BRYSON: Roy Cooper and EPA’s overreach

While dozens of states pursue lawsuits contesting federal overreach by President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency, Attorney General Roy Cooper wants to keep North Carolina on the sidelines.

The EPA’s ‘Clean Power Plan’ received a narrow reproach from the U.S  Supreme Court this summer in a consolidated challenge from about 20 states, but its effort to strangle state economies by over-regulating power plants is moving forward with a required 32 percent reduction in emissions by 2030.

Gov. Pat McCrory, the N.C. Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the state Senate have all conveyed official intention to sue the EPA over the Clean Power Plan. Roy Cooper, by contrast, penned a letter to members of the General Assembly urging compliance with the controversial federal regulations.


Donald Bryson

Cooper and other advocates for the plan are keen to note that states have already reduced emissions towards this target, but that’s precisely why states don’t need and continue to resist the federal rules.

Recent emissions reductions resulted from states’ increased reliance on natural gas and cleaner coal, not government rules. Private-sector innovation and competition produce real results to improve society, while burdensome government regulations inhibit this process to advance political agendas.

A study by Energy Ventures Analysis estimates households in North Carolina will see gas and electricity bills jump over $430 by 2020. Another by NERA Economic Consulting shows the pain won’t end there. Electricity rates will continue increasing by 9 percent on average each year through at least 2031, when the regulation is fully implemented.

Citizens should be woe to grant the federal bureaucracy control of another major economic sector – energy – considering it’s the very engine of our economic growth. Cooper is prepared to let North Carolinians pay more for energy – which means more for everything – to facilitate the federal government’s growing, costly control over the general public.

The Clean Power Plan is designed to direct investment and mandate consumer support of ‘renewable’ energy sources – wind and solar – which aren’t proven to provide reliable energy or environmental benefit. This giveaway is on top of other state and federal handouts to the green energy industry.  States must resist such corporate favoritism forcing higher energy costs on everyday citizens to pad profits for politically-preferred industries.

Thirteen states recently won an injunction from a federal judge in North Dakota blocking another EPA plan to seize control over waterway inspections.  Don’t count on Cooper to protect our streams and rivers from Washington’s overreach either – federal control suits our Attorney General just fine.

Donald Bryson is the State Director for the North Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity.