NTF Issue Paper: cong127.doc. 9-15.

BACKGROUND. The Obama Regime submitted the final version of its clean energy plan which seeks to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide emissions from current and future power plants. These new actions represent the first time the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has attempted to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Though there are currently emission limits on power plants for mercury and arsenic, there are no limits on carbon dioxide. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Massachusetts v. EPA that the agency could regulate carbon dioxide emissions if able to conclude that the gas endangered public health or the environment. In 2009, the EPA issued this endangerment finding for carbon dioxide. The rules assign each state an individual emission reduction target to meet, resulting in supposed reduction of carbon emissions by 32% nationwide by 2030. There also is a set of gradual objectives assigned each state for gradual reduction in such emissions from 2022-2030. If NE fails to submit a plan, or if the EPA determines that our state plan is inadequate, the agency will force a plan on NE. Such plan would result in much higher utility rates for Nebraskans by forcing our utilities to make radical alterations. Emissions from vehicle tailpipes and industrial smokestacks reacting with sunlight results in ozone. Yet, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide enter our atmosphere in huge amounts daily from many sources, including humans, and is vital for plant photosynthesis. The EPA war on coal seeks to impose the most costly regulations in its history. These rules, finalized on Oct. 1, 2015, would force existing and new power plants to cut carbon emissions over 16 yrs. by 32% from 2005 levels. A cost of $3.9 billion by 2025, yet the agency refuses to factor in costs. The agency argues that, under the Clean Air Act, it can regulate without factoring in costs. An impossible task, reducing global warming by a fraction of a fraction, while 3rd World nations like Red China that contribute most pollution continue to pollute wildly.

NEBRASKA HARMED. The consulting company NERA estimates that NE electricity prices will increase by 12%-17% between 2017 and 2030. Worst hit are the NE poor who spend about 20c of each $1 on energy costs and poor elderly on a fixed income. The mandated EPA ozone standards for the Omaha area will cost everyone about $15,000. Our electrical rates will increase by 24%, because our energy consumption heavily relies on coal. The regs that mandate a 40% reduction in CO2 by 2030 will cost our state $3.5 billion yearly by 2020. State plans are due by Sept. 2016; those who refuse to develop their own plans must follow a federal version. The EPA has a federal model that states must adopt, if their state plan fails to meet muster. The agency will have 1 yr. to either approve or reject plans.

DISASTROUS. A strong opposition coalition includes the American Petroleum Institute, the Chamber of Commerce, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council Center for Regulatory Solutions. The National Association of Manufacturers funded a study that pegged the total national cost of EPA rules at $1.1 trillion. Businesses forced to comply would suffer limited expansion opportunities and much higher production costs, raising the price of products and services to consumers. Current equipment and technology does not allow companies to meet reduced emissions standards, placing them in an impossible situation. Installing new equipment in future will become extremely expensive and limit production. As prices rise, consumer demand falls. Businesses will lay off employees or move facilities to other countries that have a lower cost of operating. Companies that choose to absorb the higher costs will not hire or invest as previously. Another NAM study found that the regs would cost the national economy $140 million annually, causing 1.4 million job losses, and cost the average NE household $830 per year. NAM and its allies argue that the current ozone standard is sufficient to protect human health. The Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry and the NAM began a multi-million-dollar national ad campaign in Denver opposing the EPA rules, warning that regulations would kill jobs and increase traffic congestion in states. NAM reveals that several national parks like Yellowstone naturally have more pollution than the proposed EPA CO2 limits, proving that the standards are outlandish. Air pollution in national parks often stems from naturally occurring phenomena such as stratospheric intrusions, wildfires, and pollutants migrating from countries with little environmental regulation, such as Red China.1 A national loss of over $2.5 trillion in gross domestic product (GDP), over 500,000 manufacturing jobs, and a total income loss of over $7,000 per person. The shale oil boom will disappear. The Obama plans to stop global warming will not lower global temperatures, which will set higher in 2030 despite his foolish initiatives. His proposals only will ruin modern state economies and cause economic depression, as fossil fuels provide 4/5ths of our primary energy. There exists no fast means to substitute for fossil fuels. Companies that ship coal to Nebraska, like Burlington Northern, would lose business and lay off workers. This railroad employs 5,000 Nebraskans; UP employs 8,000 Nebraskans. Coal companies will lose business and over 70 close. New coal plants will never materialize. Each state must meet a target beginning in 2020 by placing bureaucratic yokes on existing coal-fired plants, switching from coal to natural gas, using additional renewable energy sources, and increasing all energy efficiency by implementing state regulations. The EPA insists on additional electricity produced by renewable fuels, causing electricity costs to skyrocket. Further, the EPA requires reductions in vehicle emissions, calculated at about 35% reduction. States must begin mandatory vehicle inspections, costing all vehicle owners. NE paint and coatings manufacturers that already strive to meet the existing standard will see higher operating costs, more paperwork, and additional regulatory burdens, restricting expansion. Ignoring federal laws that require them to maintain, secure, and produce records in lawsuits filed against the rules, they wantonly destroy them. One U.S. Supreme Court decision already found that the EPA has no authority to set new ozone amounts to only regulate greenhouse gases, yet this agency continues to interpret legislation to match its policy objectives by rewriting confusing statutory terms. EPA regulation of greenhouse gases would monitor millions of pollution sources, making the EPA the most intrusive federal agency.

CLEAR REASONING. The Clean Air Act of 1970 gave the EPA no authority to regulate greenhouse gases. Congress never intended the feds to control the production of naturally occurring gases like CO2. The EPA as an unelected agency cannot exercise authority never delegated to it by Congress. It is scientifically impossible to determine how much the CO2 produced by industrial and human/animal sources contributes to global warming. No credible science exists that serious global warming is occurring or that specific pollutants released into the atmosphere affect global climate. EPA science does not care if there is no sound, objective scientific evidence to quantify potential danger from a greenhouse gas though conceivably harmful at a theoretical future time. There exist no legitimate reasons for the EPA to lower ozone limits in NE. A former NASA scientist discovered and documented that the Earth temperature has dropped 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit since 2000 because of less solar activity with fewer sun spots. With less heat on Earth, there is less nitric oxide broken down into ozone. Noted climatologists refuse to admit that humans are the greatest source of global warming. Carbon dioxide impact on our climate is lower than alleged, they say, and warming has slowed. Current ozone levels are down by 20% over the last decade and will continue to drop as industry uses cleaner fuels. Leftist temperature predictions based on old assumptions have not materialized. Fewer than 40% of Americans believe that global climate change is a major threat, according to a May, 2014 Pew Research poll. Accumulating evidence proves a lower climate sensitivity to increases in global CO2 emissions. Besides, there is increased conversion from gas to cleaner natural gas fuel. 89% of public school buses in metropolitan Omaha have converted to the latter fuel, together with 39% of MUD vehicles. 2015 has seen an 80% increase in natural gas-fueled vehicles. OPPD is closing 3 coal-fired plants in North Omaha and converting the other 2 to natural gas. MidAmerican Energy in Council Bluffs, IA. is closing 2 coal furnaces. Currently, coal is clean and in huge supply, less expensive than other energy sources for generating electricity. Electric utilities already have trimmed carbon dioxide emissions by 15% since 2005, accessing cheaper natural gas, which produces half the pollution of coal. Better batteries and safer and cheaper nuclear power offer notable alternatives. The City of Omaha has joined other urban areas to synchronize traffic signals, so that traffic moves more efficiently with less vehicle idling. Ozone levels have dropped by 33% since 1980 and will continue to drop from free market innovations and many existing policies to improve fuel economy, increase energy efficiency, and reduce emissions.

ADDING INSULT. Adding another burden, the Obama Regime issued an edict to greatly reduce methane gas emissions from oil and gas operations, mandating emissions controls on new hydraulic fracturing operations and stopping leaks from pipelines and storage tanks. The regime seeks to cut methane emissions by 45% by 2025. The oil and gas industries release 30% of methane in the U.S. annually. These new rules will cost these industries $420 million by 2025, costs passed along to consumers. Obama next plans a carbon tax on all consumers of fossil fuels, at the gas station and for purchasers of lawn mowers, refrigerators, washing machines, etc. However, he did not advocate natural gas power plants, which emit little carbon dioxide.

AND MORE TARGETS. Another undeserving EPA target is manufacturers of residential wood heaters, limiting their small pollution. Several states bravely refuse to comply, citing poor people freezing in winter. Michigan and Missouri barred their environmental agencies from enforcing the EPA standards, similar executive and legislative action pending in several other states. Some folks will be unable to afford new wood heaters, if their present models fail. Almost 10% of the U.S. population burns wood as its primary heating source, the number rising by 33% from 2005 to 2012, as the popularity explodes. Burning wood is cheaper for many rural residents than heating homes with propane or electricity. The EPA also is imposing stark emissions mandates on wood-fired furnaces and outdoor boilers that use fire to heat water circulated through pipes to heat homes.

FOREIGN FACTOR. If the U.S. cut its CO2 emissions by 100%, it would make no difference. Although electricity generation is the largest source of CO2 emissions in the U.S., the EPA estimated reduction is tiny compared to global greenhouse gas emissions, factoring in unbridled pollution in India and Red China.2 Because China is unwilling to cut industrial productivity CO2 to address its own health problems, there is no reason to believe that nation cares about international CO2 emissions. Millions of Indians lack electricity, the government committed to offering its people a higher standard of living with affordable, reliable energy, not reducing emissions.

ENERGY PLIGHT. Utilities taking plants offline to abide by new regs would place great strain on our power grid that delivers electricity to consumers. Several regional grid operators that provide bulk power to North America appear alarmed at the regs. The U.S. Energy Administration estimates that many more coal-fired plants will retire and cause the price of natural gas to soar and natural gas infrastructure costs to increase, making it less profitable to build infrastructure. The renewable energy sources that the EPA thinks will replace retired coal electricity will cause reliability problems, and the proposed EPA timeline does not offer enough time to develop new resources to ensure continued reliable operation by the power grid by 2020, causing a potential series of uncontrolled, cascading outages and rolling blackouts that will have a deleterious impact on human health, public safety, and economic activity. Power operators will have significantly reduced reserve margins, increasing the probability of using emergency measures. EPA rules already have forced coal-fired plants to close, depriving electricity for almost 45 million homes.

LEGAL CHALLENGES. The fossil fuel industry and several states are challenging the legality of the EPA regs, mostly the constitutionality of the rules and expansion of authority beyond legal limits and its jurisdiction. The rules usurp the prerogatives of states, Congress, and the federal court system. Former EPA regs set emissions limits based on actual emissions sources, like power plants. By suggesting renewable energy options to states and carbon taxes and mandating efficiency requirements, the EPA interferes with decisions that the private sector should handle, regulated at state and local levels. The original intention was for the EPA to establish a federal standard on emissions and permit states to administer and implement the regs in the cheapest way. Now, this agency is forcing states to administer and implement regs against their will, a violation of federalism. The EPA requires states to base their energy and emissions policies on the needs of other states and nations linked through the power grid. This agency can threaten states with loss of federal highway funds for failure to comply with EPA pollution control rules.3 State agencies and legislatures disagree about compliance approaches, several simultaneously pursuing legal action while exploring compliance plans. Options include barring state implementation until legal challenges are resolved or enacting legislation to approach compliance. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin issued an executive order barring the state from submitting a state plan. Several governors, including conservative Indiana Governor Mike Pence, have sent complaints to the EPA or President Obama warning that their states would not comply with EPA regulations. 53% in a Magellan Poll favored Colorado joining a lawsuit filed by 16 states against the plan. 18 state attorneys-general have warned that the EPA would implement regs that far exceed its legal authority to the detriment of their respective states, that their citizens and industries will pay a high price. NE Att.-Gen. Doug Peterson has joined other state A-Gs to sue the EPA and challenge these rules and the legal authority to adopt the regs, citing wrongful jurisdictional overreach. The suit asks the federal courts to stop implementation until resolution of the legal challenge. The NE utility industry and chambers of commerce are fighting this EPA power grab also. States must reject these regs, not accommodate flexible plans that only disguise the high costs that raise energy prices and restrict choices.

UNWORKABLE. A majority of states would fail to meet the new standards. Most states cannot work within EPA time frames to implement the regs and coordinate plans among utilities, utility commissions, state legislatures, etc. State regulators express concerns about challenges posed by background ozone that naturally occurs and beyond the ability of locals to control. With federally-mandated regulations not achievable, private enterprise loses its ability to innovate, create jobs, and implement new technologies.

CONGRESS MUST FIGHT. Conservative NE Sen. Deb Fischer has joined other conservative lawmakers to state that EPA regs will stifle state economic growth. She noted that the EPA has produced no valid scientific study as a basis for its regs that supposedly will improve public health. As a member of the Senate Environment Committee, she predicts that the regs would close many state coal-fired plants and hike residential and commercial bills greatly. Sen. Shelley Capito (W.VA) sponsored the Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act of 2015, and Rep. Ed Whitfield (KY.) introduced the Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015, both which would bar the EPA from imposing expensive rate hikes on Americans and restore authority to the states. Both would delay implementation of the rules until all legal challenges against them decided. The bills would exempt states that demonstrate that the rules would threaten electricity reliability in a state or negatively affect ratepayers. A subcommittee of the House Appropriations Comm. passed a spending measure that cut the EPA budget by 9% and blocks the Obama Regime from advancing new regs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also, both the House and Senate EPA-Interior appropriations bills for FY 2016 contain provisions that would prohibit the EPA from using appropriated funds to finalize, implement, or enforce new rules or regulations. Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can approve resolutions of disapproval for EPA greenhouse gas rules for power plants, state in law that the Clean Air Act does not apply to regulation of these emissions, prohibit funding for these EPA regs, and legislatively force the EPA to repeal its finding that greenhouse gas emissions are dangerous and admit that no credible scientific evidence exists that the Earth is approaching catastrophic warming.4 House Energy Committee Chairmen Fred Upton (R-MI) , Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Pete Olson (R-TX) wrote to the White House to express their concerns about the onerous regulations. They echoed the objections raised by a bipartisan group and argued that changing the standard after states had only 8 months to comply is not reasonable. Cong. Bob Latta (R.-OH) and Gene Green (D-TX.), with the bipartisan support of 136 representatives, sent a stinging letter to the EPA administrator asking her to stop the regs.

TAKE ACTION NOW. These regulations face a number of lawsuits, but meanwhile the EPA forges ahead unchecked. Urge your Capitol Hill rep and senators to use the Congressional Review Act to delay implementation or prohibit funding of the rules. Consumers cannot allow this damage to our bank accounts from unnecessary and unfunded federally- mandated regulations. The EPA cannot offer us definite scientific reasons for its new regulations, and its logic defies belief. This bumbling federal agency that allowed toxic waste to gush from a Colorado mine and pollute downstream water supplies in 3 states cannot think of one solution to permanent contamination of river sediment with arsenic and lead.

Research, analysis, and documentation for this issue paper done by NE Taxpayers for Freedom. This material copyrighted by NTF, with prior permission granted for its use by other groups in the NE Conservative Coalition Network. 9-15 C

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