Some of President Barack Obama's biggest electoral supporters are turning against him and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over fears that Obama's plan to cut power plant emissions by 30 percent by 2030 will mean increased economic hardship for the poor.
In an editorial in the Charlotte Observer,
Charles Steele, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), wrote that "the affordability of electricity for millions of Americans is at stake" if the EPA proceeds with its plan to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Steele thus joins with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Black Chamber of Commerce who have expressed concerns about the effect of the EPA's proposals on the poor, the Washington Times reports.
Steele, who previously told the Times he still considers Obama to be an "outstanding individual," wrote, "I’m particularly concerned by new regulations that the U.S. EPA is proposing. As a step toward addressing climate change, the EPA wants to greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants, and wants governors across the country to close the coal-fired plants in their states.
"Such a move could hit North Carolina hard since coal-fired power plants provide roughly 40 percent of the state’s electricity. Many other states also depend heavily on coal, which means that the affordability of electricity for millions of Americans is at stake."
The Daily Caller reports
the EPA may be planning to drop its controversial requirement that coal-fired power plants install costly, commercially unavailable carbon capture and storage technology, without which coal plants cannot meet Obama's reduction goals, from its New Source Performance Standards mandates due to be released this summer.
"We can get to a cleaner environment without victimizing those who are already struggling financially. And so, before the EPA adopts these measures, it should think twice about pursuing extreme rules that will have a negligible environmental impact, but could bring great pain to hard-working everyday Americans," Steele wrote in the Observer.
The Washington Times commented, "The very same voters who helped put Barack Obama in the White House increasingly are turning against the president’s climate change agenda, with influential black and Hispanic leaders warning that stiff regulations to limit carbon emissions will have a devastating effect on the poor and will further stifle economic opportunity for minorities."
Steele continued, "No matter one’s views on the climate issue, the EPA’s approach is simply too blunt. There is already a consensus among energy experts that the EPA plan will cut power production without offering reliable alternatives, and will have almost no impact on climate. The only tangible result will be a significant jump in the cost of electricity for both homes and businesses.
"So let’s focus for a moment on those families struggling to make ends meet. What will higher monthly utility bills mean for them? Paying for electricity is not a discretionary expense. The poor and the elderly on fixed incomes already pay an out-sized portion of their limited budget in order to have heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer."
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