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EPA regulations will raise your electric bills, threaten the grid

EPA rules for compliance could force some plants to close because they don't have time for a retrofit.

By Evan TraceyAmerican Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) / September 10, 2012

In this photo provided by the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association, boaters enjoy a day on the lake in the shadow of the Fort Peck Dam powerhouse earlier this summer. Operators of rural cooperatives that provide electricity to an estimated 400,000 people across Montana say an Energy Department proposal to modernize the grid could drive transmission costs – and consumer power bills – higher. Energy Sec. Steven Chu has said the changes will create new jobs, increase efficiency, and make better use of renewable energy resources.

Montana Electric Cooperatives Association/Ryan Hall/File

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EPA regulations are going to raise your family’s electricity bills, and hurt the bottom-line of countless small businesses. And the Government Accountability Office recently released a report finding four different regulations won’t just hurt your finances, they can hamper America in another way: threatening the stability of the electrical grid.

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Senior Vice President for Communications, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE)

Mr. Tracey oversees the strategy on how to communicate the importance of electricity from coal and the value of investments in clean coal technology. He has two decades of political, legislative and issue research experience and has provided strategic media analysis for a number of trade associations, foundations, Fortune 500 companies, political party committees, the national press, academic institutions, as well as hundreds of national, statewide and local political campaigns.

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Grid reliability is imperative for any developed nation. Along with our transportation systems, it’s the backbone of commerce.  According to the prominent experts at ICF Consulting, the 2003 New York City blackout cost the nation between $6.8 and $10 billion dollars.

And yet EPA regulations are so hastily enacted, they can actually harm the reliability of the grid. The Washington Examiner recently observed why:

The EPA’s timeline for complying with the new rules could cause some plants to close that could have been retro-fitted had the owners had more time to do so… EPA believes that “a moderately-paced” effort to retrofit the coal plants will suffice, but coal industry representatives say it “might be challenging to complete retrofits or retirements by the compliance deadline for MATS, in some cases.” The main difficulty, they warned, would be the regulatory approvals that must be received in order to carry out the retrofits.

And I agree, as I recently wrote in the National Journal:

The EPA’s approach over the past few years has been short-sighted and dangerous… for the past few years, this EPA has sought to remove coal from our nation’s energy mix. Since 2008, the EPA has released an onslaught of regulations on the coal industry … that will result in increased energy prices, lost jobs and less reliable electricity for millions of American families and businesses.

The government’s own investigator has found this to be true. And the U.S. Court of Appeals just recently highlighted this by telling the EPA that their rule wasn’t just poorly conceived, it overstepped their regulatory boundaries. It’s time for the EPA to start evaluating the wisdom of their policies, and exercise restraint—before the unintended consequences becomes terrible realities.

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