Clean Power Plan: Nevada is an Example of its Terrible Consequences

Attorney General Adam Laxalt Can Take an Important Step to Protect Families

There are many great situations to emulate the saying, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” For President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency, that approach, when it comes to regulating carbon emissions, might come at a substantial cost to Nevada’s power grid and its people.

Early on in President Obama’s administration, he proposed a “Cap and Trade” scheme as a purported method of curbing emissions, but was defeated by a Congress controlled by Democrats. Undeterred, the White House handed off the Cap and Trade plan to the EPA, which earlier this fall introduced its final version of the regulatory run-around to Cap and Trade, the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The final emission reduction targets set for Nevada are truly troubling, and can spell hardship for millions of Nevadans.

The central pillar of the Clean Power Plan calls for the reduction of carbon emissions from power plants, primarily through closing existing plants, and switching to riskier and more expensive alternatives. The people most affected by this rapid shift will be the most vulnerable group of Nevadans, such as senior citizens, minority communities, and lower-income families.  And while Nevada may no longer have coal plants functioning in state, by no way are Nevadans exempt from the skyrocketing energy prices that will result from the plan.

Economic consulting firm NERA recently completed an analysis of the EPA’s finalized targets, and the report paints a grim picture. Electricity rates will rise under the Clean Power Plan for families in most states. Families in Nevada are projected to face cost increases of 20% or more. NERA estimates that the nation-wide cost of compliance with the CPP is $29 to $39 billion a year.

These costs will fall squarely on the shoulders of hard working Nevadans. The National Black Chamber of Commerce conducted a study that estimated poverty to rise by 26 percent and cause 12 million Hispanics to lose their jobs by 2035 if the CPP is implemented, for example. And Nevada’s population includes one of the highest percentages of Hispanics in the country

That is why it is so important that state lawmakers across the United States understand very clearly that these regulations translate directly into higher energy bills on working families who constantly struggle with everyday expenses on food, housing, health care and other necessities. As if the direct hit to family budgets was not enough, increased energy prices also will result in lost jobs and higher prices on good and services.

It is worth noting that the CPP fails spectacularly to achieve its supposed goal of a better environment. Using EPA’s own model, the data shows that the regulations will reduce global temperature rise by just 0.018°C by 2100, and slow a rise in sea levels by merely 0.20 millimeters by 2050—equivalent to the thickness of two sheets of paper.

The good news is that there is something that Nevada can do to prevent this plan from wrecking our economy and burdening our vulnerable citizens. In response to the rollout of the plan, 27 states have come together to sue the EPA and contest the legality of the Clean Power Plan. These Attorneys General are not alone, as critics of the plan have spanned the political spectrum, from conservatives, to noted Obama supporter Professor Laurence Tribe of the Harvard Law School, who notably called the EPA’s approach “unconstitutional,”

Unfortunately, Adam Laxalt is not yet among the Attorneys General leading the effort against this costly and crippling plan. We urge him to approach the plan with a critical eye, and to study the potential results of implementing the CPP. With numerous legal minds calling the constitutionality of the CPP into question, Nevada would certainly benefit from conducting its own review.

The Obama administration, perhaps sensing that there might be resistance to the CPP, has offered states delays for implementing the plan in return for compliance. However, the long-term health of Nevada and its people, not political expediency, should guide the decisions of state leaders in regards to the CPP. Delaying the plan will not change the fact that the CPP is simply not right for Nevada’s families. Adam Laxalt should join his fellow Attorneys General and stand up to this economically catastrophic plan. The future of Nevada and its people depends on it.