The latest proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency that would require power facilities to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions is being met with opposition from Texas lawmakers.
The EPA claims the proposed regulation, unveiled June 2, would fight climate change by cutting carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by the year 2030. The regulation particularly takes aim at the more than 600 coal-fired power plants in the country.
"President Obama's decision to impose drastic new restrictions on America's energy industry is the most direct assault yet on the energy providers that employ thousands of Americans, and fuel both our homes and our nation's economic growth,” stated Texas Gov. Rick Perry in a press release.
Perry claims the air Texans breathe today is “cleaner than it was in 2000,” even as the population has grown by nearly 5.2 million people.
He said Obama would do well to look at states like Texas, which have had tremendous success at diversifying energy sources while protecting the environment from harmful pollutants.
In a letter sent to Obama on May 19, Perry said American businesses need stable and predictable regulations if they are to compete globally but said the president’s mandate will “incapacitate” and “possibly eliminate” critical sources of energy and stifle job creation.
“Mr. President, your words promise an energy renaissance while your policies are strangling the energy industry,” Perry wrote. “You are waging a war on coal, kicking the can down the road on the Keystone XL pipeline and creating obstacles to onshore and offshore oil and gas production.”
Perry said he was “deeply concerned” that the Obama Administration’s EPA “behaves more like a den of activists than a repository of even-handed regulators.”
“More than 100 coal plants employing 15,000 Americans are closed or closing due to EPA regulations under your administration, and proposed new regulations will directly affect more than 37,000 employees across the nation, in addition to jeopardizing the reliability of our nation's electrical grid and increasing energy costs for families,” wrote Perry. “This, despite your assurance of a renewed emphasis on American economic recovery.”
But the EPA believes the proposals are vital to our economy and the country’s health.
“Today, climate change — fueled by carbon pollution — supercharges risks not just to our health, but to our communities, our economy, and our way of life,” said Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator at a press conference.
The EPA claims the states will have a lot of flexibility in the way they can achieve the emissions reductions. For example, states would be allowed to install new wind or solar generation technology to make changes across their electrical grids. States can also participate in “cap and trade” programs.
“That’s what makes it ambitious, but achievable. That’s how we can keep our energy affordable and reliable. The glue that holds this plan together — and the key to making it work — is that each state’s goal is tailored to its own circumstances, and states have the flexibility to reach their goal in whatever way works best for them,” McCarthy said.
However, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the new EPA rules will “cripple the coal industry” and deprive Americans from jobs, whether they are employed by coal mines or related power plants, or employed in energy dependent business such as manufacturing or technology businesses.
"These rules will not only drive up electric bills, but also threaten the reliability of the nation's electric grid and make it harder for American manufacturers to compete in the world market,” Cruz said in a statement. “Once again, President Obama is more concerned with the desires of billionaire campaign contributors and placating extremist special interests than helping American workers and families escape the failed Obama economy. “
Cruz said that legislation he introduced earlier this year, the American Energy Renaissance Act, would specifically halt those job-killing regulations and encourage the creation of “good-paying energy jobs."