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Trump Administration Releases Revised Clean Power Plan

The Trump Administration has released its revised version of the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which was considered to be the signature climate change regulation of the Obama Administration. The new rule, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, would give individual states more authority to make their own plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants rather than imposing a set of top-down policies from the federal government.

The CPP was designed to fundamentally transform electricity markets by forcing coal plants to retire and require the use of wind and solar to replace. As we’ve already seen in Minnesota, this comes at a staggering cost. In fact, Minnesota’s electricity costs have increased 26 percent faster than the national average as the state has aggressively pursued wind and solar power at the expense of coal, and Minnesota ratepayers have suffered as a result.

Clean Power Plan boosters will likely try to spin this as a bad thing by arguing that the CPP would have reduced other sources of pollution like nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and sulfur dioxide, but we have already seen dramatic reductions in these pollutants without the CPP. In fact, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, all current air quality standards in Minnesota were met back in 2003, long before the CPP, which suggests the reductions in these traditional pollutants due to the CPP would have been negligible and certainly not worth the massive costs.

Replacing the Clean Power Plan is a major victory for Americans because the regulations would have resulted in massive increases in electricity prices and had almost no impact on global temperatures. In fact, even the climate models used by the Obama administration showed the regulations would have only averted 0.018 degrees C of future potential warming by 2100, an amount too small to be accurately measured.

Those who argue Minnesota’s electricity must get “cleaner and cheaper” while promoting renewable energy are selling you a line. Minnesota already had clean and cheap electricity before we started our odyssey into wind and solar power. Now, our electricity rates have skyrocketed for no measureable environmental benefit.

 

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