The Environmental Protection Agency has yet to release their highly anticipated regulations for existing power-plant emissions, so the Chamber of Commerce’s speculative study on the potential impact of these incoming regulations does seem somewhat premature — but that said, I don’t doubt their premise in the slightest. The EPA isn’t exactly known for having a light and impartial touch, and despite the vulnerable Democrats shaking in their boots at their imminent release, I would not count on these regulations coming at all cheaply or easily. That is kind of the point — President Obama has a climate legacy to establish, after all. Via The Hill, the Chamber suggests that the regs could eclipse $50 billion in annual costs through 2030:
The new study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce comes ahead of the Environmental Protection Agency’s planned rollout of draft regulations at the center of President Obama’s climate change initiative. …
The institute’s report concludes that the forthcoming regulations could diminish the nation’s coal-fired energy capabilities by a third, as plants unable to meet the new standards shutter. Coal currently represents roughly 40 percent of the country’s energy production, and is a major part of the employment picture in many states, including West Virginia, Kentucky, Wyoming and Pennsylvania.
The Chamber’s study says as many as 224,000 jobs would be eliminated annually through 2030 under the proposal.
The EPA bristled at the report, saying it is unfounded and based on speculation, since the details of the proposal would not be made public until next week.
“Critics have tried for years to convince people that more pollution equals more jobs and a better economy, but history has proved them wrong over and over again,” agency spokeswoman Liz Purchia said. “EPA has been around for more than 40 years; and throughout our history we’ve cut pollution by 70 percent while the economy has doubled.”
Huh. I’m going to skate over what I think was an implication that all pollution reduction has been because of government regulations (rather than the free market’s natural tendency toward innovation and ever-greater efficiency), and note that the EPA even put out a blog post reacting to the Chamber’s study, delivered to the Twitters by White House special adviser John Podesta:
— John Podesta (@Podesta44) May 28, 2014
We’ll have to wait for the regs’ release to know for sure, but I, too, am old enough to know what a broken record actually sounds like. The Obama administration has been wrong before, and will be wrong again on the devastating economic impacts of its policies — and how.