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June 24, 2014
GOP governors ask president for rollback

In a letter, the Republican governors of nine states have asked President Obama to respect the authority of states and drop the administration’s groundbreaking proposals to define “waters of the United States” and control carbon emissions from existing fossil-fuel power plants.

According to the letter, the nation’s gains in energy independence have been “achieved largely by state policies despite redundant and burdensome federal regulation,” and the two proposals “would unnecessarily expand federal authority over the States in energy policymaking and risk undermining our success.”

Dictate energy mix

In its power plant proposal, the EPA says it is providing the states broad flexibility in how they may meet CO2 emissions goals for power plants.  But the governors say the proposed standards would largely dictate to the states the type of electricity generation they could build and operate.

“In addition, you seek to essentially ban coal from the U.S. energy mix,” write the governors.  “Your pursuit of this objective will heavily impact those in our states that rely primarily on coal for electricity generation – such a decision should not be made by unaccountable bureaucrats.”

The letter recalls President Obama’s 2008 statement, in which he said that under his plan, energy industries “would have to retrofit their operation—that will cost money.  They will pass that money on to consumers.  Electricity bills would necessarily skyrocket.”

Indiana example

In a separate statement explaining his endorsement of the letter, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, one of the signees, said the proposed rule will cause a typical household to lose $3,400 in disposable income.  “That will hit our lower-income and younger workers the hardest, hurting those who are trying their best to get ahead.”

Indiana produces 80 percent of its electricity from coal, and 3,500 state residents are employed in the coal industry.

Environmental benefits

What the governors say they find most disturbing about the power plant proposal is that Americans will be forced to bear these substantial costs when there are highly questionable associated environmental benefits.

“In fact, your EPA Administrator admitted during testimony to the U.S. Senate that there would be no climate mitigation benefits to America pursuing unilateral actions,” wrote the governors.

Water use arbiter

Regarding U.S. waters, the letter says the expanded definition in the proposal is an attempt by Washington to seize regulatory control of nearly all waters located in the states.

“If [the proposal is] successful, the federal government would become the arbiter of how our citizens, State highway departments, country flood control and storm water agencies, utilities, irrigation districts, and farmers use their water and land.”

In addition to Pence, the letter was signed by Governors Phil Bryant, Mississippi; Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania; Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota; Bobby Jindal, Louisiana; Pat McCrory, North Carolina; Matthew Mead, Wyoming; Sean Parnell, Alaska; and Rick Perry, Texas.

RGA Energy Letter

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