ALEC Weighs in on EPA’s Proposed Carbon Dioxide Standard
On Monday June 25, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) submitted a public comment in opposition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed carbon dioxide standard for new power plants. ALEC has repeatedly adopted the position that regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act is unnecessary, ineffective and economically destructive.
On March 27, 2012, the EPA proposed the first ever limit on carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, setting a cap of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour. By EPA’s own admission, the rule is designed to force a major transformation in electricity generation away from coal toward other fuel sources, such as natural gas.
EPA claims that coal-fired plants can meet the requirement through carbon capture and sequestration, yet the technology is not yet commercially viable, and EPA knows that utilities likely will opt for another fuel source instead. The standard thus amounts to a de facto ban on future coal plants.
ALEC’s member legislators have considered and passed several resolutions that reflect their concerns and express their opposition to EPA placing limits on carbon dioxide. ALEC’s Resolution in Opposition to Carbon Dioxide Emissions Standards recognizes that our economy is dependent on affordable and reliable energy from fossil fuels. Forcing the use of alternatives that are not viable in a free market necessarily would increase consumer electricity prices and impose economic costs. The Resolution in Opposition to Regulation Greenhouse Gases under the Clean Air Act states that regardless of one’s views on global climate change science, the efforts of one developed nation would not have a meaningful effect on global temperatures: “[regulation of greenhouse gases] would impose a massive economic burden on America without appreciably reducing worldwide concentrations of greenhouse gases.”
It is clear that EPA failed to account for the economic ramifications of a de facto ban on coal-fired electricity generation, and it failed to adequately demonstrate that the rule would significantly advance its stated goal.
Perhaps most egregious however, is that the EPA has failed to recognize the impropriety of making such a radical and transformative economic prescription through undemocratic means. Rather than allowing the market to direct the transition naturally, or even allowing elected representatives in Congress to make this decision, the EPA has determined that coal is no longer in the economic interest of Americans.
Find out how the EPA may impact your state by checking out ALEC’s Economy Derailed report!