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EPA Rules Would Cost 1.5 Million Jobs, Industry Group Says

A special interest-funded analysis found seven EPA regulations would negatively impact the coal-based electricity industry and reduce US employment by 1.5 million jobs over the next four years.

The report, “Economic Implications of Recent and Anticipated EPA Regulations Affecting the Electricity Sector,” was conducted by National Economic Research Associates on behalf of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a non-profit partnership of companies involved in producing electricity from coal.

NERA analyzed seven EPA regulations that affect coal-fueled electricity generation, including Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, regional haze, national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) for ozone, SO2 NAAQS, PL 2.5 NAAQS, 316(b) and coal combustion residuals.

The analysis evaluated three scenarios. The first two make different  assumptions about the timing of ozone compliance costs; the third assumes slightly higher natural gas prices than current projections. The analysis did not include the potential effects of EPA’s planned greenhouse gas regulations for existing coal-fired units.

The analysis found compliance costs for the electric sector could total between $198 billion to $220 billion from 2013 to 2034 and average $15 billion to $16.7 billion a year. Peak year compliance costs could total $36 billion to $44 billion.

Coal-fired power capacity shutdowns are projected to total 54,000 MW to 69,000 MW, mostly due to EPA regulations, the NREA report said.

US employment losses will average 544,000 to 887,000 a year from 2013 to 2034, the report said. The employment losses take into account the net effect of jobs that are lost, for example due to higher energy prices, and jobs that are created, such as construction of pollution controls, by these regulations.

The Electric Power Research Institute said earlier this month that current and pending EPA power plant regulations could cost the US economy up to $275 billion between 2010 and 2035 if the regulatory timeline is followed. The EPRI said power companies could save the economy about $100 billion over that same time period if the EPA were to make regulations more flexible.

The analysis, which updated preliminary finding released by EPRI in May, suggests giving power plants some flexibility and more time to meet regulations would achieve the same level of environmental compliance while reducing the financial burden on utilities.

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5 thoughts on “EPA Rules Would Cost 1.5 Million Jobs, Industry Group Says

  1. Much of the decrease in coal-fired power plant operations relate directly to the large increase in the number of natural gas-fired power plants. Natural gas prices are down more than 50% and with the boom in shale gas development, those much lower prices are expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The switch from coal (a 19th century energy source) to natural gas has a lot to do with simple fuel source economics. My understanding is that a gas-fired plant is also less expensive and faster to build.

    The “special interest funded analysis” referenced above clearly is from too narrow a perspective. All the jobs created in the shale gas production boom (drilling, production, pipeline construction, natural gas-powered plant construction and operations, etc.) need to be included in the analysis as off-setting the jobs losses from the decline of coal-fired power plants. And I’m surprised the (narrow) analysis cited above doesn’t include the well-documented public health benefits of the switch from coal to natural gas. (It’s cost-benefit analysis 101 to include such benefits when making detailed analysis of the costs, such as loss of employment, associated with the decline in coal-based electricity generation.)

    The referenced analysis is pretty good as far as it goes, but it is highly incomplete.

  2. Not enough info to judge whether this is sound information or not…especially since it was produced by industry insiders. How long do they need to come into compliance?
    One year -5 years – By the time it is too late? How do they know these jobs will be lost – what jobs are they? Would these jobs be eventually lost anyway due to the way our energy use shifts…if they know this – why not get these works trained along the way so they will be ready to step into new green jobs or other jobs in their field? This article comes across like a scare tactic.

  3. Converting these coal power plants to natural gas, and then applying the technology of condensing flue gas heat recovery, and utilizing the recovered heat from the exhaust gases can create hundreds of full time jobs. Instead of these coal people losing “dirty” jobs, they can be retrained in a clean job.
    It will be healthier for them and a whole lot better for the environment affecting millions of others.

  4. EPA rules may cause some to loose jobs,but your comments didn’t tell the public of the 1000’s that have been KILLED, or inflicted with heart lung & birth defects, (see american heart and american lung assn.web site), putting clean in front of coal may fool some BUT, the coal industry has killed more innocent non-warned citizens than the war in IRAQ and we were there to fight!! The tobacco industry had to put a warning to the public, your surgeon general doing it’s job.., and smoking was & is an option, where can you smoke in public these days?.. The Clean Air Act CAA.as we know it today was rewritten and put in place in 1990 thats 22 years ago! Oh, CLEAN COAL ,tell the public it was there only on a voluntary compliance base to clean the same pollution aimed at in the article above, The recomended installations (of the equipment 22 years ago) would have still brought these problems into todays compliance. JJK & Kathy are right on, as paul Harvey always said “and now the rest of the story” The 3 more years the EPA has given for those left to meet the compliance will have been given you 25 years or a 1/4 of a century (of some real great healthy fresh air to breath,, not to mention the mercury contaminated fish to consume,yum.) for this industry to comply,also about 18 years of pure profit (less fuel & maint.costs (from DOE & EIC) giving the 7 yr.average payout for thermo-generation plants (less nuclear).The boo-hoo tactics should be by the general public not.the largest sector in industry! Feel sorry for the ones who have lost a loved one due to greed and a grave disreguard for others health or future environmental maham, make your bucks now ENERGY ,your legacy awaits!

  5. We need to build more nuclear plants to replace these coal powered plants. Then we will still have cheap energy and we can sell the coal to China! Clean air is very important!!

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