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A former top Obama administration energy official characterized the Clean Power Plan last week as “all pain, no gain,” saying it will do almost nothing to reduce global emissions while fueling double-digit hikes in electricity costs.

Charles McConnell, who served two years as assistant energy secretary under President Obama, told a House subcommittee that the total reduction in U.S. emissions by 2025 foreseen under the CPP will be offset by just three weeks of emissions in China.

“To get some perspective on how irrelevant EPA’s plan is, after exacting tremendous pain on the U.S. economy and ratepayers, a full year’s worth of annual reductions in 2025 would be offset by Chinese emission in just three weeks,” Mr. McConnell said at a Thursday hearing of the House Science Committee’s environment subcommittee.

He said the CPP, which has been challenged in court by 27 states, will result in “double-digit electricity price increases in over half of our states,” as well as hidden costs in transmission upgrades and back-up generation.

The Supreme Court placed a hold on implementation of the plan in February pending the outcome of the states’ lawsuit.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have thrown their support behind the plan as a “flexible, common-sense approach to reducing harmful pollution,” according to the Environmental Defense Fund.

The CPP requires states to meet targets for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation in order to combat climate change. Critics have said the plan violates state sovereignty and sets goals impossible to achieve without converting to more expensive, less reliable sources of renewable energy.

“The Clean Power Plan has been falsely sold as impactful environmental regulation when it is really an attempt by our primary federal environmental regulator to take over state and federal regulation of energy,” said Mr. McConnell.

The former assistant secretary now serves as executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative.

 

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