Business Council of Alabama Expresses Concern Over Proposed EPA Clean Air Act Regulation

Business Council of Alabama President and CEO William J. Canary has submitted concerns over a proposed Environmental Protection Agency rule that will cost Alabama businesses and consumers at least $5.2 billion in higher energy costs by 2020.

“The EPA proposal, if finalized, would impose enormous costs and burdens on Alabama workers and their families and would hinder our global economic competitiveness,” Canary wrote the EPA on Monday. “The impact will be most deeply felt in states like Alabama where fossil fuels provide a significant share of our electric generation.”

Earlier this year the EPA announced sweeping new regulations under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act in a purported effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. These regulations would severely and negatively affect BCA members and Alabama’s entire economy.

“The EPA’s proposed regulation will undoubtedly increase electricity prices, which will substantially hinder economic growth,” Canary wrote.

Canary also wrote that the EPA gave environmental groups “a special role” in crafting the proposed rules, including groups that have declared a war on Alabama coal plants. “These groups do not sufficiently account for the 16,000 Alabama coal jobs and the families who depend on them,” Canary wrote.

Because the regulations would seriously harm Alabama’s economy and growth, Alabama leaders and a majority of Alabama families oppose them.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy estimates that the proposed EPA regulations could increase the nation’s electricity costs by nearly $290 billion cumulatively by 2030.

The state of Alabama’s share of that increase by the year 2020 would be $5.2 billion in annual power and gas costs, a 56 percent increase from 2012 levels, for consumers, businesses, and industry, according to Energy Ventures Analysis.

If realized, the increase would ripple through and could cripple Alabama’s economy by reducing consumers’ disposable income and savings, increase the cost of consumer goods, and reduce the global competitiveness of state manufacturers.

“For these reasons, the BCA is very concerned about the unintended consequences of these proposed regulations,” Canary’s letter stated.

The BCA also is part of a coalition of business organizations representing more than 80 percent of the U.S. economy that commented on the proposed regulations. The BCA signed a letter from The Partnership for a Better Energy Future that was sent to the EPA also on Monday.

The Partnership of 178 members represents national, state, and local organizations or associations. The Partnership members are united by widespread concerns that the proposed rule – as well as EPA’s broader greenhouse gas regulatory agenda – presents a significant threat to American jobs and the economy.

“The (proposed regulation) threatens to cause serious harm to the U.S economy, raising energy prices and costing jobs,” The Partnership said. “EPA’s own estimates project that its rule will cause nationwide electricity price increases averaging between 6 and 7 percent in 2020, and up to 12 percent in some locations.”

The Partnership said that recent polling indicates that Americans across the country do not support EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.

The Partnership’s comments to the EPA do not address whether the EPA has the legal authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions for electric generating units under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, but several of the signers take a position opposing EPA’s legal authority in separate comments.

To voice your concerns to the EPA, click here.

The 29-year-old BCA, a non-partisan statewide business association, is Alabama’s foremost voice for business. The BCA represents the interests and concerns of nearly 1 million working Alabamians through its members companies and through The Partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama. The BCA is Alabama’s exclusive affiliate to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

-Dana Beyerle