States Fighting Clean Power Plan Must Reduce Carbon Emissions 8 Times More Than States Backing It

Apr 05, 2016 - 10:30am

Senior Editor, Digital Content

Put EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) on the growing list of actions taken by President Barack Obama’s administration that has divided the country.

After EPA’s released its set of regulations intended to cut carbon emissions from the power sector, states took the federal government to court. Soon after, another group of states came out supporting the plan.

Those states fighting the CPP won a stay on the plan from the Supreme Court until legal issues are settled.

As of this moment, 28 states are challenging the Clean Power Plan in court, while only 18 states support it. But there’s an important difference between the two sides.

The states opposing the plan will be required to come up with 81% of the total carbon emissions, while the states backing the CPP have to come up with only 10%.

Simply put, some states have more skin in the game.

States fighting the CPP rely more on affordable, abundant coal for electricity, know they’ll be the biggest losers, and so have a lot more at stake than the states defending the CPP.

The U.S. Chamber, along with 166 state and local chambers of commerce and business associations from 40 states, support those 28 states fighting the CPP.

Here are three other ways of looking at the data:

  1. Texas, which loves to brag that it’s “like a whole other country,” has a point. Under the CPP, Texas is required to reduce carbon emissions by 51 million tons—nearly as much as the 57 million tons of reductions required by the 18 EPA-defending states combined!
  2. Nine states will be allowed to increase their carbon emissions rate from 2020 to 2030. Eight of them support the Clean Power Plan. [New Jersey is the wise exception.]
  3. Two states, Hawaii and Vermont, don’t have to reduce their emissions at all, but are all aboard defending the CPP in court.

It’s easy for a state to take a symbolic stand when it has little to lose, and in fact may even gain if the economic advantages of affordable energy in neighboring states are eliminated. EPA’s regulatory overreach will mean higher energy costs for families and fewer jobs that will harm local economies. That’s not healthy for United States job and economic growth.

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.