Recently, the National Journal posed the question: “Whither Coal-Fired Power? What are the future prospects for coal-fired electricity?” Among the ten responses from national voices was this response from PACE Executive Director Lance Brown:
America’s coal industry is facing significant challenges that threaten our country’s energy security and economic prosperity. Even worse, energy consumers – particularly already struggling low-income families – will be footing the bill.
The Environmental Protection Agency has launched an assault on coal, saddling coal-fired power plants with numerous and burdensome regulations that will ultimately require countless generation facilities to close their doors for good. These rules will not only affect the reliability of the energy grid, they will leave hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans without jobs.
Of the EPA’s onslaught of rules, I am most troubled by proposed Utility MACT standards which have been met with much opposition at the local and national levels.
While its negative effect on the economy and consumers has been widely documented, the EOP Foundation recently released a paper discussing the impact of proposed Utility MACT standards on federal budget costs, estimating the rules will cost the government almost $3 billion dollars over 10 years in power costs and retrofits. The study also says the rules will cost the government $166 million a year in higher power costs from utilities, while paying $120 million annually to retrofit federally-owned electric generating units and boilers to comply with the EPA standards.
At a time when debt reduction and job growth are at the forefront of public debate, it seems counterproductive to implement rules that will add government costs and send more workers to the unemployment line. But the EPA doesn’t stop with its Utility MACT rule…