Alabama reactions to President Obama’s Clean Energy plan

Supreme Court EPA Emissions
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matthew Brown

President Barack Obama‘s effort to combat climate change by cutting greenhouse gases from U.S. power plants is drawing sharp criticism from across Alabama.

Obama unveiled the final version of the controversial Clean Power Plan earlier today, which seeks to cut the nation’s carbon emissions by 32 percent, compared to 2005 levels, by 2030 — nine percent more ambitious than the original proposal.

Each state will have to make specific targeted reductions by that time.

According to the EPA, Alabama would be required to cut its carbon emissions by 27 percent below its 2012 levels.

Below are some of the reactions from politicians and groups across the state:

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-03) (via a press release):

“This Administration and the EPA continue their pattern of overreach into our lives and pockets with President Obama’s clean power plan announcement.  In June, the Supreme Court ruled against parts of President Obama’s radical agenda, yet he continues to push forward with his faulty environmental plans. This clean power plan will do nothing more than pass on additional costs to consumers and raise energy prices for hard-working families across East Alabama already struggling to make it paycheck to paycheck.  I will continue to fight against this very flawed proposal.”

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-06) (via press release):

The EPA’s release of its final rule to regulate emissions from power plants continues the overreaching, agenda-driven policy that we have seen frequently from the EPA under this administration. American workers and their families, particularly the most economically vulnerable, can ill afford the real-life costs of this rule, which will result in significant utility rate increases and lost jobs with little to no measurable environmental impact. With my support, the House has already taken action by passing a bill to delay this costly rule, which faces serious legal challenges. I will continue to work to fight this rule and protect the American people from this costly agenda.

Attorney General Luther Strange (via email):

After years of propaganda efforts aimed at convincing Americans that they must sacrifice lower energy bills and jobs in order to meet arbitrary carbon emission goals, the Obama administration has finally unveiled its new energy mandate,” said Attorney General Strange.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Clean Power Plan continues the Obama administration’s theme of ignoring the legal limits on its executive authority in order to satisfy a political agenda that places the lowest priority on the rights of coal industry workers and American consumers.

Under the EPA rule, Alabamians’ average annual household energy bills could rise by more than $800 a year by the time the plan is fully implemented. This places an undue burden on those who can least afford it, including the poor, the elderly and others on fixed incomes.  What’s more, it punishes as many as 16,000 Alabamians whose jobs are dependent upon the coal industry.

As Attorney General, I testified before Congress in opposition to the illegal EPA rule and I have joined with other states in opposing the Obama administration’s unwarranted anti-coal policy in federal court.

The same administration that once complained that people don’t pay enough for gasoline is now forcing Americans to endure higher energy costs and further blows to our economy.  It’s time for common sense to prevail.

Rep. Darrio MeltonAlabama House Democratic Caucus Chairman (via PACE email):

EPA’s final version of the Clean Power Plan raises a number of important questions for many families in my district and for low-income people across this country. It remains unclear what steps will be necessary for states to comply with these aggressive carbon dioxide emission goals, but my fear is that the cost of electricity for families and businesses will rise, placing even more economic pressure on those who can least afford it. My hope is that EPA and the administration will give those concerns the attention they deserve and help ensure that this new rule doesn’t unduly burden the most vulnerable Americans.

Sen. Greg Reed, Chairman of Alabama Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy (via PACE email):

Utilities across America and here in Alabama are already moving toward lower-carbon, cleaner energy due to other EPA regulations and a host of improved technologies. Incentivizing more clean energy options is the right path forward. This rule does the exact opposite. It is another massive tax on energy at a time when the American economy needs more affordable energy to help get our economy growing again.

Alabama Coal Association, George Barber (via email):

President Obama continues to wage his war on coal as Alabama’s coal industry fights to keep workers employed and energy prices low. Today’s announcement in which President Obama did not even hide his intent to kill coal jobs, saying instead that he supports training coal workers for other jobs, is another example of costly and unnecessary regulation meant to force the closure of all mines throughout the nation.

I am grateful that Alabama has our Attorney General, Luther Strange, standing up for our miners, their families and the many others depending on coal throughout the state. The Alabama Coal Association will continue to fight for miners throughout the state.

Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (via email):

A year ago in Atlanta, we told EPA officials that while the agency’s new carbon mandate would not change the earth’s temperature, it would change power bills. Now, with the final rule made public, we can be even more certain that EPA has presented the American public with a lousy bargain. While this rule will do nothing to affect the agency’s climate change indicators, it holds the strong potential to raise electricity prices, cost American jobs, endanger reliability, and make our nation less competitive. It is critical that our nation’s leaders, particularly the President and the Congress, intervene to limit the damage from this bad rule.

Manufacture Alabama (via PACE email):

Last year, voices from coast to coast stood up to tell EPA that its plan to regulate carbon dioxide would hurt our nation’s competitiveness, cost jobs, raise power prices, and endanger the reliability of the power sector. This message, particularly from America’s manufacturers, was overwhelmingly clear. Unfortunately, EPA failed to get the message, as it has so many times in the recent past. While improved in small ways from the initial draft, EPA’s final rule remains bad policy that is a step backward for manufacturers. We urge the president and federal lawmakers to take the necessary steps to reverse this plan before it is too late.

National Black Chamber of Commerce (via PACE email):

The Clean Power Plan will lead to lost jobs, lower incomes and higher poverty rates for the 128 million blacks and Hispanics living in America. This should serve as a warning to federal and state lawmakers as they prepare for this sweeping regulation to go into effect in the coming months.

Consumer Energy Alliance:

Consumers across the country call for a retooling of the [Clean Power Plan] that gives credit for the significant emissions reductions America has already accomplished, provides realistic timelines for compliance, thoughtfully considers impacts on consumers, and pays deference to states’ authority to make energy decisions in the ultimate interest of consumers and ratepayers.

To avoid production and planning uncertainty related to our nation’s vital energy infrastructure, EPA should reconsider its “Plan” in light of all the ongoing court proceedings and the legitimate concerns raised by bipartisan policymakers, non-partisan regulators, and the consumers they serve.  Jobs, reliability and consumers of energy across the nation depend on this relief.


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