MADISON, Wis. – While climate change alarmists see the sky falling in President Donald Trump’s executive order rolling back his predecessor’s “Clean Power Plan,” Badger State free-market advocates are celebrating a “Great Day for Wisconsin.”
On Tuesday, Trump announced the Environmental Protection Agency will begin unraveling the Obama administration’s controversial carbon-emissions reduction plan that critics have blasted as a job-killing government overreach.
Brett Healy, president of the MacIver Institute, a Madison-based free-market think tank, said Trump’s decision to review and eventually scrap the “Costly Power Plan” has dramatically improved the lives of Wisconsinites.
“Since Wisconsin is more reliant on coal than most states, this bureaucratic boondoggle would have cost our state dearly in job losses, rate hikes, and lost economic potential,” Healy said in a statement.
A 2015 MacIver Institute and Beacon Hill study found the Clean Power Plan could cost Wisconsin 21,000 jobs and $1.82 billion in disposable income by 2030. The study also estimates the EPA’s array of rules and regulations would cause the average household electric bill to jump $225 and would cost the average Wisconsin industrial ratepayer an extra $105,094 per year if implemented.
In February 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the CPP, which demands a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from U.S. power plants by 2030 – higher in manufacturing-heavy Wisconsin.
At the time, pro-business groups like Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce celebrated the pause in the Obama administration plan while anti-Clean Power Plan litigation supported by 28 states moved forward.
“The Clean Power Plan would significantly harm Wisconsin’s economy, increasing electricity rates by more than 20% and eliminating tens of thousands of jobs,” Scott Manley, WMC’s senior vice president of Government Relations, said in a statement at the time.
In December, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel joined a 24-state coalition of attorneys general urging Trump and congressional leaders to step away from the Clean Power Plan, the critical piece to the Obama-led Paris climate agreement.
“Last year’s stay won by the coalition of states before the U.S. Supreme Court was the first step in putting an end to this misguided policy,” Schimel said Tuesday in a press release. “Today’s Executive Order was the next critical step. We look forward to working with President Trump and EPA Administrator (Scott) Pruitt to complete the legal process necessary to eliminate this unconstitutional overreach once and for all.”
Trump was surrounded by coal miners Tuesday as he signed the executive order. The president has said boosting U.S. fossil fuel production in pursuit of energy independence is a priority for his administration.
“My action today is the latest in a series of steps to create American jobs and to grow American wealth. We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country,” he said before signing the order at an EPA that clearly is moving in a different direction from the aggressive enforcement agency of the past eight years.
Not surprisingly, the climate change faithful – described by some so-called “climate change deniers” as a “cult” – are furious. Obama EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy sees all of her regulatory work going up in smoke.
“This is not just dangerous; it’s embarrassing to us and our businesses on a global scale to be dismissing opportunities for new technologies, economic growth, and US leadership,” she said in a statement.
Free-market advocates say the war on business, on jobs, the economy, the constitution, liberty, is drawing to an end with the review and dismantling of Obama’s overreaching Clean Power Plan.
“The CPP was imposed on Americans by unelected, faceless bureaucrats in Washington. President Trump’s executive order rolls back one of the most draconian overreaches in the history of big government,” MacIver’s Healy said. “By signing this order, the President will preserve thousands of jobs in Wisconsin, prevent a spike in electricity rates for hard working Wisconsin families, and keep more income in peoples’ pockets.”
M.D. Kittle is bureau chief for Wisconsin Watchdog and First Amendment reporter for Watchdog.org. Contact him at [email protected]