Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the largest source of U.S. CO2 emissions--whether from natural gas, petroleum or coal, according to an announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Directed by President Barak Obama by executive action last June to reduce carbon pollution, the EPA has created a proposal that they say "will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power."
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) was quick to issue a response. Blasting the new EPA regulation, Blunts says, "I will fight the president every step of the way to stop this unprecedented power grab and protect Missourians, who rely on coal for 80 percent of our state's energy." Blunt claims to have no doubt that the president's energy policies will destroy jobs and raise prices. "Yet once again, President Obama and his administration proved they're move concerned about appealing to the far left of the president's party than helping low and middle-income families who are struggling to find jobs and pay their bills," Blunt said.
Blunt cites a warning from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy that the Obama Administration's EPA proposal could reach $50 billion in annual costs through 2030 and diminish the nation's coal-fired energy capabilities by a third. The study, he says, reveals that U.S. consumers would pay almost $290 billion more for electricity between 2014- 2030, an average of $17 billion more per year. Missouri consumers would pay on average $65.4 billion more between 2014-2030, on average $11 billion more per year. U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) in labeling President Obama's strategy of circumventing Congress also a "power grab," adds that the move will affect Kansans "already burdened by Obamacare and still struggling in the Obama economy."
The reaction to the EPA's demands for a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by the Libertarian group, Americans for Prosperity, was that economic growth would be hampered and jobs would be lost. The group cites a recent report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that the proposed rule would destroy over 27,000 jobs in the Missouri area alone and hundreds of thousands of jobs nationally, based on its assumptions on a similar proposal by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
According to Patrick Werner, AFP Missouri state director:
"President Obama’s EPA is placing ideological zealotry above the need for commonsense energy solutions and job creation. Strangling carbon based energy is “unlikely” to have any positive environmental impact according to the Obama Administration, but it will destroy jobs and raise the cost of cooling our homes. Bureaucrats in Washington either have no awareness or no concern for how their policies will hurt the American people. It’s time for our Missouri’s Congressional delegation to put partisan politics aside and stand up for Missourians against the EPA’s catastrophic new policies.
With the economy shrinking for the first time in three years last quarter, our focus should be on encouraging economic growth and job creation, not adding new red tape. Washington’s bureaucrats might be too far removed to understand how these policies hurt real Americans, but our elected Representatives should know better. We hope they will rise to the occasion and say no to the new rules.”
Dan Utech, a spokesperson for the White House, has retaliated, claiming that the "EPA has been protecting air quality for more than 40 years, and in that time we've cut pollution by 70 percent while the economy has more than tripled." He says that cutting carbon pollution from power plants will spark innovation and drive investment in clean energy technologies and energy efficiency that will create jobs and save families money." He also cites medical savings due to a significant health benefits arising from cleaner air (...and if you want to go a step further..from the high cost of clean-up after a significant climate change event.)
Regarding what he calls a "myth," that the administration is waging a war on coal, Utech states that "coal mining jobs in Appalachia fared far worse under the Reagan, Clinton and George H.W. Bush administrations than they have under Obama." The Obama administration, he says, "has made significant investments in clean coal technology."
For his full report go here. For the EPA's report, "Regulatory Impact analysis for the Proposed Carbon Pollution Guidelines for Existing Power Plants and Emission Standards for Modified and Reconstructed Power Plants," go here.