New regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency could come with a big price tag for Virginia.
The EPA’s new Clean Air Plan could cost Virginia as many as 38,000 jobs and make electricity 25 percent more expensive, Watchdog reports. These estimates come from calculations published by both the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy and the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI).
The EPA wants to cut CO2 emissions from new coal plants –- which still produce 35 percent of electricity in the U.S. –- by more than half their present levels. The agency also wants existing plants to emit 30 percent less CO2 than 2005 levels by the year 2030, which represents a 38 percent decrease for Virginia.
“The EPA rules will force utilities to close coal-fired generation plants or adopt expensive and unproven technologies, such as carbon capture and storage,” says the report. The EPA defends these regulations, stating that while they will be some $50 billion, health benefits from the new regulations will more than offset these costs.
The report claims the costs are underestimated. Past emission rules already affected electricity rates and generation: “the average price of electricity has jumped by 27 percent from 2007 to 2012 [while] generation from coal has dropped by 60 percent over the same period.”
Using its own economic modeling, BHI calculated that the new EPA rules will cost Virginians over $1.7 billion, leading to a decrease in investment of $515 million and a loss of real disposable income of over $4.4 billion.
“The state would experience significant declines in employment, wages, disposable income and [investment]. Virginia policymakers need to be aware of these serious consequences that come with these EPA rules,” the report concludes.