OKLA. CITY —
An executive order by President Barack Obama to strengthen the role of the Environmental Protection Agency has drawn the ire of state Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
Obama ordered the EPA to begin cutting carbon emissions by 30 percent to help offset greenhouse gases from the power sector that contributes to climate change.
“This goal is achievable because innovations in the production, distribution and use of electricity are already making the power sector more efficient and sustainable while maintaining an affordable, reliable and diverse energy mix,” the regulation states.
The EPA estimates the reduction in emissions will prevent the occurrence of up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children and 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths.
Pruitt said the EPA’s top-down approach removes the ability of states to design and implement plans suitable to each state’s circumstances.
“If the EPA is serious about providing states flexibility, the agency should use an ‘inside the fence’ approach that allows each state to set emissions standards for existing power plants by evaluating each unit’s ability to improve efficiency and reduce carbon dioxide emissions in a cost-effective way,” Pruitt said. “Instead, the EPA is setting an arbitrary goal and a list of suitable policies that can help them achieve those goals.”
Pruitt said the EPA is picking winners and losers in the energy context. Obama’s Climate Action Plan has no legal basis or the force of law, Pruitt said.
Pruitt said the EPA directive will cause higher electricity rates, job losses and increased manufacturing costs as coal-fired power plants, which provide 40 percent of the nation’s base-load power, are taken offline.
“Rather than working through Congress, the president instead is choosing to rule by executive fiat in order to implement his environmental agenda,” Pruitt said.
As a result, Oklahomans will see their monthly energy bills increase by 12-15 percent, said John Tidwell, Oklahoma state director of Americans for Prosperity. Tidwell claimed that the Obama Administration is assaulting the way of life of every Oklahoman.
“Carbon-based energy, an abundant, clean and cheap source of most Oklahoma energy is being attacked by the Obama administration,” Tidwell said.
Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority Chairman Charles Lamb said the new carbon rules for existing power plants likely will extremely inflate energy costs for consumers inside their homes.
“On a lot of the older units we will have to install some equipment to mitigate the carbon emissions to meet the standards,” Lamb said. “At this point it’s premature to know the amounts in a time window as far as compliance.”
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