EPA in the dark on electricity costs

EPA LogoBy Rebekah Rast — On Jan. 17, 2008, President Obama revealed to the San Francisco Chronicle what is finally becoming reality for America’s main energy producers.

He said, “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has followed the president’s agenda and is nearing its goal of bankrupting many coal-fired power plants.  By hyper-regulating air pollutions, carbon dioxide, mercury and other air emissions, if government policies stay on the same course, the coal industry is facing a losing battle.

However, it won’t just be coal miners and power plant workers who lose should the EPA continue to get its way.  Every American that flips on a light switch or likes their air conditioning loses this battle. If you are of the thinking that these overreaching regulations on coal aren’t so bad, you better not complain about a much higher electricity bill.

Institute for Energy Research data shows that 34.7 gigawatts (GW) of electrical generating capacity will close as a result of the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule (Utility MACT) and the Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) regulations—nearly 10 percent of our coal energy capacity. And that’s just the result of two rules placed on coal by the EPA.

A Sierra Club estimate is even more generous, expecting the closings of 319 coal-fueled generating units totaling 42,895 megawatts or 42.9 gigawatts—about 13 percent of the nation’s coal fleet  as a result of these overbearing rules on the coal industry.

However, these rules are having no impact on the demand for coal.  Despite the EPA restricting coal production there is still a constant worldwide demand for the resource.  Therefore, energy prices have nowhere to go but up.

By 2015, when coal power plants must abide by environmental rules or shutdown, residential customers can expect to pay 10 percent higher electricity costs, or between $150 and $330 a year more than what they are paying now.

But some states can expect to see even higher prices.  For example, families and businesses in Illinois could pay 20 percent more for electricity by 2014. In fact, Chicago public schools may have to find an extra $2.7 million a year to keep the lights and heat on and computers running.

Is shutting down a cost-efficient, productive industry worth all this additional cost?

A new power plant in Indiana, costing a total of $3.3 billion due to the need for special outfitting to comply with environmental rules, will cost its customers a 15 percent rate hike for the next two years.

The list of costs as a result of hyper-regulation by the EPA goes on and on.  Energy consumers nationwide will be affected by these rules and regulations.

Not surprisingly, the EPA doesn’t have a plausible plan B that it deems to be environmentally acceptable.  Once the coal industry is pushed out of business, there is no other energy producer to make up for the 45 percent loss of energy production.  It won’t come from wind, solar, hydro or any other “green” energy source.  Even combined these sources don’t make up even close to the amount of electricity America demands.

As Americans across the country face electricity outages and no air conditioning, it might be a good time to reevaluate our president’s agenda of bankrupting our main electricity providers.  Fewer coal plants generating electricity could quite possible mean more days of blackouts.

Unfortunately this is one promise President Obama has not broken.

Rebekah Rast is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government (ALG) and NetRightDaily.com. You can follow her on twitter at @RebekahRast.

This article has 17 comments
  • Erik Osbun 09.07.2012 3:08 PM

    The EPA is not in the dark, and they are not in environmental protection either.  Their job is to ruin American business as per their status as the political tool of the Obama administration.  In other words, their agenda given them by Obama is entirely malicious.

  • Dr. Yolanda 09.07.2012 3:35 PM

    Coal is the most toxic way to produce energy, that’s why everyone’s switching to gas from fracking.  Why would anyone want to invest in all of coal’s mercury, lead, particulate matter, nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, cadmium arsenic and other hazardous air pollutants that increase the risk of cancer, heart and lung disease, stroke and neurobehavioral disorders.  That’s bad stuff, glad the EPA and President are looking out for our health.

  • Dr. Yolanda 09.07.2012 3:35 PM

    Coal is the most toxic way to produce energy, that’s why everyone’s switching to gas from fracking.  Why would anyone want to invest in all of coal’s mercury, lead, particulate matter, nitrous oxides, sulfur dioxides, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, cadmium arsenic and other hazardous air pollutants that increase the risk of cancer, heart and lung disease, stroke and neurobehavioral disorders.  That’s bad stuff, glad the EPA and President are looking out for our health.

  • Lwpat63 09.07.2012 3:51 PM

    You My friend R an idiot ! End of Story

  • buffs1jm 09.07.2012 3:52 PM

    If all known energy sources available are being used and expanded as quickly as possible, it will still not be enough to satisfy the future world needs so taking any source off line is beyond ignorant.  Pretty sure you won’t care about some carbon dioxides when you are sitting in the dark unable to run your business because  your computer needs electricity to operate.  Pretty sure it won’t keep your electric car moving either.

  • Dr. Yolanda 09.07.2012 4:04 PM

    The truth hurts, so you may as well put health and safety first.

  • Darrell B 09.07.2012 4:10 PM

    That’s what the left wants.  Push the USA back to the 1800′s;  that’t ‘Hope and Change’ folks, that YOU idots voted for….The left sees the private sector as the ‘cash cow’ for more and bigger government……wake up

  • Raheinlein 09.07.2012 6:01 PM

    Coal is not the “ideal” power source, but the Greens don’t like Nuclear Power, and Solar and Wind are no where near being able to supply the 24/7/365 base line power we need to run a modern economy.  Also, most Greens hate Fracking and the cheap natural gas it provides, so if they have their way natural gas won’t be available to replace coal.  10 years ago (pre Fracking) they were talking about having to IMPORT natural gas, and now they are talking about EXPORTING natural gas.  If the loss of the coal plants forces the cost of electricity too high, or causes rolling black outs, the loss of life could be much higher than the polution caused by the coal plants, and the new rules drive up the costs much higher than the improvement in the environment.

  • teapartyguardian 09.07.2012 10:24 PM

    How dare you accuse mercury of being a hazard. You are officially kicked out of the CFL’s to save the planet parade!

  • teapartyguardian 09.07.2012 10:25 PM

    Funny how when the left wins….WE ALL LOSE!

  • Greg137 10.07.2012 7:02 AM

    The EPA is evil.. plain and simple! They are using this environmentalist hoax to find an excuse to raise our energy rates…  We need to GET RID of the EPA! 

  • Been there 10.07.2012 9:49 AM

    It is amazing that we have an increasing population of people over 100 years of age, and they were brought up at the time when coal was king, heating our homes, fueling trains as well as generating electricity,  gasoline contained lead, as did paint, mercury was in thermometers.  Maybe the advent of plastics is doing more harm than these now banned substances.

  • Hank 10.07.2012 4:04 PM

    If we really need the electricity, then we should be willing to pay a higher price to provide it safely.  Nice post Dr. Yolanda.

    Oh wait a minute, maybe we should keep the dirty plants online to help control overpopulation .  No, that just raises health care costs and we kow that nobody wants more health care unless it is from the big insurane compnies.

    Guess I am glad to not live down wnd of a coal burning power plant.

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