Energy

Free Market Groups Call For Clean Power Plan To End

REUTERS/Lee Celano

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, along with a host of other libertarian and free market organizations, came out in strong support of the EPA’s bid to repeal the Clean Power Plan, releasing a detailed report Thursday regarding issues the Obama-era regulation has wrought onto the energy industry.

“The Clean Power Plan results in more potential harms than benefits for Americans and should be repealed. By undermining states’ authority over their energy markets, the CPP traps Americans under a harmful policy that will raise their electricity bills and eliminate interstate competition that enables citizens to vote with their feet and escape burdensome regulatory and tax policies,” wrote CEI senior fellow Marlo Lewis, who served as the report’s lead author.

“And for what?” Lewis continued. “The CPP’s climate impact is vanishingly small — a hypothetical and likely undetectable 0.018°C reduction in average global temperatures by 2100. Such a small change would make no discernible difference in weather patterns, sea levels, or even polar bear populations by century’s end. The climate ‘benefits’ in 2030 at the end of the CPP compliance period would be even more miniscule.”

The 42-page report goes into meticulous detail on why CPP is “unlawful, economically destructive, and attempts to make the EPA into a national climate policy legislator and energy czar.”

CEI was joined by numerous like-minded groups, including Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, Americans for Tax Reform, among others. All of their leaders had long sought an end to the Clean Power Plan, but their wishes have come closer to reality with the entrance of President Donald Trump’s administration, where officials have announced they will be undoing it.

The outgoing regulation was a hallmark of former President Obama’s climate legacy. The 44th president first proposed the rule in 2014 and finalized it in 2015. CPP places a limit on the amount of greenhouse gases power plants can emit and aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. CPP is regarded by the fossil fuel industry as needlessly stringent, placing harsh demands on producers while resulting in negligible environmental gains. Critics have also referred to the rule as a part of Obama’s “war on coal.”

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt would sign a proposed rule to repeal the CPP, the administrator announced on October 10, 2017. Undoing the rule will save Americans $33 billion in compliance costs, despite the previous administration claiming it would only cost $8.4 billion and save millions through public health benefits, according to EPA estimations.

Although the current administration is moving ahead, the federal regulatory process will likely slow finalization of repeal for a couple of years. The process could take longer if environmental groups successfully block a rollback in court.

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