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Obama-Clinton's New War On Wages

- August 3, 2015

Obama And Clinton's New Clean Power Plan Threatens Wages, Jobs, And States' Electric Grids

CLINTON CONTINUES HER ASSAULT ON COAL FAMILIES WITH HER SUPPORT OF OBAMA'S CLEAN POWER PLAN

Clinton Called Obama's Flawed Clean Power Plan (CPP) A "Significant Step Forward"

Clinton Has Vowed To Defend And "Build On" Obama's New Clean Power Plan If Elected President, Calling It A "Significant Step Forward." "Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton pledged Sunday that if elected she will build on a new White House clean energy program and defend it against those she called 'Republican doubters and defeatists.' Clinton was the first 2016 candidate to respond to the ambitious plan that President Obama will debut on Monday. Details of the program, which aims to cut greenhouse-gas pollution, were released over the weekend. The new regulation will require every state to reduce emissions from coal-burning power plants. In a statement Sunday, Clinton called the plan 'a significant step forward in meeting the urgent threat of climate change.'" (Anne Gearan, "Hillary Clinton Promises To Build On Obama Climate Plan As President," The Washington Post , 8/2/15)

JOBS AND WAGES WILL BOTH BE IN DECLINE IN THE HARDEST HIT AREAS

The United Mine Workers Of America Predict Job Losses Of 75,000

United Mine Workers Of America's President Cecil Roberts: "The proposed rule issued today by the Environmental Protection Agency will lead to long-term and irreversible job losses for thousands of coal miners, electrical workers, utility workers, boilermakers, railroad workers and others without achieving any significant reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions." ( Press Release, "EPA Existing Source Emissions Rule Puts American Jobs At Risk, Does Nothing To Address Climate Change," United Mine Workers Of America, 6/2/14)

Analysis From The UMWA Show A Direct Loss Of 75,000 Jobs In Coal Generation By 2020, Because Of CPP. "'Our initial analysis indicates that there will be a loss of 75,000 direct coal generation jobs in the United States by 2020. Those are jobs primarily in coal mines, power plants, and railroads.'" ( Press Release, "EPA Existing Source Emissions Rule Puts American Jobs At Risk, Does Nothing To Address Climate Change," United Mine Workers Of America, 6/2/14)

"By 2035, Those Job Losses Will More Than Double To 152,000," A 50 Percent Cut In "Well-Paying, Highly Skilled Jobs. "'By 2035, those job losses will more than double to 152,000. That amounts to about a 50 percent cut in these well-paying, highly skilled jobs. When a U.S. government economic multiplier used to calculate the impact of job losses is applied to the entire economy, we estimate that the total impact will be about 485,000 permanent jobs lost.'" ( Press Release, "EPA Existing Source Emissions Rule Puts American Jobs At Risk, Does Nothing To Address Climate Change," United Mine Workers Of America, 6/2/14)

The Left-Leaning Economic Policy Institute's Review Of The CPP Show That Job Losses Will Be "Geographically Concentrated"

Economic Policy Institute's Josh Bivens Authored A Report That Showed How Jobs Losses From Obama's Climate Plan Would Be "Geographically Concentrated." "Gross job losses are likely to be geographically concentrated, raising the challenge of ensuring a fair transition for workers in sectors likely to contract due to the CPP." (Josh Bivens, "A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Employment Impacts Of The EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," Economic Policy Institute, 6/9/15)

This Movement Away From Coal-Fired Power Will Lead To "Significant Declines" In Coal Mining Jobs. "The switch from coal-fired generation will lead to a reduction in demand for coal, and subsequent significant declines in both the short and long term for coal mining jobs." (Josh Bivens, "A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Employment Impacts Of The EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," Economic Policy Institute, 6/9/15)

  • By 2025, Coal Mining Jobs Will Be Reduced By Over 15,000. "In 2020, coal extraction employment is down 12,600 jobs relative to the non-CPP baseline. This means that employment in coal mining is lower by 12,600 jobs than would otherwise be expected in that year because of the CPP. In 2025, coal extraction employment is down 15,300 jobs relative to the baseline." (Josh Bivens, "A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Employment Impacts Of The EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," Economic Policy Institute, 6/9/15)

Wages Will Decline In Reaction To Rising Energy Prices. "There will also be supply-side reductions as the (slight) decline in real wages spurred by rising energy prices affects labor supply decisions." (Josh Bivens, "A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Employment Impacts Of The EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," Economic Policy Institute, 6/9/15)

The Report Also Shows How Electricity Rates Will Be Raised, Affecting Employment. "Another channel through which the CPP could affect employment that is missing from EPA estimates concerns the effect of electricity price increases. The CPP is estimated to raise electricity prices by 5 percent in 2020, and by smaller amounts in 2025 and 2030." (Josh Bivens, "A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Employment Impacts Of The EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," Economic Policy Institute, 6/9/15)

POLLING SHOWS HISPANICS AND AFRICAN AMERICANS ARE AGAINST NEW REGULATIONS

Hispanics Believe "Creating More Jobs" Should Be The Nation's Top Priority

41% Hispanic Voters Chose "Creating More Jobs," As The Top Priority For The Obama Administration, "Improving Air Quality" Came In Last With 4%. "More than four in 10 Hispanic voters (41%) chose 'creating more jobs' as the top priority for the Obama administration out of a list of six popular political issues, with 'improving air quality' coming in last with only 4 percent of Hispanic voters having chosen it." ( Morning Consult Polling, 1,094 Hispanic Voters, MoE 3%, 6/15-6/16/15)

  • "In Fact, Nearly Seven In 10 Hispanic Voters (69%) Are Satisfied With The Air Quality In Their City Or Local Area." ( Morning Consult Polling, 1,094 Hispanic Voters, MoE 3%, 6/15-6/16/15)
  • "When Asked Directly, A Majority Of Hispanic Voters (63%) Said That The United States Should Focus On Creating Jobs And Growing The Economy Over Adding More Air Standards." ( Morning Consult Polling, 1,094 Hispanic Voters, MoE 3%, 6/15-6/16/15)

Hispanic Voters Also Feel That Costs Associated With The New Regulations Will Impact The Average American More Than Businesses

A Plurality Of Hispanic Voters Feel That Average Americans Will Foot The Bill Over Businesses. "Hispanic voters (44%) say that average Americans, more than any other group, foot the bill for new environmental regulations." ( Morning Consult Polling, 1,094 Hispanic Voters, MoE 3%, 6/15-6/16/15)

Support For The New Regulations Greatly Decreases When Costs Are Brought Up. "Support for the proposed air quality standards to reduce the amount of ozone in the atmosphere declines significantly when cost is considered." ( Morning Consult Polling, 1,094 Hispanic Voters, MoE 3%, 6/15-6/16/15)

  • "Six In 10 (61%) Hispanic Voters Say The EPA's Proposed Air Quality Standards On Ozone Will Likely Increase Their Gasoline Prices." ( Morning Consult Polling, 1,094 Hispanic Voters, MoE 3%, 6/15-6/16/15)
  • "Nearly Six In 10 Hispanic Voters (59%) Think That Their Monthly Utility Bills Will Increase If The Environmental Protection Agency Issues The Proposed Air Quality Standards, While A Majority Of Hispanic Voters (53%) Already Believe That Their Utility Bills Are Too High." ( Morning Consult Polling, 1,094 Hispanic Voters, MoE 3%, 6/15-6/16/15)
  • "When Told That The Proposed Air Quality Standards Concerning Ozone May Increase Their Utility Bills, Or Increase The Utility Bills Of African Americans, Hispanics And Lower-Income Americans, Half (54%) Say They Are Less Likely To Support The Standards." ( Morning Consult Polling, 1,094 Hispanic Voters, MoE 3%, 6/15-6/16/15)

African Americans Are Also In Agreement That "Creating More Jobs" Should Be The Nation's Top Priority

64% Of African American Voters Think "Creating More Jobs" Should Be The Top Priority For The Obama Administration. "Only 3 percent of African Americans voters say improving air quality should be the top priority for the Obama administration, and only 7 percent say improving air quality should be in the top two. This compares with nearly two-thirds (64%) who say creating more jobs should be a top priority. Overall, nearly eight in 10 (78%) are satisfied with air quality in their area." ( Morning Consult Polling, 1,157 African American Voters, MoE 3%, 6/15-6/16/15)

The African American And Hispanic Unemployment Rates Are Higher Than The National Average

In June, The African American Unemployment Rate Was 9.5 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 7/2/15)

In June, The Hispanic Unemployment Rate Was 6.6 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 7/2/15)

"STRICT REGULATIONS" HAVE ALREADY IMPACTED COAL COMMUNITIES

The Coal Industry Has Been Struggling Due To "Strict Regulations," As The CPP Arrives To Finish It Off

The Coal Industry Has Been Struggling Due To "Increasingly Strict Regulations To Limit Greenhouse Gases." "The coal industry, long the heart that pumped the economy here, is in deep trouble, buffeted by power plants switching to cheap natural gas, crippling debt, mounting foreign competition and increasingly strict regulations to limit greenhouse gases and toxic emissions like mercury." (Clifford Krauss, "Coal Miners Struggle To Survive In An Industry Battered By Layoffs And Bankruptcy," The New York Times , 7/17/15)

Layoffs In West Virginia And Kentucky From Closing Coal Plants Have Reached 5,000 Workers Annually. " They are at the center of a layoff epidemic that has reduced their numbers by roughly 5,000 annually over the last four years in the two states alone. And the wave of layoffs is spreading, with Murray Energy, one of the nation's largest coal producers, recently announcing it would cut its work force in Ohio and Illinois, as well as West Virginia, by more than 1,800 miners." (Clifford Krauss, "Coal Miners Struggle To Survive In An Industry Battered By Layoffs And Bankruptcy," The New York Times , 7/17/15)

Miners Are Not The Only Ones Affected By The Layoffs, As Communities Feel The Loss Of Industry In Lost Tax Revenue. "Local officials say the new mine closing will mean millions of dollars in lost taxes to local governments, schools and hospitals. Already, one village is in receivership. Railroad workers who used to carry coal from the local mines are commuting farther and farther for work, and fear they will eventually have to move or lose their jobs." (Clifford Krauss, "Coal Miners Struggle To Survive In An Industry Battered By Layoffs And Bankruptcy," The New York Times , 7/17/15)

Six Coal Producers Have Filed for Bankruptcy Since January, Which Is Having A Disproportional Effect On West Virginia. "Since January, six domestic coal producers have filed for bankruptcy, including Patriot Coal, which applied for Chapter 11 for the second time. The decline has taken a heavy toll here in Wayne County and the surrounding area in West Virginia and Kentucky, where roughly one in three of the nation's 80,000 coal miners work." (Clifford Krauss, "Coal Miners Struggle To Survive In An Industry Battered By Layoffs And Bankruptcy," The New York Times , 7/17/15)

Alpha Natural Resources Has Been Forced To Cut 4,000 Workers From Their Payroll. "No company is hanging on tighter and is facing stiffer odds than Alpha Natural Resources, a top producer of various grades of coal used to make steel and produce power. It has more than 50 active mines and 20 coal preparation plants across Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. For the last three years it has been forced to relentlessly close mines, shaving its payroll by roughly 4,000 workers, or more than a quarter of its work force." (Clifford Krauss, "Coal Miners Struggle To Survive In An Industry Battered By Layoffs And Bankruptcy," The New York Times , 7/17/15)

UTILITY RATES ARE SET TO SPIKE UNDER THE NEW CLEAN POWER PLAN

States Have Argued That The Inducement To Shut Down Coal Power Plants Will Lead To An Increase In Utility Rates

States Have Argued That Implementing This Plan Will Result In Higher Utility Costs That Disproportionately Affect Low-Income Residents. "A number of states have complained to the EPA that the new rules will force them to shut down coal-burning power plants ahead of schedule, resulting in higher utility rates that will disproportionately burden low-income residents. Some states also have warned that the regulations could lead to disruptions in the power supply." (Joby Warrick, "Sources: EPA Will Ease Deadlines On Pollution Rule To Help States Comply," The Washington Post , 7/28/15)

A Study Done By The North American Electric Reliability Corporation Has Shown That "Retail Electricity Prices Will Increase By $1/MWh To $18/MWh Under The CPP." "The EPA projects that retail electricity prices will increase by $1/MWh to $18/MWh under the CPP as a result of acombination of higher natural gas prices and the implementation of new carbon penalties on impacted fossil-fired generators." ("Potential Reliability Impacts Of EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," North American Electric Reliability Corporation , November 2014)

  • "According To EIA, Closing Coal Plants Will Drive Up Natural Gas Prices By 150 Percent Over 2012 Levels By 2040, This Cost Rise Will Cause Electricity Prices To Jump Seven Percent By 2025 And 22 Percent By 2040." ("Potential Reliability Impacts Of EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," North American Electric Reliability Corporation , November 2014)

The EPA Estimates That Implementing This Plan Will Cost Billions Per Year, Up To $8.3 Annually By 2030. "Annual cost estimates for complying with the Clean Power Plan range from $5.4 billion to $7.4 billion in 2020, to $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion in 2030. These annual cost estimates factor in both the costs of investments in transitioning to lower-carbon electricity options and the savings that result from investments in energy efficiency." ( Press Release, "How Much Will The Clean Power Plan Cost?" Union Of Concerned Scientists, 3/3/15)

A Study Done By The National Economic Research Associates Found That "Total Electricity Related Costs" Would "Increase By An Average Of $34 Billion Per Year" Under The CPP. "When the consumer share of energy efficiency costs is included, total electricity-related costs in the State Unconstrained (BB1-4) increase by an average of $34 billion per year from 2017 through 2031 across all sectors. Residential and commercial consumers have much larger increases in costs than industrial consumers in this scenario primarily due to lower energy efficiency use in the industrial sector than the other two sectors." ("Potential Energy Impacts Of The EPA Proposed Clean Power Plan," NERA Economic Consulting, October 2014)

Higher Rates Will Lead To Less Spending By Families

Electricity Bills Will Rise, While Families Will Be Forced To Cut Back On Spending. "Increases in energy prices will spur employment responses, including demand-side reductions in spending, as households facing higher electricity bills (at least in the short run) curtail spending on non-energy goods." (Josh Bivens, "A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Employment Impacts Of The EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," Economic Policy Institute, 6/9/15)

The Clean Power Plan's Most Striking Feature Is The Decline In Electric Output

The EPA Is Projecting A Decline In Electricity Demand, Due To Energy Efficiencies. "With potentially overstated expectations for energy efficiency savings, the EPA's demand forecast results in a decline in electricity use between 2020 and 2030." ("Potential Reliability Impacts Of EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," North American Electric Reliability Corporation , November 2014)

  • The EPA Is Making These Assumptions With Little Evidence For Its Claims. "The main reason for this result is the EPA's assumption of states being able to sustain an annual incremental growth rate in energy efficiency savings of 1.5 percent once achieved. As mentioned above, this sustainability is not supported by any peer reviewed or technical studies of energy efficiency potential." ("Potential Reliability Impacts Of EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," North American Electric Reliability Corporation , November 2014)

Electricity Services "May Be Strained By The Strained By The Proposed CPP." "Essential Reliability Services may be strained by the proposed CPP. New reliability challenges may arise with the integration of generation resources that have different ERS characteristics than the units that are projected to retire." ("Potential Reliability Impacts Of EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," North American Electric Reliability Corporation , November 2014)

The Loss Of Coal-Powered Energy Will Be Substantial, Declining By 26.1% By 2030 From Current Levels. "Relative to this non-CPP baseline projection for future electricity generation, the CPP leads to an 18.6 percent decline in coal-fired electricity generation by 2020, and a 26.1 percent decline by 2030." (Josh Bivens, "A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Employment Impacts Of The EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," Economic Policy Institute, 6/9/15)

"The Most Striking Finding" Of The Report Is The Net Loss Of Power In The Country By 2030, A Full 11.3% Decline In Total Energy Production. "Besides the decline in coal-fired generation, the most striking finding in Table 1 is the decline in total generation, which is essentially a reflection of energy efficiency investments. Relative to the baseline, total generation falls 2.8 percent by 2020 and 11.3 percent by 2030." (Josh Bivens, "A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Employment Impacts Of The EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," Economic Policy Institute, 6/9/15)

The United States' Ability To Compete On An International Level Will Be Affected By The Higher Energy Prices. "Finally, there may be responses related to international competitiveness, as higher domestic energy prices affect the cost of industrial production in the United States." (Josh Bivens, "A Comprehensive Analysis Of The Employment Impacts Of The EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," Economic Policy Institute, 6/9/15)

Regional Energy Networks Have Voiced Concerned About The CPP's Goals

The Southwest Power Pool Electric Energy Network Has Concluded That The CPP "Will Cause Significant Reactive Power Deficiencies And Numerous Overloaded Facilities." "SPP has conducted an assessment of the CPP's reliability impact on our region's electric grid. Our analysis revealed the generating-unit retirements expected as a result of the CPP will cause significant reactive power deficiencies and numerous overloaded facilities." (Press Release, "Reliability Impact Of EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan," Southwest Power Plan, October 2014)

The New York Independent System Operator Has Also Voiced Concern Over the EPA's Plan. "'As proposed, the Clean Power Plan presents potentially serious reliability implications for New York,' the NYISO stated. 'A majority of the electric capacity within New York City is dual-fuel oil/gas steam-fired electric generating units. These units are critically important, both due to their location within the transmission constrained New York City area and because they possess dual-fuel capability that provides a needed measure of protection against disruptions in the natural gas supply system.'" (Press Release, "NYISO Files Comments On EPA Clean Power Plan," New York Independent System Operator , 12/2/14)

  • "The Flaws With The Clean Power Plan That Would Compromise Reliability In New York Stem From Key Assumptions Within The Building Blocks That Are Not Technically Sound And Result In CO2 Emissions Reduction Targets For New York That Are Unreasonable And Unworkable Within The Timeframes Provided." (Press Release, "NYISO Files Comments On EPA Clean Power Plan," New York Independent System Operator , 12/2/14)

A Statement From John R. Bear, President Of Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Raised Concerns About Electric Reliability Under The CPP. "'MISO has identified electric system reliability concerns related to the proposed rule's 2020-2029 interim performance requirements. The MISO region faces declining power reserve margins due to EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and other factors. The Clean Power Plan will drive further changes to the energy resources used across our footprint. Building new generation, natural gas infrastructure and transmission facilities necessary to support electric system reliability will take more time than the interim performance period allows.'" (Press Release, "MISO Comments On EPA Clean Power Plan," Midcontinent Independent System Operator , 11/25/14)


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