There can be little remaining doubt that the US Environmental Protection Agency no longer represents the best interests of the American public. It rather represents the interests of a small minority of the population calling themselves environmentalists plus industry groups that would profit from implementing their ideology. It is now clear that EPA, responding to these other groups, which I call the Climate-Industrial Complex, or CIC, in my new book, Environmentalism Gone Mad, available from the book website, is now trying to intimidate the states, particularly the red states, into modifying their laws. They want the states to implement the CIC’s ideology concerning the supposed need for using so-called “renewable” (perhaps better described as unreliable) sources of electric power rather than fossil fuels.
Why States that Implement the CPP Are Likely to Be Signing Their Own Economic Death Warrants
States that succumb to this Federal intimidation are effectively signing their economic death warrants. Their citizens will be forced to pay greatly increased rates for less reliable electricity, probably three to four times higher in current prices under the new EPA “Clean Power Plan” (CPP) regulations (much more accurately described as the Skyrocketing Rates Power Plan or SRPP), and their manufacturing industries may be forced to move to states that do not succumb to the intimidation or to foreign countries in order to survive economically. A number of Western European countries, including Germany, Spain, and the UK, provide excellent examples of what will happen if EPA is allowed to enforce its SRPP since they have followed so far milder versions of “renewable” energy substitution than now required by EPA.
This is actually EPA’s second attempt to intimidate regulated groups into carrying out the EPA’s scientifically unjustified, fantastically expensive, and pointless CO2 emission reduction campaign. The first was the Mercury Utility MACT regulations recently overturned by the Supreme Court, but only after many utilities had already installed expensive equipment or decided to close coal-fired plants in order to reduce these pollutants well below any reasonably justifiable level. This regulation would have substantially increased the cost of coal generated electricity, thus making coal less competitive and reducing CO2 emissions. In Michigan v. EPA the Court ruled that EPA must take economics into account, which they had not. The result was that pollution control was treated as if it were free. It is not.
The EPA’s SRPP goes well beyond the mercury rule by decreeing that states must actually enact laws mandating CO2 reduction activities outside power plant boundaries and decreeing exactly what the total resulting reductions must be. Critics have identified at least 10 violations of the Clean Air Act and/or the Constitution in the SRPP. It is probable that EPA knows just how illegal their SRPP is, but hopes to intimidate the states to do their bidding before the courts have time to act, just as they managed to do with the mercury regulations. Given the long time needed to plan and build power plants, this will put states and utilities under enormous pressure between now and the various implementation deadlines set by EPA.
The Majority Leader of the US Senate, Mitch McConnell, has urged states to resist this intimidation by refusing to implement the SRPP. This places them at some risk in case the Supreme Court ultimately sides with EPA since EPA can do nasty things to states that defy its decrees, such as cutting off their Federal highway funding. EPA is playing a very hard-nosed game of chicken with the states, who must choose between the economic welfare of their citizens and industries and the risk of EPA retribution.
The Economic Stakes Could Not Be Higher
Those arguing for “going along” with the EPA SRPP do not seem to realize that if they do, even stricter regulations will follow the SRPP if and when the principle of centralized EPA control of power generation and use has been established. The CIC clearly aims to bring about their “renewable” fantasy world with the regulatory muscle of the EPA they have so completely captured. The time to resist this intimidation is now. “Going along” will only make it more likely that the principle may become established and the citizens of red states will pay the very high price demanded by EPA at the behest of the CIC.
Because of the lack of action by Congress to overturn the SRPP to date, this battle currently appears likely to be fought out at the state level, mainly in red states. Many of these states have attracted manufacturing facilities in recent decades because of their low costs. Their choice on whether to go along with the SRPP may determine whether these hard-won manufacturing facilities and jobs will move elsewhere and whether their citizens will continue to enjoy their current, generally lower than the national average, electric rates. The economic stakes could not be higher for these states. Other, generally blue states, will also see rates rise if they agree to implement the SRPP, of course, but that is a choice they will have voluntarily made, at least prior to any court decisions.
Many of these issues are discussed in more detail with detailed references in my book, Environmentalism Gone Mad.