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Kraft: EPA rules will create jobs, clean the air
Date:03 Aug 2012
There is great deal of confusion about new EPA regulations affecting coal-fired power plants, and also opposition to regulations that could lead to plant closings or loss of jobs. Yet, as the business community has argued for years, the merits of regulatory proposals must be judged by comparing their overall benefits and costs to society and by focusing on only some economic effects they might have. Let's consider some facts: First, the Obama administration is not advocating the closure of all coal-fired power plants. It has proposed new public health standards in response to court mandates, and, yes, some could lead to closure of older, inefficient plants. The Obama administration has long preferred a legislative solution, such as a cap-and-trade policy, over regulation, but Congress could not agree on such a policy. Now the administration is forced to use regulation. The proposed New Source Performance Standards are indeed likely to end new construction of conventional coal-fired power plants as utilities will choose natural gas over coal or eventually adopt carbon capture technology. However, this new rule does not affect existing facilities, and new plants will have years to comply.