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    Regulation Nation: EPA's Crippling Command and Control

    09/08/2011

    The United States economy is both stagnant in economic growth and mired in enormous debt and the outlook for recovery is dismal at best. Failed stimulus and government intervention have made matters worse, but bureaucrats in Washington march onwards with their plans to command and control the American economy. The EPA has a series of regulatory nightmares in the works for its vision of a green America and the demise of abundant and affordable fossil fuels. While Congress rejected cap and trade legislation and Americans are begging for government to focus on jobs and the economy, the EPA has, without a doubt, ignored the American electorate as officials push for regulations that they have not even bothered to calculate the economic impacts.

    The American Legislative Exchange Council’s report, “The EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck”, sheds light on the painstaking costs of the plethora of EPA proposals.  These include measures such as the replacement of once-through cooling systems with cooling towers. While environmental impacts are minimal as is, this new regulation will cost upwards of $64 billion across the nation, affecting more than 1,200 coal, oil and steam units and may threaten 41 Giga Watts of electricity. Other proposals include classifying coal combustion residues, a by-product that is largely recycled to productive uses, as a hazardous material. The cost of this proposal is an astounding $77 billion and the shutdown of 350 coal power plants. Another misguided EPA measure is regulation to reduce hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) from power plants. While HAPs are detrimental to air quality, the Electric Power Research Institute calculates that only a mere 5 percent of mercury released each year comes from the United States. With this in mind, holding American power plants to unprecedented standards will not solve air quality concerns. This largely ineffective policy will amount to more than $358 billion of resource costs in order to match the EPA’s ludicrous standards.

    These are only a few of the many regulations the EPA has planned for the American economy. Additional rulemakings include the costly Cross State Air Pollution Rule, which imposes significant new restrictions on 28 states. The EPA is also continuing its efforts to regulate greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act. Dr. Bezdek of Management Information Services, Inc. reports that there are dire consequences to greenhouse gas control. By 2030 these dire consequences will amount to, a reduction in GDP by $500 billion, the loss of 2.5 million jobs, declining annual household incomes by more than a $1,000, and skyrocketing energy costs of 600 percent for coal prices. If the EPA is to get their way, the American economy will be on the chopping block. Affordable energy is the backbone to a prosperous economy. The unreasonable and ideologically motivated bureaucrats of the EPA fail to connect the economic realities their proposals bestow upon the American people. This government agency assaults American energy producers, while at the same time the government subsidizes green technologies. This is not a sustainable energy policy. Government must get out of the business of picking winners and losers in the economy and stop this regulatory train wreck before it unleashes mayhem on this already unstable economy.

    Comparison of Growth Measures and Emissions, 1990-2008.

    Comparison of Growth Measures and Emissions, 1990-2008

    Source: EPA, http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/2010/report/airpollution.pdf