Utility MACT Dangerous for Economy

Using the Congressional Review Act (CRA), the U.S. Senate has an up-coming vote in June to overturn the EPA’s economically dangerous Utility MACT Rule. The Utility MACT rule is estimated to cost over $10 billion annually while only providing $500,000 to $6 million in benefits related to mercury. The EPA is unable to quantify or value the health benefits of the other air toxics regulated by Utility MACT. 

While not only a huge waste of tax payer money, Utility MACT will cause the loss of thousands or even millions of American jobs. According to the National Economic Research Associates, Utility MACT will cost 180,000 to 215,000 jobs by 2015. With other EPA regulations, the economy stands to lose approximately 1.65 million jobs by 2020.

How does Utility MACT cause the loss of American jobs? Well, based on the new EPA regulations under the Utility MACT rule, new power plants are restricted to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity produced. The average U.S. coal-fired plants emit around 1,800 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour. Power companies and equipment vendors have confirmed that the rule’s standards for new sources are so stringent no new coal-fired power plants will be built in the United States, costing thousands of American jobs.

The Utility MACT rule will also cause coal-fired power plants to be less productive, driving up the cost of electricity for the everyday American. EPA’s new rules on electric utilities have been projected to cost ratepayers nearly $21 billion a year, driving up electricity rates 6.5 percent on average. These projections are coming to fruition. For example, in their May 2012 Capacity Auction, PJM reported two-year capacity price increases of 390 percent, most of which they attributed to the cost of environmental compliance, with a nearly 1200 percent spike in northern Ohio. This could cause electricity bills across the PJM region to increase by at least $130-and up to $400 in northern Ohio-and does not even factor in any changes in the actual cost of generation.

Utility MACT not only increases costs and reduces production in the coal industry, but in other industries outside the coal market as well. A Maguire Energy Institute study estimated that EPA’s air rules could endanger a million manufacturing jobs outside of the coal and utility industries. These include jobs in coal mines that are facing closure due to reduced demand, as well as jobs in the railroads for which coal is the single largest commodity carried.

What can be done to stop the Utility MACT?  Support S.J Res. 37 introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe! Sen. Jim Inhofe, recognizing the tragic affects that Utility MACT will have on our economy, introduced this resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA). If passed, this resolution would overturn the EPA’s aggressive and costly regulation. Under the CRA, slow procedural hurdles are eliminated and the resolution of disapproval can pass the Senate with a simple majority.  Call your Senator right now and ask them to support S.J Res. 37 in order to save precious taxpayer money, American jobs, and our economy.    

Institute for Energy Research