State Views: New EPA regulation will kill jobs, raise energy prices

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Scott Manley
Saturday, June 7, 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a global warming regulation that will significantly increase the cost of electricity for Wisconsin consumers and kill thousands of jobs.

The rule targets coal-fired power plants, and it will inflict dramatic and irreversible harm to our economy.

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.

It’s clear the EPA rule will be tremendously expensive as electric bills increase dramatically.

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 jobs.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce 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 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 2030—small by global standards.

And the rest of the world will increase carbon emissions by 4.7 billion tons over the same time period as American families suffer.

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—painful costs but no benefits.

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.

Scott Manley is vice president of government relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, 501 E Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703; phone 608-258-3400. Sidney H. Bliss, publisher of The Gazette and owner of Bliss Communications, serves on the WMC Board of Directors.

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