Wednesday, July 26, 2017

NBCC study shows Clean Power Plan will economically burden minorities

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan is projected to cause an economic burden on minorities, a new report by the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) concludes, prompting the organization to call on President Barack Obama to abandon the initiative altogether.

President Obama and the EPA announced the Clean Power Plan last August. The plan is designed to significantly reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from America’s power plants and promises to protect the health of American families, boost the economy and save American families money on high energy bills.

The plan proposes that by drastically reducing the nation’s dependence on coal-fired power, carbon emissions will be 32 percent lower in 2030 than they were in 2005.

Opponents have argued that without a proven alternative to replace the power currently provided by coal plants, energy prices are bound to spike nationwide and cost many employees, particularly minorities, their jobs as coal plants shut down.

Harry Alford, president of the NBCC, told EP News Wire that his organization commissioned a study, which turned into a 179-page report from Management Information Systems Inc. "It found that African-Americans and Hispanics are going to take the brunt of the pain on this deal and it is going to hurt the people who can ill afford it," Alford said. "So we made a stand on it.”

The plan is giving each state a specific emissions goal and leaving it up to each state to decide how it will reach that goal. The report estimates the new federal rules will spike the cost of natural gas and electricity for consumers and businesses.

The financial strain will prevent small businesses from creating jobs and increasing pay to employees, ultimately destroying millions of jobs, reducing economic growth and causing $2.3 trillion in losses over the next two decades. The loss is projected to translate to roughly 12 million job losses for Latinos and 7 million for African-Americans.

Despite significant opposition, particularly from politicians, Alford said he doesn’t believe President Obama will back down.

“I want to see (the plan) pulled," Alford said. "I don’t think our President is going to pull it. So, I guess we’re going to wait for the courts to decide.”

Alford added that many governors have stated they are not going to comply with the plan. “And there is really no mechanism to force them," he said, which is going to lead to "a standoff.”

Alford said 33 percent of coal powered plants would be closed by following through with the Clean Power Plan, which is going to cause a lot of grid problems in terms of demand.

“I don’t think it is necessary,” Alford said of the Clean Power Plan. “We haven’t had any global warming in over 18 years, according to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which report on temperatures monthly. The President is chasing a windmill, I think. There is no global warning, according to two federal agencies.”

Many agencies in the environmental sciences and renewable energy sectors have backed the plan, hoping the new regulations will combat climate change and the influential sway wealthy companies tend to have on environmental regulations.

The NBCC, however, plans to continue to oppose the President’s agenda because of the impact the plan will have on the people NBCC seeks to empower.

“We are going to move to fight it, I have given declarations on several lawsuits that are coming out from various people in the energy industry and we will probably be doing amicus briefs and testifying,” Alford said.

With President Obama’s presidency winding down, NBCC is hopeful the next president will put an end to the plan.

“We are just waiting for a new President. It will be all over then,” Alford said.

The NBCC was founded in 1993. The non-profit and nonpartisan organization is dedicated to “economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States and via interaction with the African Diaspora.”

Organizations in this story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20460

Get notified the next time we write about U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)!