By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, August 3, US Representative Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) announced in a statement that he was opposed to the rule announced by the Obama Administration that would force power plants to make major cuts to carbon dioxide emissions. Palmer cited testimony by experts who claim that if implemented it will be one of the most costly rules of all time. Meanwhile Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange (R) announced plans to sue to block the new rules which usurp the Alabama Public Service Commission’s powers to regulate the electricity industry in Alabama.
Congressman Palmer said in a statement, “The EPA’s release of its final rule to regulate emissions from power plants continues the overreaching, agenda-driven policy that we have seen frequently from the EPA under this administration,” Palmer said. “American workers and their families, particularly the most economically vulnerable, can ill afford the real-life costs of this rule, which will result in significant utility rate increases and lost jobs with little to no measurable environmental impact. With my support, the House has already taken action by passing a bill to delay this costly rule, which faces serious legal challenges. I will continue to work to fight this rule and protect the American people from this costly agenda.”
The final rule mandates that power plants cut an average of 32 percent of their carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. The EPA estimates that complying with the rule will cost more than $8 billion per-year, while other sources estimate that the costs will be even higher. According to information supplied by Rep. Palmer’s office: NERA, an economic consulting and analysis firm, this proposal would cost between $41 and $73 billion per year.
AG Luther Strange said in a statement, “The same administration that once complained that people don’t pay enough for gasoline is now forcing Americans to endure higher energy costs and further blows to our economy. It’s time for common sense to prevail. Alabama will fight this battle in federal court.”
AG Strange continued, “After years of propaganda efforts aimed at convincing Americans that they must sacrifice lower energy bills and jobs in order to meet arbitrary carbon emission goals, the Obama administration has finally unveiled its new energy mandate. The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan continues the Obama administration’s theme of ignoring the legal limits on its executive authority in order to satisfy a political agenda that places the lowest priority on the rights of coal industry workers and American consumers.”
The conservative Alabama Attorney General warned, “Under the EPA rule, Alabamians’ average annual household energy bills could rise by more than $800 a year by the time the plan is fully implemented. This places an undue burden on those who can least afford it, including the poor, the elderly and others on fixed incomes. What’s more, it punishes as many as 16,000 Alabamians whose jobs are dependent upon the coal industry.”
Strange said that, “As Attorney General, I testified before Congress in opposition to the illegal EPA rule and I have joined with other states in opposing the Obama administration’s unwarranted anti-coal policy in federal court.”
The Institute for Energy Research said that the federal regulations threaten to shut down enough power plant capacity to power all of Brazil.
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity released a statement blasting the Environmental Protection Agency’s planned release of its rule to regulate carbon dioxide emissions.
The President and CEO of ACCCE Mike Duncan said “Even in the face of damning analyses and scathing opposition from across the country, EPA’s final carbon rule reveals what we’ve said for months – this agency is pursuing an illegal plan that will drive up electricity costs and put people out of work. This rule fails across the board, but most troubling is that it fails the millions of families and businesses who rely on affordable electricity to help them keep food on the table and the lights on.”
The ACCCE said that the carbon rule EPA proposed last year carried a catastrophic price tag of at least $366 billion. NERA projected that electricity consumers in almost every state would face double digit electricity price increases.
President Duncan warned, “Sadly, not everyone has the deep pockets of the environmental activists pushing this political agenda. This new regulation will be devastating to 59 million low and middle income American families who bring home an average less than $25,000 annually and spend 17 percent of that modest budget on energy.”
Manufacture Alabama signed on to a letter with 35 other groups and elected officials urging EPA, “To avoid production and planning uncertainty related to our nation’s vital energy infrastructure, EPA should reconsider its ‘Plan’ in light of all the ongoing court proceedings and the legitimate concerns raised by bipartisan policymakers, non-partisan regulators, and the consumers they serve. Jobs, reliability and consumers of energy across the nation depend on this relief.”
Duncan said, “Rest assured we won’t stop fighting until this illegal and economically destructive rule is overturned by the courts.”
The Business Council of Alabama opposes the new regulations as well as new ozone rules. The BCA wrote, “The rules aim to end plentiful and cheap coal as an energy source and require expensive and unreliable wind and solar power. Under the rules, the EPA would require states to draft plans to lower emissions from power plants. The agency also would force a plan on any state that does not draft one.
Alabama would be especially hard hit by the proposed regulations which would close coal burning electricity plants and cost hundreds of Alabamians their jobs.
Rep. Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s First Congressional District.