Steve King on the Clean Power Plan

(Sad but not surprising that King is so misinformed about the Clean Power Plan's targets for Iowa. Thanks to cocinero for reaching out to his representative and sharing the correspondence. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

Steve King has been in denial about climate change for years. He has said that global warming is not happening, and he doesn’t accept the role of CO2 in the greenhouse effect. Since the main purpose of the Clean Power Plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, King’s opposition to the plan would be expected. Nevertheless, I think global warming leading to climate disruption is a huge problem that must be addressed. The Clean Power Plan is an important step in the right direction. King is my rep, so I sent him an email asking him to support the Plan.

King responded by email on August 4, the day after the final version of the Clean Power Plan was released. (The text of his response is below.) He stated four objections to the Plan. He called the deadlines “unrealistic.” He said the Plan will increase costs which will be passed along to end users. King claimed the EPA exceeded its authority by passing regulatory standards “without the approval of Congress.” And he said the plan will cost jobs. All wrong.

King’s August 4 email:

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule to regulate greenhouse gases (GHG) and other carbon emissions under the authority of the Clean Air Act. It is good to hear from you.

As you may know, in June 2014 the EPA proposed the Clean Power Plan, and is currently working on the final rule that would regulate GHG and other carbon emissions from power plants. The rule stems from President Obama’s recent Climate Action Plan that was announced with China to reduce carbon emissions. The President’s plan proposes to reduce GHG emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The EPA’s rule proposes state-specific goals with unrealistic deadlines that will drastically increase costs to local power plants. These are costs that will ultimately be passed on to end-users.

The EPA has long worked to pass regulatory emissions standards without the approval of Congress. Regulations from the EPA limit our nation’s ability to harness our natural resources, and have a harmful impact on hard-working families. These burdensome regulations lead to higher energy costs and future job losses. I believe we need to rein in the EPA’s regulatory authority, and I will look for every opportunity to support legislation that does just that. As the EPA continues to work on finalization of this damaging rule, I will do all that I can to prevent its implementation.

At least King did not claim that greenhouse gas emissions are not a problem.

I sent King an email in response so he can see the error of his ways (not that it will do any good). It was also sent August 4.

Thank you for your response to my email urging you to support the Clean Power Plan.

I think you are mistaken on four points.You wrote, “EPA’s rule proposes state-specific goals with unrealistic deadlines that will drastically increase costs to local power plants.”  In the final version of the Plan just released, the deadlines were moved back and made more flexible. Far from being unrealistic, it has been widely reported that Iowa will have little difficulty meeting the goals of the plan.

Regarding costs, It is far less costly to replace aging coal-fired power plants with wind farms and/or natural gas power plants than it would be to build new coal-fired power plants. (Your support for wind energy has helped make this possible.) There is a lot of evidence indicating that the changes required by the Clean Power Plan (some of which are already occurring) will not increase electric bills to consumers. Iowans will actually be better off as some of the externalized health costs of coal are reduced.

On jobs: The Clean Power Plan will add to the growing number of Iowa jobs in the wind and solar industries.  This will more than offset job losses in the coal industry which will not be a factor in Iowa. There hasn’t been a commercial coal mine in Iowa for more than 60 years.

The EPA has the authority to issue emission standards under the Clean Air Act which was passed by Congress. Their authority has been adjudicated.

Given these facts, I hope you will reconsider your opposition to the Clean Power Plan. It is good for Iowa’s economy, good for Iowans’ health, and good for our grandkids.

Thank you for considering my request.

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