A significant effort is under way to fundamentally change the rules governing power plants in the United States, and the effort was done without any congressional involvement. In fact, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate oppose the plan.
In contrast to the will of our elected officials in Congress, theEnvironmental Protection Agency just finalized and released a vast plan that will require states to switch power generation from reliable fossil fuel sources to unproven and expensive alternative sources. Due to the fact that coal-fired electric power plants generate about 85 percent of Indiana’s net electricity, one of the most profoundly impacted by the new rule will be our Hoosier state.
The state, as a whole, must reduce the amount of carbon dioxide generated per unit of electricity 38.5 percent from 2012 levels by 2030. Imagine the implications and costs that Indiana’s industrial sector, including manufacturers of aluminum, chemicals, glass, metal casting, and steel will have to endeavor if the EPA is not stopped. Forcing businesses to comply with this outlandish regulation will no doubt send our economy to a screeching halt. At a time when the impact of the great recession is finally starting to wane, Hoosiers are faced with yet another challenge inflicted by burdensome regulations.
The Clean Air Act was passed by Congress more than 50 years ago. Congress has a proven record of updating the act to accommodate the times. In 1970 it was significantly updated, and amendments followed in both 1977 and 1990. Most recently, Congress seriously considered a proposal similar to this power plant rule in 2009. However, even with Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi in charge, it barely passed the House of Representatives. The rule was so unpopular that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid never even put it up for a vote. Circumventing Congress, the measure was put into effect via executive order and EPA rules changes.
The National Black Chamber of Commerce estimates that average energy costs for residential customers could rise by more than $1,200 by 2030. For energy intensive businesses, the costs could go even higher. We don’t fully understand that impact of the rule because the EPA didn’t even properly study how it would affect small employers. They considered only the direct effects on small power generation facilities, not the indirect costs that would be paid by millions of small business owners, especially in Indiana. The National Federation of Independent Business filed comments with the EPA pointing out this oversight and not surprisingly, those comments were ignored.
This plan almost completely ignores the progress America has made to move toward cleaner fuels. The EPA admits that the electricity market “is already changing.” In the last decade, America reduced “total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth.” Even coal has gotten cleaner as monthly CO2 emissions from coal-fired plants recently reached a 27-year low.
Not only does this most recent abuse of our constitution break the law, but it endangers our small business-based economy. For these reasons, the National Federation of Independent Business is suing the EPA to stop this rule before it destroys jobs and livelihoods and calling on Gov. Mike Pence to continue to denounce the regulation.
Barbara Quandt Underwood is the Indiana state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.
See the article here.
- On November 10, 2015