Comments about ‘Obama's plan means Utah's energy bills will rise’

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Published: Wednesday, June 4 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Frozen Fractals
Salt Lake City, UT

They don't have to even have a plan in the state for 2 years and the target doesn't have to be met for 16 years. Energy prices aren't skyrocketing anytime soon, and if the state can actually come up with a decent plan and the nation can innovate like a global power is supposed to, it shouldn't have much of an effect at all.

high school fan
Huntington, UT

Nice editorial, Jay seems to get it. Utah's power plants do not affect Salt Lake City and do not change you winter inversion. Just remember this, when you are fogged in there in the Valley, we are living under crystal blue skies here in Castle Country.

Durham, NC

"But the people’s representatives in Washington, the ones we elect to make decisions affecting our lives, had nothing to say about this. If it’s dictated to us, it isn’t our plan."

So true.... and its their own fault. Its kind of like telling your kids that their room needs to be cleaned up, and you leave it to them to do so. After five years of asking and warnings, you as a parent final go in an clear their room for them. And no, your not going to keep the same stuff they would have. Its not going to be put the way they wanted it to be. But by their own inaction, they predicated the only reasonable action.

The new rules don't tell the states how to achieve the lower emissions. The states have 16 years to get this done. With today's technology, yes, this is a hurdle. But think 16 years back.... what technology do we have today that we didn't have then. Smart phones, flat screen tv s (that use a lot less power), hybrid cars, fit bits... carbon fibre passenger jets. 16 years is plenty of time.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

"...some of the most abundant, efficient and clean coal in the world..."

Let's be clear here: Coal is polluting (e.g., mercury emissions alone pollute our air and water and make it so that we sportsmen can't eat some of the waterfowl we hunt and fish we catch!). There's no such thing as "clean coal." In fact, the Obama Administration has indeed invested significant stimulus money into developing clean coal technology, but as of today, it doesn't exist and is destined to be very expensive.

Talk of carbon taxes and restrictions have been part of the civic dialogue for more than two decades, and other states, including California and Texas, have been working to address that looming threat... but as usual, Utah is a day late and a dollar short. Why? Disbelief in climate change and a hatred of Obama have blinded our utilities and policymakers from acting accordingly to the looming risk of emission restrictions.

The day has arrived -- no Mitt Romney, standing with unionized coal workers during his campaign, to save the day. And if Hillary becomes our next president, these regulations are likely to stand.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

The Energy Information Administration has determined that natural gas and wind energy are now the cheapest forms of electricity on a levelized-cost basis. What this means is that the internal rate of return on building these projects is the lowest -- compared to new coal, nuclear, and other electricity resources.

Natural gas, nonetheless, poses its own risks, including fracking and price volatility.

So wind is a good bargain because it is price stable! No fuel costs means that its price is determined by its fixed costs and expected productivity over a wind project's 20 year life. Some wind in Texas is coming in at less than 3 cents a kilowatt hour!

Natural gas also uses a lot of water (for steam and flushing boilers), like coal and nuclear. Utah, the second-driest state in the union, is expected to have a population explosion over the next 20 years, so we can't burden our kids and grandkids with water-intensive energy sources. Wind and solar use no water.

Gas and wind/solar are "good partners" going forward as the variability of renewable energy can be easily "backed up" by cleaner nature gas.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

Experts predict that the new pollution regulations will cost the United States power plants 8.8 billion dollars per year.

Let me see, $9,000,000.000 divided by 300,000,000. Americans equals $30 per american per year.

That means that the average american will spend a whopping 8 CENTS per day on reducing green house gases.

I can find 8 cents in the 7-11 parking lot on the way to buy my 99 cent Big Swig!

Layton, UT

"The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society." (2006)
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Centerville, UT

Earlier this week, the editorial board of this newspaper said we didn't have to worry about overpopulation because human ingenuity would lead to innovation to solve problems attending population growth.

If necessity is the mother of invention, perhaps higher electricity prices will spur our ingenuity.

And most hybrids don't plug in to an electricity source.

Springville, UT

Congress has refused to act. Period. And, Jay, the President was elected by the people. All the people. Thank you, President Obama, for acting when Congress would not. Even though you didn't go far enough, Mr. President, at least you showed some leadership. Congress is a joke. They don't act on much of anything, even on the stuff on which they agree, and then they complain when someone else does (within the power of the law, by the way).

@ micawber, great comment. We will do better in the long run because of the President's action. 70% of the American people agree with the President. Jay and this newspaper are out of touch.

Tooele, UT

Re: "So the days of cheap energy are numbered . . . ."

Just as Obama promised.

Obama's sole enduring legacy will be the single campaign promise he made that he intended to keep -- energy prices would "necessarily skyrocket."

Durham, NC

We went from no maned flight program to being the first nation to land on the moon. That took far less that 16 years to accomplish. We are starting from a far better starting point than did space exploration. Surely we are smart enough and will be able to raise to the challenge.

Maintaining the status quo is not how you lead.

whoville, UT

Micawber's comments were spot on. It is indeed ironic that on the one hand our Utah culture insists in the power of innovation, and efficiency (when it comes to taxes and free markets) yet wants to throw those same principles out when it comes to the dire need for courage, and a straight and narrow way, with regards to cleaning up our power sources - for the benefit of all to continue to enjoy a relatively healthy and happy way of life in this country.

I don't minimize the pain of job loss or economic loss of those involved, but am quite confident that in the long run, the benefits will certainly outweigh the short term pain. So a black democratic president taking the 'long view,' willing to take a principled stand for efficiency, conservatism and dare I say, faith and hope for a better future - ironic that our Utah culture can't come to terms with this.

Salt Lake City, UT

So much of the conservative criticism of regulation, especially environmental regulation, seems premised on the idea that there is no cost to the status quo and that the expense of regulatory compliance yields only feel good benefits and no tangible economic benefits.

An insulation contractor in my home town used to advertise that "you pay for insulation whether you have it or not." Similarly, you pay for pollution controls whether you have them or not, in the form of health care, diminished property values, cleaning costs, etc. (It's interesting that Mr. Evenson so casually dismisses the administration's asthma figures as unverifiable while uncritically accepting industry statistics.) Pollution incurs costs, often externalized. To the extent that pollution costs are externalized, utility customers are subsidized. Increased utility rates due to installing pollution controls merely internalizes the external costs of pollution, removing the subsidy and restoring proper market function.

I could accept conservative objections to regulation if they were more nuanced and focused, for instance, if they argued that the marginal cost of a regulation exceeded the marginal benefit, or that one policy mechanism was more efficient than another. But so often they just naysay any proposal as worthless.

Cedar Hills, UT

Remember people - you voted for your BIG electric bill that is soon to come!! So your BIG electric bill and your BIG insurance premium and all the other BIG bill increases that you will get due to the Obama mandates. Just be comforted in knowing that you voted for this. Progressives care - remember? They care about...their political future and power and that's where it ends folks.

A Guy With A Brain
Enid, OK

Article title: "Obama's plan means Utah's energy bills will rise"

Hey, liberals, are you happy now?

Virginia Beach, VA

"Obama's plan means Utah's energy bills will rise" . . . and the air will be cleaner, and Global Warming will be a little less severe, and after green energy sources are more extensive, energy bills will decline . . . And maybe mankind will not self-destruct.

What's so terrible about that?

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"Hey, liberals, are you happy now?"

Absolutely! I couldn't be more overjoyed! Well, I could, if we cut emissions by even more! Instead of 30 percent how about 50 or 80?

We'll have cleaner air and better health! What's wrong with that?

Would you be happier with dirtier air and worse health?

"So your BIG electric bill and your BIG insurance premium and all the other BIG bill increases that you will get due to the Obama mandates. Just be comforted in knowing that you voted for this."

Good! yes, we remember. The majority of this country voted for cleaner air and better health. We understood that it would cost some in the short-term. But in the long run? We all benefit.

If raising prices without benefit was all that this did, then you folks might have a point. But since we all benefit by having cleaner air and water, I fail to see how this is bad.

Just how important is your health to you? How important is your children and grandchildrens' health?


How about we place the blame where it is due - at the feet of ROcky Mountain Power and the State, which refuses to create a plan?

And there is no such thing as clean coal. Cleaner does not mean clean; it means less dirty.

Sandy, UT

...and what is the cost to Utah if climate change continues unchecked? Already we're seeing droughts across the West, reductions in mountain snowpack, and more and more extreme weather. That's hurting our agriculture, stressing our water supply, and causing severe problems for the ski industry.

For years, the US has lagged behind much of the rest of the world when it comes to reducing our carbon output. Not only the EU countries, but even China and India are implementing new technologies as their economies boom. Yet the conservatives have given up on American innovation.

Provo, UT

While it's true that our current legislators have done nothing to address this issue, or little else for that matter, a prior Congress did pass the Clean Air Act which authorized the use of regulation to clean up the air. Unless I've missed something, that's still the law of the land and challenged portions were recently upheld by the Supreme Court. So, unless our current legislators repeal the Clean Air Act, Obama is just exercising the authority given to him by Congress to clean up the air. God bless him, especially next winter when we'll again be suffering from suffocating inversions! And I hope he hurries up with some new monuments in Utah before before our state legislators waste untold millions "reclaiming our land."

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