Energy prices will rise as large, coal-fired power plants are taken off line without a credible plan to replace them. Eliminating one-third of America’s coal plants is a choice for Congress to make, not the EPA.
President Barack Obama, in presenting his strident new plan to reduce carbon emissions, is touting the health benefits of cleaner air. And there’s little doubt shutting down one-third of the nation’s coal plants will make America’s air cleaner and some people healthier.
But it will also risk making them hungrier, less prosperous and more likely to be unemployed as the nation’s economy slows and jobs disappear. The tough, new restrictions on smokestack emissions are the latest in a series of battles in the administration’s war on coal. Continue reading
by Ben Geman
EPA’s big new draft regulations to cut power-plant carbon dioxide emissions name-check all kinds of tools that states can use to comply with the standards.
They include renewable-power growth, efficiency programs, switching coal plants to natural gas, and cap-and-trade initiatives, which are already underway in California and among Northeastern states. Not mentioned: Imposing state-level carbon taxes on power-plant emissions.
It’s not something the agency is likely to tout at a time when top Republicans are already trying to frame the whole rule as a “national energy tax.” But EPA officials, when asked, made it clear Monday that a state could indeed choose to go the carbon tax route. Continue reading
President Obama has called inequality “the defining challenge of our time.” But on June 2 he will announce new “cap-and-trade” environmental regulations that will make the poor a lot poorer and the rich a little less rich.
Obama said in his January State of the Union Address: “Wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”
But these steps without legislation will reduce opportunities for the poorest Americans. Those in the lowest fifth of the income distribution spend 24 percent of their income on energy, compared with 4 percent for those in the top fifth. Mr. Obama’s new proposed cuts in carbon emissions, in the form of “cap-and-trade” proposals that were rejected by the Democratic House and Senate in the first two years of his presidency, will raise the cost of energy, particularly electricity, and hit the poor hardest. Continue reading