Letter: Opposed to the EPA proposed rule?
The EPA has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require the states to come up with plans to reduce the carbon emissions of power plants by 30 percent by 2030. This has the potential of increasing the costs of electricity to Virginia citizens.
For a change, the EPA is not telling states how to meet the targets; it is performance-based rather than dictatorial. They are letting us choose how to comply with the rule. The EPA focuses on four “building blocks” for the best system of emissions reductions: (1) improving efficiency of coal plants; (2) switching to natural gas; (3) increasing renewables, and (4) reducing demand.
The EPA estimates that for every $1 invested in complying with the rule, Americans will reap $7 in health benefits.
However, it is still a regulation and a potential expansion of government bureaucracy.
So, what is the alternative? How can we reduce emissions without inflicting pain on households?
The answer is a nationwide steadily-rising fee on carbon-based fuels that returns the revenue to the public. This market-based solution is favored by a number a number of conservatives, including:
—Art Laffer, Reagan’s economic advisor
—Greg Mankiw, advisor to George W. Bush and Mitt Romney
—George Shultz, Secretary of State under Reagan
A revenue-neutral carbon fee makes fossil fuels pay their true costs to society. It corrects the distortion in the free market that gives dirty energy an edge over clean technology and will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have shown that returning carbon tax revenue to households will enable Americans to make this transition without economic pain and will increase jobs.
Conservatives in Congress looking for an alternative to more EPA regulations should consider the market-based approach of a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend. This would obsolete the proposed regulation.
Gregory T. Haugan, PhD
Citizens’ Climate Lobby