US Chamber of Commerce Blog
The list of cities grows. The U.S. Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy released a new report Tuesday detailing how a proposed new regulation from the Obama administration could delay or cancel key new transportation projects in the Las Vegas region.
Grinding to A Halt takes a detailed look at the challenges Las Vegas will face in meeting EPA's proposal to tighten ozone standards to 65-70 parts per billion, and the projects that could be delayed if the region fails to comply. An earlier report from the Institute looked at implications for the Washington, D.C. metro area.
"EPA's proposed new ozone standards are so strict that even pristine national parks like the Great Basin and the Grand Canyon won't be able to comply," said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy. "Las Vegas area commuters already face some of the toughest traffic in the nation, and now key projects intended to help like Project Neon, the CC-215 Las Vegas Beltway widening, and implementation of bus rapid transit are all being threatened by unreasonable standards that the region will have extreme difficulty meeting."
For states looking to rebuild their infrastructure, waiting for Congress to find a long-term funding plan may be the least of their problems. Because waiting in the wings is EPA's ozone regulation.
Even though ozone levels have been declining for decades, the Obama administration wants to reduce ozone levels to between 65 and 70 parts per billion (ppb). Three hundred thirty-one counties will not be able to meet the stricter ozone standard. They will face mountains of red tape or worse. Because under the Clean Air Act, EPA is able to withhold federal transportation funds to counties not in attainment.
The Environmental Protection Agency recently finalized new power plan emission standards as part of its so-called Clean Power Plan, an unprecedented regulatory move intended to restructure the nation's energy sector - and one that experts believe will have a chilling effect on the economy.
Here, with the help of Emojis, is what you need to know about the plan.emo-manuf.png Under the EPA's Clean Power Plan, U.S. power plants must cut their carbon emissions by approximately 32 percent by 2030 compared to their 2005 levels.
emo-target.png Under the plan, EPA will set varying carbon emission reduction targets for each state. emo-calendar.png By 2016, every state must submit an initial plan for meeting its EPA-mandated goal. emo-lightning.png If the EPA doesn't approve a state's plan, or if a state chooses not to submit a plan, the agency can impose its own plan to essentially restructure the way the state generates electricity. emo-construction.png The Clean Power Plan will force many coal power plans to close down, cutting jobs and putting a squeeze on what has been the U.S.'s most abundant and affordable source of energy. emo-chartup.png The EPA admits that the plan will drive up utility prices... emo-money.png ...which means higher electricity costs for both consumers and businesses. emo-lightbulb.png That's more money just to keep the lights on, and utility costs are already one of the highest cost-drivers for small businesses.
emo-math.png Using some fuzzy math, the EPA has tried to frame the plan as a boon for the economy. emo-chartdown.png However, more accurate assessments will show that the rule will actually reduce U.S. GDP by billions of dollars annually... emo-frustrated.png ...and result in thousands of fewer jobs every year. emo-qmark.png So what do we get in exchange for those increased costs to consumers and the economy? emo-womanhand.png A massive reduction in emissions and a significant global impact, you guessed? em-womanhuh.png Nope. Only a miniscule dip in emissions and virtually no impact on global temperature.
emo-sadwoman.png Miniscule, as in an estimated 0.018 degrees Centigrade reduction by the year 2100. emo-mag.png That's too small to even put into context - it's essentially undetectable, researchers say. emo-earth.png In other words, the Clean Power Plan does very little to help this. emo-usa.png But a lot to hurt this.
EPA's Clean Power Plan isn't so much a "War on Coal," as it is a war on coal workers.
Sam Batkins at the American Action Forum is doing a deep read on EPA's carbon regulations.
He points out that EPA expects electricity generated by coal to drop by nearly half--48%--from 336 gigawatts in 2012 to 174 GW in 2030. Because of this, as many as 34,000 jobs will be lost by 2030.
At the same time, EPA claims the regulations will create jobs. However, in comparing EPA's proposed rule released in 2014 to the final one, Batkins noticed something odd about EPA's job estimates:
Incredibly, for the proposed rule, EPA claimed it would support 78,800 new jobs for "demand-side energy efficiency." The agency has now partially cut the building block that supported that demand side growth, yet EPA still projects 83,300 more energy efficiency jobs because of the rule.
Because of previous EPA regulation states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic have already witnessed thousands of coal-realted jobs cut. "Combine coal extraction losses with coal generation declines nationwide and the coal industry has lost more than 47,500 jobs already, with the promise of more to come by 2030," Batkins writes.
In Kentucky 37% of coal mining jobs have vanished since 2008.aaf_ky_mining_jobs.png Chart: Kentucky coal mining jobsSource: American Action Forum.
In Ohio, 1,395 coal power jobs have been lost since 2008.aaf_oh_coal_jobs.png Chart: Ohio coal power jobs.Source: American Action Forum.
If EPA's carbon regulations are fully implemented, it will be tough for anyone whose job revolves around coal.