WSW: A Vibrant Environment and Economy
Some business groups and Republican lawmakers have criticized the Obama administration’s new rules for states on carbon emissions. But energy consultant Michael Rader says the Clean Power Plan is good for the environment and the economy.
Rader, a Western Michigan University graduate is a Digital Strategist with Forum One. He is also a former WMUK reporter. Rader wrote an op-ed for the Kalamazoo Gazette: Obama’s Clean Power Plan will Defend Health, Jobs and Climate. He spoke with WMUK’s Gordon Evans about climate change and the economy.
Rader says utilities and fossil fuel interests often make “doom and gloom” predictions about new regulations killing jobs. But he says that hasn’t been the case. Rader says many of the coal-fired plants, and other power plants that burn fossil fuels are aging, and will have to be replaced. “We can either replace them with something that is burning clean fuel or something that is burning dirty fuel again.”
Critics of the changes say Michigan relies on manufacturing and therefore needs more energy. But Rader says the new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency are based on what each state uses. He says states can meet the goals by investing in renewable energy and also by investing in energy efficiency. Rader says Michigan has a number of programs to do both. He says that has put the state about half-way toward to meeting the first interim goals under the Clean Power Plan.
Asked if that means that Michigan should have been put under stricter rules to limit carbon emissions, Rader says “that’s a reasonable point.” But he says climate change has become a politically divisive issue. Rader says the new rules reflect a reasonable step forward while acknowledging the political reality.