The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants approximately 30 percent by 2030 in a larger plan, which may eventually involve an international treaty, by the Obama administration to combat and remedy man-made climate change, known as global warming.
The move by the EPA is the first to ever to reduce carbon emissions for the sake of global warming, an issue the Obama administration has focused heavily on throughout the last two years.
Despite concluding in 2009 that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare, a finding that triggered their regulation under the 1970 Clean Air Act, it has taken years for the administration to take on the nation’s fleet of power plants. In December 2010, the Obama administration announced a “modest pace” for setting greenhouse gas standards for power plants, setting a May 2012 deadline.
Obama put them on the fast track last summer when he announced his climate action plan and a renewed commitment to climate change after the issue went dormant during his re-election campaign.
According to the AP, power plants are the largest sources for greenhouse gases in the country, making up about a third of the yearly carbon emissions that the Obama administration says makes the US the second largest contributor to global warming in the world.
The plan does not set a specific amount on how much carbon each state can emit, therefore some states will be able to emit more carbon than others. And, the plan calls for making coal-fired power plants less of a player in the national power grid and spending more money on renewable and low-carbon sources.
And cost and jobs is a major issue with the EPA’s plan, as Forbes points out. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the EPA plan “could scotch $50 billion a year in GDP” and it could also prevent about 220,000 jobs from being created per year. However, the EPA said that the plan will save them money and save innocent lives as well. According to the EPA, they will save $50 billion a year in health care costs related to air pollution and save 6,600 lives, though it is estimated to cost $8 billion a year.
States will have until June 30,2016 to enact their own plans to limit carbon emissions and if they do not, the EPA will enact a plan for them.
Louisiana lawmakers are not at all happy with the plan, from Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to Gov. Bobby Jindal. According to Vitter, the EPA plan will hurt further increase the costs of energy in the long-run and is ultimately just a gift from Pres. Obama to his green-energy friends.
“American families and businesses will have to shoulder all the costs and burden from this rule without contributing to any significant reduction in global carbon emissions,” said Vitter, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “It’s cap and trade all over again — but this time without giving the American public a voice to vote on it in Congress. This rule is just a payday for President Obama’s friends and political allies.”
Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), who is eyeing Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) senate seat in Nov. said the EPA plan will cripple the energy workforce.
“When will the President care as much for the American worker as he does about his notions of climate change?” Cassidy said. “The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) decreased last quarter, the number of unemployed Americans is too high and families are struggling. The Federal Government should focus on creating jobs. Instead, President Obama is proposing regulations that hamstring the economy, raising utility costs for families and destroying tens of thousands of jobs.”
Jindal said the proposal simply furthers the federal “red-tape” that states are forced to deal with and said the plan “would have the effect of closing hundreds of power plants, and increasing electricity costs.”
And though Landrieu said that carbon should be reduced, just not through EPA regulations, an Senate ally of hers, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), said she was so proud to see Pres. Obama refusing to be “bullied by those who have their heads in the sand, and whose obstruction is leading us off the climate change cliff.” And Boxer said the EPA plan will reduce carbon’s “dangerous contributions to climate change.”
Landrieu donated $10,000 to Boxer via her JAZZPAC when it came time for the liberal Senator’s re-election. Landrieu has also given $15,000 to Sen.Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) who is a strong advocate for more oil and gas taxes and $12,500 to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) who sent a letter in March of 2013, signed off by seven fellow democrats, that stated their opposition to any bipartisan effort to expand drilling.