According to a study published on the American Action Forum website, recent Environmental Protection Agency regulations have led to the elimination of nearly 2,000 jobs.
The energy companies American Electric Power, FirstEnergy, GenOn and Midwest Generation announced recently that they will have to close five, nine, eight and two power plants, respectively, to meet EPA requirements.
Specifically, the EPA’s Utility MACT rule, a part of the agency’s Mercury and Air Toxic Standards, is toxic to jobs. When the EPA introduced the rule suspiciously close to Christmas (hoping to fly under the radar much?), a number of industry experts explained that opposition to the regulations stems not from a desire for dirty air (seriously, who wants that?) but from plain ol’ realism.
“Utility MACT will undermine job creation in the United States in several different ways,” [Scott Segal, the director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council,] explained. “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. 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 industry wasn’t ready to comply with the regulations, but the EPA released them anyway — and, now, the predicted consequences have materialized.
The EPA’s regulatory war on American energy is particularly important to recall as the president continues to claim that he takes an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy. If by “all of the above,” Obama means, “I like some kinds of energy and not others,” then, yeah, he takes an all-of-the-above approach. Otherwise, he takes the pick-and-choose approach — and doesn’t hesitate to wield the power of the tax code and regulatory agencies to reward those forms of energy he likes and punish those forms he dislikes.