plants fueled primarily by coal. However, the EPA’s carbon dioxide regulation is designed to shut down affordable coal-fired generators that produce 62% of Wisconsin’s electricity and replace them with more costly wind and solar sources.
The state Public Service Commission found that complying with the EPA’s rule would inflict steep costs on Badger State families, with electricity rates skyrocketing by 29%. This is consistent with a report we conducted earlier this year at the MacIver Institute in conjunction with the Beacon Hill Institute.
Our report found that the EPA’s rule would raise Wisconsin’s electricity prices by 19% and destroy nearly 21,000 jobs by 2030.
The reason is simple: It is expensive — and unnecessary — to scrap affordable coal plants and replace them with new plants from more expensive sources such as wind and solar, especially when utilities can pass on the costs of building new plants to customers at a double-digit rate of return.
In this sense, the EPA’s rule is a wealth transfer from Wisconsin families to rent-seeking utilities and renewable energy producers. Even worse, it inflicts the most harm on the families who can least afford it. Wisconsin’s low-income households, who spend a higher share of their income on energy, will bear the brunt of these costs.
Complying with the EPA rule will hand over Wisconsin’s ability to make our own energy choices to the whims of federal bureaucrats who are pursuing a political agenda. Wisconsin has already made significant progress lowering our CO2, reducing emissions by 15% between 2005 and 2012. We did this all on our own, without any help from the federal government. We don’t need the bureaucrats at the EPA badgering us about the way life should be in Wisconsin.
Fortunately, momentum is on our side. Wisconsin is one of 14 states to sue the EPA over the rule. Last month, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed an executive order blocking state regulators from developing a plan. Several other states have also imposed accountability measures to make sure any attempt to submit a state plan receives approval from elected officials before being sent to the EPA. And most recently, Gov. Scott Walker sent a letter to the EPA, saying the rule “is riddled with inaccuracies, questionable assumptions and deficiencies that make the development of a responsible state plan unworkable for Wisconsin.”
That’s why Walker and legislative leaders should protect state sovereignty and refuse to submit a plan. We can no longer allow faceless and unelected bureaucrats to issue decrees that fundamentally change our way of life.
If enough states do resist, the EPA will be overwhelmed developing federal plans, which would likely delay implementation and give the legal process more time to play out.
The EPA’s rule is an affront to Wisconsin families. It will send energy prices soaring and put thousands of hard-working Wisconsinites out of work. To truly protect Wisconsin from the detrimental effects of this rule, our elected leaders need to stand up to the EPA and do what is right for Wisconsin.
Brett Healy is president of the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy.
See the article here.
- On June 15, 2015