Rep. Whitfield: Obama's Carbon Plan Will Raise Electric Rates

Monday, 02 Jun 2014 05:02 PM

By Courtney Coren

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President Barack Obama is acting unilaterally with his plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent, says Rep. Ed Whitfield, chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

"His administration is acting unilaterally more than any administration in recent memory," Whitfield told J.D. Hayworth, David Patten and John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV. "In 2009, he went to Copenhagen and unilaterally made a commitment that the U.S. was going to reduce its CO2 emissions."

"So, what you're seeing today on the existing coal plants, prior to that they've already issued regulations on new plants, which makes it impossible to build a new coal plant in America because the technology is not available," the Kentucky Republican explained Monday.

"All of this stems from the fact that he was not able to pass cap-and-trade when the Democrats controlled the Senate and the House. He did get it by the House, but not the Senate. So, he unilaterally went to Copenhagen, he's going to Paris in 2015, and every regulation coming out of EPA now is to follow up on his commitment that he made without consultation with the U.S. Congress," Whitfield added.

Story continues below video.



The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2030 by imposing a new rule on the largest sources of greenhouse gasses in the country, power plants. The new rules are being issued by executive order by the president and encourage states to rely more on natural gas than coal for producing electricity.

Whitfield said this will hurt "the less privileged" in the country by causing electricity rates to increase as well as "make America less competitive in the global marketplace."

Whitfield said that it could be especially problematic in the Bluegrass State, where "about 94 percent of our electricity comes from coal."

He said that this move is also likely to hurt Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes because Obama is not popular in the state and she "will have an extremely difficult time separating herself from Harry Reid, Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi."

Grimes has come out against the new EPA rules and told Politico that she is a "pro-coal Kentuckian."

Liberal columnist Rick Ungar told Newsmax that he is shocked "that the president would choose to announce [the new EPA regulations] now, knowing Senate races in some very key districts like Kentucky, like Alaska" are taking place in November "where the coal industry is a very big employer."

"I don't quite get why he wouldn't hold off until December or January for this, and I can't seem to get a very good answer on it," he added.

Ross Eisenberg, vice president of Energy and Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, said that he also found the timing of the announcement strange.

"There's about a 120-day comment period on this that ends right about the time of the elections," Eisenberg told Newsmax. "It is very curious timing, and I think in about 120 days from now there's going to be some people maybe grinding their teeth over this one."

Eisenberg explained that "manufacturers aren't against reducing emissions . . . but we need to do it in a way that preserves our energy policy, our all-of-the-above energy strategy," adding that this move "looks a lot more like a means to an end, which is to get rid of fossil fuels."

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