EPA’s carbon regulations hurt Michigan

Thomas Pyle

The U.S. Supreme Court recently did all Michiganians a favor: putting a temporary hold on the Environmental Protection Agency’s sweeping new carbon regulation. With a final ruling not expected until at least 2017, any continued work by Michigan agencies on implementation plans risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars — and it’s why they should halt work on it immediately.

First, some background. The EPA’s carbon rule would fundamentally restructure the nation’s power grid — and force every American to pay for it. It requires states to cut emissions from power plants by varying amounts. Michigan is required to cuts emissions by 39 percent by 2030.

About the only way to accomplish such dramatic cuts would be to shut down affordable energy sources that Michiganders have already bought and paid for. Their replacements would largely come from wind and solar, which can be up to three times more expensive than traditional sources already in use. Those higher costs will be passed on to Michigan families in the form of higher energy bills.

Those higher energy prices will hit employers, too, driving up the cost of doing business. That’s especially true for manufacturers, which require abundant energy usage. Combined with other new carbon regulations, the Heritage Foundation estimates this will cost up to 28,000 manufacturing jobs in Michigan alone. These crushing costs are part of the reason why 29 states — including Michigan — joined a federal lawsuit against the regulation.

In temporarily halting the regulation until this lawsuit is resolved, the Supreme Court ruled that moving forward with its implementation could irreparably harm the states, and that they have a likelihood of succeeding in federal court. This is an extremely rare move that speaks volumes to the regulation’s shaky legal ground.

So, what does that mean for Michigan? Testifying before Congress after the stay was issued, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made it clear: “Nothing is going to be implemented while the stay is in place. It is clearly on hold until it resolves itself through the courts.”

In other words, there will likely be no further action on this regulation until at least 2017, which is the earliest the Supreme Court could make its final ruling. And even with Justice Scalia’s recent passing — which many EPA supporters say improves their chances before the court — the future of the regulation remains in jeopardy, as evidenced by the bipartisan legal opposition to it.

Therefore, during that time, it simply makes no sense for Michigan state authorities to proceed with implementation plans. Doing so risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars if the regulation is ultimately ruled illegal, which as the stay suggests, is likely.

Thomas J. Pyle is the president of the

American Energy Alliance.