The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan rules will slow the Colorado economy, raise electricity rates and barely make a dent in carbon dioxide emissions, opponents and experts on the plan told an audience at the Independence Institute on Tuesday.
“Clean power alone will add billions if not tens of billions of costs to individual consumers and the American economy,” said Gregory Conko, executive director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Myron Ebell, CEI’s director of the Center for Energy and Enviroment released a state-by-state comparison showing Colorado’s 9.49 cents per kilowatt hour is lower than the national average of 10.11 cents. But he said California, which has extensive power plant regulation and has consumers paying 15.11 cents, is a warning for the rest of the country if the Clean Power Plan is instituted.
“This is about keeping the lights on for America’s economy, for Colorado’s economy,” he said, adding any additional costs for energy will take away consumer purchasing power for other goods.
Ray Gifford, a former Colorado Public Utilities Commission chairman under Republican Gov. Bill Owens and a Denver attorney, echoed those sentiments, saying hopes for the U.S. Supreme Court permanently blocking the rule may have died with Justice Antonin Scalia.
“The Supreme Court stayed the rule for now,” he said. “But we lost justice Scalia last weekend, and now we have a 5-4 stay deadlocked at 4-4.”
Twenty-nine state attorneys general and public utilities commissions – including Colorado’s AG – are fighting the rules in court. The Supreme Court returned the case to a lower court. It likely will not be back before the high court until the next session, at the earliest. Any new justice will probably provide the deciding vote.
The Clean Power Plan requires energy companies to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030, using cleaner energy technology, a switch from coal to natural gas and more renewable energy sources. In Colorado, the plan is to reduce emissions from 2,000 tons per megawatt hour to 1,174 – a roughly 40 percent reduction.
Conko said the rules, if fully applied, would reduce global warming only .002 of a degree over the next 100 years.
The EPA would not respond to the specific contentions from CPP opponents but pointed Watchdog.org to a fact sheet that claims electricity costs will be reduced by the new rules.
“Because the Clean Power Plan will reduce energy waste and improve efficiency, we expect average electricity bills will be cut by 7 percent,” the website said. “That means that by 2030, the average American family will save $7 on their electric bill every month.”