One must also consider the fact that the EPA should not be allowed to write federal implementation plans for each state. One example that perfectly demonstrates the federal government’s failed attempt to implement national plans on a state level is Obamacare. The failed Obamacare exchanges show the federal government does not have the resources or ability to create or execute such plans. Not only does the federal government lack the ability to execute, it has consistently demonstrated that it is not in a position to know what is best for each state. As with Obamacare, the federal government is counting on states to be a willing accomplice in the takeover of their energy industry.
The second point in resistance is that Congress needs to act, or in this case, not act. The simple reality is that the current configuration of Congress limits what can be accomplished. Next January, the appropriations process may be the battlefield of choice, but for now, the ability of Congress to block the President’s latest power grab is suspect at best. But they could make it worse.
All legislative action regarding the proposed rule should be measured
against a simple test: does it facilitate and encourage the federal takeover of the electricity sector or does it empower the states to maintain their authority?
One immediate way that measurement will come into play – and an area where Congress could complicate efforts to beat back the rule – is the pending extension of the taxpayer subsidy for wind power, known in Washingtonspeak as the “Wind Production Tax Credit” or PTC. Measured against our test, it is obvious that the appropriate action for Congress is to vote against the extension. Extending the misguided federal wind subsidy will only aid the Obama Administration in executing the takeover.
Subsidizing wind power is a fundamentally bad idea, but it also makes life more expensive. Ratepayers from states with renewable portfolio mandates pay 20 percent more on average for electricity than residents from states without such mandates. The goal of Obama’s proposed rule is to force all states to adopt such mandates. In effect, this will increase their electricity costs so they are on the same level as states that have already accepted green energy mandates.
One problem that several states are seeing is that they cannot comply with their own laws without extending the federal wind subsidy. If the subsidy is not extended, most states will be forced to repeal or reduce their own mandates, thereby lowering costs to consumers. They would then have to look to clean coal, natural gas or nuclear power to meet their compliance goals under the President’s climate plan.
This option would ultimately benefit ratepayers and the broader economy, and would serve as clear notice that Congress and the states do not intend to allow the Administration to move forward with its takeover of the electricity sector.
In order to avoid the federal takeover of the electricity sector, Congress needs to resist the temptation to extend the wind power subsidy.