Tom Borelli

With unemployment unacceptably high and a new onslaught of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations about to crash into a stumbling economy, now is the time for the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives to end the EPA’s regulatory madness.

In the face of our daunting economic challenges the EPA is advancing new rules under the Clean Air Act that will dramatically increase the compliance costs for coal burning utilities.

The costs of the EPA’s actions against industry and the economy are real. In anticipation of the EPA’s new requirements, American Electric Power (AEP), an Ohio based utility, announced in June it was closing five power plants and will be scaling back operations at six additional facilities. AEP estimated that its actions will cost about 600 jobs that generated approximately $40 million in annual wages.

Naturally, AEP will pass on the additional compliance costs to its consumers, who will bear the brunt of EPA’s burden through higher electricity prices.

AEP had already made great strides in reducing its environmental impact. According to the company, the $7.2 billion it spent since 1990 to reduce emissions from its coal fired power plants cut the annual release of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide by 80 and 73 percent, respectively.

Keep in mind the impact outlined above is only for one utility. The total cost for our nation’s utilities will obviously be far greater.

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) recently estimated that two new EPA rules would cost utilities $18 billion per year and lead to job losses of an estimated 1.44 million job-years by 2020 and boost the average electricity bills by 11.5 percent and about 24 percent in certain areas of the U.S.

Importantly, it’s not just conservatives or industries that are challenging the EPA. Even nanny state New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now challenging the EPA over the agency’s water regulations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Bloomberg administration sent a 15 page letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson detailing the tremendous regulatory burden the agency is putting on New York City.

The Journal reports the letter states the EPA is forcing the city to implement federal mandates that is “unnecessarily driving up” water costs, resulting in a 134% increase in water rates since Bloomberg became mayor in 2002.

The story highlights a regulatory requirement to cover a reservoir in Yonkers, New York that will cost $1.6 billion, of which the commissioner of the city's Department of Environmental Protection said the public health benefit would “essentially be nil.”

Tom Borelli

Tom Borelli, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow with FreedomWorks.

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