Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina are taking their turn in the election spotlight, as voters in those five states prepare to cast their ballots in the Democratic and Republican primaries on Tuesday. It’s a moment that political pundits believe represents the best (and perhaps last) opportunity for challengers to turn the momentum swelling behind Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and there will surely be any number of important issues weighing on the minds of voters.
One issue that resonates in all five states? The flood of onerous and overreaching regulations that have in recent years been pouring out of the Environmental Protection Agency.
In the past year, EPA regulators have floated and finalized several rules that provide little or no environmental or health benefits, that threaten to shutter businesses and eliminate thousands of jobs, and that stretch the agency’s authority beyond recognition (and in some cases, potentially beyond the letter of the law). They include new ozone emissions restrictions, onerous new regulations on coal plants and a radical expansion of the agency’s authority over streams, creeks and riverbeds.
Not surprisingly, given the sweeping nature of these rules, every voter who will head to the polls on Tuesday lives in a state that has been hammered by the EPA’s recent regulations. Here’s a look at how businesses in those states have already been hit hard by the regulations.
A Power Plant, Zapped by EPA Overreach
“John Cooper, a former mechanic in the Marine Corps, has spent the past fifteen years working for Ameren, an energy utility company in the Midwest. He started out as a laborer at the firm’s Meramec power plant in 2000, and in the years since has worked his way up to shift supervisor at that same facility in St. Louis. He now supervises the operation of all plant systems. Soon, there won’t be any systems -- or employees -- left to supervise.”
Lots of People Want to Ditch Waters of the U.S. Rule. Here’s Why.
“Activists are taking to Facebook and Twitter with messages telling EPA to #DitchTheRule, and the Missouri Farm Bureau is taking things to another level with its #DitchCam that spotlights some of EPA’s WOTUS claims with the help of a few mythical people and creatures… The proposed rule wouldn’t just be hard on farmers, it would be hard on businesses, states, and local governments.”
The Wide Canyon Between Carbon Regulations and the Real World
“Some, such as the Tampa-based Seminole Electric Cooperative, went deeply into debt to build the coal-fired power plants U.S. officials demanded years ago, and now they are stuck with facilities that can’t meet the new standards and can’t be easily upgraded or replaced. “We can’t just run out and invest in some new technology,” said Seminole General Manager Lisa Johnson, who oversees an electric grid that supplies dozens of small towns and farming communities across north-central Florida."
Double Whammy: EPA Carbon Regulations Will Mean Higher Electricity Costs, Fewer Jobs
“These potential rules will affect different areas of the country differently depending on what fuel sources they rely on and are able to tap for electricity generation… If you live in the South power region - much of the Southeast from Tennessee to Florida - expect to see the highest increases: $6.6 billion on average annually and $111.4 cumulatively from 2014-2030.”
Two Rules. Two Brickmakers. Immeasurable Damage.
“I try not to think about the irony,” said Janet Kaboth, president of Whitacre Greer, the family-owned brick manufacturer in Alliance, Ohio that in 1980 churned out more than a million candlelight-colored bricks that still stretch from the White House to the Capitol. “It’s frustrating. Very, very frustrating.” What’s threatening Kaboth’s company, which will celebrate its 100th year in business this year, are onerous new regulations finalized last year by the EPA – regulations that business leaders expect to wreak havoc on an already troubled American industry."
Ozone Standard Would Give a Black Eye to the Buckeye State
“About the only thing worse for Ohio than EPA imposing a stricter ozone standard would be a Michigan win over Ohio State. According to the Center for Regulatory Solutions (CRS), 34 counties in Ohio will not meet federal ozone air quality standards if EPA lowers the standard from 75 parts per billion (ppb) set in 2008 to somewhere between 65 and 70 ppb… For a state like Ohio still trying to lift itself up after the Great Recession, a stricter ozone standard would be a major hit.”
Stricter Ozone Standard Will Make It Harder to Fight Poverty in Illinois
“A stricter EPA ozone standard is bad news for the Windy City, by threatening jobs and making it harder to fight poverty, a report finds… With their significant manufacturing bases, McHenry, Lake, and Kane Counties will be hit particularly hard."
What Will EPA’s Ozone Standard Cost Illinois?
“Proposed changes to tighten national ozone standards could put local jobs at risk and limit opportunities for economic development in Illinois.”
A Bunch of States Tell EPA: Your Carbon Regulations are Nuts
“EPA’s methodology for calculating a unit’s capacity value is completely foreign to the electric utility industry. North Carolina electric utilities develop their resource plans to secure capacity to meet the single coincident peak demand modeled over the planning horizon. In North Carolina, this is typically the summer seasonal peak. However, from time-to-time, North Carolina utilities have observed all-time system peak demands during the winter months. While utilities are obligated to meet the peak demand regardless of when it occurs, they typically must plan for more generation in the summer than winter.”
Job Creators Strike Back against Harmful EPA Overreach (via North Carolina Chamber)
"In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a carbon emission proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would harm the nation’s job creators and add more red tape to an already burdensome federal regulatory climate. Last year, the NC Chamber joined the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other pro-growth organizations to urge national leaders to stand against this proposal. While the Court’s decision Tuesday will only temporarily block the EPA’s proposal, it provided job creators with an encouraging sign that judicial leaders are exercising a healthy level of skepticism toward the out-of-control regulatory overreach the executive branch has attempted to exert in recent years."