Statement of David Arkush, Managing Director, Public Citizen’s Climate Program
Note: Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works reported out S. 1324, the so-called Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA), introduced by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.).
Today, 15 national and state consumer groups joined Public Citizen in expressing strong opposition (PDF) to the ARENA Act. The bill is being sold to the public as a consumer protection measure, but it is just the opposite. The ARENA Act would block the Clean Power Plan and stop the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing other rules to curb carbon pollution from power plants. By doing do, it would effectively block the many consumer and public health benefits of the new rules.
The EPA’s Clean Power Plan would lower electricity bills. Over the past few weeks, Public Citizen has released a series of analyses of the proposed plan’s effects on electricity bills in various states. Across the 11 states we examined, we found overwhelmingly positive effects – including in Kentucky and West Virginia, whose representatives in Congress are fighting the new rules. As proposed, the Clean Power Plan would lower electricity bills by as much as 12.5 percent by 2030, saving the average family up to $224 per year. These savings will be especially beneficial for vulnerable, low-income populations.
From higher market prices and taxes to compensate for extensive property and infrastructure damage, to lower quality and higher costs for basic human needs like food and water, to increased disease and illness, climate change threatens devastating harm to all Americans. The Clean Power Plan will lessen these harms by mitigating climate change. By forestalling action on climate change, the ARENA Act would sacrifice American lives and well-being to advance the narrow interests of fossil fuel companies.