Business and Labor Agree: EPA’s Carbon Regulations are a Bad Idea

Aug 15, 2014 - 4:30pm

Senior Editor, Digital Content

In the Wall Street Journal [subscription required], Edwin Hill, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) calls EPA’s proposed carbon regulations, “a classic example of federal tunnel vision—focusing on a single goal with little heed for the costs and dangers.”

Those costs include a less-reliable electrical grid:

The EPA’s plan, according to its own estimates, will require closing coal-fired power plants over the next five years that generate between 41 and 49 gigawatts (49,000 megawatts) of electricity. That’s approximately enough capacity to power the state of Georgia at any given time. Unless that capacity is replaced, the nationwide equivalent of the Peach State would go dark.

The U.S. is already facing the loss of 60 gigawatts of power over the next three years, the result of older coal plants' being forced to shut down because they cannot comply with the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards enacted in 2012.

The U.S. cannot lose more than 100 gigawatts of power in five years without severely compromising the reliability and safety of the electrical grid. That would pose a danger for the entire economy and all Americans.

It also will cost jobs:

When gauged by accepted industry metrics, the agency's plans also would result in the loss of some 52,000 permanent direct jobs in utilities, mining and rail and at least another 100,000 jobs in related industries. High-skill, middle-class jobs would be lost, falling heavily in rural communities that have few comparable employment opportunities.

On many issues, labor unions and the business community are often on opposing sides. However, on EPA’s proposed carbon regulations, we’re united in opposition. If implemented, they’ll be a costly burden on workers, employers, and families.

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.