President Obama is moving forward with a central component of his climate-change agenda, as the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that carbon emissions must be reduced by 30 percent at fossil-fuel-burning power plants by 2030 to fend off the devastating effects of a changing climate.
The plan is actually set to take effect next year, but EPA administrator Gina McCarthy says the administration has a “moral obligation to act.”
The reduction in carbon emissions was a critical component of Obama’s “cap-and-trade” agenda that failed to pass the U.S. Senate in 2010, even with a filibuster-proof Democratic majority. This time, the administration is not involving Congress, a move that has Republicans seething.
“That’s been par for the course ever since Republicans took the majority in the U.S. House. The president has just ignored Congress and done everything by administrative fiat, in many cases going beyond his legitimate authority. That’s really dangerous and not living under the Constitution in significant ways, said Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“I think it’s dangerous when you have this dramatic (of) an action plan which can’t get legislative support, even in the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate,” he said.
“It can’t get support for good reason. It’s costly. It hurts our economy. It hurts consumers. It hurts the poorest and most vulnerable. And what it is achieving? Less than two percent impact on carbon emissions. So as China and India and other countries do nothing in this category, we’re killing our economy.”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Sen. David Vitter, R-La.:
So why would greatly reducing carbon emissions at power plants lead to the "killing of our economy"? Vitter said it's pretty simple.
“To reduce carbon emissions like that so dramatically, we'd have to get rid of a lot of abundant, cheaper sources of energy right now, starting with coal and many other fossil fuels. Those are the most efficient, the most low-cost forms of energy we have. So we're simply displacing that for higher ways of producing electricity,” he said.
“So energy costs are going to go up significantly. When you do that, it's a toll on the economy. It's basically a tax on consumers and a tax on the economy, so it's going to slow economic growth even more."
Vitter said 40 percent of the nation's electricity comes from coal, which is expected to take the hardest hit if these regulations take hold. He said the green-energy movement cannot begin to replace the lost energy capacity expected from these regulations and added there's really nothing to replace coal that is even remotely competitive on price.
“So we're going to pay much higher prices," Vitter said. "A big hit to consumers and to families and a big hit to businesses in terms of costs. That means fewer jobs."
Vitter said Republicans in Congress, along with some Democrats, will try to stop the implementation of the new EPA rules, which he calls “illegal and unconstitutional.” He also expects major lawsuits to be filed against the rules, but the senator said the real leverage belongs with the American people in November.
“We're going to have a big national election this fall," he said. "Conservatives have an opportunity to take back the U.S. Senate. That would be a significant check and balance against this sort of unbridled power. I think and hope that energy, energy prices, the very slow recovery we have is going to be an important part of that election debate."