Gearing Up for EPA’s Most Menacing Rule to Date

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 2:02 pm, May 30, 2014

Monday, June 2nd is the day when EPA has said it will release its proposed regulations for existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. We fear that an overly stringent rule will be proposed that will seek to enact poor policy that fails to prioritize American consumers and businesses.

While Gina McCarthy has been touting EPA’s efforts to receive stakeholder input on the rule, she has entirely neglected the communities that will be hardest hit by EPA’s regulations for coal-based power plants. Even though she promised Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) that she would visit West Virginia—a state that will be hard hit by EPA’s regulations—that has yet to happen.

It is important that EPA listens to communities not just in West Virginia but across the country. Coal provides power generation, jobs and economic development that cross all state lines. Coal-based power is our most abundant, stable form of energy, and it keeps electricity rates low. The costs of reducing our dependence on this domestic resource will be far-reaching, putting our nation’s economy and electric reliability at risk.

Several studies have demonstrated EPA regulations’ potentially profound costs, including a study by ACCCE and a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Our study, conducted with NERA Economic Consulting, revealed that a proposal by the NRDC’s to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plans  will carry a high price tag of 2.85 million lost jobs and $13 to $17 billion in added costs to consumers each year from 2018-2033. Further detailing the problems with the regulations, our newest paper finds that the climate benefits of reducing carbon from the nation’s coal fleet are trivial. For example, eliminating America’s entire coal fleet by 2050 would result in a 1% reduction in atmospheric CO2 concentration, a reduction of 1/20th of a degree in warming and a reduction of 1/25th of an inch in sea level rise – that’s equal to less than a thickness of a dime.

This week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released its study that looked at a suite of EPA regulations including the same NRDC proposal for existing power plants and also demonstrated huge costs to our economy and to consumers. The Chamber’s study found enormous costs, including 224,000 fewer U.S. jobs on average each year and $51 billion decrease in U.S. GDP each year through 2030.

Numbers don’t lie: EPA regulations have already cost our country jobs and economic output, and this 111(d) regulation for existing power plants will do the same. We’re gearing up for Monday’s announcement and will ensure that EPA hears our voice and our supporters’ voices in the coming weeks and months as we stand with America’s most abundant, affordable and reliable power source – coal.


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