Despite the July 24 front-page headline “States find pollution rule less onerous than feared,” some states are finding it quite onerous.
Both state-submitted carbon dioxide emission plans and the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan are made in Washington. A state plan will be “state” in name only because the EPA must approve it. If past is prologue, the EPA won’t approve a plan that does not meet its targets and timetables.
As the article noted, the essentials of the regulation are expected to remain unchanged. This means states are forced to accept the EPA’s implausible assumptions about their energy systems, which has caused seven governors to suggest that they may not submit a state plan. The latest, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R), considers the enormous costs forced on consumers to be “cruel and dangerous.”
Leaving the EPA to impose its own plan may be cheaper and less risky for a state. Given the EPA’s limited legal authority and lack of technical competence to run a state’s electric grid, a federal plan must be less ambitious with substantially lower reduction targets and therefore less costly for ratepayers.
Hal Quinn, Washington
The writer is president and chief executive of the National Mining Association.