Reactionary response to carbon rule is misguided

June 6. 2014 – by John Blair, editor

EPA“Every means at our disposal” is the way that Indiana Governor, Mike Pence asserts he will fight regulations proposed on June 2 by the USEPA designed to turn the corner on the global warming crisis.

Pence claims the rules will devastate the State’s coal based economy although the rule only requires Indiana to make a relatively small reduction of 20% of CO2 emissions within 16 years.

EPA proposes some coal burning be replaced by a combination of solar energy, wind and, yes, energy efficiency. All those energy sources cost far less to produce than new coal and our aging coal fleet is in dire need of some true upgrades because of their age. Making those upgrades is what will cause Hoosiers to pay significantly higher electric bills in the future, not renewables and efficiency.

Efficiency and renewables, solar, wind, geo-thermal and hydro are labor intensive and create jobs.

Photo © 2010 John Blair.

Photo © 2010 John Blair.


Problem is, Pence allowed a stupid law (SEA 340) passed in the last legislature eliminating Indiana’s nascent efficiency program to be scuttled before it even had a real chance to work. Sadly, energy efficiency costs consumers far less than new coal. Most states report the cost of efficiency to be less than $.05/kWh. Compare that to the cost of electricity produced by Duke’s new, not so clean coal plant at Edwardsport of more than $.20/kWh.

If Pence and his knee jerk minions in and out of government, had actually read the proposed rule instead of blindly assuming the role of regressive coal protectors –in-chief, they would have discovered that EPA’s proposal is very gracious to Indiana, Kentucky and other coal states in requiring significantly less reductions of CO2 in those states than in states that are not so heavily reliant on the dirty fuel.

No one is advocating the wholesale elimination of coal resources today or in the future. Not EPA, not Valley Watch nor anyone we even know. But, anyone who cares about the health of both the planet and their grand children understand that we need to do something to stop the ravages of global warming and climate change.

It is Pence’s backwards thinking that will suppress Indiana’ s economy as we continue our unhealthful addiction to the past. Instead of looking forward and embracing the 21st Century, using clean energy sources at affordable prices, our Governor seems bent to relinquish control over our energy future to coal barons who are more than happy to destroy the health and ecosystems that remain in southwest Indiana.

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