A diverse, reliable mix of fuels is essential to achieving President Trump’s goal of America being a global energy superpower. By recognizing the value of energy supplies that deliver power around-the-clock, the Trump administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are doing what they can to ensure that coal plants undergird the electric grid.
Instead of waging a vengeful war on coal by picking energy winners and losers, as had been done in the Obama years, the EPA intends to set greenhouse gas guidelines for power plants that are consistent with the Clean Air Act and ensure that states play their proper role. Under this plan, the United States will be able to achieve a reduction in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions without the unworkable Paris climate-change agreement or the failed and overreaching regulations of the previous administration.
Simply put, the era of heavy-handed federal regulation is over. States will play their proper role under the Clean Air Act and will be the ones to establish standards of performance for existing power plants in line with EPA’s emission guidelines.
One key element of the plan would update EPA’s New Source Review permitting program to encourage electricity companies to invest in the latest, most efficient pollution-control technologies. This change would protect states against increased permitting burdens and wasteful compliance costs so they can focus their state plans on improving environmental outcomes instead of bureaucratic red tape.
In this regard, new innovations in energy technology and cooperation between the states and federal government are crucial in delivering energy solutions to consumers. By easing regulatory burdens, ending distortions in the market that divert productive coal capacity to less reliable energy sources, and allowing states to play their proper role under the Clean Air Act, Americans will benefit from far more environmental progress at a lower cost than any package of regulations and harmful mandates could ever hope to create.
By contrast, the Obama administration’s environmental agenda amounted to overreach. Instead of simplifying and equalizing regulatory treatment across all fuels, the Obama Power Plan attempted to bestow favors upon certain sectors of the energy sector at the expense of others. Unlawful and exorbitantly costly, its plan would have placed an enormous burden on the nation’s economy for insignificant environmental gain.
Fortunately, the Supreme Court intervened and issued an historic stay before the discredited plan could be implemented. The plan, according to an analysis by NERA, would have cost up to $292 billion and caused double-digit electricity price increases in 40 states. Sixteen states would have faced wholesale power price increases of at least 25 percent. And rising energy prices would have hurt low and middle-class Americans the most.
Energy is the lifeblood of our nation’s economy, and the remarkable growth over the past decade could not have been attained if the Obama administration had been allowed to remake the power system while usurping states’ regulatory authority over their power grids. The lesson from this and other experiences is that government meddling in power markets cannot be allowed to brush aside features of the system that benefit consumers.
See the article here.
- On September 4, 2018