It’s Obama’s Energy Regulations, Stupid

Monday, August 20th, 2012 and is filed under Blog

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Welcome to Obama’s America.  The Midwest is languishing from the effects of the severe drought, yet the administration is refusing to ease its own restrictions that are spiking the cost of food, fuel, and electricity.

Despite the rising costs of gas and food, Obama refuses to suspend the ethanol mandate.  Despite the record heat and rising cost of electricity, Obama is refusing to suspend 4 major EPA regulations on coal-fired plants.  Now, a report from the Government Accountability Office has found that these regulations will disproportionately hurt the Midwest.  The Washington Examiner reports:

Four coal industry regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will likely cause electricity prices to rise and may “compromise” electric grid reliability — especially in the Midwest and South — according to the Government Accountability Office.

“Several representatives from power companies and officials from federal and state regulatory agencies have expressed concerns that as companies incur additional costs in responding to these additional regulations, and as the electricity supply is affected by generating unit requirements, electricity prices could increase and reliability — the ability to meet consumers’ electricity demands — could be compromised,” the GAO reported to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., yesterday.

Two of the regulations (the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards) have already been finalized, while two others (the Cooling Water Intake Structures regulation and the Disposal of Coal Combustion residuals) are still under consideration. The EPA has pushed these rules in order to mitigate health risks that may arise from exposure to coal emissions. Taken as a whole, the rules require coal-fueled power plants to upgrade their technology in order to meet new standards.

The studies the GAO surveyed predicted that between two and 12 percent of American coal-fueled power plant to close “in response to the four regulations rather than installing controls,” the GAO said. “Two of the studies we reviewed reported national estimates of the total costs of actions power companies may take in response to the four key EPA regulations, projecting from $16 billion to $21 billion in additional annual costs.”

This is what Obama meant when he promised that the cost of electricity would necessarily increase as a result of his regulations.

I hate to sound like a broken record talking about the budget, but Republicans don’t have to take it on the chin.  They can refuse to fund these regulations when final budget negotiations begin in September for Fiscal Year 2013.

I understand that many conservatives feel it’s worth waiting a few months longer until 2013, when presumably, we would have more political power to implement our policies.  They feel that it’s too risky to orchestrate a budget fight right before the elections.  However, there is no bigger political liability for Obama than his energy policy.  If we take a stand on the EPA coal regulations during the budget battle, “the war on coal” will define the election.  And if the war on coal defines the election, Obama will get crushed in the rust belt and greater Midwest, guaranteeing him wholesale defeat.

With this week’s narrative focused on Todd Akin’s “rape” comments and Republican House members skinny-dipping in the Sea of Galilee, this is a game-changing issue that Republicans should embrace.