Obama Administration Launches Media-Driven Offensive on Carbon Rule

Monday, June 2, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Earlier today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed its carbon rule for existing power plants as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy personally promoted the rule during a speech this morning, making several claims that the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) has long disputed.


Administrator McCarthy claimed that energy bills will not skyrocket under the new rule. ACCCE’s research has shown, however, that the rule will cost consumers billions in higher energy prices and millions of jobs. Administrator McCarthy also called the polar vortex a “wakeup call,” noting that climate change “heightens risks from extreme cold that freezes power grids, super storms that drown power plants and heat waves that stress power supplies.” But, according to an analysis by ACCCE, the polar vortex revealed major pitfalls of President Obama’s regulatory crusade that has increased country’s overreliance on natural gas and other fuel sources that fail to provide the base-load power of coal.


“The administration is using a familiar playbook that, to borrow Administrator McCarthy’s own words, exploits ‘manufactured facts and scare-tactics,’” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE. “Contrary to what administration officials have told us, EPA’s carbon proposal could actually make public health much worse by increasing energy costs, destroying jobs and forcing low-income and middle-income families to choose between paying higher energy bills and paying for other necessities. As our nation’s economic and energy future stands in peril, the Obama Administration has once again chosen to launch a media-driven campaign instead of confronting the growing chorus of Americans who want real answers about the consequences of EPA’s newly proposed carbon rule.”


The administration’s continued attempts to link carbon emissions with disease and public health concerns remains puzzling and can only be explained by EPA’s use of an accounting trick (“double counting”) to claim health benefits from its carbon proposal that the agency also claims from other rules. These supposed health benefits are being claimed by EPA for reducing air pollution to levels below what EPA has already established as being safe.


In a new paper, ACCCE found that that the climate benefits of reducing carbon from the nation’s coal fleet are negligible. By 2050, eliminating America’s coal fleet would result in a 1% reduction in atmospheric CO2 concentration, a reduction of 1/20th of a degree in warming and a reduction of 1/25th of an inch in sea level rise.