After President Donald Trump signed an executive order last week requiring states to comply with the federal government’s Clean Power Plan, some residents in Nebraska were surprised to find that the state’s new laws prohibiting people from driving in certain states were actually part of an attempt by the Trump administration to restrict their access to gas and electric power.
The Trump administration has also imposed restrictions on state employees in the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia, which have been in place since 2014.
A number of the new laws restrict the amount of gas or electricity that individuals can have access to, and also prevent some types of power plants from being built.
The state of Nebraska, which is in the midst of a drought, is also among the states in the country with a large gas-fired power plant that supplies about a quarter of the state and the largest refinery in the world.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the new regulations will negatively impact the Nebraska economy, which has a $5.4 billion operating budget.
A few residents in the state have been able to bypass the restrictions, but for the most part they are still stuck with them, said Amy Koster, a resident of Lincoln, Nebraska.
“It’s very frustrating,” Koster told Al Jazeera.
“I’ve been driving since I was a teenager, but I don’t feel safe.”
Koster, who is also a registered nurse, said she has driven to her house from other parts of Nebraska in the past to check on her elderly parents and was not allowed to do so.
“The restrictions are not as bad as they seem, I just feel like the regulations are putting too much stress on me,” she said.
A spokeswoman for the state of Indiana told Aljazeera that residents in Indiana have been told to use alternate modes of transport, and the state has also introduced rules requiring vehicles to have an electronic ignition system.
Koster said that she did not know if she would be able to get around Nebraska, and that the restrictions were making it more difficult for her to get to work.
“I feel like my life is getting a lot harder,” she told Aljeim.
Kraft is not the only person who feels this way.
In June, a former resident of Oklahoma told Alijuam that the Oklahoma state government was forcing residents to take alternate modes when they had to travel outside of their home state to get their medicine.
The state’s making me feel like I’m a criminal,” the former resident told Aljaama.”
People have been trying to drive to work in other states for years, but the state government is forcing people to go to work,” said Koster.
“When they tell you to go outside, I can’t.”
Al Jazeera’s Mark Maunder, reporting from New York City, said that the Trump-ordered regulations are not the first time the US government has taken steps to restrict access to power in certain regions.
“There’s been an overall effort to reduce the amount and frequency of power stations and the amount that people can go to in the areas where they need electricity,” Maunder said.
In 2015, the Obama administration imposed a rule that required all power plants in the US to have “smart meters” installed, which track the use of power and can alert owners when it’s needed.
The Smart Meters were implemented after an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) into the use and abuse of power in the New York metropolitan area.
The EPA also conducted a study to assess the effect of the smart meters on reducing energy use and the costs of electricity.
“In the case of Smart Metering, the EPA found that a large percentage of power users who used the devices were not using the meters to measure the actual amount of power being used, but rather were using the devices to make the calculation that they needed to purchase electricity,” EPA spokesperson Rachel Stoltzfus told AlJazeera.
“The Smart Meter system is not designed to identify which customers are paying the most for electricity, and therefore, the Smart Meter system does not collect information on how much electricity a customer is using or whether they are paying more or less than their actual electricity costs,” she added.
In addition, in 2016, the US House of Representatives passed legislation that mandated states to use a carbon tax, which was designed to offset the impacts of global warming.
The bill was supported by Republican lawmakers who said the carbon tax would help reduce emissions, while Democrats opposed the legislation.
The Obama administration had already made it clear that it did not intend to use the carbon price to offset carbon emissions, but instead to support