Debate Intensifies Before EPA Releases New Rules for Power Plants

Both sides are coming out swinging, days before President Obama and EPA Administrator McCarthy release a long-awaited power plant rule on Monday. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a new report concluding the rule would cost $50 billion annually.

The Chamber's study, "Assessing the Impact of Proposed New Carbon Regulations in the United States", written by Chamber’s "Institute for 21st Century Energy," is squarely aimed to weaken or scuttle Obama's landmark climate initiative when it is released on June 2, writes Benjamin Goad, whose report also appears on video,

The institute's report concludes that the forthcoming regulations could diminish the nation’s coal-fired energy capabilities by a third, as plants unable to meet the new standards shutter. (It) says as many as 224,000 jobs would be eliminated annually through 2030 under the proposal.

EPA was quick to respond. "(T)he Chamber’s report is nothing more than irresponsible speculation based on guesses of what our draft proposal will be.  Just to be clear—it’s not out yet. I strongly suggest that folks read the proposal before they cry the sky is falling," blogs Tom Reynolds.

In fact, the Chamber's study was "based on the framework of a proposal offered by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a major proponent of the plan, according to Goad. "NRDC is poised to issue its own, competing report, which is expected to draw starkly different conclusions — including predictions of more jobs, and major public health benefits."

When the Chamber released their report, the President was addressing West Point graduates - and speaking to the importance of tackling climate change. 

Using strong rhetoric, Obama called the warming climate a "creeping national security crisis" that will shape the West Point graduates’ time in uniform.

More and more, he said, troops will be called on to respond to "refugee flows, natural disasters, and conflicts over water and food."

It's not just the Chamber of Commerce that will be watching to see what is included in the President's "climate legacy" initiative, as Bloomberg News termed it. Nations throughout the world will as well, writes Coral Davenport of The New York Times on May 26. Calling America's "relative inaction as the greatest obstacle to international efforts to slow climate change", perhaps none more than China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases since 2006, has more at stake.

“I am closely watching this. This standard is the real test of how serious the Obama climate action plan really is,” said Qi Ye, director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy and Climate Policy Center at Tsinghua University in China.

“If the standard is really stringent, that will make a difference in the domestic debate in China,” Mr. Qi said.

Full Story: Chamber: Costs of EPA climate rule could top $50 billion a year

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