Texas Public Policy Foundation project targets EPA's Clean Power Plan

The Texas Public Policy Foundation launched a new project this week called the Fueling Freedom Project to turn authority for regulating clean power over to the states.

The project is in response to the EPA's Clean Power Plan, which calls for a 32 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and calls for each state to increase its share of renewable energy to 28 percent from current levels by 2030.

The reduction, detractors say, will be met by forcing states to rid themselves of their  cheapest energy sources, which are typically coal-based, then force them into using renewable energy.

“Those people running the grids are very concerned; you can’t run a reliable grid with wind and solar energy, since they’re weather-dependent,” Project Director Doug Domenech said.

Domenech also said the Clean Power Plan does nothing for the environment.

“This latest rule will cost billions to implement and hurts people and businesses by increasing the cost of electricity for everyone," Domenech said. "It is critical that states not comply with this unconstitutional rule. Economic vitality is at stake, jobs are at stake, and low-income Americans will disproportionately suffer its consequences.”

Those who would be affected the most, Domenech said, are electricity companies that rely on coal and other fossil fuels to produce their electricity.

“Some plants use gas and coal, and if you’re a coal-based plant, you’ll just have to shut down,” Domenech said, adding that this will hurt the economy in lost jobs. “It’s illegal, it’s expensive, it’s inflexible, it asks the states to do things it can’t do and it (will have) a destabilizing effect on the electricity grid.”

Domenech said that with the loss of fossil-based energy, electricity rates could jump by more than 17 percent. “The Heritage Foundation said it could result in a $2.5 trillion loss to the (gross domestic product) and more than a million jobs.”

Domenech said the project just implemented the Interstate Power Compact, which legally allows states to enter into agreements to work together on policy issues. “There are 200 state compacts existing today," Domenech said. “It will allow member states to join the compact, and as a member, they’re basically saying we’re only going to file the minimal plan as required by the EPA.”

Domenech said the project has reached out to some 16 states. The governors of Texas, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Louisiana have pledged support.

“We’re also going to petition Congress to protect the petitioning members from EPA retribution.”

Domenech said the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) have both come out against the Clean Power Plan.

“The NBCC has conducted polls, talked to communities and concluded low-ncome communities and those on fixed incomes are at the greatest risk and would be hurt the worst.”

In addition, ancillary industry would suffer as well, especially businesses that use a lot of electricity.

“Electricity rates in the Rust Belt would skyrocket, where they produce steel and cars. Heavy manufacturing will suffer as well; the increased cost will hit them hard." Domenech said. “The president has said he’s waging a war against coal, and electricity rates will have to skyrocket. Essentially, the Clean Power Plan is a tax on the livelihood of every American.”