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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Climate Change bill affects costs

Friday, April 11, 2008

Jody Shackelford

Staff Writer

North Arkansas Electric Cooperative's Chief Executive Officer Mel Coleman says the proposed Climate Change Bill can destroy our economy and double our current energy costs by 2020 and the next president is backing it.

"All of the remaining candidates for president favor positions on climate change that are contrary to our position. The economics of their climate change positions will cause major problems in all of the energy sectors and could destroy our economy," Coleman said.

The first line of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Change Bill reads, "To direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a program to decrease emissions of greenhouse gases, and for other purposes."

Reducing green house gas emissions demands less burning of coal and other fossil fuels. To maintain the current power output, without also maintaining greenhouse gas output, requires other more expensive methods of energy production. That cost, Coleman said, becomes high energy bills.

While the bill intends to help the environment, Coleman argues that the bill and its restrictions and changes to be imposed on the energy producing industry will drive costs of energy so high it will have the opposite effect of the bill's purpose.

"In my lifetime I have never seen energy in such an upheaval and never seen policy makers so willing to destroy our economy, with little or no information or regard for the ramifications of their support of current climate change legislation," he said.

Examining the bill closer, it describes a more detailed objective stating, "The purposes of this act are to establish the core of a federal program that will reduce United States greenhouse gas emissions substantially enough between 2007 and 2050 to avert the catastrophic impacts of global climate change, and to accomplish that purpose while preserving robust growth in the United States economy and avoiding the imposition of hardship on United States citizens."

Coleman, who is opposed to the bill, has reviewed statistics gathered by an independent organization, which he says has given him reason for opposition to the bill, based on the CRA study.

CRA International is a leading global consulting firm that offers economic, financial and business management expertise to major law firms, industries, accounting firms and governments around the world.

Coleman said the study found the bill would cause an increase to $74 per metric ton of carbon dioxide by 2020 (roughly equivalent to seven cent per kwh rate increase, or 100 percent rate increase over current levels) and $88 per metric ton by 2030.

Coleman said that additional cost would be passed to the consumer.

Coleman said additionally, there would be a loss of 106,000 Arkansas jobs by 2020 and 189,000 jobs by 2050 (relative to baseline forecast). Households in Arkansas would lose $3,824 per year in 2020, rising to $5,231 by 2050. By 2020, Arkansans would pay 47 percent more for natural gas and 28 percent more for retail gasoline. By 2050, those prices would be twice those of the baseline.

He went on to say the wholesale price of electricity would rise by 118 percent relative to the baseline by 2020.

Loss in the state gross domestic product would cause Arkansas's economy to grow more slowly, falling to 10.2 percent below the baseline forecast by 2020, he said.

Lastly Coleman said the output of goods and services would decline in almost all of Arkansas's industries.

Agriculture would see large increases in fuel and fertilizer costs; production falls 7.7 percent by 2020, relative to the baseline. Production from energy-intensive sectors decreases by 11.8 percent. Electricity sector experiences a 45 percent decline in output by 2020.

"We will all be paying for the results of that legislation for the rest of our life, as will our children and grandchildren," Coleman said.

More information in the Lieberman-Warner Climate Change Bill can be found on the Web at http://lieberman.senate.gov/documents/ac....

For more information about North Arkansas Electric Cooperative or to contact Coleman call 870-895-3221.

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