Reject the EPA Mandate

Via the Norfolk Daily News:

On Aug. 3, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized its most aggressive proposal to date on regulating U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. The Obama administration’s “Clean Power Plan” would drastically affect Nebraska’s economy without achieving its stated goal of combating climate change.

The state has until 2018 to submit an individualized plan to reduce statewide emissions by 26 percent. Here are five reasons why Nebraska should reject this mandate.

1. A 26 percent reduction in statewide carbon emissions would cost Nebraskans an additional $3.5 billion and raise residential electricity prices by 24 percent.

Nebraska’s electric utilities operate under a statutory mandate to provide low-cost and reliable public power. Neighboring Wyoming’s abundant supply of coal has played a significant role in meeting this obligation. As a result, the state’s utilities have invested $4 billion in coal-fired resources since 1990.

2. Nebraska’s energy experts have questioned several basic assumptions used in the EPA’s plan.

The Nebraska Public Power District, which services 86 of Nebraska’s 93 counties, concluded the EPA failed to show an emission limitation that is achievable or adequately demonstrated in the state of Nebraska.

3. Additional renewable generation poses several economic and resource limitations.

State officials also argued the EPA did not consider the feasibility of additional renewable generation in Nebraska. The rule calls for increasing the state’s renewable generation from 4 percent to 11 percent by 2030. According to NPPD, this would require $5 to $8 billion to build 4,000 megawatts of wind generation.

4. Nebraskans will face potential blackouts and other power outages given the rule requires coal units to retire faster than replacement units can be built.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which is responsible for maintaining the reliability of the U.S. bulk power transmission system, determined the agency’s timeline was unworkable. Southwest Power Pool, which includes Nebraska’s utilities, said the rule’s aggressive shuttering of coal-fired plants could cause cascading outages and voltage collapses. Ultimately, the grid cannot remain fully functional and charged without dependable baseload resources to use when renewables are not available.

5. The rule will have little impact on global carbon emissions.

The EPA’s national emissions goal would only shave off 1.3 percent of projected global growth in emissions by 2030. At the same time, that growth is projected to increase 23 percent worldwide. Asia is the primary driver of global emissions, with China consuming nearly as much coal as the rest of the world combined.

The EPA has no authority to dictate how a state should structure its energy portfolio, particularly with regard to renewable energy generation and efficiency standards. These rights have always been delegated to states under federal law.

Nebraska should refuse to submit an individualized reduction plan. The upfront capital and transmissions costs are insurmountable and would likely cripple the state’s economy without reducing global carbon emissions. Nebraska should say no to the most expensive environmental regulation in U.S. history.

See the article here.