President Barack Obama’s climate plan drew praise from renewable energy companies and criticism from the coal industry, which says the new rules to cut carbon pollution at new and existing power plants will hurt the economy and increase electricity prices.
The National Mining Association president and CEO Hal Quinn warned that such policies would “damage the nation’s job and economic engine” and raise costs to consumers.
Mike Duncan, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, says EPA regulations have this year resulted in the closure of 288 coal plants in 32 states, which he says is the equivalent to shutting down the state of New York’s entire electricity supply. He says the new regulations will force more plant closures.
Solar Energy Industries Association president and CEO Rhone Resch, on the other hand, said it isn’t a choice between “clean energy and a robust economy. We can have both.”
Obama’s climate plan, announced yesterday, also sets new renewable energy goals, including installing 100 MW of renewable capacity across federally subsidized housing by 2020 and building enough wind and solar projects on federal lands to power more than 6 million homes by the same date. It also says the federal government will obtain 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
In his speech at Georgetown University, Obama also called on Congress to end tax breaks for big oil companies and invest in clean energy companies. He said he would block the Keystone XL oil pipeline if it increased carbon pollution.
Ceres applauded the president’s climate speech, which referenced the organization’s Climate Declaration that calls upon federal policymakers to address climate change as an economic opportunity and has been signed by more than 500 businesses including GM and Nike.