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Carbon Emissions

EPA's new plan to target greenhouse gases will kill jobs, devastate middle class

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June 2, 2014: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks during an announcement of a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030 at EPA headquarters in Washington. In a sweeping initiative to curb pollutants blamed for global warming, the Obama administration unveiled a plan that cuts carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third over the next 15 years, but pushes the deadline for some states to comply until long after President Obama leaves office.AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

The Obama administration’s decision this week to impose dramatic new costs on U.S. power plants and consumers shows that Washington liberals are once again putting the preoccupations of their donor and activist base well ahead of ordinary Americans in states like mine.

By imposing these new regulations outside the normal legislative process, the Obama administration has also once again shown its contempt for the wishes of the broader public and a system of government that was devised precisely to restrain actions like this one from the powers-that-be in Washington.

If you’re looking for an analogy, look no further than ObamaCare — another prime example of Washington liberals imposing a “solution” on the American people in the form of higher costs and fewer choices.

These regulations are a lose-lose proposition all around — for U.S. jobs, for families, for the U.S. economy, for our nation’s competitiveness overseas, and for those who want to see a reduction in global carbon emissions.

The difference this time is that the president didn’t even bother going to Congress. After failing to get his initial version of a new national energy tax through the House and Senate a few years back, the president simply decided to impose it unilaterally, against the clear wishes of the peoples’ representatives.

No doubt liberal super-donors will applaud this week’s decision to impose draconian new regulations on American power plants. But the middle class and working poor who are already reeling from the impact of ObamaCare, among other painful regulations, will be devastated by the economic effects.

These Americans who actually have to worry about the cost of living will see their utility rates and other expenses skyrocket. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce predicts that tens of thousands of jobs will be lost — many of them shipped to our competitors overseas.

The defenders of today’s rules will say that say carbon emissions need to be dramatically reduced out of concerns for public health.

Yet there is no basis for the claim that reducing carbon emissions at home will lead to a corresponding reduction in these emissions worldwide. A far likelier outcome is that our economic competitors overseas will simply pick up whatever industry we voluntarily give up — leaving overall global carbon emissions unaffected.

These regulations are a lose-lose proposition all around — for U.S. jobs, for families, for the U.S. economy, for our nation’s competitiveness overseas, and for those who want to see a reduction in global carbon emissions.

The sad truth is that the only thing America will lead in, if these rules go into effect, is the unilateral dismantling of our own economic supremacy and the self-imposed destruction of one of our nation’s main competitive advantages in the global economy.  

And that’s why I will offer legislation this week to stop this assault on Kentucky, particularly those who work in the coal industry, and the broader U.S. economy. The president and his allies on the far Left should not be allowed to get away with this.

Congress must listen to those who will be hardest hit by these regulations — even if the president won’t.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is the Senate Republican Leader.