New EPA rules that threaten to cause electricity rates to "necessarily skyrocket" are also going to kill jobs all across the country. And the prospect of this attack on the economy is making both unions and small-government types stand up and protest.
A Texas company is suing to block new EPA "cross-state air pollution" rules. If the regulations are not changed, Luminant Energy claims it will be forced to close two plants and fire 500 people. Texas was not initially included in the new EPA rules that target sulphur-dioxin emissions with a mandate requiring a 64% reduction from 2010 levels, but in July the Lone Star state was added to the list.
The News-Journal of Longview, TX reports the new regulations will have a considerable effect on the region's economy:
“This would be devastating to the Northeast Texas economy — not just Titus County,” Titus County Chamber of Commerce Director Faustine Curry said of the losses from the regional employer and taxpayer. “In Titus County, we have the power plant, the mines.”
Union workers in Missouri recognize that the EPA's aggressive push will cost consumers more money while threatening to destroy jobs.
“Missouri working families cannot afford regulations that will raise electricity costs and destroy jobs during this fragile economic recovery,” said Robert Kelley, President Emeritus of the St. Louis Labor Council and member of Energy for Missouri Jobs. “The EPA needs to consider a balanced approach that gives us cleaner air without sacrificing jobs and increasing energy prices.”
How important is coal to Missouri's energy?
The Chamber of Commerce has been screaming about the EPAs jobs-strangling regulation for months. Bill Kovacs, Senior VP of science, technology and regulatory affairs testified before a Congressional Committee last summer:
The cumulative impact of regulatory action can be overwhelming: agencies literally have the power to decide the fate of firms and entire industries. American Electric Power Co. made headlines last month when it disclosed that EPA’s “train wreck” of coal industry regulations—Coal Ash, Utility MACT, the Transport Rule and Cooling Water Intake structures—would force the utility to retire 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired generating capacity and spend another $6 billion to $8 billion reworking the rest of its fleet. AEP would close three power plants in West Virginia, one in Ohio and one in Virginia, and would retire several boilers at coal plants in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas and Virginia.
Unions are against the new EPA rules. Governors and utility companies are fighting it in the courts. And citizens will be hurt by massive, nationwide job losses as well as increased electricity costs.
We can't say that President (then candidate) Obama didn't warn us: