WMC's Scott Manley Criticizes EPA Carbon Rules

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WMC's Scott Manley Criticizes EPA Carbon Rules

Premiere Date: 
June 6, 2014

The EPA announced it wants carbon emissions from power plants cut by 30 percent by 2030.

 

Episode Transcript: 

Frederica Freyberg:

Now to other news of the week. The US Environmental Protection Agency wants Wisconsin to cut its carbon dioxide emissions coming from power plants by one-third by the year 2030. Environmentalists view this as an historic and positive step toward stemming climate change and protecting public health. Business interests countered that the EPA rule will cost consumers billions of dollars and kill jobs. We have both sides represented here tonight. First, to vice-president of government relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, Scott Manley. Thanks for being here.

Scott Manley:

Thanks for having me again.

Frederica Freyberg:

So how exactly does this EPA rule cost jobs?

Scott Manley:

Well, it's a very expensive set of energy mandates, including they're going to mandate how much renewable energy we have to build, which is going to be significantly more than what the legislature in Wisconsin have already approved. A lot of energy rationing, and when you ration something and it becomes scarce, the cost goes up. And as electric utilities face billions of dollars in higher costs, they're going to pass those along to their customers and that will take the form of higher electric rates. Manufacturers, and we have the second most manufacturing-intensive economy in the country here,  rely on affordable energy as the life blood of their business. And so as this type of a rule makes manufacturing less attractive because it's more expensive to do here, it gives them a reason to shift that production to another state or even another country.

Frederica Freyberg:

Do you have estimates as to how many jobs you think would likely be lost as a result of these rules?

Scott Manley:

It's difficult. I can safely say it will be in the thousands per year. We saw a study that showed, for the five-state region where Wisconsin is located, that it would be an average of 31,700 per year in that five-state region. Now, that was based on some assumptions about the rule that ended up not aligning with what the rule, you know, ultimately came out to be. But I think those numbers are going to be very similar. And, you know-- You know, I would say from our standpoint, we need to look at energy policies that don't kill jobs, that actually create jobs.

Frederica Freyberg:

What about the counter on the part of the environmentalists who say that building up the alternative energy infrastructure would grow jobs?

Scott Manley:

Well, look, you can't grow jobs by making energy more expensive. And, you know, we've kind of heard this line before. You remember back in 2009 with the stimulus, we were going to create all these green jobs. We spent, you know, millions if not actually billions of dollars on green jobs. And where are they? I mean, they just never materialized. You know, we have to look-- For a state like Wisconsin, this rule will require us to reduce our emissions by 34%. That's the most of any state in our region, with the exception of Minnesota. So in addition to creating the, sort of the international competitive disadvantage because the companies that we compete against every day in China and Vietnam and Asia, they're not going to be doing this. And what we have to do is even-- puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to states like Illinois and Michigan and Indiana.

Frederica Freyberg:

We're talking so close to home with these rules specific to Wisconsin, but in your mind does something have to be done about carbon emissions and climate change?

Scott Manley:

Well, you know, if something has to be done, you know, to address global warming, it's got to be a global solution. The estimates that I've seen are that for every ton of carbon dioxide that will be reduced by this new EPA rule, six tons of carbon dioxide will be increased by other countries around the world. So when you all-- When you add it all up, you have not gained anything from a global warming, global climate standpoint. And I think the president who says, hey, look, I get it that no one else is doing this, but we need to be the leader. He needs to explain to middle class manufacturing families in Wisconsin why their job needs to be jeopardized so that Wisconsin can be a leader.

Frederica Freyberg:

We need to leave it there. Scott Manley, thank you.

Scott Manley:

Thank you.   


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