Administration Actions Designed to Increase the Cost of Energy and the Cost of Using Energy

**Updated September 9, 2014

A few days before the election in 2008, a videotape surfaced of President Obama telling the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle that “under my plan . . . electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket.” Now, six years later it turns out that President Obama was speaking the truth, but he has worked not only to drive up electricity prices, increase the price of all sources of reliable energy and to increase the cost of using energy.

This report chronicles some of the actions President Obama has taken to increase energy prices and to increase the costs of cars, trucks, appliances, ice makers, and a multitude of other items that use electricity. 


September 9, 2014 

The EPA announces it will prepare to regulate aircraft emissions producing an endangerment finding by April 2015 and aiming for a 2016 release of a final rule.

August 8, 2014 

Announced new guidance from IRS that expands the expired production tax credit (PTC). The PTC requires the “construction” commence before the end of 2013, however, the IRS’s new definition of “construction” reduces the need for actual physical work to occur, relying more on mere financing.

July 28, 2014 

Imposed new regulations on Navajo Generation Station requiring the owners to either shut done of the generating units or reduce power generation. This was not because of any harm to the health of humans or any other creatures but to reduce haze.

June 3, 2014 

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for walk-in coolers and freezers utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

June 2, 2014 

Issued a proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants making good on President Obama’s promise that electricity rates would ‘necessarily skyrocket’ under his administration. EPA says costs will be about $8.8 billion dollars, while other estimates predict costs as high as $480 billion.

May 29, 2014 

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for commercial and industrial electric motors utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

May 19, 2014 

Finalized rule by EPA regulate cooling water intake at over 1,000 electric generating and manufacturing plants. The annual cost is over $275 million, which will result in higher energy prices. The rule could also jeopardize reliable energy generation.

April 18, 2014 

Delayed final judgment again on Keystone XL pipeline that would deliver millions of barrels of oil from Canada and states like North Dakota to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The project has been blocked by the Obama Administration since 2008.

March 28, 2014 

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards commercial refrigeration equipment utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

March 25, 2014 

Announced an expanded definition of the “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The new definition would allow EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers to regulate as “navigable waters” intermittent streams and ditches.

March 4, 2014 

Released FY 2015 budget with more tax hikes for oil and gas energy producers while simultaneously increasing subsidies for green energy. These policies would not only raise energy prices, restrict economic growth, and jeopardize jobs, but would also impact electric grid reliability.

March 3, 2014 

Finalized Tier 3 Emissions Standards for passenger cars and light trucks. Estimates by oil refiners predict an upfront compliance cost of $10 billion and an annual cost of $2.4 billion. This would result in a permanent increase in the cost of gasoline of between 6 to 9 cents per gallon. The EPA estimates the average price of a new car will rise $72 due to the rule, a cost to U.S. consumers of $1.1 billion per year.

February 10, 2014 

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for metal halide lamps and external power supplies utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.


November 15, 2013 

Proposed Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) levels outlining the levels of renewable fuels to be blended into gasoline and diesel fuel in 2014. The proposal calls for 17 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels in 2014. As of August 2014 producers have only been able to generate 72,000 gallons due to cost and complexity of the process.

June 25, 2013

Announced unilateral executive action by President Obama instructing the EPA to establish further regulations on new and existing power plants. As part of the Presidents “war on affordable energy” efforts, these mandates would raise energy costs across the country and eliminate coal use for power generation in the future.

June 17, 2013 

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for microwave oven standby mode utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

May 16, 2013

Released proposed regulations of hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands that aim to override the successful controls previously implemented by the individual states and collaboration by industry and intergovernmental organizations.

May, 2013

The Obama Administration issues Executive Order 12866 updating the calculation for the Social Cost of Carbon used to justify the expense of new environmental regulations. The new calculation assumes social costs up to 120 percent higher than the 2010 estimates.

April 18, 2013 

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for distribution transformers utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

April 16, 2013 

Released the final implementation plan for the National Ocean Policy and mandatory ocean zoning initiative. The plan calls for mandatory zoning of oceans and would set regulations and mandates requiring many inland and coastal bodies of water. Such regulations would greatly impact energy production, especially offshore drilling.

April 10, 2013 

Released a FY 2014 budget that, besides being months late, seeks to increase federal lands while increasing taxes and fees on American energy producers.

March 22, 2013 

Announced new regulations that discouraging production of oil shale in the Western U.S. by forcing energy producers to prove commercial viability of a project before exploration and potentially increasing royalty fees paid for production of oil shale.

February 21, 2013 

Finalized plans that to further limit access to the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) and leave in question the possibility of a pipeline transport system for oil and gas from the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

January 18, 2013 

Announced EPA regulations that would mandate costly upgrades to Arizona’s coal-fired Navajo Generating Station. Such changes would increase power and could impact water prices in Arizona as well. The local Navajo reservation could also see increased unemployment due to regulatory impacts.


November 20, 2012 

Recommended implementation of Energy Secretary Chu’s March 16 memorandum that will force power marketing administrations (PMAs) to make major changes resulting in higher energy cost for many Americans.

October 15, 2012 

Released final rule establishing Corporate Fuel Economy Standards for light-duty vehicles for 2017 and later at an average of 54.5 mpg by 2025

June 28, 2012

Released the Administration’s 2012–2017 off shore drilling lease plan. The plan keeps up to 85 percent of potential offshore development off limits. It also further restricts access in Alaska and does not allow for any drilling on the Atlantic seaboard.

May 4, 2012 

Proposed tighter regulations on hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands that will limit expansion of oil and gas production on these energy rich areas, costing America jobs and economic growth.

April 13, 2012 

Released a proposed rule establishing greenhouse gas limits for new power plants. Rule would effectively eliminate possibility of future coal plants being built.

March 28, 2012 

Postponed a Virginia drilling lease that would’ve created 2,000 jobs and produce 750 million barrels of oil along with over 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This order pushes the lease sale, originally scheduled for 2011, back to 2018.

March 16, 2012 

Energy Secretary Steven Chu issues a memorandum to Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) that outline massive investments in smart grid technologies and transmission changes to accommodate renewable energy that will result in higher rates for Americans.

February 16, 2012

Obama’s EPA finalizes its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (also known as Utility MACT), which will force plant closures, cause 33 gigawatts of electric power to go offline and raise electricity rates for all consumers. The estimated cost of this rule is between $9.6 and $11 billion per year, and when combined with the finalized CSAPR rule, would destroy 183,000 jobs per year between 2012 and 2020. These actions will make electricity prices skyrocket.

February 13, 2012

President releases his FY2013 budget, which calls for $66 billion in new taxes on the oil and gas industry.

February 3, 2012

Obama Administration announces plans to close off  75 percent of Western oil shale—of which 70 percent is on federal lands—to development.

February 1, 2012

Greater New Orleans Inc. releases the February 2012 Gulf Permit Index showing that the Obama administration’s ‘permitorium’ in the Gulf continues. In the previous three months, the administration has issued 57 percent fewer deep water permits than the historical average and 68 percent fewer shallow water permits.

January 24, 2012

President Obama makes his State of the Union address, claiming that oil and gas production levels are higher than ever. However, government data shows that federal permits today are being issued at rates 50 percent lower than during the Clinton administration. The president fails to mention that this increase in oil production is happening on private and state lands, not the federal lands which his policies control.

January 18, 2012

President Obama officially rejected the Keystone XL pipeline permit by issuing a finding that the pipeline was “not in the national interest” of the United States. The action destroyed tens of thousands of jobs right here in America. For each additional day his denial stands, the U.S. will import millions of dollars of overseas oil which could be replaced with safe and secure North American supplies.

January 9, 2012

Obama’s Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announces a 20-year ban on uranium mining on one million acres of federal land in Arizona. The Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee stated, “Safe and responsible mining of this land could have produced thousands of high paying, family wage mining jobs. The United States is already 90 percent dependent on foreign sources of uranium and this decision only exacerbates our foreign dependence by locking up our own clean energy resources.”


November 16, 2011

The EPA and NHTSA issued a joint proposal to increase fuel economy mandates from 2017–2025. IER filed comments on the final rule that demonstrate the extremely destructive and unintended consequences that will result from the stringency of these new CAFE mandates, including safety as well as significantly higher auto prices which will force some drivers out of the market. 

November 14, 2011

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for fluorescent lamp ballasts utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost. 

November 10, 2011

The Department of State announces that it will need until 2013—or at least 13 more months—to consider an alternate route for the Keystone XL pipeline, which was first proposed in 2008. This is despite State’s determination 3 times that the pipeline would cause no significant environmental impacts.

November 8, 2011

The Obama Administration announced a draft plan that closes the majority of the OCS to new energy production through 2017. The Administration’s draft five-year plan prohibits new offshore drilling and essentially only allows lease sales to occur in areas that were open when 85% of the lower 48 OCS was under the moratorium that was lifted in 2008. 

October 26, 2011

Interior Secretary Salazar proposes merging the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) with the Bureau of Land Management—despite the fact that the law creating the OSM states that it is meant to be a separate regulatory body without interference from Interior’s political functions.

October 3, 2011

The Interior Bureau of Ocean Energy Management finally affirms Shell’s permit to drill in the Chukchi Sea, after delaying and placing its February 2008 lease purchase under review for over a year.

September 30, 2011

Fiscal Year 2011 ends without the Obama administration holding a single offshore lease sale, the first such occurrence in 50 years.

September 15, 2011

The EPA issues a final rule extending greenhouse gas and fuels efficiency standards for medium and heavy-duty engines and vehicles. The rule would add between $397 and $5,677 to the cost of impacted new vehicles in 2016 and have a total annual cost of over $3.2 billion dollars by 2050. 

September 15, 2011

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for residential refrigerators and freezers utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

September 2, 2011

The Obama administration announces postponement of the controversial ozone rule—which was estimated to have cost 7.3 million jobs and nearly $700 billion in economic activity by 2020but states its intent to revisit the issue in 2013.

August 31, 2011

Solyndra, the poster-child for President Obama’s “green” energy policies, filed for bankruptcy, despite receiving a $535 million loan from U.S. taxpayers. Unfortunately, the list of companies that received taxpayer subsidies before going bankrupt is extensive and growing.

August 26, 2011

The Department of State concludes its 36-month environmental assessments of Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport as much as 830,000 barrels of oil from Canada per day to be refined and used in the US. The review found that no significant adverse impacts to the environment would result from the pipeline. Yet no action was taken to approve the pipeline.

August 15, 2011

A federal judge overturns the Obama administration’s policy to block the use of categorical exclusions for offshore oil and natural gas production, a long-established practice that reduces government costs and red tape in the permitting process for minor activities. Without categorical exclusions, permitting will be delayed significantly. The Department of Interior is “reviewing the ruling” in an attempt to mandate individual environmental reviews for each drilling permit.

August 8, 2011

EPA finalizes the Cross-State Air Pollution rule regulating interstate transport of particulate matter and ozone. The rule is predicted to cost power plant companies up to $800 million per year in compliance. The rule also utilizes the controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify costs of the rule.

June 8, 2011

President Obama nominates Rebecca Wodder to be the next Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Wodder’s nomination is later withdrawn after public concerns about her record of opposition to oil and gas exploration, as well as other natural resource activities. Wodder, in her role at an environmental activist organization, among other things said hydraulic fracturing has a “nasty track record of creating a toxic chemical soup that pollutes groundwater,” despite no confirmed incidents of contamination being reported.

July 6, 2011

EPA finalized the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, which it estimates will cost $800 million a year, in addition to $1.6 billion in capital investments needed each year. As a result, Luminant—Texas’ largest power generator—announces closure of plant units, and the layoff of 500 employees. 

June 23, 2011

Recognizing that additional oil supplies will reduce the price of gasoline and reduce political pressure to do something meaningful to increase supplies, the Obama administration releases oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was established as a stockpile against an emergency embargo or natural disaster which disrupts U.S. oil supplies.

June 2, 2011

President Obama nominated John Bryson, a founder of the anti-energy group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and chairman of a solar company that received a $1.6 billion DOE loan guarantee, to be Secretary of Commerce.

June 20, 2011

Secretary Salazar continued the short-term ban on uranium mining claims and suggests a 20-year ban.

March 21, 2011

EPA issues final rule for performance standards of sewage incineration units and industrial boilers and heaters utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

March 4, 2011

Filed an appeal to a Federal Court ruling that ordered the Administration to act on stalled deep-water permits.

February 28, 2011

Issued a token deepwater permit, over four months after the moratorium was officially lifted. Did not say when future permits would be issued, thereby continuing the de facto moratorium and leaving thousands of Americans out of work.

February 15, 2011

Announced further delays to U.S. oil shale production by deciding to re-review the current rules for commercial oil shale leasing.

February 14, 2011

Released the FY 2012 budget proposal that includes over $60 billion in direct tax and fee increases on American energy production.

February 2, 2011

Continued to impose a de facto moratorium on drilling, Federal Judge finds the Interior Department in contempt of court.

January 14, 2011

Revoked an already issued permit for a West Virginia coal mine, costing 250 American jobs.


December 23, 2010

Interior Department announced a new “Wild Lands” Secretarial Order that could place hundreds of millions of acres of public lands off-limits to American energy production.

December 1, 2010

Effectively reinstated the moratorium on offshore drilling, placing the entire Pacific, the entire Atlantic, the Eastern Gulf and parts of Alaska off limits to future energy production.

November 31, 2010

Interior Department announced it would consider proposals to regulate hydraulic fracturing on public lands—an engineering production technology currently regulated by states that is responsible for tremendous growth in natural gas production.

November 18, 2010

An Interior Department presentation showed that it plans to postpone new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico until 2012.

October 12, 2010

Lifted the deepwater drilling moratorium – yet still keeps a de facto moratorium in place by not issuing permits.

September 9, 2010

EPA issues final rule regulating air toxic standards for cement manufacturing reducing emissions from existing and newly constructed kilns nationwide. The rule uses the controversial Social Cost of Carbon Standards to justify costs of taking action.

July 19, 2010

President’s Ocean Policy Taskforce issued final recommendations on implementing a federally controlled system of ocean zoning that could lock up huge areas of the ocean to energy development.

July 12, 2010

Issued a new moratorium on deepwater drilling after the first moratorium was struck down in federal court.

June 21, 2010

EPA announced its proposed rule for Coal Combustion Residuals, also known as coal ash, which could cost up to 316,000 jobs and $110 billion in economic activity. EPA rules regulating coal also threaten the reliability of the power grid and have taken actions that will lead to the closure of power plants with 33 gigawatts of generating capacity electricity.

June 15, 2010

In an Oval Office address on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, President Obama continued to push for implementation of a job-killing cap-and-trade national energy tax.

May 28, 2010

Lifted the moratorium on shallow water drilling – yet still keeps a de factomoratorium in place by approving only a handful of permits.

May 17, 2010

Bureau of Land Management finalized rules, first announced by Secretary Salazar on January 6, 2010, to establish more government hurdles to onshore oil and natural gas production on federal lands.

May 6, 2010

Issued a moratorium on all new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, creating further economic devastation and costing thousands of jobs.

April 16, 2010

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for residential water and pool heaters utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

March 31, 2010

Announced a new OCS plan that closes the vast majority of the OCS from future energy production.

March 31, 2010

Ignoring statutory law, the Bureau of Land Management agreed to settle a lawsuit out of court regarding the use of an “extraordinary circumstances” provision when using “categorical exclusions” for new oil and gas leases as defined by Section 390 in the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005.

March 26, 2010

EPA makes changes to Renewable Fuel Standard Program regulating fuels and fuel additives utilizing the controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify costs.

March 12, 2010

Withdrew 61 oil and gas leases in Montana as part of a settlement over climate change.

March 9, 2010

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for small electric motors utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

March 3, 2010

Department of Energy filed a motion to permanently abandon Yucca Mountain—the nation’s repository for high-level spent nuclear fuel under current law—jeopardizing the future of nuclear energy.

February 17, 2010

Department of Energy notified Congress that it would reprogram $115 million Congress appropriated to continue the Yucca Mountain licensing process, and instead use it to terminate the only national repository for spent nuclear fuel under current law.

February 1, 2010

Released the FY 2011 budget proposal that includes nearly $40 billion in direct tax and fee increases on the American oil, natural gas and coal industries. The budget also shows declining revenue for new offshore leases, proving that the Administration has no intention of opening up new areas for offshore drilling.

February 2010

President Obama issues Executive Order 12866 setting a ‘Social Cost of Carbon’ (SCC) dollar figure to be used in calculating benefits of proposed regulations. The order set a price per ton of CO2 of between $5 and $67 depending on discount rate and assumptions used.

January 28, 2010

Announced the results of the most recent round of oil shale RD&D leases, which resulted in an 85% reduction in industry interest under the terms proposed by the Department.

January 26, 2010

MMS announced it will delay the Virginia offshore lease sale scheduled for November 2011.

January 8, 2010

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for some consumer and commercial products including dishwashers, dehumidifiers, microwave ovens and clothes washers utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

January 6, 2010

Implemented numerous new hurdles to the leasing and development of new oil and natural gas on onshore federal lands.


October 20, 2009

Announced a new round of oil shale RD&D Leases which include job killing variable terms, royalty rates, and lease sizes.

October 8, 2009

Issued a final report on the Utah oil and gas leases, offering only 17 of the 77 leases. In November, the Institute for Energy Research found that the Administration has leased less acreage than any other on record.

September 17, 2009

Secretary Salazar stated that the Administration may not complete a new Outer Continental Shelf lease plan until 2012.

August 31, 2009

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for refrigerated bottle or canned beverage vending machines utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

August 24, 2009

Withdrew 23,757 acres of oil and gas leases in the Bridger Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

July 22, 2009

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for commercial HVAC equipment utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

July 20, 2009

Blocked new uranium mining for two years on one million acres of land in Arizona.

July 14, 2009

Energy Department issues final rule for conservation standards for fluorescent and incandescent reflector lamps utilizing controversial Social Cost of Carbon calculations to justify cost.

June 29, 2009

The Interior Department established new solar reserve areas under the premise of prioritizing solar development, but the actual result was the closing of all but two percent of federal lands from renewable energy development. This was done without public comment. The Department left open only 670,000 acres of the nearly 30 million acres of land with solar potential.

April 27, 2009
The Environmental Protection Agency ordered the cancellation of a permit for a Navajo Nation power plant that Navajo leadership called the most important development project the tribe has ever undertaken. This decision prevents the Navajo nation from creating new jobs and reducing its 42 percent unemployment rate.

April 17, 2009

Listed carbon dioxide as a pollutant, opening the door for the regulation of all CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act.

April 2009: Obama administration announces the intent to rewrite the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone rule, which a government contractor found would cost  7,000  jobs related to the coal industry in 22 states. In testimony to Congress, the contractor stated that the federal Office of Surface Mining requested the impact data be revised, and the contractor was dismissed after failing to do so.

March 30, 2009

Signed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act into law. This $10 billion, 1200-page bill prohibited energy production on over 3 million acres of federal land, costing American jobs.

February 26, 2009

Introduced a budget that contains page after page of taxes on oil and gas totaling more than $31 billion and included a cap-and-trade national energy tax that could cost the average American family over $3,100 a year.

February 25, 2009

Delayed the new round of oil shale research, demonstration, and development (RD&D) leases that would help advance American technology and create high-tech jobs in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah.

February 10, 2009
Delayed for six months the development of the new 5-year leasing program for offshore drilling that would have created new jobs, produced more American-made energy, and made us less dependent on foreign oil.

February 4, 2009 
Cancelled 77 oil and gas leases in Utah that could cost American taxpayers millions in lost lease bids, production royalties, new jobs and the energy needed to offset rising imports of oil and gas.

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