Congress fights back against EPA and necessarily skyrocket of energy costs

** As written previously by Michael “Vass” Vasquez for Binghamton Political Buzz **

While on December 1, 2015, many in New York State and across the nation were focused on the less than surprising news that former NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted on corruption charges action affecting jobs and income were taking place. Democrats in the House of Representatives, and Rep. Richard Hanna (one of only 10 Republicans to once again support Democrat issues) voted on H Res 539 in a move seen by some to hamstring jobs while taking money out of the pocket of the public along the way. The 178 votes, in line with President Obama’s personal and partisan view that climate change is the singular most important threat to the world, were defeated by 235 Republicans and Democrats seeking to thwart the EPA.

State fighting EPA regulations

The issue at hand is the new regulations imposed in October by the EPA – Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units. These new regulations, targeted at coal power plants, are part of the broad climate change agenda that President Obama and Democrats have championed since 2008. As President Obama promised in his initial election campaign,

“Under my plan … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket… Whatever the industry was they will have to retrofit their operations. They will pass that money on to consumers.”

The Cap and Trade plan of President Obama failed to engender support among the people and lawmakers in the nation. But while that legislation died, President Obama followed up by doing what has now become a standard of his presidency. He bypassed Congress and the public, enacting his personal partisan view via regulations directly from the EPA.

Cap and Trade died in the Senate two years ago, leaving the EPA to take on greenhouse gas emissions on its own — all stick, no carrot…” – Politico, April 2012

That process of bypassing the will of the public through Executive Branch power grabs continued in October as the EPA set standards that would cut emissions. Estimates from 2014 on the impact of these changes predict that it will cost 224,000 American jobs every year for the next 15 years. In addition, consumers would be paying $289 billion more in electricity costs (an average of $963 per man woman and child in the nation). According to a report by the Heritage foundation in July 2015, the situation does not get better. That report found that,

“…electricity prices will increase by an average of 12 percent between 2017 and 2031… By 2030, the costs would be: An average annual employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs; A total income loss of more than $7,000 (inflation-adjusted) per person.”

Senior citizens and much needed manufacturing jobs would be high on the list of those most affected by the EPA regulation changes, according to that report. The net result to the climate, in exchange for this loss of jobs, increased costs to American families, and added pressure on seniors and manufacturers would be negligible.

In fact, assuming a 100% cut to CO2 emissions by the US, far greater than what the EPA is forcing on the nation without input from Congress, in addition to a 100% cut by the rest of the industrialized world will still not hit the target reduction in global temperatures mandated by President Obama in his 14 minute usurping of the stage in Paris, according to the Heritage report. This agrees with a 2014 CATO Institute prediction, using the EPA’s computer models, that shows a miniscule reduction in 100 years from the Clean Air Act regulations.  Further, as reported in the Wall Street Journal on December 1, 2015,

“Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studied the INDCs that have been released so far and concluded that temperatures in 2100 will rise 3.7 degrees Celsius if they are followed to the letter. Then again, these are the same scientific models that predicted much higher temperatures than we’ve had.”


Those defending the EPA, President Obama, and the predicted loss of American jobs, had little to say in its defense. Rep. Richard Hanna, one of 10 Republicans to side with Democrats, offered his constituents little comfort as he took actions many of his voters object. Rep. Hanna stated that,

“I voted against this resolution because although this particular rule is deeply flawed, we should not tie our hands from promulgating responsible, market-based rules to reduce carbon emissions.”

Why a sitting member of Congress would promote a regulation that is, as he says, “deeply flawed” and a part of a plan to “necessarily skyrocket” energy costs for an idea that cannot accomplish the end goal of partisan climate change supporters is questionable. Some may conclude that this is part of a strategy for the upcoming 2016 congressional race for the NY 22nd congressional district.

Rep. Richard Hanna has yet to state if he will run for re-election. Speculation has been made on the Left that Rep. Hanna may fully abandon the Republican Party, and the solidly Republican district he represents, to seek the Democrat or Independence voting lines. This vote in support of Democrats could be a move to circumvent Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, who has stated that he is considering running in 2016 – until he backtracked that statement a 2 days later. Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, who has officially announced her run for the Republican nomination for the NY-22 race, issued a press release on the vote December 2, 2015,

“Many studies have shown that these costly regulations will fail to produce any meaningful impact on our climate or improvement to our environment… This deeply flawed plan will hurt the American worker by forcing businesses, who will be hit hard by an increased cost in energy, to pack up and move to countries where operating costs are lower.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, in discussing the vote, stated the large majority of Republicans in Congress and the public understand the nature of the issue at hand. He went on to say,

“I think when you weigh the costs and benefits against these so-called legally binding obligations they don’t’ add up. I think it’s very clear people want jobs.”

In addition to the move to protect jobs and keep energy stabilized via H Res 539, 26 States have sued the EPA. The lawsuits contend that the Clean Air Act (which includes the provisions Congress has voted against) is “one of the most far-reaching energy regulations in this nation’s history,” as stated by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. The total number of State legislatures that have enacted and/or proposed Bills due to the EPA’s regulations is 32.

About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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