As the public comment period for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed greenhouse-gas rules on existing power plants hits the home stretch to closing date and with the election here, studies are piling up about the impact these regulations will have on the nation and the reaction voters have to them.
Among those studies is an independent evaluation by Energy Ventures Analysis, which uncovered significant flaws in the EPA’s estimates of the compliance cost of its Clean Power Plan, which will regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from more than 3,000 U.S. coal-fired power plants. According to the study, the regulations as a part of the Clean Power Plan will drive wholesale electricity costs up by $274 billion, non-power natural gas prices up $80 billion, and costs to replace coal-fired power by $53 billion.
Another study by NERA Economic Consulting also reveals significant negative economic impacts resulting from the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The NERA analysis indicates that power-plant costs to comply with the EPA’s plan “could total $366 billion in today’s dollars,” and raise electric bills by double digits in 43 states, with 14 states “facing peak-year electricity prices that exceed 20 percent.”
The NERA study found that the regulations’ impact on global climate will be pretty meaningless, citing that atmospheric CO2 levels would be reduced by only less one-half percent – which comes to about two one-hundredths of a degree in temperature, and sea-level reductions by only the thickness of three sheets of paper. Yet consumer and business energy costs could rise to $41 billion or more per year, the NERA analysis reports.
Voters vote “No” to EPA regulations
Voters have expressed concerns over the past few months with the administration’s approach on the issue, and many find the EPA’s plan out of step with what citizens want.
The Partnership for a Better Energy Future very recently revealed results from a multistate poll of likely voters. The results showed a major gap between the EPA’s actions, and the voting public’s opinion on the issue. Nearly half of those polled say they are not willing to pay a single dollar more in their energy bill to accommodate the new EPA regulations. Additionally, the majority believe the United States cannot afford new costs and potential job losses resulting from the EPA regulations. Middle-class voters and seniors are among the top opponents of the rule. The poll also finds that public opposition is led by concerns about job loss, possible energy rationing and increased electricity rates, especially for the middle class.
“EPA’s push to implement one of the most complicated and costliest rules in history is creating real concerns across the country that should not be ignored,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy President and CEO Karen Harbert. “This poll affirms what we’re hearing from states businesses and families that will be forced to comply. The EPA should heed these concerns and abandon its current approach, which will bring negative consequences for our entire economy with very little environmental benefit in return.”
Indiana Voters in Sync with National Polls
These national polls fall in line with two other polls taken in Indiana in recent months. One such poll by 60 Plus Association revealed that Hoosier senior citizens – most identifying themselves as Democrat or Independent voters – are concerned about increasing energy costs due to new regulations under consideration the EPA. The poll surveyed 609 registered voters, age 55 and over, from across the state. A majority of survey respondents indicated the president and Congress should be focusing on keeping energy prices low, rather than creating new regulations for power plants. 79 percent of the respondents said they “definitely” plan to vote in the upcoming November election.
Another poll taken by the Indiana Coal Council revealed similar findings from participants from northern and central Indiana. When choosing a source for electricity, 81 percent of respondents reported that reliability was the most important factor for them, closely followed by 73 percent of respondents who stated low price and affordability are significant considerations when choosing an energy source.
But from business and industry experts to independent electric-grid operators, to former EPA chiefs and the U.S. Department of Energy, all agree the EPA’s Clean Power Plan will not achieve what voters want, and it won’t achieve environmental benefits of any worthwhile level.
“Seems like a bad plan overall,” said Don Kuriowa, a Hoosier voter who has been watching closely where the candidates stand on this issue. “I will have to seriously consider whether to give my vote to any federal or state candidate that isn’t aware and actively voicing opposition to the EPA’s excessive regulations.”
Source: Indiana division of Count on Coal, sponsored by the National Mining Association