Slowing Down on Proposed Rules a “Reasonable Request”

Posted by ACCCE at 3:02 pm, December 02, 2011

With the EPA’s proposed Utility MACT rule set to be finalized two weeks from today, it’s time for you to speak up on how this rule and others could hamper economic recovery and electricity reliability.

You’re not alone in worrying about the reliability of your electricity. In a Detroit Metro News op-ed yesterday, James C. Harrison, president of the Local 223 Utility Mine Workers Union of America in Michigan, urges the EPA to slow down on its proposed rules:

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and a bipartisan group of attorneys general from 24 other states have petitioned the courts to require the EPA to take a little more time in the development of these regulations … the attorney general court brief asks that the EPA pause in its development of these regulations by one year to assure the EPA is fully considering the cost to customers, the impact on jobs and communities where these plants are located and the reliability of the electricity delivery system. This seems like a reasonable request in the interest of Michigan citizens.

Harrison points out what Michiganders might lose if the EPA continues with its hasty decisions:

Here in Michigan, the shuttering of power plants is very real in light of these new rules. A power plant provides high-skilled, family and community supporting jobs. Since power plants are a large fixed asset, the tax revenue generated from these assets is important revenue to the communities where they are located, and the people employed, directly and indirectly, are equally important economic contributors to the communities they live and work in.

We know the effects these rules will have. But the EPA is turning a blind eye. As Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) pointed out yesterday in a letter to the White House, the EPA has admitted that it didn’t fully analyze the employment impact of the most expensive rule the EPA would place on coal-fueled power plants – the Utility MACT:

As you correctly stated in testimony before the committee, “Agencies must propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs, a clear endorsement of cost-benefit analysis …” However, [EPA Deputy Administrator Bob] Perciasepe conceded that EPA’s jobs analysis failed to look at the impact that higher energy prices would have on employment.

If the EPA doesn’t slow down, Congress needs to make sure they do, as Donald R. Pivonka, a retired mechanical engineer from Florence, Wisconsin wrote in Wednesday’s Sheboygan Press:

Before it’s too late, Congress needs to take prompt action to force EPA to either curb its rules or postpone issuing them to allow our economy to get back on track. Legislation has been proposed that would achieve this … At stake are not only tens of thousands of jobs in the coal and utility industries, but energy-intensive manufacturing like chemical, cement and steel factories would be severely harmed by significantly higher energy costs.

Time is running out. To make sure your voice is heard, write your legislator.


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