Americans who have seen the cost of living creep up, even as wages stagnate and good jobs remain scarce, have had the welcome relief, at least, of declining energy costs.  Gasoline and home heating and cooling costs have declined dramatically, which means that American families have a little more money in their pockets to manage their other bills.  These lower energy costs are also helping businesses and preventing consumer good prices from climbing even higher.

Americans shouldn’t take these gains for granted.  Energy policy is a priority when gasoline prices approach $5 a gallon, but even today, in good times, Americans should pay attention to what’s happening since energy policies enacted today will have a big impact on the economy tomorrow.

Often, energy policy changes aren’t even being made at the Congressional level, where at least our elected representatives have to publicly debate the issues at stake.  Increasingly, major policy changes come from the executive rule making process.  And no surprise, the Obama EPA has been aggressively broadening its reach and create massive new regulations that could impact energy producers and ultimately energy consumers—which means all of us.

As IWF’s senior fellow for energy policy Jillian Melchior wrote in National Review, the Obama administration is creating a “Clean Power Plan” that seeks to reduce carbon emissions from electric plants by 30 percent between 2005 and 2030. It claims to have this power under the Clean Air Act, nevermind that the authors of the law in no way imagined it would apply to carbon dioxide emissions.

The final proposal is supposed to be released in June.  Many states have objected to the plan which will include specific targets for specific states.  As the Nevada’s Division of Environmental Protection, Public Utilities Commission, and the Governor’s Office of Energy stated in comments on the proposal that, “The Clean Power Plan threatens the long-standing authority that states have over energy and resource planning.”

Industry experts warn that these rules could have a huge impact on energy prices, pushing costs up across the board, which will ripple through state economies and leave a trail of higher costs for consumer goods and services as well as higher direct energy costs, and fewer jobs.

The Nevada legislature is considering legislation that would at least give the legislature the power to review—and approve or disapprove—the state plan to comply with the EPA’s dictates.  That’s a step in the right direction.  But Americans everywhere should also object to this latest EPA power grab which threatens a lone bright spot in our economy.