President Obama continuously cites his concern for “income inequality” in America while conveniently avoiding discussion of the “energy insecurity” that will ensue from his proposed carbon regulations. A recent report issued by the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) examined the proposed carbon regulations and the energy insecurity that will result in coal-heavy states like ours.
[RELATED on OCR: “Ohio Counts on Coal”]
The PRI’s report found that in Ohio, which gets about 70 percent of its electricity from coal, the proposed carbon regulations will have an overwhelmingly disparate impact on African-American households.
The PRI report specifically indicated that the average Ohio family can expect to see its energy spending increase from 2.9 percent to almost 4 percent of their yearly income due to the EPA’s proposed rules. While this increase is bad enough for too many Ohio families who are already struggling to pay their energy bills, the impact on the average African-American family in Ohio will be even worse.
In sharp contrast to the average Ohio increases, the
“electricity spending for an African-American household in Ohio will rise from 4.5 percent of their income to 5.8 percent … due to the EPA’s plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions.”
For the average African-American household, this amounts to an annual increase of $408 in energy costs. Quite frankly these are costs that some families simply can’t bear, nor should they forced to undertake.
Furthermore according to the PRI study,
“Households in lower-income African-American neighborhoods would be hit harder with the cost of electricity equaling 26 percent of household income, or even higher.”
These high increases may mean some families have to choose between heating their homes this winter and putting food on the table.
[RELATED on OCR: “Foundations of Economics: It’s Not a Jungle Out There”]
These impacts are not confined to Ohio. A recent report from Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) found that the impact of President Obama’s proposed carbon regulations will be widespread, and that a 10 percent increase in energy costs could push 840,000 people into poverty. That is particularly troubling given that almost 90 percent of states are projected to see wholesale electricity cost increases of 10 percent or greater.
[RELATED on OCR: Other Obama Administration Rules “Breaking the Backbone of Our Economy”]
If the proposed carbon regulations move forward unabated, the impact on African-Americans and low-income Americans in the U.S. as well as the public at large could leave us all in the cold.
Eli Miller is the State Director of Americans for Prosperity – Ohio and Americans for Prosperity Foundation – Ohio.
All opinions expressed belong solely to their authors and may not be construed as the opinions of other writers or of OCR staff.
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