The Senate votes today on a measure that would put the breaks on one of the Obama EPA’s most destructive proposed rules, and bring a measure of accountability to the regulatory agency that has greatly overstepped its boundaries under EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
If passed, the bill, proposed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, will register Congress’ disapproval of the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution rule and, if the EPA goes ahead with the rule as planned, allow Congress to overturn it by a simple majority vote.
House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor listed the Cross-State rule as one of the administration’s top ten most job-killing and costly proposed regulations. Before even being enacted, the rule has cost over 500 American jobs, as power plants prepare to curtail operations and lay off workers in order to comply with the rule’s stringent requirements, some of which require technological advancements that do not yet exist.
So, Paul’s proposal seems like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. As the National Journal reports, “At least five GOP senators will vote against Paul (Maine’s two senators, Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Scott Brown of Massachusetts).” Call them the (Lisa) Jackson Five.
Now, Snowe and Brown are both up for reelection in left-leaning states, and Alexander has proposed an alternate plan that would at least delay the rule. But what is Kelly Ayotte thinking here? She defended her vote, stating, “We have a long, bipartisan tradition in New Hampshire of working to advance common sense, balanced environmental regulations.”
If the Cross-State rule was a “common sense, balanced” regulation than she may have a point, but the fact is that it is a misguided, heavy-handed measure that will do far more harm than good, and its not just conservatives who feel that way. Just ask Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who has also introduced legislation to postpone the rule, or former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who decried the EPA’s job-killing agenda earlier this week.
So, what exactly would the Cross-State Air Pollution rule do? A few highlights:
According to a report from the Institute for Energy Research:
EPA Regulations Will Close At Least 28 GW of Generating Capacity: EPA modeling and power-plant operator announcements show that EPA regulations will close at least 28 gigawatts (GW) of American generating capacity, the equivalent of closing every power plant in the state of North Carolina or Indiana. Also, 28 GW is 8.9 percent of our total coal generating capacity.
Current Retirements Almost Twice As High As EPA Predicted: EPA’s power plant-level modeling projected that Agency regulations would close 14.5 GW of generating capacity. That number rises to 28 GW when including additional announced retirements related to EPA rules, almost twice the amount EPA projected. Moreover, this number will grow as plant operators continue to release their EPA compliance plans.
The Heritage Foundation cites another similar study:
The study, conducted by the National Economic Research Associates and commissioned by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, found that the regulations will increase electricity rates by nearly 12 percent nationwide in the next five years, and by more than 23 percent in certain regions. The regulations will add an average of $17.8 billion to the nation’s electricity costs every year for the next 20 years, NERA found.
The employment picture will not be pretty, either: NERA estimated that the regulations would cost the American job market 1.88 million job-years. Those losses more than offset the 450,000 job years the study anticipates will be created by the new regulations.
Kelly Ayotte won a landslide victory last year by promising to go to Washington to stop runaway government spending, foster job creation, and cut red tape for businesses. Working to enact sensible environmental policies that protect our natural resources is one thing, but siding with Barack Obama and Lisa Jackson over hundreds of thousands of American workers and small businesses is the opposite of “common sense.”