It’s official: EPA announces the *big one* meant to bankrupt the coal industry


Update 12/21/2011 2:15pm

As predicted and suspected, EPA Chair Lisa Jackson just formally announced the mega-nuke bomb that will bankrupt the coal industry.

For maximum effect, sympathy and impact it was done at a children’s hospital in Washington D.C. EPA says:

EPA estimates that the new safeguards will prevent as many as 11,000 premature deaths and 4,700 heart attacks a year. The standards will also help America’s children grow up healthier – preventing 130,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and about 6,300 fewer cases of acute bronchitis among children each year.

But according to experts in the field this is not exactly the case. In a quote from The Hill:(note the difference in number of “deaths” avoided).

Unfortunately, the claimed benefits are almost entirely illusory. The estimated $140 billion per year and 17,000 premature deaths avoided are derived not from reducing the toxic emissions that the EPA is statutorily obligated to address (and which its press releases tout), but by counting what it refers to as “co-benefits.” These co-benefits comprise 99.996% of the total benefits the EPA estimates, and arise not directly from reducing toxic emissions, but from other things that the EPA thinks will happen as beneficial side effects.

The quote below from Scott Segal of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council was contained in an email I received:

Utility MACT will undermine job creation in the United States in several different ways. It will result in retirement of a significant number of power plants and either fail to replace that capacity or replace it with less labor-intensive forms of generation. It will increase the cost of power, undermining the international competitiveness of almost two dozen manufacturing industries, and it will reduce employment upstream in the mining sectors. All told, it is anticipated that the rule will result in the loss of some 1.44 million jobs by 2020 [emphasis mine.]While some jobs are created by complying with the new rule, the number and quality of those jobs is far less than those destroyed. We estimate that for every one temporary job created, four higher-paying permanent jobs are lost. The bottom line: this rule is the most expensive air rule that EPA has ever proposed in terms of direct costs. It is certainly the most extensive intervention into the power market and job market that EPA has ever attempted to implement [emphasis mine].

Estimated cost per year for the industry to comply: $11 billion.

The Institute for Energy Research just issued the following statement, excerpted:

In this season of good tidings, the Environmental Protection Agency has some bad news for American consumers and job seekers who are already experiencing record electricity prices and prolonged unemployment.

“The utility MACT will increase the cost of electricity for American families, and in some places where coal-fired generation is the prevailing source of power, the prices will necessarily skyrocket just like President Obama promised. It will result in the loss of jobs, both in places where power plants will close and among small businesses that employ more than 60 percent of our workforce.

Hang on to your hats, guys. Look for much higher electricity prices and thousands of jobs lost.

Original article begins below.

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-fired plant they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them…”

– Barack Obama speaking to San Francisco Chronicle, January 2008

We all remember those words that sent chills up and down the spines of consumers and energy companies. Well, it’s been happening slowly over the last 3 years but my prediction is tomorrow it will strike like a punch to the stomach.

Last Friday, December 16, was the date the EPA was supposed to have signed the “MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) Act” for utilities which will lead the assault on coal-fired plants without any haste. These are all the *new regulations* that will “bankrupt the coal industry.” Although EPA Chair Lisa Jackson has been quiet and not made any formal announcement, her twit feed does tells us she will have a presser tomorrow in DC and this writer is willing to bet this will be her announcement.

EPA on twit

And if this is indeed the case we could have 30 GW of electricity go offline in the next several years. For those of you who can’t comprehend this number, it amounts to 10% our the entire country’s coal/electrical production. The Institute for Energy Research has given us a map. Each red dot signifies less coal energy for our country:

Summary-Map-of-Power-Plants600And here is a link to the coal-fired plants to be retired and announced retirements because of EPA regulations. All 18 pages.Quite a shocker, isn’t it? We already saw a power outage during the Steelers game a few nights ago and major power outages in the northeast during snow storms.

The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council sent a letter to Cass Sunstein, Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs on November 14 of this year requesting a sit-down with him on the potential ramifications of these MACT rules. Of key note in the letter is this statement:

To place what’s at stake in perspective, one report noted, the FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] staff analysis says the EPA rules endanger “about 8% of all U.S. generating capacity. Merely losing 56 gigawatts—a midrange scenario in line with FERC and industry estimates—is the equivalent of wiping out all power generation for Florida and Mississippi [emphasis mine]. In practice, this will mean blackouts and rolling brownouts, as well as spiking rates for consumers.”

Notice their prediction of GWs lost is almost double of IER’s. No word on whether or not the meeting took place but I would be willing to bet NOT. Scott Segal, director, Electric Reliability Coordinating Council did a white paper report dated December 1 of this year on the reliability of the electric grid with impending EPA regulations and it ain’t pretty:

Traditionally, the DOE has made it very clear in substantial reports that the utility sector will face significant challenges to electric reliability over the next 15 years and that the cumulative effect of EPA regulations will make it hard to maintain reliability. It was recommended that DOE engage all stakeholder in an open and robust process to determine the effects of EPA rules on reliability. They have not met the recommendations of their own Electricity Advisory Committee in carefully evaluating reliability impacts.

Chilling thoughts, my friends. This is one campaign promise Barack Obama is going to keep.

I’ll update tomorrow. Enjoy the light and heat while you can.


Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks

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Deplorable Reagan Conservative. Pro-life, pro 2A. Waiting for Obama's "legacy" to be undone.

Twitter: @LadyImpactOhio

"We the People tell government what to do. It does not tell us."__Ronald Reagan in his farewell speech.

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December 20, 2011 10:19 pm

Don’t know what Lisa will be up to tomorrow, but I noticed on the EPA site that her posted schedule for last Wednesday, 12/14 included a 9:30 a.m. meeting with Senators and Representatives from North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota on the subject of …………………………………regional haze. Don’t know whether the Senators (including John Thune) are concerned about haze in their region, or whether Lisa is concerned about haze in their region. All I know is, every time I go to a government website to check on something, I find asininity, waste and ludicrous waste of time, energy and resources, including… Read more »

Queen Hotchibobo
December 21, 2011 1:41 pm

Congress better get involved here.

If the Obama brownouts ruin my refrigerator, freezer, computer, copier, etc., I’m not going to blame only the Obama administration. He announced years ago he was going to do it, the Republican Congresscritters better learn how to rally the people behind a cause as simple as keeping our homes electrified.

December 21, 2011 3:13 pm

Gee, let’s not talk about this stuff. Let’s go back to talking about how outrageous it was for Newt to be conjuring up images of federal judges being hauled up to the hill to explain themselves – the same federal judges who give aid and comfort to the likes of the criminals in the Obama Administration like Lisa Jackson Oh Fred! Oh Fred! Fred Upton! Hey, Fred, ol’budddy, what are you gonna do about this, Fred? You’re not gonna do anything about it, you skinny little wimp and erstwhile co-sponsor of the lightbulb ban. Should we be down on our… Read more »

December 21, 2011 3:13 pm

Can the state’s governors sent the national guard to defend any/all coal plants which refuse to comply with this ridiculousness?

December 21, 2011 10:29 pm

He just got tired of attacking Big Oil (or what’s left of it) for three years running solid. Time to give Coal some attention. Next summer, Nukes. I have always said, the difference between our Greenie Socialists and Europe’s, is that Europe’s are not actually stupid enough to try to carry out their slogans. In fact last time I checked, many European countries are “nuking up.” And the big national-controlled Oils over there, BP (UK’s), Shell (Netherlands’), Statoil (Norway’s), Total (France’s), ENI(Italy’s) and Lukoil(Russia’s) – are doing better than ever, irrespecitve of their Social Democrat or Conservative governments in power… Read more »

December 21, 2011 11:26 pm

So when children start dying because their unemployed parents can’t heat their homes, how will the DeMarxists spin that into being the fault of the Republicans and those evil Capitalists?
Here’s your choice America: Die of exposure because there’s no longer any way to heat your home because you voted to require the removal a tiny fraction of one percent of the polution in Gaias’ atmosphere.
Vote the DeMarxists out!

Lady Penguin
December 22, 2011 10:03 am

The Wall Street Journal agrees:

The economic harm here is vast, and the utility rule saga—from the EPA’s reckless endangerment to the White House’s failure to temper Ms. Jackson—has been a disgrace.

December 22, 2011 12:14 pm

LIO, your Senator Portman has a bill intended to keep the regulators from doing this sort of thing. It’s co-sponsors are bipartisan. Texas Rep. Lamar Smith has the House version of the same thing with bipartisan co-sponsors. It may be like closing the door after the horses have already left the barn, nut you might want to track these bills. The House has passed and been sent to the Senate. The Senate bill has been introduced and referred to committee.

December 22, 2011 12:58 pm

Cannot the states individually just say “screw you Feds” and not enforce these egregious rules? Nullification? I thought that Perry had hinted at this in the past… Someone, somewhere needs to take a stand and yell “ENOUGH!” and start taking back our government. (Or at least start rejecting what is coming out of D.C.) This is a MAJOR push at putting our very lives and livelihood under the micro-control of unelected, uncontrollable, government bureaucrats. (And speaking from extensive past experience of working in the environmental field, on both industry and regulatory sides, these EPA bureaucrats are clueless, lowest common denominator,… Read more »