EPA's proposed carbon rule hits most vulnerable hardest

epa-logo_edited-1The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed carbon rule is the latest in a series of regulations that will increase the cost of electricity and natural gas at a time when wages are stagnant and a lot of people are struggling to get by.

According to a recently released study, if this new carbon rule is imposed, the average Utah family’s electric bill will go up by $124 and their gas bill will increase by $266 annually, for a total of $32.50 per month. If you don’t think that’s a meaningful amount, then you’re out of touch with a lot of Utah families that are living paycheck to paycheck and are all too often faced with a choice between heating their houses or buying groceries for their children.

These regulations are a backdoor tax plain and simple, and the most regressive and punishing kind possible. It may not hurt you or me to pay an extra few bucks a month to satisfy an environmental feel-good agenda, the results of which will have absolutely no measurable impact on the global climate. But it does hurt the most vulnerable among us. It forces them to pay a larger percentage of their paycheck for everyday needs like heat and electricity, cutting into what disposable income they may have and harming not just their quality of life but also their ability to live. It’s despicable and the height of hypocrisy for ivory tower do-gooders to inflict real pain and suffering on others so that they can enjoy a clear global warming conscience in the comfort of their beautiful homes and SUVs.

This new rule, if it survives the legal and political challenges that are sure to come, also tips the balance of power from Utah’s government and agencies to bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

Under the tenets of cooperative federalism, D.C. regulators have traditionally offered states the opportunity to meet federal standards, and even to have inputs into the making of those standards. Not so with the carbon rule. The EPA is presenting a ‘my way or the highway’ approach that offers states a rope with which to hang themselves and a threat to shoot them if they don’t cooperate. That’s not how it’s supposed to work, and it’s insulting that they think they know what’s best for each state and community at any rate.

The Utah Public Service Commission and its antecedents has had sole jurisdiction to oversee the state’s electricity retail electricity market since 1917—more than a half century before the EPA was formed. But apparently they don’t believe Utah’s regulators learned anything in that period and so now must be told how to do their jobs.

In truth, D.C. bureaucrats don’t know (or care) what’s best for Utah. They answer to a different master. And if we don’t push back against their overreaching control, we’ll find our state government is just a branch office of the for-profit environmental industry and their federal employees.