Jordan Candler / Aug. 20, 2015

EPA’s McCarthy Admits Clean Power Plan Hits Minorities Hardest

She claimed last year the plan was “about environmental justice.”

In June 2014, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the Clean Power Plan, which the Obama administration finalized earlier this month, “is about environmental justice … because lower-income families and communities of color are hardest hit.” Why, then, is the EPA enacting standards that adversely affect minorities? Last week, McCarthy similarly remarked, “We know that low-income minority communities would be hardest hit.” But there was one important distinction: She wasn’t referring to environmental hazards but the plan itself. In other words, the EPA’s massive power grab, which ostensibly “is about environmental justice,” instead hurts those it’s supposedly intended to protect. That’s not the surprising part — independent studies have already warned about the consequences. What’s surprising is hearing the head of Barack Obama’s EPA admit it.

McCarthy counters by arguing that consumers will see substantial savings by 2030 and that the government intends to help minorities neutralize the initial impacts by giving states that invest in new and upcoming energy efficiency programs a 2-for-1 federal credit. But as The Daily Signal’s Nicolas Loris writes, existing energy efficiency programs have failed to live up to expectations. And just because the government wants to make purchasing decisions for you doesn’t mean consumers are better off: “Arguing that increasing energy prices with regulations will save money by forcing energy-efficient product purchases is equivalent to cutting employees’ salaries and telling them that they will save money by shopping at Target. Just as the option to save money at Target existed before the pay cut, families and businesses already have an incentive to purchase energy-efficient products. When the government mandates efficiency, it removes that choice and makes consumers worse off.” No one is against energy efficiency, but that’s best attained through innovation in the free market. When the government gets involved, the results are bad for everyone.

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