EPA Carbon Regulations Threaten America’s Historic Energy Security; Still Time to Oppose Crippling Regs

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon regulations will not only reduce the use of plentiful and cheap coal that generates electricity but they also will increase the nation’s energy insecurity, increase electric bills and costs for U.S. businesses and households, while not affecting foreign power plants.

Proposed EPA regulations will alter the current power generation systems and increase electricity prices by between 6 percent and 12 percent.

If energy costs increase by 10 percent, almost 3 million households representing 7 million people will see energy insecurity and could force choosing between heating and cooling or food, medical care, education, and paying off personal debt.

And if home energy costs increase by 10 percent, more than 300,000 additional households representing 840,000 Americans will join the ranks of poverty, a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report shows.

Business groups including the Business Council of Alabama, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Governor Robert Bentley, Alabama’s U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, and others, question the EPA’s stated goal to reduce carbon emissions. The EPA rules do not affect power plants in foreign countries that currently produce more than half of the world’s carbon emissions.

The EPA without Congressional approval wants to force existing power plants to cut carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030, from 2005 levels. Many utilities are choosing to shutter plants to reach the goal. Meanwhile, the Energy Department predicts that retail power prices will increase 4 percent this year and 13 percent by 2020, some of it due to the federal regulations.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy said the EPA’s proposed mandate will reduce projected global emissions by a mere 1.3 percent by 2020, equivalent to 13.5 days of China’s carbon emissions, all at an astronomical and crippling cost.

BCA President and CEO William J. Canary said consumers, small businesses, and manufacturers cannot  afford skyrocketing rates. “The BCA supports efforts to delay implementation of EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act and opposes caps or taxes on carbon emissions that would put Alabama businesses at a competitive disadvantage with other states or nations,” he said.

BCA Environmental Committee member Trey Glenn testified at an Aug. 1 EPA hearing on the proposed regulations. Glenn, a former director of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, said the proposed rules would increase electricity prices and hinder economic growth.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in September quoted Peter Roff, a senior fellow at Frontiers of Freedom, about EPA’s proposed carbon regulations and the effect of driving coal use into oblivion. He said there is no current replacement for coal-fired electricity generating capacity.

“Consequently, ratepayers can expect sharp increases in their monthly bills and must prepare for the eventual reality that there may not be enough energy available on the grid to permit Americans to heat and cool their homes, power their businesses, or drive the manufacturing renaissance many business economists expect over the next five years,” Roff wrote in the Washington Examiner.

Two senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Tim Scott, R-S.C., basically came to the same conclusion in a white paper on energy insecurity.

Dan Byers, senior director for policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, told the Platts’ Coal Marketing Days conference in Pittsburgh, “The rest of the world wants electricity, and coal is going to deliver it. Global emissions are going to go up no matter what we do.”

According to a Government Accounting Office analysis, power companies plan to retire about 13 percent of coal-fueled generating capacity, or 42,192 megawatts – the equivalent of nearly 13 nuclear power plants such as the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant in North Alabama that has a generating capacity of 3,300 megawatts.

Recently the EPA extended its original Oct. 16 deadline to comment on the proposed, stringent and onerous carbon emission rules by 45 days. The deadline is now Dec. 1. The EPA plans to issue its final rule in June 2015 .

A link to send comments to the EPA is at http://www.energyxxi.org/oppose-epas-job-killing-regulations.

-Dana Beyerle