Colorado Rep. Jared Polis criticized power station emissions for causing global warming and creating “historic flooding,” while Sen. Mark Udall blamed it for “severe drought and reduced snowpack.” Both lawmakers blamed destructive wildfires on climate change.
“The dangerous and costly effects of climate change are already upon us,” Polis said.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet also held emissions responsible for drought and wildfires, but also blamed it for shortening winters and ski seasons, and creating longer summers.
“All demand action,” Bennet said. “I support the president’s action to curb dangerous carbon pollution, because Colorado is already experiencing the negative effects of a changing climate.”
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan announced Monday is intended to stifle climate change by cutting carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent through the year 2030.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the proposed regulations would cost 224,000 jobs, as 40 percent of the nation’s electricity is generated by coal-based power plants, the target of the new regulations.
Additionally, Americans should expect to pay $200 a year more for electricity when the rule takes effect, says the Institute for Energy Research. The cost to the national economy is upwards of $50,000 billion.
“The president’s plan is nuts, there’s really no more succinct way to describe it,” said Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
In Colorado, where coal generates 65 percent of the state’s electricity, the new regulations are expected to have significant economic effects on consumers.
Colorado Mining Association President Stuart Sanderson said the EPA rules would “write clean coal from Colorado and other states out of the energy mix.”
“Sadly, the rules will result in no measurable reversal of so-called man made climate change,” Sanderson said.
Citing the EPA’s own analysis, Sanderson said that a complete shutdown of coal-fired power plants across the U.S. would reduce ocean levels less than the width of a penny and reduce temperatures by less than 1/20th of one degree Fahrenheit.
“Coal is the fastest growing source of electricity worldwide and will lift nations out of energy poverty,” Sanderson said “Thus, it makes no sense for the United States to weaken its economy on policies that will produce nothing in the way of corresponding benefits to the environment.”
Colorado Republican Scott Tipton called the proposal a back-door energy tax and said that a bill already passed by the House would block the Obama administration from putting the rule into effect. However, that legislation was stalled in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
“What’s most concerning is that those who will be hurt worst by the president’s war against affordable energy are middle-class and low-income families, seniors on fixed incomes, rural Americans and small businesses,” Tipton said.
The mining association says that carbon emissions in the U.S. have declined 21 percent since 2005, and emissions of criteria pollutants like sulfur dioxide have fallen by more than 87 percent since the 1970s.
Meanwhile, emissions from power plants in China have increased by 170 percent and 90 percent in India, erasing any gains that will be produced by the costly Obama EPA rules, the association said.
Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, argued that the regulations would protect consumer health and stabilize the economy.
“As our seas rise, so do insurance premiums, property taxes, and food prices. If we do nothing, in our grandkids’ lifetimes, temperatures could rise 10 degrees and seas could rise 4 feet,” McCarthy said.
“This is not just about disappearing polar bears or melting ice caps,” McCarthy said.