WH Anticipates 'A Difficult Transition' to 'Clean Power'

By Susan Jones | August 3, 2015 | 10:26am EDT
In this July 1, 2013, file photo, smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal burning power plant in in Colstrip, Mont. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)

(CNSNews.com) - President Obama will unveil the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan on Monday, imposing stricter-than-expected carbon dioxide limits on the states.

"There's no doubt that this is going to be a difficult transition," Obama's spokesman Josh Earnest told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Monday. "But it's a transition that is clearly in the best interests of our economy, it's clearly in the best interest of the health of children all across the country, and it's in the best interests of the planet."

Earnest said he thinks the EPA Clean Power Plan "is the culmination of what the president talked about in 2007 and 2008."

Even before he became president, Barack Obama campaigned on a promise to wean the nation off coal.

"If somebody wants to build a coal fired plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted," Barack Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2008.

He added later in the same interview, “Under my plan -- electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

Rates may skyrocket, but the White House insists customers' bills will come down -- likely because people won't be able to afford as much electricity.

"If we actually make progress in investing in this clean energy, what we're actually going to do, we're actually going to lower costs for consumers," Earnest said on Monday.

The new rules take effect in 2022, and states must meet the carbon dioxide reduction targets -- a 32 percent reduction from 2005 levels -- by 2030. Obama's proposed rule last year called for a 30 percent cut.

"We're going to take the most important, substantial step that our country's every taken to reduce the causes of climate change," Earnest said on Monday. "And what we're going to do, we're going scale back the carbon pollution that our power generators are currently allowed to spew into the atmosphere."

"For too long, we've seen Washington, D.C., putting off and delaying action, serious action, to fight the causes of climate change. And we've seen special interests mobilize to try to fight any effort to do that. And I have no doubt that special interests in Washington, D.C., are going to squeal -- as are the politicians who are in their pocket.

"But the fact of the matter is, these rules are going to do something to finally confront the causes of climate change, it's actually going to have significant benefits for public heatlth, particularly children with asthma, and it's going to accelerate the progress that we've made already in transitioining to a clean energy economy."

As the Associated Press noted, it will be up to Obama's successor to implement the EPA's Clean Energy Plan. The AP also reported that the Obama administration estimated the emissions limits will cost $8.4 billion annually by 2030.

The actual price won't be clear until states decide how they'll reach their targets. But people in the energy industry said the stricter limits make Obama's mandate even more burdensome, costly and difficult to achieve.

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