Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

June 5, 2014

Picking energy winners and losers is bad for Hoosiers, bad for the economy

President Obama made a lot of campaign promises when running for office in 2008. Some promises he kept—others, he didn’t. Unfortunately, his Administration appears to be making headway on a radical campaign pledge to reduce greenhouses gases—a plan the President himself said would cause electricity rates to “necessarily skyrocket.”

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new environmental regulations that require energy producers to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 30% by 2030. These new rules are bad for the economy, will not make the environment cleaner and ultimately send the country in the wrong direction.

According to an analysis by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, these new mandates will lead to 224,000 fewer U.S. jobs on average every year through 2030 and increase electricity costs by more than $289 billion. As a percentage, under the newly proposed EPA regulations, electricity generated by coal will fall from 40% to 14%. For the average Hoosier, these changes mean a $200 a year reduction in expendable income which will hit our lower-income and fixed-income Hoosiers the hardest when budgets are already stretched thin.

While arguably well-intentioned, the EPA’s new proposal will do little if anything to make our environment cleaner. These costly new rules require the U.S. to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 750 million metric tons over the next 15 years. But, according to the International Energy Agency, the rest of the world will increase its CO2 emissions by more than six times that amount – nearly 4,700 million metric tons over a similar time frame. Given these facts, it makes no sense to place ankle-weights on the U.S. economy with the burdensome costs of these regulations, while the world’s major polluters, like China, run free.

In addition, the EPA’s announcement is a missed opportunity to call America to true energy independence. America stands at a crossroads. Right now, 24 applications for U.S. exports of natural gas are sitting at the Department of Energy waiting for approval. The House has passed numerous bills that approve the building of the Keystone XL pipeline. With the right initiatives, the U.S. could become a world leader in energy production which would lead to job creation, lower energy costs and increased security. Many of these innovations, like the market driven transition from coal to natural gas, actually make our environment cleaner, too. But instead of seizing this opportunity, the EPA’s heavy-handed regulations send our country in the wrong direction.

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