Energy & Environment

Battleground senate states hardest hit by climate regs

Battleground senate states hardest hit by climate regs

This article originally appeared on heartland.org.

The Obama administration’s proposed carbon dioxide restrictions will impose their highest costs on states with key U.S. Senate races this November. The restrictions, which do not apply uniformly across the nation, threaten to doom the chances of Democratic Senate candidates arguing their party identification gives them extra leverage with the Obama administration.

Under the proposed restrictions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assigns each state a different emissions reduction requirement. The state of Washington, for example, will have to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide its power plants emit per MWh of electricity by 72% while North Dakota will have to reduce its emissions by just 11%.

Washington is required to make the largest cut in carbon dioxide emissions even though it currently produces more than 70 percent of its electricity from emissions-free sources. Washington will be allowed to emit only 215 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity generated North Dakota will be allowed to emit 1,783 pounds per MWh.

In Senate battleground states, the Obama administration’s emissions reduction requirements are particularly stringent. Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia will all have to reduce their emissions by more than the 30% national average reduction.

Many states will be forced to shut down perfectly good coal-fired power plants to meet their emissions requirements. Shutting down fully functional power plants merely to force the expensive construction of replacement power plants will cause electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket,” as candidate Barack Obama promised years ago would happen. And even in the limited circumstances where new power plants would be necessary anyway, coal is the least expensive widely available source of electricity. Choosing natural gas, nuclear, wind, or solar for expanding electricity production will be substantially more expensive than choosing coal.

States that have started down this path by imposing renewable power mandates are experiencing electricity price increases much more rapid than the national average. The Obama administration’s proposal will accelerate electricity price inflation and force that inflation on states that have chosen not to guarantee market share for the renewable power lobby.

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