EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations fail to consider the economic impact on Americans

Electric rates will be forced even higher by the EPA’s new greenhouse gas regulations released in August, and that will impact rural America with job losses and higher energy costs.

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jo Ann Emerson made the following statement about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions from new, ­existing, modified and reconstructed power plants.

“Any increase in the cost of elec­tricity most dramatically impacts those who can least afford it, and the fallout from the EPA’s rule will cascade across the nation for years to come.

“While we appreciate the efforts intended to help offset the financial burden of rising electricity prices and jobs lost due to prematurely ­shuttered power plants, the final rule still appears to reflect the ­fundamental flaws of the original proposal. It exceeds the EPA’s legal authority under the Clean Air Act, and it will raise electricity rates for our country’s most vulnerable populations while challenging the reliability of the grid.

“We will continue reviewing this extremely complex rule and have additional comments on behalf of America’s not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives in the coming days.”

NRECA recently commissioned a study that underscores the ­devastating relationship between higher electricity prices and job losses. The study, Affordable Electricity: Rural America’s Economic Lifeline, ­measures the impact of a 10 and 25 percent electricity price increase on jobs and gross domestic product (GDP) from 2020 to 2040.

Even a 10 percent increase caused by new regulations could result in 1.2 million jobs lost in 2021 across the country with nearly 500,000 of those lost jobs in rural communities. And 20 years later, the economy fails to fully recover.

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