U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement today on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to withdraw the Clean Power Plan. He has never made his distaste of this Obama-era plan a secret. He stated:
I applaud the EPA’s decision today to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan. This onerous rule would have created millions in compliance costs for Arizona utilities, which would have been forced to pass on costs to Arizona consumers in the form of high monthly energy bills. The result would have been especially harmful for low-income families who are least able to afford electricity double-digit rate hikes. Rolling-back this rule will promote efforts already taken by our state to deploy renewable technologies, including a diverse energy portfolio of solar, wind, nuclear, and natural gas.
The Clean Power Plan, enacted by the Obama Administration in 2015, was designed to “reduce carbon pollution from power plants, the nation’s largest source, while maintaining energy reliability and affordability.” It was enacted largely to show that the US is ready to be a global leader in being proactive in stopping climate change.
McCain claims that the Plan “would have created millions in compliance costs for Arizona utilities.” His argument was that his constituents would have astronomical energy bills. That is bogus. The CPP has multiple options for states and tribal regions to offset the costs of long-term conversion to cleaner power sources. For example, the Plan states:
States can tailor their plans to meet their respective energy, environmental and economic needs and goals, and those of their local communities by:
- relying on a diverse set of energy resources;
- protecting electric system reliability;
- providing affordable electricity; and
- recognizing investments that states and power companies are already making.
It is clear that McCain is willing to ignore the needs of his state; he is just as eager to see Obama-era plans ended as Trump. Arizona has some of the worst air quality in the nation. In June of this year, Phoenix ranked 5th worst in the nation, according to local news stations.
It is difficult to understand just what McCain is complaining about. According to a 2016 U.S. Dept. of Energy report,
Arizona’s Renewable Environmental Standard requires 15% of the state’s electricity consumed in 2025 to come from renewable energy resources; in 2015, 9.5% of Arizona’s utility-scale net electricity generation came from renewable resources, primarily from the Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams.
These standards greatly exceed the requirements of the CPP and failure to support the Plan would have little to no effect on Arizona’s ambitious move toward renewable energy sources. Something other than his constituents’ welfare is behind McCain’s inexplicable support of the EPA’s disastrous decision. His motivation remains to be seen.