GOP governors promote energy strategy in Houston

By Phil Archer - Reporter

HOUSTON - Texas Governor Rick Perry has enlisted in the War On Coal. Perry and the Republican governors of Louisiana, North Dakota and Wyoming came to Houston Monday to campaign against a new EPA regulation aimed at cutting greenhouse gases.

The governors insist the new rule will drive up the price of electricity to consumers and kill jobs.

"These jobs are never going to materialize as long as President Obama continues to wage this war on American energy simply to appease what appears to me to be a tiny sliver of environmental extremists," said Perry.

The EPA wants power-generating companies to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent of 2005 levels within 15 years. Texas, the largest carbon producer in the country, would have to go even farther and cut emissions by 39 percent.

The EPA says the change will decrease the cost of electricity over time by 8 percent through more efficient operations, and predicts health benefits will lead to 6,600 lives saved annually, and a yearly saving of more than $90,000,000 in health costs related to air pollution.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy recently said, "This is about protecting our health and about protecting our homes."

But Perry and the other governors described the new rule as a power grab by the Obama administration that will drive jobs overseas.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that the new emissions rule will reduce annual U.S. GNP by $50 billion, and prevent the creation of 220,000 jobs each year.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, whose state is the number one coal producer in the nation, says the new EPA regulations will hurt Wyoming's economy.

"What is it going to do to our citizens?" Mead asked. "You say your going to raise the price of electricity for grandma by $50 a month. That is just the tip of the iceberg. You're also going to put them at a competitive disadvantage."  

Mead said Wyoming currently has 11 lawsuits pending against the EPA.

Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana predicted the fight will end up in federal court. North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple was also on the panel.

The four have joined five other Republican governors, signing a letter to President Obama protesting the EPA move.

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