Energy makes modern life possible. It brings heat and light to our homes, enables us to acquire basic necessities like food and shelter, and is used to create millions of every day products that enrich our lives. Access to reliable and affordable energy is essential to a healthy, fulfilling life.
Too often, though, anti-development proponents present energy use as competing with a clean environment and healthy life. In reality, energy is what enables our standard of living, protects us from the natural climate, and allows our world to function. In fact, for many low-income Americans, their problems are made worse by too little access to reliable, affordable energy.
Yet federal and state regulations target our most dependable sources, driving up energy costs and diminishing our quality of life. This trend toward complete elimination—through regulation and taxation—of our best energy sources continues and intensifies with the release of the EPA’s so-called “Clean Power Plan,” which requires states to slash carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2030.
This is why we are proposing a Smart Power Plan. It consists of three principles that should guide both elected officials and regulators when composing energy policy:
- Make Americans’ Lives Better Not Harder: We support individuals picking the most reliable, abundant, and affordable energy sources free from government interference. Natural gas, oil, and coal, which account for two-thirds of our electricity, enrich our lives and allow families to spend more of their hard-earned income on health care, housing, education, and their pursuit of happiness. We embrace individual choice over government mandates.
- Base Policy Decisions on Science and Common Sense: Any public policy that creates new burdens on individuals and families should be subject to rigorous scrutiny that measures the full range of costs and benefits. Unfortunately, the EPA’s Carbon rule fails this basic test. The claimed benefits used to justify the rule are based on dubious science, while the huge costs will diminish Americans’ health, wealth, and environment.
- Hold Our Elected Officials Accountable: Our foremost concern is that states, individuals, and markets drive U.S. energy policy. Increasingly, regulators at federal agencies like the EPA have co-opted the decision-making power and circumvented the legislative process. We need binding action from our elected officials to preserve the authority of states over any significant energy tax hikes and new mandates on their states’ residents.