Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Move Missouri Forward toward a Clean Energy Future; Energy Policy; Clean Power Plan Will Provide Billions of Dollars in Benefits at a Long-Term Cost Savings for Missourians

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Move Missouri Forward toward a Clean Energy Future; Energy Policy; Clean Power Plan Will Provide Billions of Dollars in Benefits at a Long-Term Cost Savings for Missourians

Article excerpt

I served with Terry M. Jarrett on the Missouri Public Service Commission and while I have great respect for him, I fundamentally disagree with his take on the Clean Power Plan in his commentary "State utility commissions should fight the Clean Power Plan" (July 7). The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan is our nation's first plan to limit carbon emissions from power plants. The energy sector is the largest source of the heat-trapping emissions that contribute to climate change in the United States, and we're long overdue as a nation in limiting carbon pollution.

Jarrett wrongly cites cost as a major barrier to cutting carbon emissions, focusing on misleading studies like the one by NERA Economic Consulting that erroneously state that the costs of complying with the Clean Power Plan outweigh the benefits. The flawed NERA report inflates the cost of the Clean Power Plan by exaggerating the cost of energy efficiency, and ignores energy efficiency's proven ability to deliver significant savings.

Ultimately, the Clean Power Plan will provide billions of dollars in benefits at a long-term cost savings for residents of Missouri. These savings come from many different sources. First, the cost of renewable resources such as wind and solar continue to decline, and over the long term can generate substantial savings in electricity generation. Second, with cleaner air and water, we will see substantial savings in health costs. Reduced asthma rates alone will constitute significant savings.

Furthermore, a recent report from the Missouri Energy Initiative and Environmental Entrepreneurs shows that cleaner sources of energy are bringing new jobs to Missouri. Already, there are 40,000 clean energy jobs in Missouri. Between 2013 and 2014, Missouri's clean energy economy saw job growth of nearly 5 percent. Finally, if we do nothing, the costs of responding to the devastating results of climate change will far outweigh any costs of avoiding its catastrophic effect.

The EPA estimates the proposed Clean Power Plan will cut carbon emissions by hundreds of millions of tons per year, generating health and climate benefits estimated to be worth billions of dollars, from $17 billion in 2020, to at least $30 billion in 2030. …

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