On the presidential campaign trail, throughout Capitol Hill, and in your neighborhoods there’s been a lot of discussion and debate on how America should move forward with energy policy. Currently, a lot of those discussions center around whether or not proposed EPA regulations would affect our economic and energy security.
Within that discussion and debate, there have been a lot of myths tossed around about proposed EPA regulations. We want to lay out the facts about how these potential rules would affect Americans.
Question #1: Won’t EPA regulations create jobs?
No. When looking at how EPA regulations affect employment, it’s important to look at the cumulative effects of those rules. When NERA conducted the analysis of four proposed EPA regulations, they took into account sectors that would gain jobs or lose jobs:
[S]ectors that would gain jobs account for about 55,000 added jobs per year on average, and sectors that would lose jobs account for about 238,000 fewer jobs per year on average.
In total, these proposed rules would lead to a net employment loss of 1.65 million jobs from 2012 to 2020.
Question #2: Could these proposed EPA regulations really increase the likelihood of blackouts?
Yes. In addition to lost jobs and higher energy prices, a large number of premature retirements of coal-fueled power plants due to these proposed rules could increase the risk of blackouts. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board pointed out earlier this week that the EPA could be ignoring the threats proposed regulations have on the reliability of our electricity:
Congressional and industry investigators … uncovered one 934-page EPA draft that was circulated within the Administration sometime before the utility rule was formally proposed. In a “What are the energy impacts?” section, the EPA concedes that it “is aware that concerns have been expressed by some, even in advance of this proposed rule, that this regulation may detrimentally impact the reliability of the electric grid.” … But here’s the kicker: This reliability section was gone when the EPA released its utility rule proposal in May 2011.
Utility commissioners and attorneys general from several states, as well as former and current elected officials from both parties, have all said that some of these proposed EPA regulations could decrease power capacity while limiting energy provider’s ability to fulfill increased demand times.
Question #3: Don’t we need these proposed EPA regulations to switch from coal to newer, cleaner sources of energy?
No. First, coal-fueled power plants have already invested almost $100 billion to significantly reduce emissions without new EPA rules, and will invest $125 million through 2015 to reduce emissions further. Over the past four decades, investments in advanced coal technologies have reduced emissions of three major air pollutants by 84 percent per unit of electricity generated, even though America’s population, economy and energy use have all grown significantly.
Second, these proposed regulations would prematurely shut down more than 39,000 megawatts of coal-fueled power plants, increasing electricity costs by double digits in many regions of the U.S. and increasing natural gas costs by $8 billion per year for residential, commercial and industrial consumers.
So take a stand on these EPA regulations and write your elected official today.