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Clean Power Plan will hammer Nevada seniors

Ronald Reagan once said that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

Sadly, Reagan is being proved right once again by a sweeping new plan that the Environmental Protection Agency is trying to impose on the states. In an effort to “help” address climate change, the EPA has come up with a proposal that would force Nevada and the other states to take actions that would drastically increase energy prices and hurt their citizens.

Enough is enough. Nevada needs to take a stand against Washington this time and just say no to the EPA.

The EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan would force the states to make huge cuts in carbon dioxide emissions from electric power plants — a 32 percent cut in emissions from electricity generation by 2030. Despite Nevada’s already promising commitment to increased investment in renewable sources of power, the EPA, under President Barack Obama’s direction, is pushing forward with its mandate.

The cost of compliance for Nevada could be a 40 percent jump in wholesale electricity prices, according to a study by Energy Ventures Analysis. That’s a tough hit for any family to take, but it might be an almost impossible burden to bear for many of Nevada’s seniors scraping by on social security.

I work with seniors every day, and all too often, I meet people who have worked hard all their lives and are now struggling to get by on a modest fixed income. Too often, they have to make choices most of us can’t imagine. Sometimes, the choice is between refilling a needed prescription and staying comfortable during the height of summer heat. A surge in the price of an absolute necessity such as electricity will make heartbreaking choices like these even more difficult — and more common.

It’s too bad that instead of focusing on finding ways to relieve economic distress for seniors and other vulnerable communities, bureaucrats in Washington are pushing policies that will make their lives even harder.

Fortunately, Nevada is resisting Washington’s destructive energy policies. The state Legislature is exploring ways to limit what action EPA can take to remake the state’s electricity mix. However, a better approach is for Gov. Brian Sandoval to simply refuse to orchestrate a state implementation plan for the mandate.

Under the EPA proposal, each state is required to submit a plan for meeting Washington’s carbon reduction targets. By refusing to submit a plan, Nevada will show that it puts people first — that government policies aren’t about abstract targets, but about how they affect individuals just trying to get by and get ahead.

The EPA needs to rethink its plan and come up with an approach that won’t put a crushing burden on thousands of struggling Nevadans and millions of Americans. Elected officials from 32 states have expressed serious concerns about the EPA’s plan. Nevada can take the lead in protecting consumers by saying no to EPA’s misguided proposal.

Jim Martin is founder and chairman emeritus of the 60 Plus Association.

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