Because of a stagnant Congress, President Obama used executive authority to force the energy industry to cut carbon emissions from 26-30 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. The move came swiftly and Republicans’ heads are spinning because of it. But should we really expect anything else from the GOP?
GOP reaction to the new EPA rule is nothing short of textbook. The corporate-friendly U.S. Chamber of Commerce compiled a fear-mongering report discussing the projected, economic impact of the new EPA rule. There’s a huge problem with the report, however. The Chamber’s report was completed without even studying the 645-page document outlining the provisions of the EPA rule.
In classic GOP fashion, the right spoke up and made an opinion in a kneejerk reaction without considering all the facts. But this time, they Republicans didn’t look at any facts at all. That fact is that the EPA projected energy costs in 2030 to be eight percent lower than if the rule were never implemented.
Also, the misinformed Chamber of Commerce report vastly overshot its number on the actual goal of the carbon emission cuts. Before Obama announced the 30 percent cut, the Chamber insisted, with blind certainty, that the cuts would be 42 percent. According to the report, “The 42 percent reduction figure was chosen because, to date, it remains the only publicly announced Administration GHG [Greenhouse Gas protocol] reduction goal for 2030. The Administration has not said whether or how this goal might be modified.”
The report was an attempted hack job on the EPA rule, and a shoddy one at that. On whether the goal is modified, well, it has been “modified” and as to the how, Obama simply made the goal 30 instead of 42, as the Chamber insisted. Republicans are also decrying the new EPA rule saying that it’s going to be “so expensive” and will kill jobs.
What’s odd is that conservative politicians are making a bigger fuss than the energy companies. While the many in the GOP are making claims that the new rule will cause an economic and employment doomsday, those concerns have been pretty modest among companies.
The rule will put a substantial dent in several companies’ coal dependency, however, many are also prepared for the new changes. Great River Energy, a large energy producer in the northern midwest, uses coal to produce 94 percent of its electricity. But the new EPA regulations didn’t seem to bother vice president Eric Olson.
“We’ve been preparing for this rule,” said Olson. “The partisan debate in response to the rule is going to go on. The legal debate is going to go on. We have a utility to run and we are focused on that.”
The Administration actually made a good, beneficial call. And the the Republicans are wanting to obstruct it and gum up the works like they always do. Meanwhile, energy companies, a group mostly favored by the GOP, are actually rolling up their sleeves and ready to comply with the carbon emission cut.