Clean Power Plan Adopted Today

WHY-WHY-NOTToday the Obama administration is expected to formally adopt the Clean Power Plan with targeted reductions of greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants of 32 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

If readers care about mitigating the causes of global warming and ceasing the practice of dumping more than 110 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each day as if it were an open sewer, this is it.

This is the majority of the United States plan to reduce emissions at the 21st United Nations Conference of the Parties in Paris (COP21) this December. It’s what we plan, as a nation, to do about climate change.

Today’s adoption of the Clean Power Plan is expected to be greeted with derision, litigation, delay, obfuscation, contempt, denial and politically correct, but meaningless statements.

The Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund US queried 50 companies for their position on EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Their carefully worded responses are here.

They range from this:

Starbucks signed the Ceres letter supporting the EPA Clean Power Plan.”

to this:

“We don’t have a position on the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, and Target does not support the US Chamber’s position.”

to this:

Cargill is part of Risky Business to lead a dialogue across the philosophical spectrum about the long-term impact that climate change could have on the ability to produce food and the ways that agriculture can adapt to ensure global food security. We believe progress can best be made by engaging with groups and discussing our point of view. In fact, Greg Page, former CEO of Cargill, briefed Tom Donahue, president and CEO of the US Chamber of Commerce, this summer about the Risky Business project and its findings. We also spoke with the Farm Bureau about the Risky Business report and asked their advice about how to effectively engage farmers on the climate change issue.”

to this:

Caterpillar filed comments with EPA opposing the coal-plant rules. The company said: ‘Caterpillar strongly urges EPA to withdraw the Proposed Rule in order to (1) reevaluate the agency’s legal authority to establish requirements on both the entire electric sector and end-users of electricity; (2) conduct a more full and realistic estimate of the economic impacts of its proposed rule; (3) consider changes that avoid the adverse impacts outlined in these comments; and (4) provide guidance to states so that they have the tools necessary to minimize adverse impacts as they construct compliance plans.’ In its sustainability report, Caterpillar says: ‘We support intelligent, responsible public policies addressing climate and energy issues.’”

Gov. Terry Branstad has been critical of the proposed clean power rule, saying it will push energy costs higher and “hurt Iowa consumers and cost Iowans jobs,” according to the Des Moines Register.

If everyday Iowans don’t support the Clean Power Plan, then what? Doing nothing is not an option when it comes to mitigating the causes of climate change, and the Clean Power Plan is something.

There are few better options to take climate action than supporting the Clean Power Plan. Letting government officials know of your support is part of the picture, but what matters more is making the discussion part of everyday life. We may be accused of being “political” in our social circles, and that may be better than suffering the consequences of inaction, now and going forward. The Clean Power Plan is a solution worthy of our support. As the administration adopts it today, so should we.

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2 Responses to Clean Power Plan Adopted Today

  1. Paul Deaton says:

    Senator Joni Ernst’s complete response to my request she support the EPA Clean Power Plan:

    Dear Mr. Deaton,
    Thank you for taking the time to contact me about steps we can take to protect our environment. It is important for me to hear from folks in Iowa on policy matters such as this.
    Like all Americans, I care about leaving this earth beautiful for our future generations. We all care about clean water and clean air. At the same time, I believe in a common sense and cost effective way to protect our environment. Unfortunately, in recent years, the administration has unleashed a regulatory agenda that will create huge costs for the economy, while making little progress to protect our environment.
    Any type of legislation involving energy issues that are central to the economic health of the country should not be forced through a rulemaking process that is specifically designed to bypass the legislative process and the input of the American people. They should be debated openly in Congress as well as in every congressional district and community across America. It is important to note the EPA has acknowledged that without reductions from large countries across the globe, proposals like the Clean Power Plant Rule will have little impact on overall GHGs.
    I support an all of the above energy approach that increases America’s energy independence and domestic production. Iowa is a national leader in alternative energy sources. As a result, over 27% of electricity generated in the state is by wind. I believe America can responsibly take advantage of our nation’s abundant resources while also emphasizing conservation and efficiency.
    I was proud to support the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015 sponsored by Senator Rob Portman and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, which was signed into law on April 30, 2015. This legislation takes important steps toward improving the energy efficiency of our country’s largest energy user, the federal government. In addition, it works to develop greater cost effective energy and water efficiency measures in commercial buildings.
    Please know that I will continue to keep your views in mind as this issue is considered by the Senate. Feel free to contact my office with any further information, as I always enjoy hearing from Iowans.
    Sincerely,

    Joni K. Ernst
    United States Senator

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  2. Paul Deaton says:

    Senator Chuck Grassley’s complete response to my request he support the EPA Clean Power Plan

    Dear Mr. Deaton:

    Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding global climate change. I am glad to know your thoughts about how best to address this issue.

    I acknowledge that a changing climate is a historical and scientific fact, and I recognize that most scientists say manmade emissions contribute to climate change. Also, it just makes sense to take steps to promote the development of clean forms of energy. In fact, throughout my tenure in the Senate, I have been a leader in promoting alternative energy sources as a way of protecting our environment and increasing our energy independence. I’ve been an outspoken advocate of various forms of renewable and alternative energy, including wind, biomass, agriculture wastes, ethanol and biodiesel. As the former Chairman and Ranking member of the Finance Committee, I’ve worked for years to enact tax policies that support the growth of these alternative resources and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We need to develop a comprehensive energy policy and review the tax incentives for all energy sources. Our goal should be that clean energy alternatives become cost-effective, viable parts of our energy mix to power our homes and businesses for the long term.

    The Obama administration has now finalized regulations using a section of the Clean Air Act to require a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 32% from 2005 by 2030. The Clean Air Act was designed for traditional forms of pollution that directly affect human health and the environment and are emitted in much smaller quantities. It is widely accepted that using an EPA program that was designed for a different purpose is particularly inefficient and will add tremendous bureaucratic costs on top of the cost of switching to less economical energy sources. As the energy sector is tightly regulated with state regulators that dictate a set profit margin, these added costs will not be borne by energy companies, but by American families and job creators. At the same time, EPA Administrator McCarthy has acknowledged that the EPA rules would have a negligible impact on the climate unless other major emitters follow suit. I have long said that to be effective, and as a matter of international fairness for American workers, any carbon dioxide reductions should be part of a binding international treaty that has other emitters making comparable reductions. For instance, China is already the world’s largest emitter, so if China continues to increase emissions while the United States makes cuts, as was announced when President Obama met with the Chinese President, it would be all pain and no gain for the United States.

    Instead of imposing unilateral restrictions on American energy, increasing costs for hard-working Americans and decreasing economic opportunity, the President should focus his efforts on getting other nations to agree to greenhouse gas limits. In the meantime, the most effective action Congress can take to address this issue, as well as make our air cleaner and healthier, is to advance policies that increase the availability and affordability of renewable and alternative energy sources. If alternative energy sources can become more competitive, market forces will drive a natural, low-cost transition in our energy mix that will be a win-win for American families. For instance, as the “father” of the Wind Energy Incentives Act of 1992, I sought to give this alternative energy source the ability to compete against traditional, finite energy sources. Currently, Iowa is ranked tenth in the nation in wind energy potential and third in wind energy capacity, and Iowa already produces more than 27 percent of its electricity from wind energy.

    Again, thank you for contacting me. I appreciate hearing your views and urge you to keep in touch.

    Sincerely,
    Chuck

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