In 2008, Barack Obama stated that under his plan, “electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket.” Unless something is done about the plethora of mandates being instituted by his liberal EPA, we will see that become a reality in the very near future. In 2015 alone, there were six major rules that were published or that became effective. These burdensome mandates assure the death of coal-fired generation as we know it and threaten industrial growth in the South.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at these rules and find the true target of Obama’s EPA. It’s manufacturing. In Alabama and other Southern states, we are able to offer lower utility rates to support our large employers. Lowering the bottom line for our job-creators means more jobs for Alabama families. In contrast, Northern and Western states with more restrictive energy policies cannot compete with what we have to offer. It is for this reason that Obama has set out to drag us down tot the level of states that are bent on living under bad energy policy.
The means by which Obama has decided to impair our energy policy is by eliminating the use of coal. Even though our nation sits on enough coal to last us another 250 years, the Obama administration has forced us into a position where coal only comprises 40 percent of energy production, and this figure is dropping.
Power companies have spent billions of dollars to keep up with the onslaught of new regulations. Alabama Power Company will spend approximately $5 billion in the next two years in order to comply with these federal mandates, and not one kilowatt of power will be added to the mix from that enormous expense. These rules and regulations promulgated by executive agencies have the effect of being laws as if passed by the same Congress these agencies seek to bypass. This is because states and their utilities must begin expending the costs of compliance immediately, regardless of whether the rules are later struck down, in order to meet the imposed deadlines. An example of this happened in June of this year when the U.S. Supreme court overturned the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, stating that it did not take into account the cost of compliance when it was established. Unfortunately, the compliance date for this rule had passed, and utilities had already modified or shuttered a significant number of coal plants to meet the standard. And now it’s too late to reverse those decisions.
We are currently facing the implementation of one of the most costly regulations to come from the EPA, the Clean Power Plan. This plan places arbitrary limits on states for the emission of carbon dioxide from electric generation facilities and will cost consumers billions of dollars, weaken the integrity of our electrical grid, threaten the reliability of our power supply and provide little to no benefit.
This rule is predicated on so-called science that attempts to deceive the American people to believe in man-made climate change. Secretary of State John Kerry went as far as to say that if a politician does not buy in to their science, “it seems to me that they disqualify themselves fundamentally from high public office with those kinds of statements.” It’s a good thing that Secretary Kerry was not around when our founding fathers met, or we would still be paying taxes to the King and attending the National Church.
By the EPA’s own admission, these standards will only have a minimal effect on the climate. The reductions proposed by the EPA will prevent the lowering of sea levels by the thickness of three sheets of writing paper. Given these facts, this brings us back around to the question of why enact these ridiculous mandates? The answer is clearly that the Obama administration is using them to centrally plan our economy and shift industrial growth back to states that are otherwise unable to compete with the reliable, inexpensive energy we produce throughout the South.
There are some effects that we can be sure of from this plan. Reliable and cheap energy from coal and natural gas will be replaced by unreliable and expensive energy from wind and solar. One day, technology may exist that makes solar or wind competitive in the market place, but now they must rely on government subsidies, paid for with our tax dollars, to be competitive. And neither is capable of producing energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is a terrible recipe for economic growth, and the Obama administration knows it.
As President of the Public Service Commission, I have fought these mandates every step of the way. I have testified at hearings before the EPA; I have publicly staked out what has been a lonely but principled position on behalf of Alabama at proceedings conducted by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; I have even written a letter to President Obama with my fellow commissioners. The fact of the matter is that we all need to continue to fight these overly burdensome mandates because picking winners and losers in our economy is not the American way.
The rise of our nation is largely attributable to our ability to reliably produce low-cost energy. It is the foundation for our manufacturing and technological edge in the world marketplace. We cannot allow extremists in Washington to destroy the critical advantage we have in the world. Failure to maintain this critical advantage will move us toward third world status and leave us dependent on government to provide everything for us. Then again, maybe that’s what they are trying to achieve.
See the article here.
- On December 1, 2015