Experts Agree: EPA’s Clean Power Plan Doesn’t Justify Its Cost

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan doesn’t justify its costs according to testimony before the House Science, Space, and Technology committee Wednesday.

“When the actual benefits are compared to the costs, the Clean Power Plan is not a good purchase” said Dr. Anne Smith, a senior vice president and environmental practice co-chair for NERA Economic Consulting.

“EPA asserts that the Clean Power Plan will help combat climate change. However, EPA’s own data demonstrates that claim is false. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy testified before this committee and agreed that this rule would have a ‘minimal’ impact on climate. In fact, their data shows that this rule would reduce sea-level rise by only 1-100th of an inch, the thickness of only three sheets of paper” said Lamar Smith, chairman of the committee, during the hearing.

The Clean Power Plan is expected to cost a staggering $41 billion annually. Yet, the plan likely won’t have a large impact on global warming. According to analysis by the libertarian Cato Institute using models created by the EPA, the Clean Power Plan will only advert 0.019° Celsius of warming by the year 2100, an amount so small it can’t be detected.

The EPA actually omitted the amount of warming the Clean Power Plan will prevent from regulatory impact analysis. EPA admits it assesses the plan’s benefits “qualitatively because we do not have sufficient confidence in available data or methods.”

Other witnesses at the hearing suggested the economy is already naturally reducing carbon emissions by switching from coal to natural gas.

“The input of carbon into the economy is declining thanks to natural gas. ‘Business as usual’ is a strong plan,” said Chip Knappenberger, the assistant director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute.

The Clean Power Plan will eliminate most cheap coal and natural gas power with expensive sources like solar and wind. As electricity becomes more expensive, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases, effectively raising the price of almost everything. These higher prices are ultimately paid for by consumers, particularly the poorest Americans.

The plan has already been legally challenged by 16 states.

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