Date of this Version
Op-Ed from ENSC 230. Energy and the Environment: Economics and Policy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Agricultural Economics, Fall 2015
On August 3rd, President Obama and the EPA announced the Clean Power Plan (CPP) with the goal of cutting 32% of carbon emissions nationwide by 2030. The plan institutes carbon reduction requirements for all states based on their current sources of energy, for Nebraska the goal is 40%. The next day, Governor Ricketts and his Attorney General announced they would be fighting the mandate in court; stating the plan is unlawful federal government overreach, while expressing concerns the reduction are infeasible in the timeframe given and will drive up electricity costs. Governor Ricketts misses the point on this. Reducing carbon emissions to slow climate change is a responsibility the USA shares with the world and is therefore a responsibility each state in America shares with each other. Many other states across the country have already implemented effective renewable energy policies to meet the country’s goals. Instead of griping about the difficulty of meeting the requirements and fighting the mandate in court, Nebraska’s leaders must realize using less coal in the state’s energy portfolio is not only inevitable, it can also be economically beneficial. They need to get started now by enacting a state implementation plan that can coordinate the right transition to carbon reduction and use the opportunity to spur growth in rural economies. If they don’t, the federal government will create a plan for the state. Nebraska has incredible wind energy potential and this resource must play a considerable part in the state’s energy portfolio to offset carbon emissions. The state must enact policies to accelerate wind power development through tax incentives and by setting renewable energy targets for its public utilities.