Over the next 18 months, the Environmental Protection Agency will finalize a flurry of new rules to curb pollution from coal-fired power plants. Mercury, smog, ozone, greenhouse gases, water intake, coal ash—it’s all getting regulated. And, not surprisingly, some lawmakers are grumbling.Are we this stupid?
Industry groups such the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, and the American Legislative Exchange Council have dubbed the coming rules “EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck.” The regulations, they say, will cost utilities up to $129 billion and force them to retire one-fifth of coal capacity. Given that coal provides 45 percent of the country’s power, that means higher electric bills, more blackouts and fewer jobs.
Put bluntly, in a country where we have nearly 10% unemployment and a declining manufacturing base of our economy, we simply can't afford environmentalist niceties.
Put even more bluntly, this country needs more air pollution (meaning: more industrial production), not less.
Closing down perfectly productive coal-firing power plants is the type of things countries do when they are intent on committing national economic suicide.