• WisBusiness

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Scott Manley: New EPA rule will kill jobs, raise energy prices


By Scott Manley
Today the U.S. EPA proposed a global warming regulation that will significantly increase the cost of electricity for Wisconsin consumers, and kill thousands of jobs.

The rule targets our fleet of coal-fired power plants, and is likely to inflict dramatic and irreversible harm to our economy if it is allowed to move forward.

Numerous studies have been done attempting to predict the cost of EPA's rule and the impact it will have on higher electric rates for homeowners and businesses. For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently released a study showing that the rule will cost consumers in our region $3.3 billion per year in higher electricity prices.

Another study done by NERA Economic Consultants predicted the rule will cost consumers between $13 billion and $17 billion per year. Yet another study released by the Heritage Foundation predicts the rule will cost a family of four $1,200 per year by 2023.

No matter which study turns out to be most accurate, it's clear the EPA rule will be tremendously expensive, and that added expense will ultimately mean that you and I pay more for electricity. A lot more.

The EPA's global warming rule will be especially destructive to manufacturing jobs in our state. Wisconsin has the second most manufacturing jobs per capita in the United States, and those jobs rely upon affordable and reliable energy to remain viable.

The electric rate spikes inevitably resulting from this new rule will make it much more costly to manufacture goods in Wisconsin, providing an incentive to shift that production to another state or another country. In the end, many middle-class working families will pay the cost of this rule with their job.

Just how many jobs will be lost because of President Obama and his EPA's ideological war on coal? The studies predict staggering numbers.

The U.S. Chamber study predicts 224,000 Americans will lose their jobs every year between now and 2030 because of the EPA rule. Closer to home, the analysis suggests 31,700 jobs will be lost in the five-state census region that includes Wisconsin.

The NERA Economic Consultant analysis was equally dire. It predicts 2.85 million lost jobs in the United States by the year 2033.

By any measure, the EPA's proposed rule will dramatically increase energy prices and result in thousands of lost jobs in Wisconsin and throughout the country. It raises a fair question about what benefit, if any, we get for this considerable economic pain.

The answer to this question is precious little.

The rule is expected to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the United States by 970 million tons by the year 2030. Although that sounds like a lot, it is essentially meaningless in the global scale of things.

While the EPA has us busy destroying jobs and our economy in the name of global warming orthodoxy, the rest of the world will increase carbon emissions by 4.7 billion tons over the same time period.

For those keeping score at home, that means other countries will collectively increase carbon emissions by six tons for every ton reduced by Americans under the EPA rule. So much for saving the planet.

The EPA's new global warming rule is a lose-lose proposition for energy consumers and workers. It represents the worst kind of regulation in that it has enormous and painful costs, and essentially no benefit.

President Obama should explain why middle class manufacturing workers in Wisconsin should lose thousands of family-supporting jobs each year in the name of global warming alarmism, while other countries continue to increase emissions.

Wisconsinites deserve to know why we should be forced to commit an act of unilateral economic disarmament.

-- Manley is vice president of government relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.


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