Unrealistic agenda transforms daily life, devastates W.Va.
President Biden could shut down every coal plant, cut natural gas electricity generation in half, replace 100 million passenger cars and retrofit millions upon millions of homes and commercial buildings to electric heat, and he would still fall short of his promise to eliminate 2.18 billion tons of carbon from U.S. emissions by 2030.
Yet, forcing such radical and rapid change would devastate West Virginia and be a colossal economic, foreign policy and legal blunder.
This transformation wouldn’t just wipe out West Virginia’s fossil fuel sectors – it would push reliable energy sources off the power grid, while creating unprecedented levels of new demand for electricity.
It just doesn’t add up.
Even if our nation develops new technology that is as reliable as fossil-fuel generation, building enough of it at such a reckless pace would come at a tremendous cost.
West Virginians will measure this impact in their monthly power bills, but dramatically increasing energy costs will affect even the most basic aspects of daily living.
But take this a step further.
Think about what skyrocketing energy prices — coupled with costly retrofit requirements — will do to America’s already-struggling manufacturing base.
More jobs will be driven offshore, and employers who can stay will be forced to raise prices and sink more investment into paying their electric bill. The cost of living will spike, wages will stagnate and jobs will evaporate.
It’s simple math.
Understanding these systematic disruptions to our economy reveals the deception behind Biden’s promise that his administration can backfill lost jobs with new “clean” jobs.
America’s precarious position in the world today makes these disruptions all the more serious.
Our nation only recently achieved energy independence, freeing the economy from reliance on oil imports from totalitarian regimes. This was only possible because of our abundance of domestic fossil fuels.
There is nothing strategic about hamstringing our economy in the name of reduced emissions.
China, our greatest geopolitical rival, has no plans to devastate its economy. Instead, China has already committed to building more coal-fired capacity by 2030 than Biden is proposing to eliminate.
And as America declines, China would rise.
Biden’s new green economy would be even more dependent on rare earth minerals to make car batteries, windmills and solar plants. Good news for China, which controls over half the global trade for these minerals.
Thankfully, our Constitution stands in the way of Biden unilaterally pushing the country down this terrible path.
The President cannot decide major economic and political questions, or significantly alter the balance of power between the states and federal government, without clear authorization from Congress.
President Obama’s “go it alone” strategy sought to effectively end coal-fired generation in the United States without congressional authorization. The Supreme Court saw the error of this approach and granted our historic and unprecedented stay of Obama’s Power Plan, which built a bridge to President Trump who repealed the rule based on these legal defects.
Unfortunately, a federal court struck down Trump’s repeal and blessed the Power Plan’s exercise of unconstrained executive power. Such philosophy seeks to transform the Environmental Protection Agency from serving as an environmental regulator into a central energy planning authority.
Given that President Biden’s administration appears poised to issue similar rules — beyond the electricity sector — our office led a 19-state coalition in petitioning the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari in hopes of achieving a complete and final repudiation of that dangerous approach.
West Virginia remains rich in resources, but to realize her full potential we must ensure our leaders are guided by the Constitution’s limits, not by the radical demands of an unrealistic promise.
(Patrick Morrisey is the Attorney General of West Virginia.)