President Obama and his administration are embroiled in an all-out war on fossil fuels. Under the guise of saving the planet from global warming, the administration has issued rampant regulations trying to further reduce CO2 emissions under the so-called Clean Power Plan. Not only have these regulations been shown as ineffective at actually impacting global temperatures or sea levels, it turns out that the rules will have serious economic impacts on all Americans, especially low-income and minority families.
A study by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) found the president’s climate agenda would only reduce CO2 concentration by less than one-half of a percent; reduce the average global temperature by less than 2/100th of a degree; and reduce the rise of sea levels by 1/100th of an inch – or the thickness of three sheets of paper. These paltry numbers make the president’s agenda seem downright reckless in light of the $479 billion price tag that it comes with.
It gets worse. Under the Clean Power Plan, electricity prices will steadily increase – by double digits in the majority of states, and over the course of the next decade, tens of thousands of Americans will lose access to well-paying jobs that will be shipped overseas to places like China with less stringent environmental standards.
According to expert witness testimony submitted to the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, almost 59 million American households have pre-tax annual incomes of $50,000 or less. After taxes, these families take home about $22,732 – or less than $1,900 a month. These families devote 17 percent of their after-tax income to energy costs. Imagine if these families suddenly saw their energy bills rise, let alone double. The math is overwhelming. Americans simply cannot afford the administration’s war on fossil fuels.
On June 23, I chaired a hearing in the EPW Committee focused on the impacts of the president’s proposed carbon regulations on electricity costs for American businesses, rural communities and families. During the hearing, we heard from the National Black Chamber of Commerce’s President, Harry Alford, who testified that the administration’s Clean Power Plan would increase Black poverty by 23 percent and Hispanic poverty by 26 percent. It would result in cumulative job losses of 7 million for Blacks and nearly 12 million for Hispanics in 2035 while decreasing Black and Hispanic median household income by $455 and $515, respectively, in 2035.
Why is it that the cost is so great? The Obama administration’s final rule will force Americans to replace dependable, affordable fossil fuels with high-cost, unreliable alternatives. The so-called Clean Power Plan primarily relies on a federally mandated shift towards wind and solar which makes up less than five percent of our electricity grid, a percentage that has taken our nation decades to achieve. Yet the rule will demand Americans reduce its fossil fuel dependency until renewables are 28 percent of electricity production by 2030. This is unachievable without great economic pain.
It is a burden President Obama seems to think the American people should bear for the sake of his war on fossil fuels and legacy on climate change.
It comes as no surprise that 32 states oppose the administration’s proposal and that 16 states have already challenged EPA in court. Now that the rule is final, additional legal challenges have already developed and more will come as opposition continues to grow. Regulations of this nature have no place being handed down from the administration, especially when Congress expressly rejected such an effort back in 2009.
States should not be forced to comply with an illegal agency mandate that forces investment in high-cost, unreliable energy and attempts to stamp out low-cost, reliable fossil fuels. The president and his administration need to really listen to the concerns of the American people and realize that by perpetuating the war on fossil fuels, we are sacrificing our remaining economic security.