While speaking before an audience in Kentucky’s coal country on Monday, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt reiterated the Obama-era “war on coal is over” and announced the Trump administration will scrap the Clean Power Plan (CPP). CPP was a keystone of the Obama administration’s effort to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants, especially coal-fired plants. One day later, in Washington, DC, Pruitt formally signed the proposed rule.
Since its enactment in 2015, CPP has faced significant legal challenges, notably in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court, the latter which issued a stay on the implementation of the plan in February 2016.
Pruitt’s decision will be welcomed by the 28 states and more than 120 companies and organizations that challenged the constitutional authority of the EPA to implement CPP. Some of the 20 states that continued work on their CPP compliance plans after the Supreme Court stay are expected to continue with their plans, including California, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington State.
Many energy and environment experts, including numerous experts who will be speaking at The Heartland Institute’s upcoming America First Energy Conference, applauded Pruitt’s decision in a Heartland press release.
“The war on fossil fuels is nearing an end,” said Heartland Institute President Tim Huelskamp, a former congressman from Kansas. “This is a wise, science-based decision by Administrator Scott Pruitt and President Donald Trump. The real winners here are not only coal miners and coal states, but all those Americans who simply can’t afford massive increases in their energy bills as a result of the Clean Power Plan.”
Heartland Research Fellow Isaac Orr says CPP would never have fulfilled its primary purpose of curbing global warming. “CPP would have had zero measurable effects on future global temperatures. … CPP would have averted a mere 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100, an amount too small to accurately measure with even the most sophisticated scientific equipment,” Orr said.
Commenting on the economic consequences that would have resulted from the implementation of CPP, Heartland Policy Analyst Tim Benson said, “The Clean Power Plan was a massive regulation that would have raised electricity prices by double digits each year and cost consumers up to $40 billion annually.”
States should continue to move away from implementing CPP and instead focus on policies that are pro-environment, pro-energy, and pro-jobs.
What We’re Working On
Most Indiana Parents Are Satisfied with School Choice, but Many Still Don’t Know Choice Programs Exist
In this Research & Commentary, Policy Analyst Tim Benson writes about a new EdChoice survey that examines responses from more than 1,000 respondents who have participated in the Hoosier State’s Choice Scholarship Program (voucher) or School Scholarship Tax Credit program. It found 86 percent of the respondents are satisfied with the voucher program and 83 percent are satisfied with the tax-credit scholarship program. Only 8 percent and 4 percent said they are dissatisfied with the programs, respectively. The survey also questioned parents of district public school or charter school students. Thirty-nine percent of the 1,452 respondents who identified as parents of a child in a district public school were unaware of Indiana’s two private-school choice programs. Thirty-six percent of the 210 respondents who said they are parents of children attending a charter school gave the same answer. These numbers were so high that one of the authors said they came as a “shock.”
Energy & Environment
A Viewer’s Guide to NatGeo’s ‘From the Ashes’: Why It Belongs in the Ashes
A recent documentary produced by National Geographic, titled From the Ashes, serves as a near-perfect example of the ongoing war against coal. This Heartland Institute Policy Brief, authored by James H. Rust, a retired professor of nuclear engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Edward Hudgins, Heartland’s research director, separates fact from fiction and concludes: “From the Ashes offers an out-of-context and inaccurate perspective that will mislead rather than enlighten minds about the history and future of one of the country’s most abundant energy resources.”
Utah Should Continue to Reject Medicaid Expansion
In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines a new ballot proposal in Utah that would expand the state’s Medicaid program. “Utah lawmakers should continue to resist Medicaid expansion and instead reform their fiscally unsustainable program in ways that would offer better care to enrollees and lower costs for taxpayers. Fortunately for Utah policymakers, there is an option available to them that can help create greater access to high-quality, more-affordable health care without increasing state budgets or the national debt: Section 1115 waivers,” wrote Glans.
Budget & Tax
Blocking Local Grocery Taxes Is the Right Path for Michigan
In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines proposed legislation in Michigan that would ban local governments from imposing grocery taxes. “Grocery taxes are unpopular, regressive, and play a key role in denying low-income families the nutritious food they need to stay healthy. Preventing local governments from imposing these burdensome taxes on families is the right path for Michigan,” wrote Glans.
From Our Free-Market Friends
Needed: Consumer Access to Capital
In a recent Texas Public Policy Foundation Policy Brief, Olivia Krog and Bill Peacock write about the need for cash-strapped Americans to have access to liquid capital. They argue excess regulation of short-term consumer loans has restricted the supply of the loans, even while demand for them has increased. Krog and Peacock say transactions that would have taken place if consumers had access to these loans are not realized, which leaves buyers and sellers worse off than they would otherwise be. The researchers recommend allowing property owners to initiate a tax lien loan before their taxes become delinquent and eliminating local regulation of payday and auto title lenders to help improve access to liquid capital.