While everyone in the national media’s focused on the line-up for the prime-time Republican debate and who’s ‘qualified’ to take part, they’ve ignored another move made by President Obama that will damage the U.S. economy further than his signature health care plan is doing. This time Obama’s forcing states to close their coal plants and cut emissions — or risk losing federal highway funding.
President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal includes $4 billion in payments to “support states exceeding the minimum requirements” mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency “for the pace and extent of carbon pollution reductions from the power sector,” to fight global warming. The EPA says its $4 billion fund will reward states that go beyond the call of duty and lower their emissions beyond what the administration has called for.
Obama’s budget also puts into place $48 billion in green energy subsidies over the next 10 years which states could use to help meet federal emissions mandates. These subsidies will give tax breaks to companies that produced green energy and bio-fuels, buildings that installed energy-efficient equipment and for making alternative fueled vehicles.
Meanwhile, the EPA can use the federal highway fund to force states to comply with its mandates. Failing that, the agency can even carry out its own plans in the states as well as take over the state’s environmental enforcement and impose their own federal plan to reduce emissions in non-compliant states.
The EPA’s Clean Power Plan requires states to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. However, several states have already sued the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, saying it violates the Clean Air Act and infringes upon state sovereignty.
According to the agency’s own estimates, its power plant rule will force coal-fired power with a 49-gigawatts capacity or greater to close down, causing electricity prices to jump by six percent by 2020. The new rule will also cost $41 billion per year, while the agency’s $4 billion will cover only a fraction of the costs.
Coal power provides the U.S. with about 40 percent of its electricity, more than nuclear power and renewable energy combined. Sadly though, as that percentage dwindles, the long Progressive slog towards third-world status for the U.S. will continue apparently unabated by Congress.