In the Heartland, Clean Power Draws Praise

August 12, 2015


The American Wind Energy Association surveyed 30 newspapers across the country on reactions to the President’s Clean Power Plan, developed to fight climate change and promote renewable, clean energy.

Of the 30, only Rupert Murdoch’s Wall St. Journal, Reverend Moon’s Washington Times, and the troglodytic Detroit News were dissenters – Americans want cleaner air for their communities, and a living planet for their children.

Dallas Morning News:

Conservatives should be cheering, not fighting this approach. The targets are attainable, and free-market advocates should like a plan built on choices and options…The best part of the plan is that states and utilities will be allowed to customize solutions instead of being forced into a single federal remedy. States are free to cap carbon emissions, expand renewable energy sources or even collaborate. States also have until 2022, two years longer than initially proposed, to begin phasing in pollution cuts to ease the impact of the transition. What is overreaching about a plan that allows each state to decide how best to proceed and gives them 15 years to reach the targets?”

Des Moines Register:

“…[U]tilities are diversifying into renewable energy sources, including wind and solar. Indeed, Iowa is already at least halfway to meeting the EPA 2030 goal in part due to the strong support for wind generation in this state. Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy says it plans to have a total of 4,000 megawatts of renewable generation capacity by 2017, which the company said could serve “up to 57 percent of its retail energy load”.

Detroit Free Press:

“Several contenders for the Republican presidential nomination have already announced opposition to the plan, warning that it could raise utility bills for consumers in states that rely heavily on coal-fired plants. But Michigan and 34 other states have already increased renewable-energy production without unleashing the rate hikes many clean-energy foes predicted, and the Michigan-based Institute for Energy Innovation argues in a paper released last week that complying with the new rules could actually save utility customers money.”

Tampa Bay Times:

“In Florida, where power plants released 108 million metric tons of carbon pollution in 2013, the cuts could especially help those suffering from asthma, allergies and other illnesses. With Tampa, Miami and other Florida cities already experiencing a surge in the number of 95-degree days, removing these pollutants will result in cleaner air for people, livestock and crops.”

Kansas City Star:

“The laudable goals are healthier air, a lowered risk of climate change and less costly long-term costs of producing power to run America.”

Toledo Blade:

“Ohio, the fifth-largest carbon polluter in the country, will have to reduce its emissions 28 percent below 2012 levels by 2030 — a smaller reduction than many other states will be held to. State regulators will be allowed to create their own plan to achieve that goal, choosing from options such as increasing renewable energy production and trading emissions credits with other states, a market-based system that has drawn bipartisan support.”

Philadelphia Inquirer:

“Opponents of the new emissions plan are calling attention to the jobs in coal and supporting industries that will be lost once the EPA rules go into effect. But a recent Economic Policy Institute analysis indicates that there would be a net gain in employment due to jobs created in the clean-energy and conservation sectors. In other words, instead of fighting the emissions plan, the governors who oppose it should be putting down their bullhorns and picking up their phones to talk new energy companies into coming to their states to help absorb expected job losses. Workers facing unemployment can be retrained for clean-energy jobs, especially in technical fields that could grow significantly. There’s no need for this country to act like some dinosaur waiting for climate change to make it extinct. The Clean Power Plan will help accelerate the development of clean, safe, and profitable energy sources that wean us off toxic fuels.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

A study done at Georgia Tech found that some states will see electric bills go down as utilities move to gas and renewables and aggressively pursue energy efficiencies. Utilities can get greenhouse gas reduction credits without constructing expensive new gas-fired generation stations… In short, this doesn’t have to be the economic doomsday scenario…[m]odest, affordable steps can make a difference. New jobs can be created in renewable energy fields. Or we can pander and stall, and present the grandchildren with a real doomsday scenario.”

Akron Beacon-Journal:

“The efficiency standards would help to offset price increases that may arise from compliance. Critics of pollution controls long have issued dire warnings. Yet the record shows the benefits of curbing emissions have far outpaced the costs. The country even has gained from innovations in technology, something job-challenged Ohio should bear in mind.”

The Baltimore Sun:

“The president’s plan will create state-based caps on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants that will amount to a 32 percent reduction on 2005 levels by 2030. Though it doesn’t explicitly tell states how to achieve that, the plan is expected to strongly encourage state or regional cap-and-trade systems in which a price is set on carbon emissions and polluters are required to buy credits to cover their activities, with the proceeds reinvested in energy efficiency, carbon-free electric generation and rate credits for consumers, among other things. Maryland and eight other northeastern states have been doing that since 2008 through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, better known as RGGI. Untangling the impact of RGGI on consumers’ electric bills would be a difficult task, given that the collaborative’s existence has coincided with the shale gas boom, which has driven down the cost of generation, and with the recession, which helped reduce demand. But it is safe to say it has not led to anything like the doomsday the president’s critics are predicting.Average electric bills in the RGGI states have declined by 8 percent since 2008during a period when the national average bill has not changed. Whatever the cost of the pollution credits, they have been more than made up for by investments in energy efficiency…And what about the region’s economy? A third-party analysis this summer pegged RGGI’s benefits at $1.3 billion for the nine states and estimated that RGGI had created 14,000 new jobs.”


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