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Governor Pence: EPA Climate Rule ‘A Genuine Threat’ To Cheap Energy

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is joining a growing number of states threatening not to implement the key aspects of the Obama administration’s global warming agenda, arguing pending Environmental Protection Agency regulations would impose huge costs on Americans.

“One of the advantages in our economy has always been the affordability and reliability of electricity,” the Indiana Republican told reporters in a press conference hosted by the American Energy Alliance, “so the effort by the administration in the proposed rule… represents a genuine threat to the affordability of electricity.”

Pence joins Republican governors in Texas, Louisiana and Wisconsin opposing the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The proposed rule forces Indiana to reduce emissions from its power sector 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

“No state is obligated to adopt the president’s climate change agenda as their own,” Pence said, adding that Indiana would not comply with the Clean Power Plan if it’s not repealed or dramatically changed.

Indiana gets about 85 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, meaning substantial amounts of coal power would have to be shuttered in order to comply with the EPA’s rule. This means ratepayers will have to pay increased costs for changing the electricity mix of the grid. The state will also have to use more green energy which could also add to residents’ energy bills.

“We do have a choice,” Pence said. “You can refuse to submit a state plan. You can challenge the EPA’s ability to impose a federal plan. There’s nothing illegal about saying ‘no’ on behalf of ratepayers and businesses in your state.”

Republican lawmakers and conservative groups are pushing states to refuse to implement the Clean Power Plan, arguing the rule could be struck down or amended by future court decisions, leaving states with billions of dollars of wasted investments.

Republicans have also questioned the EPA’s authority to enforce aspects of its own rule, which could create more problems for states that comply.

Last week, the Supreme Court struck down a major EPA mercury rule, called MATS, that was forcing hundreds of coal-fired power generators to prematurely retire. Even though the rule was struck down, coal plants will still be forced to shutter because utilities have already made the investments required by the rule.

Conservatives are already drawing parallels between the MATS ruling and the future of the Clean Power Plan.

“Our concern has been an attitude by the EPA that they can move forward with certain regulations without taking into account the costs and benefits,” Doug Domenech, the director of the Fueling Freedom Project at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“They’ve already essentially forced the utilities to make the changes they want to make,” Domenech said. “The climate rule is sort of shaping up to be the same kind of thing.”

The EPA argues the MATS ruling will have no impact on the Clean Power Plan. The agency says it properly considered the costs of the rule — in contrast to MATS.

“The Court’s conclusion that EPA must consider cost when determining whether it is ‘appropriate’ to regulate toxic air emissions from utilities under section 112 of the [Clean Air Act] will not impact the development of the Clean Power Plan under section 111,” the EPA’s Janet McCabe wrote in a blog post.

“Cost is among the factors the Agency has long explicitly considered in setting standards under section 111 of the Act,” McCabe added.

“It’ll be too late,” Domenech said, referring to what would happen if states complied with the Clean Power Plan. “The EPA will have already forced the states to change their energy.”

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