America’s Electricity Future is in the Hands of Voters  


The positions candidates take on the campaign trail matter. For example, we’re currently seeing President Obama carry out many of the pet projects promised during his two presidential campaigns – none more so than the illegal carbon plan recently issued by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The plan is an economic disaster on all fronts, especially for low-and middle- income Americans who already spend some 17 percent of their modest take home pay on energy costs. As more power plants are forced to retire, more families will have to make stark choices between putting food on the table and paying their electricity bill. Seniors, many of whom live on fixed-incomes, will similarly face hard choices between paying for electricity or prescription medications.

With people’s economic security in the balance, it’s imperative Americans know where candidates stand on President Obama’s carbon plan.

The good news first: nearly all the remaining candidates for the Republican nomination are crystal clear in their opposition to the administration’s carbon plan.

Here’s what candidates opposing the rule have to say:

Jeb Bush: “President Obama’s Carbon Rule is irresponsible and overreaching.”

Marco Rubio“As president, I will immediately stop this massive regulation.”

Rand Paul: “So we’re steadfast against it [the Obama rule], and I will do everything I can to repeal this rule.”

Carly Fiorina: “They’re [carbon regulations] terrible. They should all be repealed.”

Mike Huckabee: [The plan] would “bankrupt families.”

Ted Cruz: “The President’s lawless and radical attempt to destabilize the Nation’s energy system is flatly unconstitutional.”

George Pataki: “I think it’s just completely wrong.”

The opposition doesn’t stop there. Current governors Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, and John Kasich, who arguably have an even better understanding of the consequences of this plan, enlisted their states in joining the legal challenge to overturn this legally flawed plan. Additionally, Rick Santorum has vowed to immediately reverse Obama’s executive orders issuing the carbon plan.

The bad news, however, is all the Democrats who have announced a position endorse Obama’s plan.

Hillary Clinton said in a public statement: “It’s a good plan, and, as president, I’d defend it.” The former secretary of state and presidential candidate also claimed that Obama’s carbon plan “set the floor, not the ceiling. We can and must go further.” Is her pledge to “build on” the Obama rule a promise to revive the 2009 cap and trade legislation she and President Obama both championed? Consumers hope not.

Bernie Sanders tweeted his support for Obama’s actions, as did Martin O’Malley, who tweeted he would “expand it to cover large emissions sources beyond power plants.” Rhode Island’s governor, Lincoln Chafee, publicly thanked Obama and EPA for announcing the rule.

Consumers who will bear the burden of this political agenda should take careful note of what’s being said . . . and what’s not being said.

Neither of the Republican frontrunners, Donald Trump or Ben Carson, have made mention of this disastrous plan. Likewise, Virginians Jim Gilmore and Jim Webb and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham are also mum on the subject.

Regardless of party affiliation, voters should oppose these pro-carbon rule candidates, just as they did in 2010, unseating scores of lawmakers who supported the president’s cap and trade bill.

Elections have consequences and we must make sure the future for electricity prices will be brighter, not worse as the sun sets on the current administration. It’s time to raise our voices, exercise our votes and remind Washington, D.C. politicians who works for whom.


Laura Sheehan is the Senior Vice President for communications at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Morning Consult