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New EPA Rules Could Cost Nearly 300,000 Jobs


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April 26, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposed regulations for power plants could result in the closing of dozens of coal-fired plants and a tremendous job loss in the energy industry, according to the EPA's own estimates.

Those estimates say the regulations on existing coal and natural gas power plants could eliminate one-fifth of all existing coal-powered plants and 80,000 energy jobs. But a report by the American Action Forum (AAF) asserts that the potential job losses will be much higher.

The AAF calculated the nation's least efficient power plants — as measured by their CO2 emitted per megawatt hour of energy generated and several other factors — and identified 93 plants, one-fifth of the U.S. total, that are likely to be shuttered by the EPA regulations.

Pennsylvania is home to the greatest number of plants threatened with closing, 13, while Michigan would lose seven and Colorado and Illinois would each lose six.

While the EPA puts the number of lost jobs at power plants and coal mines at 80,000, a study cited by the AAF found that one energy job supports 3.7 additional jobs, so the actual number of jobs that would be lost, using the 3.7 multiplier, is about 296,000.

That means that by 2030, the U.S. economy could lose $27.7 billion in wages.

Texas would suffer the most job losses, 36,500, West Virginia would lose 35,600 and Pennsylvania 18,000.

The new EPA regulations are set for final publication this summer.

The AAF report concludes: "EPA might tout the benefits of its proposal, but the significant job losses are just as noteworthy."