By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) testified about his opposition to costly new power plant restrictions being imposed by the Obama EPA during a Senate Hearing on Wednesday, June 18.
Attorney General Luther Strange told the Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety that the EPA’s proposed new rules are not only misguided but usurp regulatory authority vested in the states. AG Strange testified, “EPA’s proposed guidelines for existing power plant performance standards under Clean Air Act section 111(d) are simply the most recent example of the Federal Government usurping authorities properly delegated to the States.”
Strange continued, “The defense of this proposal will be that the States have ‘flexibility,’ but providing the States with a narrow range of costly policy choices, which most of the States did not choose for themselves, does not provide any actual flexibility and still produces the same outcome—higher electricity prices and decreased generation.” “Repeating over and over the word ‘flexibility’ is not an adequate defense or adequate answer to the low-income consumers in my state, or any other state, who will ask why they must pay more to reduce CO2 emissions when those reductions cannot and will not impact the global climate.”
Strange said that, “The State of Alabama vigorously opposes EPA’s proposed mandate to effectively restructure the electric sector, as it would have disastrous consequences for electric reliability and the economy. Those consequences, moreover, would all stem from a patently unlawful application of the Clean Air Act.”
Attorney General Strange was invited by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions (R) to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety hearing entitled “Climate Change: The Need to Act Now.” Sessions is the subcommittee’s Ranking Member.
As Alabama’s Attorney General, Luther Strange has actively opposed the Obama administration’s moves to restrict domestic energy production in favor of what he says are more costly alternative energy programs and has threatened to challenge the controversial new power plant standands.
AG Strange said recently in a written statement, “The Obama administration’s EPA ruling to cut carbon emissions at power plants is a direct affront to workers in states like Alabama which not only rely upon coal-fired plants to generate most of their electricity, but are also home to thousands of coal industry jobs. Make no mistake, this ruling will cost us jobs and raise heating and cooling bills in Alabama.”
Strange continued, “Because the Obama administration has gone around Congress to impose these punitive regulations, it has been left to state Attorneys General to challenge them in court. Since taking office, I have joined Attorneys General from other states in opposing burdensome EPA regulations on our coal industry as well as on energy providers. We were successful in overturning one such ruling in 2012 regarding cross-state air pollution and the Obama administration can expect another legal challenge to its latest intrusive and overreaching carbon emission regulation.”
The EPA ruling announced on Monday, June 2 mandates that the State of Alabama cut its power plant carbon emissions by 27 percent by 2030. More than half of all the electricity Alabama Power generates in the state comes from coal-fired plants. According to information released by Strange’s office more than 16,000 Alabama jobs are dependent upon the coal industry which has a $1.3 billion economic impact upon our state.
Luther Strange concluded, “The extremist agenda of the Obama administration is forcing unwarranted higher energy costs upon Americans and further threatening an already sluggish economic recovery. I am reviewing this latest burdensome mandate and will pursue every legal option to stop it.”
According to an economic analysis prepared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky will be especially hard hit by Obama’s new mandates. According to the report those four states will lose $2.1 billion in economic losses a year every year between now and 2030 and tens of thousands of jobs.
AG Luther Strange is running for re-election in November and faces well funded opposition from Rep. Joe Hubbard (D) from Montgomery.
Sen. Jeff Sessions also faces re-election this year, but the popular Republican senator has no Democratic Party opponent.