65.1 F
60.5 F
62.9 F
61.1 F

AG Strange: Obama’s latest radical environmentalist EPA rule will cost 16,000 Alabama jobs (Opinion)

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange
Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange

President Obama just announced the latest step in a radical environmentalist agenda that has already given us the Solyndra boondoggle, wasted billions on green energy projects that do not work, and threatened the jobs of everyone who relies on the coal industry. But his Environmental Protection Agency’s newest raft of top-down regulations is the worst yet. If allowed to go forward, it will shutter coal-fired power plants, cost consumers hundreds of dollars a year in increased energy bills, and result in thousands of hard-working Americans losing their jobs.

President Obama has a history of disregarding the huge costs of his agency’s regulations. In 2012, EPA launched its most recent attack on coal with a major regulation designed to cripple the industry. Under the EPA’s own estimates, the cost of that regulation would have outweighed the benefit by a factor of 2 to 1. Astonishingly, the EPA argued that the cost of the regulation was irrelevant. My office disagreed, and we joined with 22 other states to challenge the EPA in court. We won that case, and the United States Supreme Court sent a message to the administration that it could not issue massive new regulations without any consideration for the cost those actions would impose on the American people. It’s a message that apparently fell on deaf ears.

The EPA’s newest regulation is far more draconian than its last. Initial estimates indicate that the rule will increase the average annual energy bill of Alabama households by more than $800 by 2020. It will increase the total annual cost of energy in Alabama by $5.2 billion. And it will threaten the jobs of the more than 16,000 hard-working men and women in our state who depend on the coal industry.

And for what? The costs of this rule are concrete. We’ll see them in our monthly electric bills. We’ll see them in our unemployment rate. We’ll see them in shuttered coal-fired power plants and in an energy grid that may not have the capacity to meet Alabama’s energy needs. But we won’t see the benefits. The administration cannot point to one concrete benefit that will accrue to the people of Alabama because of this regulation. This is a giveaway to President Obama’s supporters in the green energy industry and the environmental lobby, and nothing more.

In 2008, Barack Obama promised that when he became president, he would bankrupt the coal industry. If unchallenged, the EPA’s newest regulation on our nation’s energy sector will go far in making that promise a reality. But we aren’t going to sit back and allow it to go unchallenged. Instead, we are joining with a coalition of states from across the country to take this latest example of the Obama administration’s destructive agenda to court.

Our argument will be a simple one—the EPA cannot ignore the law, and it must consider the cost when it acts.

The people of Alabama deserve nothing less.

Luther Strange is the Attorney General of Alabama

Don’t miss out!  Subscribe today to have Alabama’s leading headlines delivered to your inbox.