Anti-Coal agenda hurting the country
There is an interesting article by Daniel Kish on USNews.com that joins the rapidly growing list of articles and papers explaining the profound negative economic and social impacts of the oncoming EPA train wreck.
For those who may have missed the news, the “train wreck” is the impending explosion of invasive and massively expensive regulations expected to have minimal real world environmental benefits, but serious and far-reaching impacts on tens of thousands of jobs and multiple millions in investment and revenues.
As Kish notes, the usual list of monied and politically-connected anti-energy interests – NRDC, Center for American Progress, Clean Air Council, etc. – have all been loudly in favor of the new regulations. However, given the unavoidable economic impacts of these new regulations, the facade appears to be breaking up and falling away. Hard working people who rely on American industry for their jobs and livelihood are now openly speaking out about the coming impacts of EPA’s actions.
Unions for Jobs and the Environment recently submitted a letter to EPA claiming that the new rules would result in large-scale job loss, increased electricity prices, and a negligible health benefit to the American people. If unions are willing to jeopardize their favorable standing with the Obama administration over these rules, onlookers should recognize the severity of the situation.
EPA initially claimed that these new regulations would force only about 10 gigawatts of the nation’s approximately 340-gigawatt coal-fired fleet of power plants into early retirement. Unions for Jobs and the Environment points out, however, that subsequent studies have estimated that between 35 and 60 gigawatts of capacity will be forced to shutter. That means up to 17 percent of our nation’s most affordable energy could be forced to shut down within the next three to five years to be replaced by more expensive plants.
Kish goes on to describe how the EPAs shoddy math comes as no surprise, given their thousand-fold miscalculation of mercury emissions from coal-fueled energy in the formulation of their recently released MATS and MACT rules.
He then reinforces a concept that I discussed in Issue #1, 2011 of American Coal magazine as he argues that claims of EPA regulations stimulating the creation of thousands of new jobs are demonstrably false. They will, in fact, cost tens of thousands of jobs in middle-class America
In reality, these new regulations will cause the exact opposite of what EPA claims—they will destroy the jobs of middle-class Americans at a time when our nation is starved for such employment. UJAE estimates that the MATS rules could destroy “more than 50,000 direct jobs in the coal, utility and rail industries, with a total job loss including indirect jobs of 251,300.”
There is a difference between reasonable regulations and regulations intended to shut down an industry.
While it is unfortunate that we have taken this long and seen our regulatory environment go this far off base, it is reassuring to see that people are beginning to stand up and take notice of the impacts these regulations will have on American industry. With even the unions beginning to openly question the wisdom of implementing such far-reaching regulations on such limited time scales, there is hope that we may be able to replace them with regulation that actually balances environmental protection with economic and social sustainability.