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Con: Cost not worth benefit, doesn't allow enough flexibility for states

By Sara Sneath
June 8, 2014 at 1:08 a.m.


States that rely heavily on coal for their energy, such as West Virginia and Kentucky, were given more leeway under the EPA's proposal than other states.

Kentucky, which gets about 90 percent of its energy from coal, would need to cut its emissions by about 18 percent.

Boris Borne, 80, of Victoria, said states should be given further latitude by allowing them to cut the emissions from other industries, such as meat production.

"A lot of the emissions from the meat industry are methane and nitrous oxide, which are much more dangerous in terms of global warming than carbon dioxide, and they stay in the atmosphere a lot longer than carbon dioxide," Borne said.

Borne, a retired government consultant, said regulations on emissions are necessary to encourage industry to curb its effects on global warming.

"The biggest price is paid by the coastal communities, which will be subjected to rising sea levels and storm surges," Borne said. "But the power plants are not paying any price for global warming. So, they have no incentive to reduce emissions."

But giving state legislators flexibility in meeting those goals could lessen the pressure on the energy industry while having the same effect.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, both lobbying groups for business, say the proposed energy emission regulations will cost a fortune to the energy industry, a cost which will be passed on to consumers.

Pre-empting the release of the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal, the chamber estimated the cost of cutting U.S. emissions 42 percent by 2030 at $480 billion.

Manufacturers use one-third of the energy produced in the United States, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

"(The) proposal from the EPA could single-handedly eliminate (our) competitive advantage by removing reliable and abundant sources of energy from our nation's energy mix," said Jay Timmons, National Association of Manufacturers president and CEO in a prepared statement last week.

The EPA will finalize the proposed cuts to energy emissions in June 2015, at which point states will have a year to come up with plans to meet the new rules.

"As it stands right now for coal-fired generation in Texas, specifics for the regulatory path forward and the economics of operation are uncertain," said Danni Sabota, a spokeswoman for coal-fired Coleto Creek, which provides electricity to 360,000 homes.

The true costs of the proposed rule remain unclear.

"We won't know what this means for Coleto Creek until we learn the requirements from state regulators," Sabota said.

Pro: Proposal will be worth cost to consumers

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