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Obama carbon rule hurts Idaho

Last week the EPA issued its new carbon rule, which requires power plants to cut their carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030, compared to 2005. Obama’s new rule is undemocratic, massively expensive, and it treats Idaho unfairly.

Obama issued the EPA rule without a vote of Congress. In fact, Congress specifically rejected this anti-carbon program in 2010. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader of the U.S. Senate, may have summed it up best when he said, “It’s clear that the president is trying to impose this national energy tax via executive order because he knows the representatives of the people would never vote for it.”

The new rule hurts the American economy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s report on the new rule, Assessing the Impact of Potential New Carbon Regulations in the United States, concludes that the rule will cost America’s economy more than $50 billion a year between now and 2030 as well as lead to 224,000 fewer jobs on average every year through 2030. Maybe $50 billion seems like a small number to a government that is more than $17 trillion in debt, but it will cost real jobs and hurt American businesses.

As often is the case, Idaho gets punished by the federal government for doing it the right way — relying on renewable energy sources for the vast majority of our power production. Idaho, where 76 percent of our in-state electrical generation is from hydro, will see significant energy cost increases. Other states have already announced plans to sue the EPA when the mandate goes into effect.

There is a better way. Through its top-down approach, the EPA is taking away the ability of states like Idaho to initiate and implement plans suitable to our unique conditions. Instead of partnering with states, the Obama Administration continues to force politically motivated mandates down the throats of 50 states — diverse in their energy production and their politics. Instead of an undemocratic mandate, the federal government should be working with the states to develop clean, reliable and politically stable sources of energy.

Senator Curt McKenzie (R, Dist. 13, Boise), Co-Chair, Energy, Environment & Technology interim committee.

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