Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Republicans and Dirty Energy Oppose the Clean Power Plan

Although the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan has received widespread support, vociferous resistance has come from the fossil fuel industry and conservatives. This includes sitting members of the GOP in congress and those seeking the Republican nomination for president.

The oil industry does not want to see regulations undermine the booming fossil fuel industry in the US. They have resisted the plan including cuts to methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The plan would reduce methane levels by 40-45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025. According to the EPA methane emissions account for nearly 10 percent of US GHG emissions or almost one third of the total national methane emissions. Left unchecked methane emissions from the oil and gas industry will increase by 25 percent by 2025.

Several states are also resisting the plan even though they have considerable flexibility and newly extended time frames for compliance. There has already been a lawsuit from nine coal-producing states and Murray Energy Corp, the largest independently owned coal company in the United States. More lawsuits are expected.

After the final plan was released West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, said that his state would be among a group of states "launching an aggressive legal campaign." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised legal action and advised states to ignore the regulations. Republican governors in six states (Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin) have taken McConnell's advice saying they would not comply with the plan.

Despite the promises to litigate, the Obama administration is confident that these challenges are doomed to fail.

As explained by Phil Radford, executive director of Greenpeace USA, "coal executives will beat their tired old drum about a ‘war on coal,’ but the truth is that as clean energy from wind and solar power continue to grow rapidly and get cheaper by the quarter, today’s rule simply codifies a change that’s already well under way: the age of coal is coming to an end."

Concerns about American business and the economy are at the heart of the criticisms of the new regulations. However these allegations have been shown to be a ruse and based almost entirely upon partisan politics  and dirty energy interests. A number of independent assessments indicate that on balance the plan is good for business and good for the economy.

Clean Power Plan: Business Opportunities and Economic Benefits
Hundreds of US Companies and Investors Support the Clean Power Plan
Historic Clean Power Plan Includes Three New Additions
The EPA's Efforts to Reign in Climate Pollution from New Power Plants and the Supreme Court
Coal vs EPA: The Benefits of the Clean Power Plan Far Outweigh Costs
The EPA's Clean Power Plan and US Energy Efficiency
Video - The EPA's Clean Power Plan
Infographic - Obama's Clean Power Plan Explained
US GHGs and the EPA's Clean Power Plan (Infographic)

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