Anti-Coal Regulation on Fire

Nearly half of state governments are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to block an anti-coal energy regulation that will increase energy costs by $10 billion per year while saving a couple of million dollars in health costs annually.

In a suit filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Oct. 23, the states, along with about 30 energy companies, unions, and associations, contend that the EPA ignored the heavy costs posed by the Utility MACT rule, an emissions regulation that would “effectively ban the construction of new plants by setting standards below measurable levels,” according to William Yeatman, an environmental regulations expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“Perhaps EPA could demonstrate it is appropriate to spend $9.6 billion every year to achieve an annual health benefit of $4 to $6 million from reducing [pollution] emissions,” the suit states, with emphasis in the original. “EPA’s failure to take costs into account, as Congress intended, requires vacatur of the [Mercury Air Toxics Standards] rule.”

The EPA announced the Utility MACT rule in December, seeking to cut down on mercury levels in waters and air pollutants emitted from coal and oil-fired power plants. The agency claimed the rule “will save thousands of lives and prevent more than 100,000 heart and asthma attacks each year” and would save $37 to $90 billion per year.

Those savings are vastly overstated, according to the suit. Nearly 99 percent of the estimated benefits are classified as “climate-related co-benefits,” rather than the demonstrable health benefits attributed to the mercury standards as mandated by the Clean Air Act.

Read more at The Washington Free Beacon. By Bill McMorris.

Photo credit: bjornmeansbear (Creative Commons)

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