Remarks as Prepared for Delivery:
This week’s votes on Sen. Mitch McConnell and Shelly Moore Capito’s Congressional Review Act resolutions of disapproval allow Senators to weigh in on the president’s economically disastrous carbon mandates.
Elected officials should not be allowed to hide behind agency initiatives written by unelected bureaucrats that are destroying this country -- these CRA votes force responsibility on Members of the Senate.
This is not the first time we’ve had a vote along these lines. Congress has already been very clear in its opposition to federally mandated cap and trade carbon controls.
We have seen time and again from President Obama and his army of environmental bureaucrats that when they fail to achieve something through legislation, they turn to regulation and immediately encounter lawsuits.
There are numerous legal problems with the Obama administration’s carbon rules and especially its Power Plan, which is why 27 states, 24 national trade associations, 37 rural electric cooperatives, 10 major companies and 3 labor unions representing 878,000 members are now challenging the final rule in court.
Many of these entities have also requested a judicial stay, which will likely put the rules on hold until early next year while the courts work through the numerous other challenges.
I have no doubt that once the courts assess the merits of these challenges, the Obama administration’s Power Plan will not survive judicial scrutiny. President Obama and Administrator McCarthy are equally aware of their legal vulnerabilities, which is why Obama’s agency deliberately slow-walked the publication process to try to prevent any CRA’s or negative court rulings prior to international climate talks in December. In fact, Politico recently reported the administration has asked the DC Circuit to postpone decisions until after December 23rd. What does that tell us about this administration’s confidence in their rules?
The agency’s lack of legal authority is not the only reason for bipartisan opposition to this administration’s carbon regulations.
The president’s Power Plan alone would cost $292 billion, result in double-digit electricity price increases in 40 states, and reduce American household disposable income by roughly $79 billion.
Increased energy costs are hardest on low and fixed-income families that, according to expert witness testimony before the Environment and Public Works Committee, result in individuals foregoing food, medical care, and prescription use.
Expert testimony from the President of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Harry Alford, revealed that minority communities are also especially hard hit.
• The EPA’s Power Plan would result in an estimated job loss of nearly 200,000 jobs for black Americans and more than 300,000 jobs for Hispanics.
Increased energy costs undermine global competitiveness for America’s small businesses and energy-intensive industries. These companies will ultimately shut down here at home when the electricity bill becomes to unaffordable and create jobs instead for our competitors - like China - who are eager to grow their economies.
Most concerning is that these jobs losses and costs to our economy come with no meaningful environmental benefit, which the EPA did not even bother to measure when drafting the rules.
EPA has consistently acknowledged this point. Former EPA Adm. Lisa Jackson honestly admitted to me before an EPW Committee hearing in 2009 that U.S. action alone would not impact world CO2 levels.
Adm. Gina McCarthy testified that the president’s Power Plan is not about pollution control, but rather about sending a signal to the rest of the world that the U.S. is serious about addressing global warming.
But independent analysis using EPA methodology and data found the rule will only reduce CO2 emissions by less than 0.2 percent by 2100, reduce the rise of global temperature by less than 1/100th of a degree Fahrenheit, and reduce sea level rise by the thickness of two sheets of paper.
Further, these miniscule benefits will be rendered completely pointless by just a few weeks of CO2 emissions from China – which emits 800 million tons of carbon a month compared to the 550 tons of estimated reductions the EPA’s Plan in 2030.
There’s another reason this week’s votes are important. The international community is paying close attention. The Senate and the American people do not stand by the president’s carbon mandates that are intended to send a “signal” of the United States’ so-called commitment to address global warming.
Furthermore, the president’s international climate plans are equally vulnerable to technical, legal and procedural problems. Even well-respected environmentalists have testified before the EPW Committee this year and agree that the president’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution does not add up to a 26 to 28 percent emission reduction.
The president and his State Department officials are recklessly leading the world to believe we will live up to emission reductions the administration can’t substantiate and won’t even defend before congressional committees.
Whether it is his highly publicized Green Climate Fund pledge or his EPA’s Power Plan, the president is once again making promises he is in no position to keep.
In this country, it is Congress who writes the laws, not the EPA – even under President Obama.
While I fully expect these CRA resolutions to be vetoed, without the backing of the American people and the Congress, there will be no possibility of legislative resurrection once the courts render the final judgments on the president’s carbon mandates.