June 13, 2014
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a draft rule that would mandate a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions at fossil fuel-fired power plants by 2030. If finalized next year, as expected, the plan would likely result in the closure of some coal-fired plants that would be unable to reduce their emissions to a level that would allow the states in which they are located to meet reduction targets.
While environmental groups praised the draft rule, the Chamber of Commerce, along with vulnerable Democratic senators, candidates, and representatives from coal-producing and energy-intensive states such as West Virginia, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Alaska, decried it, saying that it amounts to “a war on coal.” Reps. Nick Joe Rahall (D-W.Va.) and his West Virginia Republican colleague David McKinley quickly said they will introduce legislation to prevent the rule from taking effect. The U.S. Chamber released a study alleging the rule will cost 224,000 jobs per year through 2030 and would impose $50 billion in electricity cost increases.
The administration disputed those claims, and maintains that the new rule would instead create jobs, lower electricity rates, and save lives through reduced pollution.