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Can We Afford Climate Regulation?

Lawmakers are rushing a costly decision.

Fortnightly Magazine - December 2009

El Paso Electric and others will be planning for, and realizing, a future vision that concurrently lowers GHG emissions, maintains system reliability and minimizes the burden on consumers and the economy. The U.S. utility industry has operated in much the same manner, with heavy reliance on fossil fuels, for the better part of the past century. Wholesale changes to that business model are inevitable but won’t be realized overnight, and clearly have the potential to be very costly to consumers if rushed to execution. As with all successful endeavors, thoughtful planning will be 90 percent of this effort.

So it seems only appropriate that continued rigorous debate prior to the passing of legislation is needed to ensure that the best interests of all stakeholders in this debate, and the environment, are ultimately served, and that end-user consumers in particular aren’t asked to carry a potentially crushing financial burden squarely on their backs. Can we afford to do anything else?



1. See H.R. 2454, Section 702, p. 682.

2. See Kerry-Boxer bill draft dated Sept. 29, 2009, Section 702, p. 384.

3. See Testimony of Ben Lieberman before the House and Senate Western Caucus, July 30, 2009.

4. See Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey (the IPCC-based arithmetic of no gain) , May 6, 2009.

5. See The Estimated Costs to Households From the Cap-and-Trade Provisions of H.R. 2454 , June 19, 2009.

6. See CBO Lowballs Waxman-Markey Cost , posted July 13, 2009 on

7. See EPE Analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 H.R. 2454 in the 111th Congress , June 23, 2009, Slide 4.

8. Ibid., Slide 8.

9. See Analysis of Potential Impacts of  CO2 Emissions Limits on Electric Power Costs in the ERCOT Region , May 12, 2009.

10. See H.R. 2454, Section 101, p. 31.

11. See El Paso Electric’s Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended June 30, 2009, p. 1.

12. Calculated from United Stated page at