Texas Politicos Rattle Their Sabers Over Obama's Clean Power Plan

President Barack Obama unveiled his new Clean Power Plan aimed at curbing climate change on Monday. “No challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations, than a changing climate,” Obama said in a White House address.

The plan requires power plants to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by the time we hit 2030. Of course, Texas lawmakers weren’t exactly jumping up and down for joy over the details of this long expected plan.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement that pretty much said everything we would expect it to say:

“President Obama continued his unilateral executive overreach by seeking to take unprecedented control over each state's power market through his new environmental regulations. Not only will this rule result in higher energy prices for consumers, it will cost thousands of jobs. As we have in the past, Texas will lead the fight against an overreaching federal government that seems hell-bent on threatening the free-market principles this country was founded on.” 

And then Sen. Ted Cruz – maybe you’ve heard that this guy is running for president — got out front with his own insightful and even-handed statement on the matter:

“The President’s lawless and radical attempt to destabilize the Nation’s energy system is flatly unconstitutional and, unless it is invalidated by Congress, struck down by the courts, or rescinded by the next Administration, will cause Americans’ electricity costs to skyrocket at a time when we can least afford it. I urge leaders of both parties, including Democrats who represent communities that will be devastated by this reckless policy, to stand up against this Administration’s dangerous agenda of economic decline.”

Even Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton (the one who is currently looking for any headline that will stop reminding people he’s just been indicted) has gotten in on the action, vowing to sue over the new regulations. (Arguably, suing the EPA has become the Lone Star State’s favorite sport.)

So why are the usual politicos rattling their sabers in such a violent-seeming matter over a plan we’ve known was coming all this time? Well, the Clean Power Plan is the first time ever carbon emissions for existing power plants have been limited. Texas, as one of the most prodigious polluters in the country, has to cut a whole bunch of pollution – like more than 50 million tons of carbon per year, according to Texas Tribune.

While some power plant owners have already been growling and grumbling about this, it’s actually doable, as Forbes pointed out last year. The Environmental Protection Agency has suggested that Texas could easily meet its goal through a combination of actions: making coal plants more efficient, using more natural gas plants, increasing the use of renewable resources, and expanding energy efficiency. States have until September 2018 to submit their plans – and the plans are designed to give the states a ton of leeway in how they choose to set things up – but Texas leaders aren’t exactly scurrying to get together and start coming up with their own Texas plan. States that don’t come up with their own plans will have to go with whatever the EPA comes up with for that state.

Based on the initial response from Texas it looks like the EPA will definitely be cobbling together a Texas-sized solution to the Texas carbon emissions. Now isn’t that smart, being so against something that we simply turn around and let the federal agency that we have repeatedly sued design our carbon emissions plan! We can’t see how this one could possibly backfire.

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