Study: New Clean Air Regulations Will Increase Poverty Among Blacks, Hispanics

Published November 4, 2015

A study from the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) forecasts the Obama administration’s new clean power plan (CPP) rules, aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the electric power sector, will decrease employment and increase the poverty rate in black and Hispanic communities across the United States.

NBCC President Harry Alford calls the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) CPP “a slap in the face to poor and minority families.” 

CPP ‘Increases Costs, Unemployment’

The study found CPP will more than double the cost of natural gas and electricity for consumers, adding more than $1 trillion to family and business energy bills by 2035. In addition, the study found CPP will reduce U.S. economic growth every year it is in force, causing $2.3 trillion in lost economic growth over the next two decades alone.

The study predicts CPP, finalized in August, will cause job losses topping seven million for blacks and 12 million for Hispanics, as businesses unable to compete in the face of higher energy costs close or cut back operations. The study estimates the resulting decline in jobs and wages will cause the poverty rate in the black community to rise by 23 percent.

In addition, because those with the lowest incomes spend a greater portion of their income on energy and energy-related goods than middle-income earners or the relatively wealthy, higher energy prices resulting from CPP will have a disparate impact on blacks and Hispanics, both of whom make up a disproportionate segment of the poor in the United States.

Green ‘Discrimination’

Deneen Borell, author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation, told The Daily Caller on October 7, 2014, CPP is a form of discrimination based on radical environmental values, “the green movement’s new Jim Crow.” 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a leading Senate Democrat, criticized CPP, according to a July 4 Townhall article, saying, “A lot of people on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum are going to die [as a result of the plan.]”

Researchers at the LIBRE Initiative, a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to advancing the principles and values of economic freedom to empower the U.S. Hispanic community, say the nation’s Hispanic population faces serious repercussions if CPP is implemented. LIBRE Initiative Policy Director Carli Diminio says 23 percent of Hispanics currently live below the poverty line, and the NBCC study indicates poverty among the nation’s Hispanic community will rise by 26 percent as a result of the Obama administration’s new restrictions.

“Those who won’t lose their jobs will still feel the tug on their pockets, as the increased costs will make up a part of their expenses,” said Diminio. “What’s worse, the costly plan has been estimated to have little impact when it comes to the stated goal of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

“This plan seems to be politically motivated, rather than a genuine effort to help our nation,” said Diminio.

Kyle Maichle ([email protected]) is the project manager at the Center for Constitutional Reform at The Heartland Institute and Peter Ferrara is a senior fellow ([email protected]) at The Heartland Institute.

Internet Item

Management Information Services, “Potential Impact of Proposed EPA Regulations on Low Income Groups and Minorities,” National Black Chamber of Commerce, June 2015;