Latest posts by Marita Noon (see all)
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A diverse and growing coalition, has sprung up in opposition to the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Yet most people are unaware of the potential impacts or of the pending deadline for public comment.
I’ve written this week’s column with the specific intent of giving you verbiage that you can simply cut and paste into the comment form before October 16.
The CPP will radically alter the way electricity is generated in America. It is based on the discredited theory that climate change is a crisis caused by the use of fossil fuels emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It aims to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The combination of the CPP and previous regulation will shut down more than 40 percent of coal-fueled generation—representing 10 percent of all electricity-generation capacity—within the next 6 years.
What will this forced, premature elimination of America’s electric capacity do?
The proposed EPA plan will seriously threaten America’s electric reliability
Unless the EPA backs down on its harsh regulations and coal-fueled power plants get a reprieve, blackouts are almost guaranteed—especially in light of the projected cold winter. About the 2014 “polar vortex” that crippled the U.S., Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, at an April Senate hearing on grid reliability, stated: “Eighty-nine percent of the coal electricity capacity that is due to go offline was utilized as that backup to meet the demand this winter.” Murkowski’s comments were referencing coal-fueled power plants that are already due to be shut down based on regulations from five years ago, before the proposed CPP additionally reduces supply. Affirming Murkowski’s comments, Nicholas Akins, president and CEO of Ohio-based American Electric Power Company Inc., sees the 2014 near crisis as a warning sign. At that same hearing he said: “The weather events experienced this winter provided an early warning about serious issues with electric supply and reliability. This country did not just dodge a bullet—we dodged a cannonball.” This is before the projected closure of an additional 75 megawatts of coal-fueled electricity generation due to the new regulations. If McCarthy was serious when, prior to the release of the proposed regulations, she stated: “Nothing we do can threaten reliability,” she’d withdraw this plan, as it will do just that.
The proposed EPA plan will chase away more American industry
While the CPP appears to be about forcing the power sector into reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, there are spillover impacts of higher electricity rates on overall economic activity—especially energy-intensive industries such as steel, manufacturing, and chemicals. America’s abundance of affordable, reliable energy provides businesses with a critical operating advantage in today’s intensely competitive global economy. The EPA’s proposal will reduce America’s advantage, as it’s acknowledged that the proposed regulations will raise electricity rates in the contiguous U.S. by 5.9% to 6.5% in 2020. If industry continues to leave the U.S., the CPP results will be opposite of the planned effect. Emissions will increase as companies move to countries with lower labor costs, cheaper energy, and lax environmental regualtions. An additional unintended consequence will be more jobs lost in manufacturing.
The proposed EPA plan will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs
In late July, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) International President Edwin D. Hill said: “If these rules are implemented as written, dozens of coal plants will shut down and with no plans to replace them, tens of thousands of jobs will be lost and global carbon emissions will rise anyway.” Investor’s Business Daily reports: “The IBEW has now joined the United Mine Workers of America, the Boilermakers and several other unions opposed to the new anti-carbon rules.” The United Mine Workers of America has estimated that the rule will result in 187,000 direct and indirect job losses in the utility, rail, and coal industries in 2020 and cumulative wage and benefit losses from these sectors of $208 billion between 2015 and 2035. No wonder the economy is sluggish and the jobs picture continues to be bleak.
The proposed EPA plan will cause harsh economic consequences while having virtually no impact on the reported goal of stopping global climate change
From increased energy costs to job losses, the CPP will further damage the economy. Perhaps these economic consequences would be worth it, if they actually did anything to really reduce carbon-dioxide emissions—assuming what humans breathe out and plants breathe in is actually the cause of global warming. Carbon dioxide emissions from non-Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries—such as China and India—are projected to grow by nine billion tons per year. The Partnership for a Better Energy Future reports: “for every ton of CO2 reduced in 2030 as a result of EPA’s rule, the rest of the world will have increased emissions by more than 16 tons.” Our reduction in 2030 would offset the equivalent of just 13.5 days of carbon-dioxide emissions from China alone. The CPP will become the definition of “all pain and no gain.”
The EPA’s October 16 deadline will be upon us before you know it. Take a few minutes now to send them your comments: http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/how-comment-clean-power-plan-proposed-rule.Pick any of the above suggestions, customize them as you please, and send them on to the EPA. For America to grow, we need energy that is effective, efficient, and economical, rather than that which is threatened by the EPA’s flood of excessive and burdensome regulations.