WASHINGTON, D.C. – Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli testified yesterday before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the Obama Administration’s proposed Maximum Achievable Control Technology (Utility MACT) regulation. Attorney General Cuccinelli broke down the hearing in a reaction video, laying out the MACT regulation’s anticipated consequences of soaring energy costs and massive job losses. According to EPA’s own estimates, the national cost of this rule will be $10.9 billion annually beginning in 2016.
“It isn’t like [jobs] go to North Carolina, they go to China, they go to India. This is the best jobs program the President has going, unfortunately it’s for China, it’s not for America,” said Attorney General Cuccinelli of the EPA’s Utility MACT regulation.
On September 23, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts to the Nation (TRAIN) Act, H.R. 2401, would require an interagency committee to analyze the cumulative economic impacts of certainenvironmental regulations in an effort to better understand how these policies affect American manufacturing, global competitiveness, energy prices, and jobs, and specifically delay the final date for both the Utility MACT and CSAPR rules until the full impact of the Obama Administration’s regulatory agenda has been studied. H.R. 2401 is currently awaiting action in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Voices of American Job Creators
As part of House Republicans’ AmericanJobCreators.com initiative launched by Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa, representatives from Vantage Data Centers and Sunflower Electric Power laid out the devastating effects the proposed Utility MACT regulations would have on their ability to create private-sector jobs in California and Kansas communities.
Utility MACT Background
Rules: The proposed “Utility MACT” rule, expected to be finalized December 16, 2011, establishes “maximum achievable control technology” standards limited emissions of mercury, acid gases and non-mercury metals from power plants. The “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule” (a/k/a “CSAPR” or the “Transport Rule”), announced on July 7, 2011, establishes specific statewide caps for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants in order to assist downwind states in complying with EPA’s 1997 ozone standard and 1997 and 2006 particulate matter standards.
Regulatory Impacts: The proposed Utility MACT affects 525 coal and oil-fired power plants throughout the U.S., and affected utilities will be required to comply by early 2015. The CSAPR impacts 1,081 coal, oil and gas power plants in 28 states in the Eastern half of the U.S., requiring compliance beginning January 2012, with a second phase to begin in 2014. The proposed Utility MACT is a de-facto ban on new coal plants, and together with CSAPR, is expected to result in substantial plant shutdowns as well as reliability issues.
Economic/Job Impacts: EPA estimates the costs of the Utility MACT to be $10.9 billion annually, and electricity price increases of 3.7% in 2015, 2.6% in 2020 and 1.9% in 2030. EPA estimates the CSPAR to be $1.4 billion in 2012, and $800 million in 2014, and electricity price increases of 1.7% in 2012 and .8% in 2014. NERA Economic Consulting has estimated preliminary costs for the two rules to be $17.8 billion annually, and a total cost of $184 billion (present value) for the period 2011-2030, price increases of 12% nationally in 2016 and as high as 24% in certain states, and 1.44 million lost job-years by 2020.