Gov. Snyder Surrenders to Obama’s EPA

WASHINGTON – American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle issued the below statement following Governor Snyder’s announcement that he plans to implement EPA’s harmful carbon regulations:

“The Snyder administration’s decision to wave the white flag and implement EPA’s carbon regulation is bad news for Michigan families. The governor claims this approach ‘retains control’ for Michigan, yet the opposite is true. Implementing this regulation, when serious legal challenges persist, effectively hands over the keys to Michigan’s energy future to unelected bureaucrats in Washington. Once Gov. Snyder signs away Michigan’s control over its energy future to Obama’s EPA, there is no turning back.

“Obama and EPA want states to think their only choices are to submit a state plan or have a federal plan imposed on them. Gov. Snyder has apparently fallen for this false choice. The real choice is between shielding Michigan from this harmful carbon regulation or helping President Obama carry it across the finish line as the sun sets on his presidency.

“Obama’s carbon regulation is a national energy tax that will burden Michiganders, especially the poor, with higher energy prices and fewer jobs, yet will have no impact on climate change. Michigan voters made clear their stance on higher energy taxes when they overwhelmingly rejected Governor Snyder’s gas tax proposal earlier this year. The governor should listen to the citizens in his state and join the ranks of several of his fellow governors by rejecting the Obama administration’s carbon regulation.”

​Background

President’s Carbon Regulation Targets Coal, Props Up Wind

EPA’s plan will shut down affordable and reliable coal power, which meets nearly half of Michigan’s electricity needs, while propping up expensive and unreliable sources like solar and wind energy. According to a new study from the Institute for Energy Research, electricity from new wind generation is three times more expensive than from existing coal sources.

Moore: Welcome to the Age of Energy Abundance

For decades, political pundits and even quite a few presidents have been saying we’re on the verge of running out of oil. Fortunately, as Stephen Moore recently explained in The Washington Times, America’s shale revolution has ushered in an age of energy abundance. Below is an excerpt from Moore’s piece:

Welcome to the age of oil and gas abundance. One of the people who predicted all of this 40 years ago was the late, great economist Julian Simon. When cultural icons like doomsdayer Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University were assuring us that the end was nigh when it came to oil, food, copper, tin and farmland, and that the earth would soon be freezing over because of cooling trends, it was Julian Simon who declared they were all wrong. He was regarded as a lunatic, in today’s left-wing jargon, a “denier,” but he was right, and the “scientific consensus” was entirely and almost negligently wrong.

The experts at the Institute for Energy Research recently published an inventory of American energy given current technological capabilities. The accompanying graph shows that we have 500 years worth of coal and natural gas and at least 200 years worth of oil. The wellspring of energy in America will never run dry.

The reason we never run out of “finite” resources is that human ingenuity runs forward at a far faster pace than the rate we use up oil, gas or food. The shale oil and gas revolution — thanks to fracking technologies — nearly tripled overnight our oil and gas reserves. We now produce three times as much food with one-third as much manpower at one-third the cost than we did in 1950.

America’s energy boom has lowered prices, created jobs, and revitalized our manufacturing sector. In other words, it has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise sluggish economy.

Click here to read the rest of Moore’s article. You can find out more about America’s vast energy resources here.

Clinton’s Ethanol Plan Would Harm Rural America

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, American Energy Alliance President Thomas Pyle released the following statement in response to Hillary Clinton’s “plan for a vibrant rural America,” which includes transitioning the Renewable Fuel Standard into a mandate for so-called “advanced” and cellulosic biofuels:

“Hillary Clinton’s ‘plan for a vibrant rural America’ actually harms rural America. By mandating expensive ‘advanced’ biofuels at the expense of corn-based ethanol, Clinton’s energy plan disadvantages corn farmers while raising gasoline prices on everyone, but hurts most those who must travel long distances in rural America. Her plan shows that the RFS is broken beyond repair and the only solution is full repeal.

“Clinton may have thought she could curry favor with Iowa voters by promising to ‘strengthen’ the federal ethanol mandate, but her plan to transform the RFS into a ​California-style ​low-carbon fuel standard would burden rural families with California-level gas prices, which are the highest in the nation.”

Click here to read why Congress should fully repeal the RFS. 

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AEA Launches Initiative Targeting NC’s RPS

WASHINGTON – Today, the American Energy Alliance announced a new paid media and grassroots initiative in North Carolina as the state legislature considers whether to move on pending legislation that would freeze the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS) at 6 percent. The sustained effort will begin with the launch of 60 second radio ads urging Senators Fletcher Hartsell (District 36), Brent Jackson (District 10), Jerry Tillman (District 29), and Andy Wells (District 42) to protect their constituents from more expensive and unreliable energy sources. This initiative will be followed by direct grassroots engagement and education.

North Carolina’s REPS – passed in 2008 – requires that 12.5 percent of the state’s electricity come from costly and unreliable renewable energy sources, which negatively impact North Carolinians.

AEA President Tom Pyle issued the following statement:

“North Carolina lawmakers have an opportunity to begin righting a wrong by freezing the state’s renewable energy mandate. This program has burdened North Carolinians with higher energy prices, less money in their pockets, and fewer jobs. In fact, the only beneficiaries of this program are the special interests who are financially vested in green energy technology.

“Affordable and dependable energy is crucial to North Carolina’s economic success and the well being of North Carolina families. Unfortunately, the renewable energy mandate is standing in the way. Lawmakers should get North Carolina back on track by taking a stand against the REPS.”

Audio:

Hartsell | Jackson | Tillman | Wells

SCRIPT: “There’s still more work to do”

Things are finally starting to turn around for North Carolina’s economy – but there’s still more work to do. And right now our leaders can take one vote that would lift our paychecks, create jobs, and boost our recovery. That vote is to freeze the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard. This mandate forces North Carolinians to use more expensive energy sources. Without it, the benefits to North Carolina families would have been four thousand dollars in 2013 alone. We would also of had more jobs – nearly twenty-four thousand more since 2008 to be exact. If freezing this costly mandate sounds like common sense, that’s because it is. So let’s get North Carolina back on track. Call 919-733-5870 and tell Senator Jerry Tillman to freeze the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard.

BACKGROUND

Higher Energy Prices Hit Lower Income Households The Hardest In North Carolina: According to Gene R. Nichol, director of the former Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at UNC Law School, poorer households are spending an ever-greater portion of their incomes on electricity. By imposing higher electricity prices on low-income individuals, REPS makes it increasingly difficult for them to make ends meet. (Gene R. Nichol,Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at UNC Law School Director, letter to North Carolina Utilities Commission, 07/16/12)

The REPS Is Standing In The Way Of Job Creation In the Tar Heel State. Since 2008, North Carolina has created 23,769 fewer jobs due to the REPS. (“Renewable Portfolio Standards: North Carolina,” Institute for Political Economy, Utah State University, February 2015, accessed 8/24/15)

Hard Working North Carolina Families Have Less Disposable Income Because Of The REPS: In 2013 alone; the average family in North Carolina could have been $3,870 richer without the REPS in place. (“Renewable Portfolio Standards: North Carolina,” Institute for Political Economy, Utah State University, February 2015, accessed 8/24/15)

North Carolina’s REPS Forces The State To Use More Expensive And Less Dependable Energy Sources When Much More Affordable And Reliable Options Are Available: Compared with new fossil-fuel plants, electricity from new wind farms is between 15% and 54% more expensive. As for solar, EIA data show it will continue to be significantly more expensive than competitors for at least the rest of the decade, and likely far beyond. (“Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2015,” U.S. Energy Information Administration, April 14, 2015, accessed: 8/24/15)

President Obama’s Orwellian Energy Speech

President Obama’s recent speech in Las Vegas about energy is either amazingly dishonest or amazingly ignorant. It is as if the president and his advisers read Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and instead of treating it as a cautionary tale, they considered it a how-to manual for talking about energy. President Obama even trotted out his version of Emmanuel Goldstein (the Koch Brothers).

Time and time again in his speech, President Obama said that solar and wind power are cost-effective, even though the evidence based on data from his own administration argues that wind and solar are much more expensive than our existing coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants. The president continues to promote massive subsidies for solar and wind because these sources are, in fact, much more expensive than our existing sources of electricity generation.

The President’s Speech in Las Vegas: A Study in Blackwhite

The best way to understand the President’ speech is that it is heavily uses the concept of “blackwhite” from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, Orwell describes blackwhite as:

…this word has two mutually contradictory meanings. Applied to an opponent, it means the habit of impudently claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts. Applied to a Party member, it means a loyal willingness to say that black is white when Party discipline demands this. But it means also the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary.

President Obama’s misuse of the term “rent seeking”

The president’s belief that black is white is present throughout his speech. One of the best examples is when the president argued that trying to get rid of government mandates and subsidies is “rent seeking”:

[w]hen you start seeing massive lobbying efforts backed by fossil fuel interests, or conservative think tanks, or the Koch brothers pushing for new laws to roll back renewable energy standards or prevent new clean energy businesses from succeeding — that’s a problem. That’s not the American way. That’s not progress. That’s not innovation. That’s rent seeking and trying to protect old ways of doing business and standing in the way of the future.

For President Obama’s benefit, here is the definition of “rent seeking”:

People are said to seek rents when they try to obtain benefits for themselves through the political arena. They typically do so by getting a subsidy for a good they produce or for being in a particular class of people, by getting a tariff on a good they produce, or by getting a special regulation that hampers their competitors.

Renewable energy standards mandate the use of electricity from renewable sources. These laws are pure rent seeking. Only through Orwellian doublespeak can someone say working to get rid of government mandates and subsidies is itself “rent seeking.”

President Obama’s misuse of the term “free market”

Another example of Orwellian blackwhite is President Obama’s twisted understanding of what it means to be “free market.” The president stated:

Now, it’s one thing if you’re consistent in being free market. It’s another thing when you’re free market until it’s solar that’s working and people want to buy, and suddenly you’re not for it anymore. (Laughter.) That’s a problem.

For 15 years I have worked for free market organizations that focus on environmental and energy issues. Not a single time have I ever seen a free-market group not promote a free-market position on solar. Who knows what President Obama is talking about?

But this attack shows us something important—that the public supports free markets and choice—not rent seeking and mandates. When President Obama makes a comment like this you can safely assume that it has been focus-group tested. President Obama and his handlers realize that they are vulnerable because their programs are anti-free market, anti-choice, and drive up energy prices and so, following the Orwellian doublespeak formula, they claim the exact opposite.

President Obama’s incorrect claims about the price of solar

As noted in the introduction, solar (and wind too) are more expensive sources of electricity generation than our existing coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants. But that is not what President Obama claimed in his speech:

It’s thanks in part to these investments [federal R&D subsidies] that there are already places across the country where clean power from the sun is finally cheaper than conventional power from your utility — power often generated by burning coal or gas. (Applause.)

And it’s impossible to overstate what this means. For decades, we’ve been told that it doesn’t make economic sense to switch to renewable energy. Today, that’s no longer true.

Again, this is wrong. Solar is not cheaper than burning coal or natural gas. According to a recent study from the Institute for Energy Research on the cost of electricity from existing sources, electricity from existing coal and natural gas (as well as hydro and nuclear) is much, much more affordable than the estimates of the cost of the new solar installations from President Obama’s Energy Information Administration.

This chart from the IER report shows that electricity from existing coal costs $38.4 per megawatt hour and electricity from existing natural gas plants costs $48.9 per megawatt hour.

True Cost Chart

According to the Energy Information Administration, new PV solar costs $125.3 per megawatt hour. It is pure Orwellian blackwhite to say that $125 is less than $38 or $49.

It’s actually worse for solar than these numbers suggest. The electric grid must be kept in balance at all times. That means coal and natural gas, which can be turned on or turned off as needed, are more valuable to the electric grid than solar and wind because you cannot control when the sun shines or the wind blows.

Putting Solar’s Growth in Perspective

President Obama was very impressed with the growth in solar production and installations in the United States, but failed to compare it to the growth in natural gas and oil production. He stated:

America generates 20 times as much solar power as we did in 2008 — 20 times. Last year was solar’s biggest year ever. Prices fell by 10 percent; installations climbed by 30 percent. Every three minutes, another home or business in America goes solar. Every three weeks, we install as much solar capacity as we did in all of 2008.

That is an impressive increase, but numbers from the Energy Information Administration suggest the president is vastly overstating the rate of growth. According to EIA, in 2008 the United States produced 89 trillion BTUs of energy from solar, which grew to 427 trillion BTUs in 2014. That is an increase of about 5 times, not the 20 times increase the president claimed. Even if the 2015 solar production numbers grow 40 percent from the 2014 production numbers (solar production grew 40 percent from 2013 to 2014), that would still only be a 6.7 times increase.

Not only does President Obama vastly overstate the increase in solar production, but he also fails to acknowledge that the increase in solar production is dwarfed by the increase in oil and natural gas production. The Obama administration has lavished solar with billions of dollars in subsidies. But even with those subsidies, the increase in natural gas and oil production has far outstripped the increase in solar production. In fact, natural gas plant liquids (hydrocarbons in natural gas that are separated as liquids at natural gas processing, fractionating, and cycling plants) have increased 5 times as much as solar.

Increase-Energy-Production-Graph2

This graph is all the more surprising because in 2008, people thought that natural gas and oil production would fall. It shows that even spending billions upon billions of dollars subsidizing President Obama’s pet energy sources, American ingenuity wins out by producing much more oil and natural gas.

Solar jobs are awfully inefficient at producing electricity

President Obama argues that installing solar is good for the economy. He stated:

And one of the reasons we’ve done this is not just because it’s good for the environment and good for the overall economy — it takes workers to install all this new capacity. And that’s why, last year, the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy. Solar has helped a lot of construction workers find work while Congress was dragging its feet on funding infrastructure projects. In fact, the solar industry now employs twice as many Americans as mining coal. (Applause.)

This is all well and good, but it means that solar jobs are awfully inefficient at producing energy. In 2014, coal produced 20.3 quadrillion BTUs of energy while solar produced 0.43 quadrillion BTUs. Coal produced 47 times as much energy with half as many workers. On a per worker basis, coal produces 94 times as much energy as solar. In other words, coal is much more efficient at energy production than solar.

President Obama’s incorrect claims about job losses and economic harm

In his speech, the President argues time and time again that moving to solar and wind is economically a good decision. For example, he argues:

And anybody who suggests that moving to a clean energy economy is going to somehow cripple our economy, or lead to fewer jobs . . . I just want everybody to remember, we’ve heard these arguments before. We have engaged in this debate many times before.

The President is correct that we have engaged in this debate before and Senator Reid (who he was sharing the stage with) and the American people roundly rejected the President’s vision. In 2009, President Obama, with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, tried to pass the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill. The bill passed the House, but stalled in Senator Reid’s Senate. In fact, as the Senate Majority Leader, Reid never even brought the bill up for a vote.

One of the reasons that the American people and the Democrats in the Senate turned on the President is that it is pure Orwellian blackwhite to say that moving to more solar and wind will not lead to fewer jobs. Government data show that solar and wind power are expensive. This is well known. Not only are solar and wind expensive, but they are unreliable and require backup generation to produce electricity when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. In a true accounting, this increases their costs even more.

In fact, President Obama used to tout Spain as the way forward on electricity generation until an IER-commissioned study found that for every 1 green job financed by Spanish taxpayers, 2.2 jobs were lost as an opportunity cost. Again, this is a simple acknowledgement that the subsidies must come from somewhere; and by driving up electricity prices, solar and wind power harm jobs and the economy as a whole.

Conclusion

President Obama’s speech in Las Vegas is purely Orwellian. As noted above, he makes claim after claim that is incorrect. This speech is a paean to solar power, but according to President Obama’s own Energy Information Administration, solar thermal is the most expensive source of electricity generation and solar PV is the third most expensive. Solar has a place in our energy system, as do wind, coal, nuclear, geothermal, natural gas and other sources. But federal bureaucrats should not direct energy policy by regulations, subsidies, and mandates. The American people should direct policy through their own choices. President Obama needs to trust the American people, instead of throwing billions of their tax dollars to solar and wind companies.

For Minorities, Obama’s Carbon Plan is Justice Denied

The Obama administration recently finalized EPA’s so-called “Clean Power Plan”, which will require states to slash carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The administration calls this regulation an “environmental justice” issue, claiming that the poor and minorities stand to benefit the most. However, EPA’s carbon rule is actually a regressive energy tax on the poor and minorities: it makes electricity more expensive, and since low-income and minority populations spend more on energy, the rule will hit them hardest.

In his speech announcing the rule, the president dismissed the claim that his regulation will disproportionately harm minorities: “Even more cynical, we’ve got critics of this plan who are actually claiming that this will harm minority and low-income communities.” This contradicts a recent interview during which EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy actually admitted the agency knew that “low-income minority communities would be hardest hit” by rate increases caused by the rule, and so the agency made a greater effort to incorporate “environmental justice” into the final rule. Indeed, the final rule mandates that states applying for an extension participate in an outreach campaign to have low-income communities “provide input” on the impacts of the plan.

EPA notes that the rule will cause “increases in electricity costs” and that outreach will help ensure that “[those costs] do not fall disproportionately on those least able to afford them.” Requiring states to conduct outreach while developing implementation plans is a token that does little to mitigate the harmful effects of the rule. A recent study on the proposed rule found that Black and Hispanic poverty could increase by 23 and 26 percent, respectively. While EPA pays lip-service to “environmental justice” and Obama dismisses valid criticisms as “cynical,” millions of minority families stand to suffer under the Obama administration’s carbon agenda.

When Energy Prices Rise, Minorities Suffer the Most

As McCarthy admitted, minority communities would be disproportionately burdened by any increase in energy costs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Black and Hispanic Americans face higher energy costs compared to White or Asian Americans. As a percentage of after-tax income, Black Americans shoulder a 51 percent higher burden of household energy costs compared to White Americans, and 107 percent more than Asian Americans.

Percent-After-Tax-Income

*Includes spending on electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, and gasoline.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 3rd Quarter 2013 through 2nd Quarter 2014.

A recent study by the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) confirms the carbon rule will disproportionately harm minority communities. The NBCC estimates that by 2025, the plan will increase the poverty rate for Hispanic Americans by 26 percent, while the poverty rate for Black Americans will increase by 23 percent. The study also estimates that cumulative job losses for Black Americans will reach 7 million by 2035, and 12 million for Hispanic Americans.

EPA’s Carbon Rule Hits Poor and Minorities Hardest

President Obama’s carbon regulation forces states to craft implementation plans to meet a nationwide, 32 percent carbon dioxide emission reduction target for existing power plants by 2030. EPA recommends three building blocks for states to achieve their emission reduction targets, all of which will raise the cost of electricity by removing affordable energy from coal-fired plants and replacing it with expensive energy from renewable generators. A study by NERA Economic Consulting that assessed the proposed rule estimated that residential rates could rise by double-digit percentages in 43 states.

The plan will disproportionately impact low-income and minority families in high-poverty states, especially major coal-producing regions. West Virginia and Ohio, which have poverty rates of 17.3 percent and 13.7 percent respectively, will have to cut CO2 emissions by 35 percent and 32 percent by 2030, leading to electricity rate increases by up to 14 percent and 10 percent by 2031. Kentucky, which has a poverty rate of 20 percent, could see electricity rates rise up to 21 percent in order to meet its 31 percent emission target by 2030.

Electricity-Rate-Increase-Due-to-Clean-Power-PlanSource: US Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2014 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, and NERA Economic Consulting

Higher energy costs leave less money to be spent on food and healthcare, and since low-income families spend the highest portion of their income on energy, they will be most affected. Even a small increase in the price of electricity could create a potentially dangerous scenario in which families have to choose between purchasing medicine or heating their homes during winter. In fact, IER has previously estimated that EPA’s rule could cause 14,000 more premature deaths than it would prevent.

Conclusion

Obama’s carbon regulation will substantially increase the burden of energy costs on low-income minorities, but have no discernible impact on climate change. While McCarthy acknowledges poor people will suffer more under the regulation, Obama dismisses anyone who points this out as “cynical.” If the administration truly cared about “environmental justice,” they would rescind this discriminatory rule and focus instead on making electricity affordable for all families.

Are Americans Being Punished for China’s Pollution?

While financial analysts consider the impact of how China’s devaluing of the Yuan may affect the country’s exports, residents of western states are receiving one Chinese export for free—pollution.

According to a new study supported by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and NASA, ozone precursor emissions from China are blowing across the Pacific Ocean and increasing ozone levels in the western United States. This finding highlights the difficulty with complying with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed ozone rule, which forces states to further reduce ozone emissions even though, according to the study, China’s ozone emissions have offset 43 percent of the reductions states achieved over the last few years.

The EPA’s ozone rule would cut national standards for ground-level ozone by as much as 20 percent. This regulation could force hundreds of communities and even several national parks out of compliance with the new rule and put them at risk of losing millions of dollars in federal funding for transportation projects. Several areas in the U.S. are already out of compliance with the current standard, and lowering it even further would set a standard that not even national parks with zero industrial activity can achieve.

The rule would come at high cost: the National Association of Manufacturers estimates the ozone rule will cost $140 billion each year in lost economic growth, and lead to 1.4 million fewer American jobs. President Obama is essentially asking Americans to pay billions of dollars to fix a problem that is not confined to our borders and may have no effect on air pollution or health in the United States. According to JPL scientist Jessica Neu, “…even if you are making big efforts to reduce your emissions, what other countries are doing could offset that.” For this reason, EPA should withdraw its proposed ozone rule.

China’s Ozone Problem

The new study, published in Nature Geoscience, found that Chinese ozone has offset about 43% of the ozone reductions that were expected between 2005 and 2010 in the western United States. This is because China, currently the world’s second biggest economy, saw a 21% rise in ozone-forming pollutants between 2005 and 2010 even as U.S. emissions have declined.

EPA has proposed cutting the national ground-level ozone standard from 75 parts per billion to between 65 and 70 ppb, and perhaps as low as 60 ppb. At these levels, many parts of the country, including national parks in the western United States, which have no industrial activity whatsoever, could be out of compliance. Areas deemed out of compliance can face stiff penalties, including loss of federal funding, and be forced to curtail industrial activity, which would destroy jobs and limit economic growth.

With China’s ozone emissions drifting across the Pacific, many countries on the west coast may find that they cannot achieve EPA’s tighter standards—regardless of any steps they take to curtail emissions.

Huge Costs, Small Benefits

Given the levels of ozone precursors coming into the United States from China, the alleged benefits of the ozone rule will be lower than EPA calculates, and even by EPA’s own estimates, the proposed ozone rule could be the costliest federal rule ever.

EPA claims that further ozone reductions will improve air quality and public health. Even if there was merit to the claim that a tighter ozone standard would improve public health, it is difficult for the United States to realize these benefits unless China adopts serious emission limits to reduce the ozone coming into the U.S. from abroad.

Despite rhetoric from the Chinese leadership that they are engaging in a “war against pollution,” it is unlikely that China will see significant reductions in air pollution anytime soon. It is unsurprising that China has made strong environmental pledges ahead of UN climate talks in December, as the country seeks to secure legitimacy as a global power both with its own people and with the international community. To accomplish lofty environmental goals, economists have said the government must let an already decelerating economic growth slow even further.

Air pollution is an undeniable problem in China, and the people want a solution. At the same time, however, they are demanding more passenger automobiles than any other country in the world and an increased standard of living that can only be achieved with more economic development, not less. While the country is taking steps to reduce air pollution, ozone will continue to make its way across the Pacific and into the United States. Therefore, it is unfair for the Obama administration to force states to further reduce ozone when our air quality is in part determined by Chinese pollution we cannot control.

Conclusions

The Obama administration wants to lower ozone standards in the United States, forcing hundreds of communities to adopt costly policies to comply with unattainable standards. At the same time, China will continue exporting pollution to the United States, offsetting much of the progress we have made under the current standard. The EPA should keep the current ozone standards and avoid inflicting huge economic burdens on Americans towards what could be an unattainable goal.

Tribune-Review: Obama’s ‘Clean Power’ Costs Too Much

This week, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wrote an editorial showcasing IER’s recent study on the true cost of electricity to help illustrate the exorbitant costs of Obama’s carbon plan. Below is an excerpt from the piece:

Using federal data reported by electricity generators, the study found one megawatt-hour of electricity from existing nuclear plants costs an average of $29.60. Comparable figures for existing hydro-, coal- and natural-gas-powered plants are $34.20, $38.40 and $48.90, respectively.

But for new natural gas plants, it’s $73.40, and for new wind turbines, $106.80 — with the dramatic cost differences due largely to capital costs and the requirement for natural gas-fired plants to “be ramped up and down rapidly” as winds blow and calm.

Mr. Pyle urges states, which are supposed to submit compliance plans or see the feds impose their own, to “think twice about working with the EPA.” As he puts it, building new power plants to comply “would impose expensive and unnecessary costs — and the public would foot the bill,” with low-income households hit hardest.

Ah, another “progressive” pig in a poke.

Click here to read the rest of the editorial.

Six Things Every American Should Really Know About EPA’s Carbon Agenda

Last week, AEA President Thomas Pyle responded to a Medium post by EPA Chief Gina McCarthy with his own six reasons as to why states and the American people should be wary of entrusting EPA with their energy futures. Below is an excerpt from the piece:

McCarthy claims her plan “will save us billions of dollars every year.” This is just plain wrong. This plan will cause existing coal-fired power plants to shutter. The most cost-effective new source of electricity generation is combined cycle natural gas, electricity from which is twice as expensive as electricity from existing coal plants. New wind, meanwhile, is three times as expensive as existing coal and new solar is even more expensive. You can’t save Americans’ money when you make wholesale electricity generation more than twice as expensive. It just doesn’t work.

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The EPA’s carbon rule has no impact on climate change but inflicts severe burdens on American families. Fortunately, states have the power to defeat this regulation by refusing to submit plans to the EPA. To learn more about how states are fighting to protect their citizens, visit SmartPowerPlan.org

Click here to read the rest of Pyle’s post.

Obama’s Carbon Plan Could Cause Thousands of Premature Deaths

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its so-called “Clean Power Plan,” or carbon rule, which regulates carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. Although EPA claims that the benefits of the rule are substantial, in reality it will have negative repercussions for Americans, especially the most vulnerable. In fact, by our estimate, the EPA’s regulation will likely cause more premature deaths than it prevents, have an undetectable impact on climate change, and fail to produce significant health benefits.

To implement this regulation, President Obama is depending on states to submit plans to EPA. Yet many states, recognizing the high costs and lack of climate benefits, are fighting back. The best way for state leaders to protect their citizens from skyrocketing energy costs is to reject EPA’s request for a state plan.

Obama’s Carbon Rule Causes Thousands of Premature Deaths

EPA claims the finalized carbon rule will have climate and health benefits for Americans worth tens of billions of dollars and save thousands of lives per year. However, while EPA asserts its carbon rule will save lives, the agency fails to acknowledge how many deaths the plan may cause.

EPA’s rule will raise energy prices by forcing the closure of affordable coal-fired plants to make way for more expensive plants fueled by other sources. This could raise electricity prices by double digits for residents of 43 states, a burden that will be felt most by poorer households. Americans will find that they must sacrifice other necessities, like medicine and doctor visits, in order to afford the higher energy prices.

EPA ignores the “health-wealth” link as it promotes the carbon rule, resulting in dangerous miscalculations of health benefits. By forcing higher energy prices on American families, the carbon rule will end up making the poor poorer and the sick sicker.

By EPA’s estimates, the carbon rule could prevent thousands of premature deaths by 2030 by decreasing Americans’ exposure to outdoor pollutants. However, EPA’s estimates fail to consider the negative health impacts associated with a loss of wealth that the rule will cause. Even if we take the EPA’s numbers at face value, estimates from the Institute for Energy Research (IER) indicate the regulation could cause, on balance, 14,000 more premature deaths than it prevents by 2030.

Premature-Deaths-Caused-by-EPA's-Clean-Power-Plan

Source: Based on IER calculations of Environmental Protection Agency and NERA Economic Consulting data

To learn more about how EPA’s carbon rule causes more premature death than it prevents, read IER’s recent post here.

Obama’s Carbon Rule Has No Impact on Climate Change

EPA’s carbon rule is an integral component of the Obama administration’s climate agenda. As a result, the alleged purpose of the regulation is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change. Nevertheless, the rule’s impact on global temperatures is so minimal as to be completely undetectable. According to climate experts from the Cato Institute, the rule will prevent an increase of 0.019°C by the year 2100. They conducted this analysis using EPA’s own models. Furthermore, a separate analysis done by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity reached very similar conclusions: by 2050 the rule would yield (1) a reduction in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations by 0.2 percent, (2) a decrease of 0.006°C in global temperatures, and (3) a sea level rise diminished by 0.2 millimeters.

Regardless, EPA is claiming that the final rule will garner $20 billion a year in “climate benefits” in 2030. So, if there is no effect on global temperatures, what are the alleged climate benefits that EPA claims the plan will produce? Essentially, EPA estimates the benefits based on a metric called the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC), which isn’t based on the tangible impacts on temperatures. Instead, it calculates the alleged economic impact caused by every ton of carbon that’s emitted. This metric has been criticized by a number of researchers, statisticians, and economists as arbitrary, unreliable for crafting policy, “close to useless,” and “susceptible to political gaming.”

Ultimately, the theoretical and practical issues with SCC make it a poor tool for policymaking. The fact that the claimed climate benefits from EPA’s rule are entirely based on SCC estimates, rather than actual impacts on global temperatures or sea levels, makes the regulation very problematic.

Zero Climate Benefits, Dubious Health Benefits

Because the rule has no discernible impact on climate change, EPA is attempting to link the plan to public health. However, its claimed health benefits are also highly suspect. EPA claims that its rule will improve the health of Americans by reducing criteria pollutants that contribute to asthma and other illnesses. Yet historical trends indicate that illnesses are rising despite emission reductions. The data show that while air pollution has declined for several decades, asthma rates are rising. This casts doubt on the health benefits of EPA’s rule and suggests that other factors, such as poverty, may play a larger role in affecting health than air pollution does.

Currently, about 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, and the EPA is claiming that its carbon rule, by reducing Americans’ exposure to outdoor air pollutants, can help alleviate this health burden. However, EPA’s health claims are dubious and some of them rely on cherry-picked and misinterpreted analysis. As previously discussed, EPA has ignored the health-wealth link that shows the plan may in fact kill more people than it saves. In particular, a study by the National Black Chamber of Commerce concluded that the rule is likely to negatively affect low-income groups and minorities. Rather than creating health benefits, the rule may cause disproportionate harm to the poorest among us. By making Americans poorer, the rule will make people sicker and damage public health.

Conclusion

EPA’s carbon rule, a crucial piece of the Obama administration’s climate agenda, makes sweeping claims about the benefits of regulating carbon dioxide emissions from affordable and reliable power plants. However, upon closer inspection, the rule falls short of its claimed benefits—and even has significant negative impacts.

By raising energy prices, the carbon plan will have substantial economic repercussions that make Americans poorer—and ultimately, it may cause more deaths than it prevents. At the same time, it won’t produce any tangible impact on climate change; instead, the rule relies on climate benefits produced by arbitrary and unreliable models. Finally, the health benefits of the rule are questionable and don’t align with the government’s own data on pollution and asthma rates.

State should take note. Now that the rule is final, EPA is depending on states to submit implementation plans. However, a growing number of states have come out against EPA’s carbon regulation, raising the possibility that EPA will be unable to implement the rule as written. Given these high costs and dubious benefits, state leaders should protect their citizens by rejecting EPA’s call for state plans.

To read about the “10 Reasons States Should Not Submit a State Plan,” click here.