The Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is another step closer to overturning federal regulations on energy production that raised costs for Americans families and really wouldn’t do much for the environment. This move will give states more control over what energy standards to meet.
The Clean Power Plan was one of President Obama’s signature environmental initiatives in the waning days of his administration. The plan set limits on carbon emissions from power plants nationwide prompting him to trumpet the rule as “the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change.”
One problem was that it hurt specific industries like coal and fossil-fuels while giving an advantage to wind and solar industries. The Wall Street Journal explains just how hard-hit the coal industry has been. Industry experts think that at best this regulatory rollback will only slow down the decline of this industry.
Understating the economic impact, overstating the environmental impact
The costs of the Clean Power Plan would have been borne not just by businesses but by American families and workers:
EPA estimated that regulation could cost between 31,000 and 34,000 full-time jobs, many in the energy sector and that as American businesses react to higher electricity expenses, they may eliminate as many as 83,000 jobs by 2030, with manufacturing hit particularly hard.
National Black Chamber of Commerce reported that blacks and Hispanics would suffer the loss of 19 million jobs by 2035.
National Economic Research Associates (NERA) predicted compliance costs of up to $479 billion.
NERA study found that households in 43 states would see double-digit price hikes. Minority families on average spend a larger portion of their take-home pay on utilities; so for these households, the rising utility costs would be particularly painful.
The environmental impact would be minuscule because when it comes to the carbon emissions, the United States simply isn’t the problem. At best, even EPA modeling finds that eliminating all carbon emissions would lower temperature less than 1 degree Celsius in about 80 years from now. Meanwhile, a country like China which is probably the biggest pollutant gets a free pass to continue increasing carbon emissions.
A clean and healthy environment is something we can all agree on, but the Clean Power Plan was not the plan to make that happen.