The rules, which are expected to be finalized this summer, are the cornerstone of the administration’s plan to curb climate change.
If states refuse to comply, the EPA has said, it will impose its own plan. But that would delay implementation, even without the legal challenge Pence says he’s committed to make.
“We think we’ve got a strong opportunity to defend ratepayers, and I think it would be worth the fight,” he said about the cost of litigation.
Under the initial proposal, Indiana would have to reduce its emissions rate 20 percent by 2030.
The EPA has estimated that could be done by increasing plant efficiency, reducing energy demand through energy efficiency programs, switching to renewable energy sources and using natural gas instead of coal — which sends more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for the amount of energy produced than any other energy source.
Complying would raise electric rates in the region that includes Indiana by about 6 percent in 2020, the EPA estimates. By 2030, as the cost of making energy improvements and other efficiencies begins to pay off, the increase in rates due to the rule is projected to be less than 1 percent, according to the EPA.
Pence — who called Indiana a “proud pro-coal state” — said he questions the EPA’s estimates and believes electricity rates would rise dramatically. A report for industry groups says costs would rise an average of 12 percent.
Republican governors from Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Texas and Louisiana have indicated they also will defy the regulations.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Analysis Group of Boston is scheduled to release a report next week showing the economic benefits enjoyed by a group of Northeastern states that have already reduced carbon dioxide emissions through an emissions trading program. Closer to Indiana, Michigan GOP Gov. Rick Snyder is trying to make his state a national leader in revamping its energy portfolio to reduce its use of coal.
The Obama administration argues that failing to address climate change will hamper economic growth and put the health and well-being of Americans at risk from extreme weather events, wildfires, poor air quality and illnesses transmitted by food, water and disease carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks.
“Climate change is actually impacting the economy today,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told a congressional panel Thursday. “If you look at action on climate and see the kind of economic benefits it can provide that will not just protect us from escalating carbon, but grow a low-carbon future with new jobs, that is the goal post that all of us are looking for.”
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- On July 17, 2015