GUEST COMMENTARY: EPA regulations will cause energy bills to soar

2014-03-08T00:00:00Z GUEST COMMENTARY: EPA regulations will cause energy bills to soarBy Vince Griffin nwitimes.com
March 08, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Energy bills are likely to be on the rise soon. You can send your “thank you” card to President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency. Since Congress failed to follow his request, the president turned to the EPA to perpetuate his administration’s attack on coal.

The EPA’s proposed regulations are excessive and unrealistically limit greenhouse gas emissions for new power plants. What’s more, they would require use of a technology that is simply not commercially viable today; this is a fact the EPA’s own science advisory board pointed out to the agency months ago.

Facts like this should give the EPA pause. But no.

The kicker is that, by its own admission, EPA says the new power plant regulations will have “negligible” benefits (on lowering carbon dioxide emissions).

Again, another fact conveniently discarded.

To make matters worse, the EPA doesn’t stop there. It has announced plans to release another regulation for existing coal-fueled power plants in June that will drastically affect Indiana and our nation. Complying with these regulations will be expensive and impact all consumers. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates the resulting cost increase could be as much as a whopping 80 percent in electric power rates. What Hoosier business or family can afford that?

Indiana will be hit far harder than most states because it’s the No. 1 per capita manufacturing state in the nation. We make and grow things – and that takes a lot of energy. Over 80 percent of Indiana’s electric power comes from coal (compared to nearly 45 percent for the country). In fact, we have an over 300-year reservoir of coal in the ground. To put it mildly, coal is Indiana’s primary energy source.

Many companies have located here because we have an adequate, reliable and affordable supply of electricity and water. But now that coal has come under attack by the Obama administration, affordability is going to go out the window. How long will it be before jobs go with it?

Repeatedly, Obama has called for an “all-of-the-above energy strategy” yet has excluded coal, which is the most plentiful energy source in the U.S. Not only is this short-sighted but seriously challenges our economic competitiveness and threatens our national security.

Smart, necessary regulation by the EPA makes sense, but these are ill-advised maneuvers for everyone.

There may still be something Hoosiers can do. The comment period for the proposed new regulations runs until Monday. Let the EPA know what you think about the prospect of your energy bills soaring. Also, let your members of Congress know too; they need to assert themselves before the EPA does irreparable damage to Indiana’s economy.

Vince Griffin is Indiana Chamber of Commerce vice president of environmental and energy policy. The opinions are the writer's.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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