Exclusive: EPW report shows new EPA rules will cost more than 800,000 jobs

posted at 8:45 am on September 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Actually, it’s not just the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s minority contingent that fears the loss of nearly a million jobs from new EPA rules on greenhouse gases and other emissions issues.  It’s also groups like the United Steel Workers, Unions for Jobs and the Environment, and experts like King’s College Professor Ragnar Lofstedt.  Hot Air got an exclusive look at a report that the EPW minority staff will release later this morning detailing the economic damage that an activist EPA will do to the American economy, and which will come at perhaps the worst possible time, both economically and politically.

The executive summary spells out the stakes involved in the effort to rein in the EPA:

  • New standards for commercial and industrial boilers: up to 798,250 jobs at risk;
  • The revised National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone: severe restrictions on job creation and business expansion in hundreds of counties nationwide.
  • New standards for Portland Cement plants: up to 18 cement plants at risk of shutting down, threatening nearly 1,800 direct jobs and 9,000 indirect jobs;
  • The Endangerment Finding/Tailoring Rules for Greenhouse Gas Emissions: higher energy costs; jobs moving overseas; severe economic impacts on the poor, the elderly, minorities, and those on fixed incomes; 6.1 million sources subject to EPA control and regulation; and

In fact, the new regulations threaten to put entire industries out of business.  The new standard for boilers, titled “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Major Sources: Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional Boilers and Process Heaters” and called the Boiler MACT, creates a standard that literally no producer in the US meets at the moment.  The industry group Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA) represents end-user firms that employ 750,000 in various industries, and they concur:

IECA members have 6 units that were part of the best performing units and none can comply with the standards based on the best performing units. Based on the analysis of the data EPA used to develop these standards, it appears that none of the coal-fired boilers in the source category can meet the proposed standards.

What happens when the installed boilers don’t meet the new standard?  Factories and other facilities will have to close, putting jobs in danger and firms already hammered by the recession will lose production days — which will destroy jobs.  That’s why the United Steel Workers have sounded the alarm, insisting that the EPA’s proposal will mean disaster:

“Tens of thousands of these jobs will be imperiled.  In addition, many more tens of thousands of jobs in the supply chains and in the communities where these plants are located also will be at risk.”

Nor are steelworkers the only group at risk.  New industrial standards for Portland cement threaten to stop all American production in the name of environmental protection — and send the work overseas to China, where ironically the standards are more lax and more pollution will result:

“So rather than importing 20 million tons of cement per year, the proposed [rule] will lead to cement imports of more than 48 million tons per year. In other words, by tightening the regulations on U.S. cement kilns, there will be a risk transfer of some 28 million tons of cement offshore, mostly to China.”Professor Ragnar Lofstedt, Kings College (London)

Again, no facility in the US meets the standards proposed by the EPA.  Imposition of these standards would at least temporarily close almost 20 percent of all American cement producers and reduce long-term cement production from 8-15%.  The cement that will be needed for construction demand will have to be imported, primarily from China, which is expanding their cement production using environmental standards significantly below current American standards.  In other words, we can expect more pollution, not less — just outsourced along with the jobs in the industry.

Watch for the full report later today at the EPW Minority Caucus website.


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