Tag: utility MACT

NAM Joins Brief Challenging EPA’s Utility MACT Rule

Last Friday the National Association of Manufacturers joined several other business groups in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Colubmia urging the court to strike down the EPA’s Utility Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) for new power plants.

This burdensome and costly regulation from the EPA is already having an impact on jobs, as several plants throughout the country are being forced to close. Utility MATS will also drive up energy prices on manufacturers who use one-third of the energy our nation consumes.

The amicus brief filed Friday argues that the EPA set standards that utilities are unable to meet with existing technology. This methodology has an impact on other manufacturing sectors that are also subject to similar regulations.  The EPA’s approach will ultimately prevent construction of new plants because of the inability to meet these new unachievable standards.

With unemployment stuck at 8.3 percent and weekly indicators showing economic growth is slowing manufactures simply can’t afford an energy price increase.

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State of Ohio EPA Concerned with Onslaught of Regulations

Today the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a field hearing in St. Clairsville, Ohio to discuss the EPA’s agenda and its impact on coal. One of the witnesses who testified about the burdensome regulations from the U.S. EPA was Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Division of Air Pollution Control Chief Bob Hodanbosi.

In his testimony Hodanbosi illustrates the real world impact of the EPA’s Utility MACT regulation on electricity customers in Ohio. Utility MACT has forced the shutdown of coal powered plants throughout Ohio, reducing the capacity and driving up prices. Manufacturers who use one-third of our nation’s energy supply will be significantly impacted by rising prices. From Hodanbosi’s testimony:

The regional utility distribution company, PJM recently put out bids for power during the June 2015 to June 2016 timeframe. The bids for base power in the Mid-Atlantic area will be $167 per megawatt. In Northern Ohio, served by First Energy, the cost will be $357 per megawatt, more than double the Mid-Atlantic States. This significant increase in the cost of electricity bids illustrates what can happen as a result of reduced generating capacity.

Hodanbosi goes on to describe the Ohio EPA’s concern for electricity shortages as more and more plants must be taken offline due to the U.S. EPA’s regulations:

Ohio EPA remains concerned that if there are spot shortages of electricity today, the problem will be exacerbated when Ohio loses significant electrical generation capacity due to closures as a result of the U.S. EPA requirements.

Our economy is slowing down and businesses are facing challenges from all directions. Increased energy prices and EPA regulations are playing a large part in that uncertainty. Manufacturers simply cannot afford more regulations if they are to be creating jobs and powering our economy.

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Senate Panel Investigates the EPA’s Utility MACT Rule

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has not been very active on examining Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that impact manufacturers, but today the Committee’s Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee held a hearing on the Agency’s recently-finalized Utility MACT rule.

This rule is of particular concern for manufacturers because it is expected to increase electricity costs and may jeopardize grid reliability as coal-fueled power plants are taken off-line. We’ve already begun to see plant closures resulting from this overreaching rule (see our post on the GenOn Energy plant closures).

Despite concerns from utility companies that more time is needed to comply with the rule, Gina McCarthy, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, stated that the three-year time frame (plus the possibility of an additional year from the state permitting authority) was sufficient. The NAM has been a strong supporter of increasing the compliance time frame, so coal-fueled power plants are able to install new emission control technology without compromising grid reliability. You can read our comments on the proposed rule here.

Rob James, a City Council member from Avon Lake, Ohio, noted that his community is already feeling the effects of this rule. Avon Lake will lose 80 jobs from the GenOn Energy plant closure, and the local economy will also feel the pinch from lost tax revenue and the increase in electricity prices.

We are pleased that this Senate panel is examining the economic impacts of this rule, but more needs to be done. We strongly urge Senators to support Sen. Inhofe’s (R-OK) Resolution of Disapproval (S. J. Res. 37) that would repeal the rule, sending the EPA back to the drawing board to develop a more achievable regulation (read out letter to the subcommittee here). We expect a vote on this resolution in June or July – yet another opportunity for the Senate to show its support for manufacturing jobs.

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The Economic Toll of EPA Regulations

Today we received more news of the negative impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Utility MACT rule. Due to this onerous rule GenOn Energy will be forced to shutter eight plants in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey.

These closings will again result in the loss of jobs and have a negative impact on the local communities. Often we forget about the ripple effect of these regulations and how it can impact a small town and community. 

Pennsylvania State Rep. Camille “Bud” George is quoted on his concerns by Gant Daily’s story on the annoucement:

“Pragmatic energy policies should not guillotine coal from the nation’s energy grid,” George said. “Unfortunately, reasonable policies that would address valid health concerns while keeping coal and the Shawville plant in the long-term mix for energy viability were not pursued.”

Today’s announcement comes on top of other announcements we’ve seen in recent weeks. As we’ve said before if President Obama is serious about an “all of the above” approach to energy it should really include ALL options such as clean coal, shale and the Keystone XL pipeline.

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More Evidence of the Harm of the EPA’s Regulations

Today we see more news of the devastating impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overreaching Utility MACT regulations. FirstEnergy Corp. announced today that the company will be closing three power plants in West Virginia by September.

The closing of these plants will result in the loss of more than 100 jobs not to mention how it will impact the economies of the communities where the plants are located. We often forget about indirect impact of closings such as this which tends to ripple through the entire community.

Also, the reliability of our power grid is put at risk by the EPA’s regulations. Manufacturers are looking for certainty and regulations such as Utility MACT will only increase energy costs and cause them to at times wonder about the reliability of their power grid. Manufacturers consume one-third of our nation’s power and need access to all sources of energy.

An “All-of-the-Above” approach to energy should include everything including clean coal, manufacturers can’t afford increasing energy prices at a time when they are trying to recover, hire and create new jobs.

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House Subcommittee Examines EPA’s Costly Utility MACT Rule

Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing about the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Utility MACT regulation on electricity costs. The regulation, finalized in December 2011, requires the installation of emission control technologies by many coal-fired power plants over a relatively short time frame of three years.

The EPA estimates that the rule will have an annual cost of $9.6 billion, making it one of the most costly rules in the history of the agency. Manufacturers, as users of one-third of the energy consumed in this country, are extremely concerned that the regulation will increase electricity rates and also cause grid reliability issues.

One of the witnesses, Anne Smith of the National Economic Research Associates (NERA), argued that the EPA has made some “misleading public statements” about the health benefits of the rule in its Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA). Her testimony states:

“A closer read of the RIA reveals that all the “saved lives” and virtually all of the $33 billion to $90 billion of estimated benefits EPA has attributed to the MATS [or MACT] Rule are for purported coincidental reductions of . . . fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that is already regulated to safe levels separately under the [Clean Air Act].”

Thus, the EPA is “padding” its RIA with supposed health benefits that occur because of reductions in emissions not covered by the Utility MACT rule.

Her own economic analysis also indicates that the rule’s net impact to U.S. workers in 2015 will be a reduction in worker income that is the equivalent to approximately 200,000 full-time jobs.

Darren MacDonald, Director of Energy at Gerdau Long Steel North America, expressed concern that the regulations would increase electricity prices, hurt the company’s competitiveness and put jobs in jeopardy. He also noted that the Utility MACT regulation will place increased demand on the suppliers and installers of pollution control technology which could also drive up costs for manufacturers.

The NAM applauds the House of Representatives for passing legislation such as the TRAIN Act (H.R. 2401) which would delay implementation of the Utility MACT rule until an interagency economic study is completed. We urge similar action in the Senate.

Aicia Meads is director of resources and energy policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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The Domino Effect of EPA Regulations

As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to move forward with its overreaching agenda the impact is beginning to be felt across the country. This week we’ve seen new reports in the news of jobs that will be lost as the result of facilities that will be forced to close because of new EPA regulations. These closing’s just don’t impact those who work at the plant, they impact the entire town.

A report from Williamsport, Maryland Herald-Mail yesterday tells the story of the impact the closing of the R. Paul Smith Power station will have on the entire community.

Williamsport resident Johnna Artz didn’t mince words Thursday about her opposition to the closing of the R. Paul Smith Power Station in town.

“This affects everybody,” she said. “It hurts the whole community with the number of jobs and revenue lost.” The plant, which went on line in 1927 and employs around 40 people, is being closed as a result of tougher emission regulations imposed by theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Artz, 71, who has lived in Williamsport for 48 years, said that the plant closing will impact her family. She said the federal government could focus on other environmental issues instead of those that take away jobs.

And on the banks of Lake Erie FirstEnergy Corp facing the same regulations will be shuttering plants which will impact hundreds of employees and have a domino effect through the local communities. (continue reading…)

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EPA’s Utility MACT Reg Will Hurt Job Growth

Manufacturers use one third of our nation’s energy supply making access to affordable sources of energy essential for manufacturers to be able to stay competitiveness in the growing global market. Another one of the overreaching regulations to come out of the EPA which will cost jobs and directly impact manufactures is the Utility MACT rule.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page yesterday outlines the impact this rule will have and makes the case that President Obama should stop the EPA from moving forward with this burdensome regulation:

“Most important, the EPA’s regulatory cascade is a clear and present danger to the reliability and stability of the U.S. power system and grid. The spree affects plants that provide 40% of U.S. base load capacity in the U.S., and almost half of U.S. net generation. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, which is charged with ensuring the integrity of the power supply, reported this month in a letter to the Senate that 81 gigawatts of generating capacity is “very likely” or “likely” to be subtracted by 2018 amid coal plant retirements and downgrades.”

That’s 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.”

The WSJ even cites the low cost estimate and the impact Utility MACT will have on investment at a time with high unemployment:

“The EPA’s own lowball cost estimate for the mercury rule is $11 billion annually, though the capital expenditures to meet the increasingly strict burden will be far higher. That investment could be put to more productive uses than mothballing coal assets and replacing them with more expensive sources like natural gas. With nearly a tenth of America out of work, $11 billion year after year adds up.”

Utility MACT is another example of the EPA’s aggressive overreach added to the list of regulations such the new proposed ozone standard, Boiler MACT and Coal Ash. Manufacturers have asked President Obama numerous times to stop the EPA from overreaching and destroying jobs.  At some point these rules are no longer EPA’s rules but they are the President’s rules. With so much uncertainty facing our economy manufacturers simply cannot afford additional costly regulations which will dampen their ability to create jobs. 

Chip Yost is vice president for energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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House Previews Regulatory Rollback Agenda

Congress remains in recess until after Labor Day, but today House majority leadership sheds some light on its upcoming agenda.  A key part of that agenda: rolling back regulations that are hurting job growth.

The House plans to hold one vote a week to repeal harmful regulations.  First up is a vote on the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act (H.R. 2587), which will prevent the National Labor Relations Board from dictating where an employer can do business. (Votes on other pieces of the NLRB’s agenda are possible later in the year.)

Also, on the docket are the various MACT rules—Boiler MACT, Utility MACT and Cement MACT.  These environmental regulations will hit manufacturers with huge compliance costs and hurt U.S. competitiveness.

The United States is already an expensive place to do business—18 percent more expensive than other industrialized nations—and new regulations will only make it more so.

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Former Senator on EPA’s New Power Plant Regs

Over the weekend, former Missouri Senator Kit Bond wrote in the Southeast Missourian about the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which requires power plants to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.  (News coverage of the new rule here and here.)

Senator Bond writes that this new regulation will have a serious impact on coal-fired power plants:

Every time an American family turns on a light switch, heats a home in winter or air conditions that home in the summer, that family will pay higher utility bills. Workers who depend on coal-fired plants for paychecks will face unemployment when plants are closed. Rural communities that depend on tax revenue from utilities to fund schools will struggle to keep doors open for students when coal-fired facilities are shut down due to the cost of complying with EPA’s regulatory onslaught. And farmers and businesses — from the local pharmacy to drugstore — will face higher energy prices, making it more difficult to stay in business — let alone create jobs.

Senator Bond notes that, together with the Utility MACT regulations, this new rule will cost jobs. He writes,

Recent analysis from the National Economic Research Associates shows that by 2020 the cost of just two of the coming onslaught of regulations the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology rules — will be the loss of 1.4 million jobs and an averageutility bill increase, of 11.5 percent — and in some cases, more than 20 percent.

For more about the EPA’s regulatory agenda, be sure the visit the NAM’s No New Regs site.

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