Much ink has been spilled over the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed carbon cuts for new and existing power plants. And for good reason: the regulations are crucial to President Obama’s promise to bankrupt the coal industry.
But carbon is just one part of EPA’s anti-energy agenda. The agency is also imposing draconian cuts in mercury emissions (Mercury and Air Toxics Rule) and pollution that crosses state lines (Cross State Air Pollution Rule)—even though our air is cleaner than it’s been in decades. By EPA’s own admission, its mercury rule could be the single most expensive regulation in U.S. history with compliance costs nearing $10 billion per year.
A new report shows the rule could be even more expensive than originally thought. The report, conducted by the Institute for Energy Research (IER), finds that EPA’s mercury and cross-state pollution rules could shutter 73 gigawatts of electrical generating capacity, mostly from coal-fired power plants. That’s enough energy to power more than 44 million homes, or every home in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, according to IER.
The costs of complying with EPA’s rules will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher utility bills, while many coal workers will likely lose their jobs. But the pain doesn’t stop there: experts warn that the expected coal plant closures will strain the electric grid, posing an “increased risk of entering emergency operating conditions,” or even blackouts.
As we have explained before, the president is using EPA to fulfill his campaign promise to make electricity rates “necessarily skyrocket.” President Obama’s name may never again appear on a ballot for public office, but the American public will feel the effects of his costly policies for years to come.