Obama turning up the heat on Tennesseans


June 13, 2014 11:28AM

Last week, the Obama administration announced new carbon emissions standards for existing power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal seeks to cut emissions across the board by 30 percent between now and 2030. Like most power grabs by this administration, the mandate would skirt congressional approval and be implemented through the rulemaking process, further eroding the checks and balances that are supposed to exist in our nation. The rules are expected to be convoluted at best—the proposal currently stands at 645 pages. So what would the impact of this new mandate be on the average American? According to the Heritage Foundation, the rule will slash a family of four’s income by $1,200 a year. Overall electricity rates will balloon by $289 billion nationwide, causing GDP to fall by a massive $2.3 trillion, and costing 600,000 people their jobs. Based on its percentage of the overall workforce, that accounts for 12,000 Tennessee jobs lost. But it will likely be far worse. Here in Tennessee, the mandate would force an even greater reduction in carbon emissions of 39 percent. So, despite grim predictions for the nation as a whole, the Volunteer State is likely to take a harder hit since we are more reliant on coal than the national average. In fact, only 12 states will be faced with a higher reduction mandate. Some would say reducing carbon emissions is a noble goal, but we don’t need government mandates to reduce our carbon output. For instance, TVA reports that it has already reduced emissions by 30 percent since 2005 and has set a goal of a 40 percent reduction by 2020, and it has done so without compulsion. Thus, rather than a common sense solution to a major problem, the EPA mandate represents just another battle in the war on prosperity by naïve ideologues in the Obama administration. It’s incumbent that state Attorneys General respond with appropriate action. AGs are in a unique position to protect the principle of federalism from this encroachment. Several have answered the call, including those in Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, and West Virginia. Currently, Tennessee’s AG is sitting on the sidelines, just like he did when 26 other states pushed back against Obamacare. Fortunately, there’s talk in the legislature of compelling action, with state Rep. Glen Casada leading the charge. Let’s hope our state steps up to the challenge before the heat starts rising on Tennesseans. -Justin Owen Enjoy the Beacon blog? Help us keep it going with a tax-deductible gift.