Senate Republicans have written the White House, urging President Obama to repeal his recently announced power plant rule that cajoles states into imposing cap-and-trade schemes on carbon dioxide emissions.
Republicans say that Obama’s rule is “all pain, no gain” and would result in higher energy prices and huge job losses as coal-fired power plants and coal mines are shut down to comply with federal emissions reduction mandates.
“Mostly, I’m concerned about the American families and businesses who are going to have to deal with the severe financial effects of the President’s rule. It’s all pain, no gain,” Louisiana Sen. David Vitter said in a statement. “Clearly, this Administration prioritizes pushing a far-left environmental agenda over providing affordable, reliable electricity across the country.”
The Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulation requires existing power plants reduce carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030. Different states would have to meet different emissions reductions targets, which means that coal-reliant states could be hit hardest.
“This is cap-and-trade all over again, without consent by the American people, in an attempt to payoff President Obama’s friends and political allies,” Vitter said.
Bloomberg reports that Texas alone will make up one-quarter of total U.S. emissions reductions, having to cut emissions 39 percent over the next 15 years, according to the EPA’s proposed rule. All this, while other coal-reliant states, Kentucky and West Virginia, will only have to reduce emissions by half as much.
Kentucky and West Virginia have been some of the most vocal opponents of EPA carbon dioxide limits for new and existing power plants, which the agency predicts will result in 19 percent of the U.S. coal power plant capacity shutting down and coal production falling by 28 percent.
“This Obama administration national energy tax would ship middle class jobs overseas, shatter our manufacturing base, and drive up energy costs for families, and especially families in Kentucky,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in a statement.
McConnell is currently locked in a tough race with Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes, who has slammed McConnell for not doing enough to help coal country. Grimes has also come out against the new EPA rules.
“President Obama’s new EPA rule is more proof that Washington isn’t working for Kentucky. Coal keeps the lights on in the Commonwealth, providing a way for thousands of Kentuckians to put food on their tables,” Grimes said. “When I’m in the U.S. Senate, I will fiercely oppose the President’s attack on Kentucky’s coal industry because protecting our jobs will be my number one priority.”
In West Virginia, Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall faces a tough reelection battle this year against Republican candidate Evan Jenkins who has repeatedly attacked Rahall for not fighting back against EPA rules.
“Nick Rahall talks tough now, but for years he’s backed the president’s War on Coal and voted to give EPA the power and money to develop reckless regulations like these that destroy West Virginia jobs and send electricity rates skyrocketing,” said Jenkins.
The EPA also predicted that electricity prices will increase 6 or 7 percent by 2020 and then increase 3 percent by 2030, causing worry in some states.
“These rules will effectively double the cost of electricity nationally,” Eric Skrmetta, chairman of Louisiana’s public service commission, told Bloomberg
“I have a real problem with them pretending it’s not going to have an effect on electric rates,” echoed Chuck Eaton, Republican chairman of the Georgia Public Service Commission. “They make the rules and I’m the one having to hand Georgians the bill.”