Predictably the announcement of the administration’s proposed climate change rule for existing power plants (see Leader, July issue) provoked a storm of bi-partisan opposition. The National Mining Association (NMA) reports that “Members of Congress, senatorial candidates in coal states, industry coalitions and state officials formed a chorus of complaints against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) existing source rule that some dubbed ‘Obamacare 2.0.’“In many ways, it is,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “The administration insists there will be no cost increases associated with this rule … if you like your current electricity bill, you can keep it. I’m not buying it.” In an unusual display of bi-partisan comity, Committee Chairman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) also objected to EPA’s approach. “The goal for me is not ‘clean,’” she said of EPA’s plans for regulating coal-based power generation. “The goal is security. The goal is reliability.” Capping the Senate opposition, 41 senators wrote the president on June 4 asking him to withdraw a “massive rule” that is “cap-and-trade all over again.” The all-GOP signatories said “removing coal as a power source – which is a direct and intended consequence of your Administration’s rule – unnecessarily reduces reliability and market flexibility while increasing costs.” Industry and businesses echoed congressional critics. NMA was especially active in the news media, seizing on scores of broadcast and print opportunities to emphasise the rule’s far-reaching cost implications for households and businesses and the agency’s “false offering of flexibility for state implementation. Major trade group members of the Partnership for Better Energy Future hit the media with a barrage of press statements denouncing the proposal as a costly mistake.” The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said EPA’s rule may put an abrupt end to nascent signs of an industrial renaissance built on affordable energy. “Today’s proposal from the EPA could singlehandedly eliminate this competitive advantage by removing reliable and abundant sources of energy from our nation’s energy mix,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association called the rule “disappointing and disturbing. Nor is it “consistent with the administration’s own ‘all of the above’ energy strategy,” the American Petroleum Institute said. The rule is “beyond frustrating,” claimed the Associated Equipment Distributors; “yet another expensive and expansive overreach by EPA into the daily lives of farmers and ranchers,” the American Farm Bureau Federation said.Coal state legislators were equally vociferous. “I think we’re going to see everybody entrench,” said Kentucky state senator, Republican Brandon Smith. “We’re going to fight very, very hard to make sure this thing doesn’t go into compliance.” Smith is a key legislator behind a bill mandating that EPA set carbon reduction standards inside the fence line, i.e. specific to individual units, rather than with broad state-wide reduction targets as EPA proposed. Industrial state governors, including Democrat Mike Pence of Indiana, were also vocal in criticizing EPA for a rule they believe will be all pain and no gain.