Obama cli­mate change plan could lead di­rectly to loss of 300,000 jobs

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY BEN WOLF­GANG

The fate of Pres­i­dent Obama’s cli­mate change plan now rests with three judges who heard oral ar­gu­ments Thurs­day in a case that will de­cide whether the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency can move ahead with his­toric lim­its on power plant emis­sions.

The mon­u­men­tal case came be­fore a fed­eral ap­peals court on the same day new data was re­leased show­ing the EPA reg­u­la­tions could lead di­rectly to the loss of nearly 300,000 jobs — more fuel for crit­ics who say Mr. Obama is pur­su­ing a rad­i­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal agenda at the ex­pense of jobs and af­ford­able elec­tric­ity rates.

Amid po­lit­i­cal bat­tles, a host of legal ques­tions and wide­spread be­lief the pres­i­dent’s pro­posal ul­ti­mately will end up be­fore the U.S. Supreme Court, EPA at­tor­neys ar­gued that it’s too early to bring legal chal­lenges be­cause the so­called Clean Power Plan has yet to be fi­nal­ized. The fi­nal ver­sion will be re­leased this sum­mer and is widely ex­pected to call for a 30 per­cent cut in car­bon emis­sions by 2030, form­ing the ba­sis for Mr. Obama’s broader global warm­ing agenda.

The plain­tiffs, led by West Vir­ginia and Ohio-based Mur­ray En­ergy, and also in­clud­ing a dozen other states, coun­tered that the EPA’s plan would re­quire so much work on the part of states and could be so po­ten­tially dev­as­tat­ing to state economies that the court must in­ter­vene im­me­di­ately.

West Vir­ginia and Mur­ray En­ergy brought sep­a­rate law­suits, but they were ar­gued jointly be­fore the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the Dis­trict of Columbia.

“If we let this rule get fi­nal­ized … then it is go­ing to be very dif­fi­cult to undo all the dam­age,” West Vir­ginia At­tor­ney Gen­eral Pa­trick Mor­risey said fol­low­ing the oral ar­gu­ments. “The fact we’re still in the pro­posed stage and they’re say­ing, ‘You can’t sue yet,’ it is re­ally a sham. We be­lieve the time is right for this.”

The plain­tiffs con­tend the EPA is over­step­ping its author­ity un­der the fed­eral Clean Air Act by, among other things, re­quir­ing states not just to ad­dress power plants them­selves but also to make other changes to broader en­ergy pol­icy, such as closing coal fa­cil­i­ties and re­plac­ing them with re­new­able en­ergy projects in or­der to meet the new car­bon thresh­olds.

But at least two of the three judges seemed sym­pa­thetic to the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s case. They sug­gested that it would be prob­lem­atic for the court to stop reg­u­la­tions that tech­ni­cally haven’t been is­sued.

“Typ­i­cally, we’re not in the busi­ness of guess­ing what the fi­nal rule would look like,” said Judge Thomas Grif­fith. “You’re invit­ing us into a morass.”

As the EPA plan works its way through the courts, law­mak­ers also are weigh­ing in. The House En­ergy and Com­merce Com­mit­tee has be­gun work on leg­is­la­tion that would stop im­ple­men­ta­tion of the emis­sions man­dates un­til all legal chal­lenges are set­tled.

Meet­ing the EPA’s re­duc­tion tar­gets will be im­pos­si­ble with­out ad­dress­ing emis­sions from coal­fired power plants, the largest source of car­bon pol­lu­tion. The EPA ad­mits that if the plan is fully im­ple­mented, coal’s share of U.S. elec­tric­ity gen­er­a­tion will drop from to­day’s nearly 40 per­cent to about 30 per­cent by 2030.

New re­search from the cen­ter­right Amer­i­can Ac­tion Fo­rum re­leased Thurs­day shows what the ef­fects of im­ple­men­ta­tion could be. The group says the EPA plan could cause more than 90 coal­fired power plants to shut down.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.