By Max Bomber
Gov. Mike Pence sent a letter Wednesday to President Barack Obama that said Indiana couldn’t afford to comply with the Clean Power Act.
Pence said the act was “ill-conceived and poorly constructed.” Pence also said unless the final rule significantly changes the act, the state will not comply. He said the state would use any legal means necessary to counter the rule.
The Environment Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan calls for a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels in Indiana by 2030. Pence said Indiana has already taken strides to diversify its energy portfolio by pulling energy from wind, solar and nuclear power from reactors in Michigan. Along with those alternative energies, the state has a natural gas market that is “on the verge of a breakthrough,” Pence said in the letter.
The rules do not provide a plan on how states are to achieve the mandated reduction, but for Hoosiers’ Pence said in the letter “Indiana will have to fundamentally change the way electricity is dispatched.” The policy will increase the cost of electricity and run the risk of closing coal–fired power plants.
More than 26,000 Hoosiers are employed in the coal industry. “I am deeply concerned about the impacts of the Clean Power Plan on our state, especially our job creators, the poor, and the elderly who cannot afford more expensive, less reliable energy,” Pence said in his letter.
Jodi Perras, Indiana representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said in a statement, “Gov. Pence has shown repeatedly that his allegiance lies not with protecting our families, but with protecting the profits of Big Coal and dirty fossil fuels. We deserve better.”
Perras calls the goal of reducing Indiana’s output by 20 percent by 2030 “modest.”
“If the Indiana General Assembly had not repealed the state-wide energy efficiency program known as Energizing Indiana last year, Indiana would be on track to surpass the 2020 goals outlined in the Clean Power Plan,” Perras said in a statement.
In 2014, the National Climate Assessment was published at the White House by a group of agriculture, climate science, and commerce and disaster relief experts. The report shows that 11 of the 14 most expensive U.S. weather related disasters were in the Midwest. And Indiana can expect more, in addition to heat waves, storms and poor air and water quality.
“We urge Gov. Pence to put an end to this charade and develop a common-sense plan for our state built on energy efficiency, clean energy and 21st century jobs for working families and communities,” Perras said in the statement.
Max Bomber is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.