“I Think This Is Absolutely Crazy” - Boehner on Coming EPA Regulations

House Speaker John Boehner
Credit: Politico

The White House acknowledged this week that President Obama will be rolling out a new climate change plan in the coming weeks; he in fact spoke about more action by his administration in his speech in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate. It’s a three-part plan that will focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy and Environmental Protection Agency regulations. On Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner was asked about the new regulations- and he didn’t hold back, saying, “I think this is absolutely crazy. Why would you want to increase the cost of energy and kill more American jobs at a time when the American people are still asking where are the jobs? Clear enough?”

Data released late last month by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that while carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants in the U.S. fell 13.1 percent between 2005 and 2012, it rose 7.1 percent the first quarter of this year. Overall, carbon emissions rose 3 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to a 4 percent drop in 2012.

What accounts for the change? Paul Bledsoe, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and a former Clinton White House climate aide, noted that natural gas prices have jumped 70 percent in the last year, prompting some utilities to burn coal again instead of cleaner natural gas.

“The latest data indicate that the decline in U.S. carbon emissions of the last several years will not continue without regulation of both new and existing power plants,” Bledsoe said.

As the Washington Post reports, the president and his aides are still weighing the decision on whether to regulate existing power plants. But there is little doubt that when President Obama unveils his climate agenda, a proposal to curb carbon emissions from existing utilities will occupy a central place in his plan.

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