Too often, Washington, D.C., behaves as if it does not want states like Indiana to succeed. A thriving economy requires energy, and Indiana's historically low electricity prices are a major reason employers choose to create jobs here. Through its proposed anti-coal regulations mandating reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, the Obama administration has taken a clear shot at Indiana, the nation's top manufacturing state and a national leader in private sector job growth.
Not that this should come as any surprise. The president has made it clear in past public comments that he is anti-coal and believes that skyrocketing energy prices are a sacrifice Americans should make in the interest of his agenda.
We all want cleaner air and sensible environmental policies for our power plants. In Indiana my administration is putting together an energy plan aimed at the dual goals of long-term sustainability and cost-efficiency, while promoting economic vitality. We could achieve all of these if the federal government would stop piling on costly regulations.
The Obama administration's latest proposed rule continues a disturbing trend and would be devastating for Indiana's economy.
Not long ago, Indiana ranked in the top five for low cost of electricity. Now, thanks to an onslaught of regulations from Washington, Indiana ranks somewhere firmly in the middle of the pack.
Since 2011, the U.S. EPA has finalized the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. According to the Indiana State Utility Forecasting Group's (SUFG) 2013 Forecast, these two regulations alone will push Indiana's electricity prices 30 percent higher from 2012 to 2023. Not included in this estimate are pending regulations for cooling water, coal ash, and, as of this week, carbon dioxide emissions, all of which will push electricity rates higher still.
The impact of these regulations will reverberate throughout Indiana's economy. Higher energy prices will discourage investment and job creation. The proposed regulations will force a shift away from coal as a fuel source for electricity generation, clouding the future of the 28,000 Hoosiers employed in the coal industry. Hoosier families will feel the pinch of higher electricity prices on their family budgets, especially lower-income families and older people on fixed incomes.
Advocates have tried to justify the proposed regulations on the basis of improved human health and air quality. These are both noble objectives. Regarding clean air, all 92 Indiana counties met clean air standards for the first time in 2009, and we continue to make progress on this front. Regarding health outcomes, the EPA has concluded that reducing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions will not slow the growth of global carbon dioxide emissions.
These proposed carbon dioxide emissions regulations are bad for Indiana. They will cost Hoosier workers and families in higher electricity rates, lost jobs, and lost business growth due to a lack of affordable, reliable electricity. I will continue to fight against any regulation from Washington that makes it more difficult for Indiana to continue to be the state that works.
Pence is governor of Indiana.
Many of America’s largest and most respected firms – from America's software, telecommunications, media, hospitality, financial services, manufacturing, apparel, defense and pharmaceutical industries – have already joined Business Forward.
Members include Aetna, American Airlines, AT&T, Comcast, Cheniere Energy, Dow, eBay Inc., Fidelity Investments, Ford, Google, Hilton Worldwide, Intuit, Lockheed Martin, McDonald's, McGraw Hill Financial, Microsoft, the National Restaurant Association, Nestle, Pacific Gas & Electric, POET, Public Service Enterprise Group, Pricewaterhouse Cooper, Qualcomm, SAS, T-Mobile, Time Warner, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Viacom, Visa, and Walmart.