A headline in the Christian Science Monitor poses perhaps the most alarming question about the final regulations for the Clean Power Plan, which President Obama announced earlier this week:
Will the Clean Power Plan Make Every State Look More Like California?
The Obama administration's Clean Power Plan regulations, my colleague Jillian Kay Melchiorably explains in a must-read analysis, will cost American businesses and consumers a bundle but will have almost no effect on global climate change. Jillian observes that the rules will be both globally irrelevant and financially disastrous for the U.S.:
If in 2030, Beijing is continuing to prioritize economic development over climate-change protections, the United States will have few mechanisms to force China to live up to its end of the bargain.
But in the United States, the federal government plans to strictly enforce these draconian regulations. At the same time that the EPA overstates the impact of the Clean Power Plan on climate change, it substantially understates the impact on the national economy. (In fact, the Government Accountability Office has slammed the EPA for its faulty calculations in the past.) Even so, the EPA has predicted that complying with the Clean Power Plan will be equivalent to the combined total cost of all Clean Air Act rules set forth up to 2010.
Other estimates are even more pessimistic. National Economic Research Associates predicts an eye-popping compliance costs of up to $479 billion. Though President Obama is claiming the Clean Power Plan will ultimately save Americans $85 per year on their utility bills, the NERA study found that households in 43 states will actually see double-digit price hikes. The National Black Chamber of Commerce reports that non-white families will especially suffer from these price increases in electricity, while blacks and Hispanics will also suffer the loss of 19 million jobs by 2035 as a result of the Clean Power Plan.
While the Obama administration claims that the Clean Power Plan is flexible, allowing states to figure out the best way to implement the regulations, the reality is quite different. If the EPA doesn’t approve of the plans that state legislatures submit, the agency can just impose its own methods, as it has done with the rules on regional haze.
Eery state is different, with different kinds of energy resources and production. The notion that we would have a uniform standard seems just on the face of it inefficient. Not all states will be affected in the same way.
The economies of some states will take particularly big hits because of the one-size-fits-all regulations. For example, based on EPA stats, we have been reliably told that North Dakota's percentage reduction goals, now 11 percent, will be 45 percent under the new rules–four times more stringent. We're told that the other top hard-hit states are:
· Iowa was 16% but now is 42% (two-and-a-half times more stringent)
· Kentucky was 18% but now is 41% (more than twice as stringent)
· Wyoming was 19% but now is 44% (more than twice as stringent)
· Kansas was 23% but now is 44% (almost twice as stringent)
· Montana was 21% but now is 47% (more than twice as stringent)
· Indiana was 20% but now is 39% (twice as stringent)
· West Virginia was 20% but now is 37% (almost twice as stringent)
· Missouri 21% but now is 37% (76% more stringent)
· Nebraska 26% but now is 40% (50% more stringent)
None of these states want to turn into an over-regulated, financially-strapped California.
But that future is quite possible if these rules stand–and these aren't the only states that'll be singing, "California, here we come."