EPA should scrap unworkable coal regulations

July 23, 2012, Fairfax, VA—The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Friday that it will “review” crushing new regulations on coal-fired power plants, which were originally set to be completed this year.  Under mounting pressure from communities that depend on coal production for good-paying jobs, the agency postponed completion of the new regulations until March 2013—after Election Day.

“These regulations should be revoked not reviewed,” said Ryan Houck, executive director of Free Market America.  “This rule will cost billions each year, drive away good-paying jobs and empty the pockets of consumers who will be stuck higher electric bills.  EPA’s top brass has even admitted on camera that these regulations would be ‘painful every step of the way’.  That’s true for the communities that count on coal production for jobs and for the consumers who count on coal to provide more than 40 percent of our nation’s electricity.”

Even EPA’s estimates indicate its rule will cost nearly $10 billion annually.  If the regulations take effect, new coal-fired plants will be required to deploy so-called carbon capture technology, which is not yet developed and has not been proven financially feasible.  Moreover, the standards set by EPA are impossible to achieve with existing technology.

Americans for Limited Government president Bill Wilson questioned the timing of the review, “Everyone knows that these regulations will bring about an economic disaster while yielding little environmental benefit.  With coal-producing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia likely to decide the presidential election, this delay smells like an attempt by the president to defer an economic and political disaster until after Election Day.

“While the agency’s decision to review these catastrophic regulations is a step in the right direction, simply delaying the economic execution of an essential industry until after the election is not enough—these regulations should be rolled back in their entirety.”

Free Market America is a free market watchdog group that focuses on environmental issues.  In partnership with Americans for Limited Government, the group was launched earlier this year and is responsible for the viral video “If I wanted America to fail” a runaway hit that scored more than 2.4 million views on YouTube.