Green Watch

Clean Power Plan = War on the Poor and Working Class

Obama’s plan for expensive electricity threatens its greatest harm to the most vulnerable


In 2010, a Democratic Congress refused to pass President Obama’s “green” agenda to implement a national cap-and-trade system. Now the Administration is trying to use the Environmental Protection Agency to force the states to put his scheme into effect. Often ignored in this debate is the harm the Obama plan will inflict on people who will lose their jobs and on those who can’t effort higher prices.

As a candidate, Barack Obama said that, “under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

These higher costs would be passed on to consumers. As is clear from his statement, the President has long supported increases in the cost of energy as a way, he has said, to reduce demand and thus reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Politicians often represent themselves as fighting for the interests of middle- and low-income people, and other vulnerable groups like senior citizens on fixed incomes. Yet it is precisely those people who bear the brunt of policies that make electricity more expensive.

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pushed through a bureaucratic version of cap-and-trade: the misleadingly named Clean Power Plan, which was to be imposed on states through intimidation. If a state government refused to come up with its own plan along the lines of what the EPA demanded, the feds would impose their own restrictions on that state, measures that could do great harm to the state’s economy.

It is no surprise that 27 states and over 120 other business organizations, electric utilities and coops, and even labor unions sued EPA to stop the rule and appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the rule until they could litigate the rule’s constitutionality. On February 9, the challengers won. The EPA appeared headed for defeat, most likely on the losing end of a 5-to-4 vote in the Supreme Court. Then the tragic death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia threw the matter into chaos—about which, more below.

The infamous “Clean Power Plan”
The Clean Power Plan (CCP)—or, as a critic might put it, the Costly Power Plan—was announced in 2014. Final guidelines (Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for New and Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units) were announced on August 3, 2015, and the rule appeared in the Federal Register (where bureaucratic rules are published) on October 23. States were directed to limit emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from both new and existing power generation facilities. [Editor’s note: Carbon dioxide is an invisible gas that makes up roughly 1/2500th of the earth’s atmosphere. Humans and other animals exhale it, it is harmless to humans under normal circumstances, and it is an absolute necessity for the existence of life as we know it on the earth’s surface. People who lack a basic knowledge of science often confuse carbon dioxide with carbon monoxide, or they refer to CO2 incorrectly as “carbon pollution.”–SJA] [For the rest of the article, click HERE.