After weeks of claims that the Obama administration's new plan to regulate carbon emissions won't raise the cost of electricity, both Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and the head of new group for "clean coal" electricity have hit back hard with data that show the opposite.
In separate interviews with Newsmax, Inhofe, the senior Republican on the Senate Environment Committee, and Mike Duncan, president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, agreed that electricity costs would go up as a result of the new carbon emissions regulations unveiled by the administration last month.
Inhofe and Duncan spoke to Newsmax in response to White House Counselor John Podesta's denial last month of the charges from Republicans and coal state Democrats that the regulations are a "war on the poor."
Speaking at a media breakfast on June 6 hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Podesta cited an analysis conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency. Because of what he called "efficiency" under the regulations and various steps that states could take, Podesta insisted, electric bills for households could actually decrease.
"There are things we need to do to ensure people get affordable and reliable electricity," he said, pointing to states that are providing for "the weatherizing of homes of low-income Americans."
Following Podesta’s remarks at the breakfast, his claim that electricity costs will not go up and may in fact go down have been echoed by several other administration spokesmen.
When he spoke to Newsmax recently, Inhofe had a decidedly different view.
"There's no question about the cost of electricity — it will go up," he said, "The model for the [Obama administration] regulations is Germany. And the German regulations led to the cost per kilowatt hour going up."
The senator was referring to the German policy known as "Energiewende," or "energy transition," in which regulations encourage an evolution from reliance on fossil and nuclear energy sources to renewable or "green" energy. Last fall, the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel predicted that the renewable energy surcharge added to every consumer’s electrical bill would increase from 5.3 cents to between 6.2 and 6.5 cents per kilowatt hour — a 20 percent price hike.
Noting that "German consumers already pay the highest electricity prices in Europe," the German magazine Der Spiegel warned that "electricity is becoming a luxury good in Germany."
Duncan’s American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity released its own study that responds to what it calls the "Six Myths" of the administration’s carbon emissions regulations. This report’s "Myth #3" is that the regulations "will reduce energy bills."
According to the report, "This is misleading, at best. The EPA acknowledges that nationwide average electricity rates would increase by roughly 6 percent in 2020 and 3 percent in 2030. At the same time, EPA claims the total cost that consumers pay for electricity will fall under its proposal.
"However, this lower total cost is deceptive because it assumes that consumers will reduce their electricity consumption by at least 10 percent. In short, consumers are forced to pay higher electricity rates but use less electricity."
Duncan, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee and resident of Kentucky, where coal is a major industry, told us: "The Obama administration can’t seem to get its story straight about EPA’s new carbon regulations. I would welcome John Podesta and his colleagues to visit the coal communities that they’re working to wipe off the map, where Mr. Podesta will find that America’s 'poor' are very real people suffering in a very real and very sad way under President Obama’s climate agenda."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.
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