Potential negative impacts from the Clean Power Plan

Alex Adrianson highlights for the Heritage Foundation’s “Insider Online” blog an analysis of possible unintended consequences tied to President Obama’s latest energy proposals.

The administration’s new clean power plan, writes Julian Morris, “is likely to harm public health, increase energy bills for households and businesses, destroy American jobs, and cause blackouts in communities across the country.” …

… The White House claims that the rule will, “Give a head start to wind and solar deployment and prioritize the deployment of energy efficiency improvements in low-income communities that need it most early in the program through a Clean Energy Incentive Program.”

While it is no doubt true that people living in low-income communities would benefit from energy efficiency improvements, it is far from clear that a federal rule is the best way to stimulate such investments. Meanwhile, increasing the proportion of energy generated by wind and solar power is likely to be highly regressive – harming the poor more than others.

Poorer consumers spend a higher proportion of their income of energy, so any policy that increases the cost of energy will disproportionately affect such poorer consumers, who will spend more on energy and have less available for other items. In other words, it will make poor people poorer. Since poverty is associated with health, the Clean Power Plan will almost certainly adversely affect the health of those who are already poor.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...