President Obama recently announced the most far-reaching regulation for the energy sector in the history of the United States. The new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean power rule set the first-ever carbon emission ceiling for power plants. This federal limit will impact the industry at virtually every level from the miners to the consumers and will have implications for the entire economy. The question remains whether the benefits will outweigh the costs, as the Obama Administrations predicts.
The announcement was met with an immediate pushback from Republicans as Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton called the rule, “unilateral regulatory overreach”, and Republican senators urging States not to comply with the new standards. Many utilities and states are expected to sue and experts predict as many as 25 states will join a lawsuit against the federal government, ultimately ending at the Supreme Court.
If the rule goes forward it will decimate the coal industry, which is currently the leading carbon emitting fuel source. According to the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), coal currently generates 39 percent of the domestic electric supply and employs approximately 80,000 workers. The Washington Post reports the regulation in its current form would require a 32 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Achieving these levels is highly controversial as different groups spar over whether the reductions are achievable while also still providing affordable and reliable electricity.
Read more at Forbes.