Guest Opinions

Obama rhetoric bad for Idaho

Since the Environmental Protection Agency released its much-anticipated carbon reduction plan in August, the rhetoric from President Obama and his cohorts in D.C. has been deafening. The false claims about the plan are almost as astronomical as the rarely discussed price tag for the plan. Idahoans need Attorney General Lawrence Wasden to join his colleagues across the nation in taking EPA to court to stop this illegal, overreaching rule and give the president a reality check.

This plan is supposed to be about climate change, but it’s not. The actual effects of EPA’s carbon plan will be ridiculously small: tiny fractions of a degree in temperature change reductions and an insignificant impact on sea level rise.

The plan is about the boss — President Barack Obama — and the all-out effort he wants EPA to make to assure his administration goes down in history books as a champion of environmentalist causes.

To do so, and at the peril of America’s economy, the president blatantly ignores the costs of his plan. EPA’s carbon reduction plan will cause electricity prices to soar in Idaho, just as it will in 39 other states. The plan will also be the single most expensive government regulation in history. We can’t afford to let this overreach go unchallenged, which is why we need our top elected officials to stand firmly against the plan.

Gov. Butch Otter already spoke out against the plan. He signed a letter in September 2014 with 14 other governors pointing out many of the practical problems with the regulation as well as its direct noncompliance with federal law. The Clean Air Act — the statute EPA used to create this plan — does not provide legal authority to impose regulatory emissions controls of this nature.

In spite of the plan’s illegality, Attorney General Wasden has yet to take action. In an August 2015 statement, a spokesperson for his office said, “At this point, the attorney general doesn’t have any plans to join any of the attorneys generals who are gearing up over a fight. We’ll be watching to see how things develop.”

Unfortunately for Idahoans, the longer he waits to see what happens the more we’ll begin to feel the devastating effects of the president’s costly agenda.

Idaho families and businesses, like those in most other states, will see an 11 percent increase in electricity prices. Idaho senior citizens on fixed-incomes and low-income families will be stretched thin as rising electricity prices squeeze their budgets and make it more difficult to pay for necessities such as food and medical care.

Idaho families do not deserve to pay for a plan that produces no tangible environmental benefits simply because the president wants to clinch his legacy during his final months in the White House.

I urge Wasden to side with Gov. Otter in opposing Obama’s costly plan.

We need a united front from Idaho leaders telling the president and EPA that we will not put up with this illegal scheme at the cost of our state, our businesses and our families.

Jeff Thompson serves in the Idaho House of Representatives representing District 30 and is chairman of the Environment, Energy and Technology Committee.