Chicago-based utility Exelon is now funding efforts to help out the endangered Obama EPA in its jihad against the coal industry.
Last July, the EPA proposed its so-called “Clean Air Transport” rule to further regulate air emissions from coal-fired power plants. The EPA’s alleged concern is that the emissions travel interstate and reduce air quality (fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone) in 31 downwind states.
The rule was finalized in October and is scheduled to go into effect sometime in the spring — except that some coal-burning utilities are getting concerned about the timing of the rule and there is a new sheriff in D.C. (i.e., the GOP-controlled House with power over the EPA’s budget and the inclination to investigate the EPA).
The EPA estimates that the rule will provide anywhere from $120 billion to $290 billion in annual health and welfare benefits and avoid 14,000 to 36,000 premature deaths annually. (It’s too bad that these estimates are entirely bogus, otherwise the EPA could solve our deficit problems almost singlehandedly. But that is a story for another day).
The transport rule, of course, is in addition to the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations that take effect on January 2, 2011 and the EPA’s January 2010 proposal to further ratchet-down the national air quality standards for ground-level ozone. This is a lot of expensive anti-coal regulation that places the EPA high on the new Congress’ “to do” list. So the Obama EPA has reason to be nervous.
Riding to the EPA’s assistance now is the Pacific Economics Group which just issued a report claiming that the EPA has actually underestimated the economic harm caused by interstate transport of coal plant emissions. According to the report:
Pollution from power plants that have failed to install pollution controls is causing nearly $6 billion in annual costs, because of higher labor expenses, lost work days, lost productivity, and higher insurance costs.
As a result of uncontrolled pollution in downwind regions, between 2005 and 2012:
- Businesses will suffer over $47 billion in costs;
- Over 360,000 jobs will be lost;
- State and local governments will lose almost $9.3 billion in tax revenue; and
- Families and businesses in polluted areas will pay $26.0 billion more for reformulated gasoline as a result of ongoing pollution.
Though the report was prepared on behalf of several no-name Pennsylvania-based “public interest” groups, it was funded by Exelon Corp., the operator of the largest fleet of nuclear power plants in the U.S. — the very same Exelon that is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership and that lobbied for cap-and-trade.
Exelon and its bobbleheaded CEO John Rowe had planned to make billions of dollars off cap-and-trade, bought John Deere’s wind operation for $860 million in August and hope to advance its nuclear power capabilities at the expense of the coal industry.
Exelon’s new report not only attempts to advance its anti-coal objectives by supposedly validating the EPA’s transport rule, but it also no doubt scores political points with the Obama administration for helping out the soon-to-be-embattled EPA. And then there is that Chicago connection… Oh and did I fail to mention that John Rowe is one of the signatories to a letter in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled, “We’re OK With the EPA’s New Air-Quality Regulations“. Rowe is a felony rentseeker.
This blog will soon begin a series exposing the junk science behind the EPA transport rule — which is perhaps even more appalling than EPA’s endangerment finding for greenhouse gases. Stay tuned!