WSJ Editorial on EPA Regulations

Texas Wind Power Is Not So Powerful
August 13, 2010
EPA and FERC to model impact of regulations on energy reliability
January 21, 2011

Our nation has many things for which to be thankful this week, and I encourage everyone to try to forget, at least for one day, about the contention of the recent elections or the continued economic crisis and instead focus on quality time with family and friends.

However, I felt inclined to take a few minutes away from feasting and football to draw attention to the Wall Street Journal’s excellent editorial this week, “The EPA Permitorium,” which ran just in time for Thanksgiving dinner discussions.

The paper’s editorial board writes that the Environmental Protection Agency “has turned a regulatory firehouse on U.S. business and the power industry in particular” with its aggressive regulations of traditional pollutants, greenhouse gases, and other processes necessary to industry and energy production. The end result of these regulations is “mass retirements of the coal plants that provide half of America’s electricity,” along with extensive harm to “business expansion, job creation and economic growth.”

According to a study by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) – also brought to my attention by the Wall Street Journal – the EPA’s regulations will reduce our electricity capacity by 46 to 76 gigawatts, over 7 percent of our nation’s total electricity generation. (I mentioned these stats last week at The Daily Caller when I urged Congress to take up legislation during the lame-duck session to halt the EPA from implementing these regulations for two years or more. )

With 7 percent or more of our electricity generation capacity lost, we’ll see electricity prices rise for both business and consumers. In fact, consumers are likely to feel the brunt of increased electricity costs, as electricity producers will either pass on the increased cost of doing business to consumers in the form of higher rates, or switch to more expensive forms of energy like wind and solar.

We’ll not only see increased electricity costs, but also the possibility of reduced reliability, as plants will shut down entirely and states will be forced to utilize less reliable sources like the aforementioned wind and solar, which are only reliable when the wind blows and the sun shines. Since colder temperatures are coming for most of the country, we cannot afford to have electricity that doesn’t work when we need it – not to mention higher costs of turning up the heat.

Aside from the cost and reliability issues, the Wall Street Journal brings up the important point that the “near-total freeze on EPA permits” resulting from the uncertainty surrounding the regulations will effectively lead to a “project moratorium” in electricity sectors. The end result of the “permitorium” will be a loss of growth potential of jobs and innovation that our country so desperately needs to survive the recession and remain competitive in the world.

As EPA officials are enjoying a warm Thanksgiving feast, hopefully surrounded by family and friends, let’s hope they keep in mind everyone who will be effected by the EPA regulations – the consumers who will face rising electricity costs, the businesses that will be forced to cut jobs or close entirely, the unemployed who are hopeful for new jobs in innovative sectors – and stop implementation of the regulations before we see irreparable harm to the economy.