The Pueblo Chieftain: Clean Power Plan amounts to an energy tax

CMA published a guest column in the Pueblo Chieftain last Sunday, which blasts the EPA Clean Power Plan as an energy tax.   Thanks to NMA for its assistance on this article.


Clean Power Plan amounts to an energy tax

The administration’s Clean Power Plan, announced by the White House last summer, defies both Congress and public opinion. Congress has repeatedly rejected costly plans to cap carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and opinion polls consistently show voters won’t pay for them.

The plan also defies common sense. Logic doesn’t support claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that replacing affordable sources of electricity like coal with far costlier sources will somehow lower electricity costs. On the contrary, EPA’s climate change regulation amounts to an energy tax, and an expensive one. A new analysis of the Clean Power Plan by Energy Ventures Analysis, an independent economic consultancy, shows the irreparable harm this rule inflicts on the country, especially on states like Colorado. In just eight years, from 2022 to 2030, consumers here will have paid $2.7 billion more for wholesale electricity compared to the cost without the rule. So instead of lower energy costs, as EPA promises, Colorado will be stuck with a 19 percent spike in costs, plus a $3.3 bil! lion tab for new energy infrastructure to replace existing power plants retired by the rule.

Energy Ventures Analysis shows that what is bad for Colorado is also bad for the country. By 2030, EVA projects Americans will have paid $214 billion more for wholesale electricity than they would pay without this regulation. The bills start to come due in 2022, when consumers will shell out an additional $15 billion a year, and by 2030 pay $31 billion a year more — overall a 21 percent cost increase. Add the costs of lost jobs in manufacturing, less affordable energy sources and the estimated $64 billion tab for replacing lost power plant capacity and you begin to understand why the Clean Power Plan is a tax on energy.

EPA doesn’t call this a tax on electricity. But with less money in the family budget for groceries, for the occasional evening out, for paying monthly bills, that’s what consumers might call it. Driving these costs is the Obama administration’s determination to eliminate coal from the mix of fuels that generate electricity — regardless of the burden on households and businesses. Coal generates about 40 percent of the nation’s electricity, more than any other fuel, and 60 percent of the electricity here in Colorado. So removing it from the fuel mix, especially in coal states, will raise demand — and prices — for alternative fuels to fill the gap. Even worse, Colorado will not receive full credit for the pain it has already inflicted on energy consumers through mandates for higher cost energy sources.
EPA dismisses the pain to consumers. But most American families expect, and many lowincome families rely on, affordable electricity to balance the budget. And it’s exactly affordable, coal-generated electricity that the administration will force out of the American energy mix.

As a result, the Clean Power Plan falls hardest on low-income families. Today about half of all American households pay close to 20 percent of their disposable income on energy-related expenses. EPA will force them to pay more. The same federal agency that claims global warming hurts the world’s poor is now hurting America’s poor through ill-advised policies that won’t do a thing to stop global warming. Although EPA touts the rule as vital to halt the rise in global temperatures, the agency’s own data show the Clean Power Plan will have virtually no measurable impact on global temperatures or greenhouse gas concentrations.

The Clean Power Plan is an energy tax sold with false advertising. And Colorado should not have to pay for it.
Stuart Sanderson is the president of the Colorado Mining Association.