NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Environmental Protection Agency Regulations Killing Jobs

September 16, 2011

While President Obama took the stage last week to present his jobs plan to the country, explaining how he would put Americans back to work, the proliferation of regulations under his administration has had the opposite effect: killing jobs.  Ironically, the same morning as President Obama's speech, Texas energy company Luminant announced that new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations were forcing it to close several facilities, resulting in the loss of 500 jobs and 1,200 megawatts of generating capacity.  This event is only the beginning, both in regards to job losses and diminished electricity production, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).


  • Steven Miller, CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, warns of job losses totaling 1.4 million over the next eight years and a 23 percent jump in electricity rates in states dependent on coal-fired plants.
  • The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state's power grid, expects to see 1,200 to 1,400 megawatts of generation capacity unavailable next year that was available this year.
  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff has preliminarily estimated that up to 91 gigawatts of existing generation nationwide (8 percent of the total) are "likely" or "very likely" to be retired as a result of the new EPA rules.

The primary culprit for these changes, including rolling blackouts predicted by Texas Public Utility Commission, are regulations requiring lower sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emission levels.  Such regulations, argues the EPA, are intended to reduce premature deaths due to respiratory ailments that are aggravated by emissions.  However, the scientific community is not in complete agreement regarding this causal link.

Whatever the rationale, it must be recognized that in an economic climate in which job creation is the top priority, steep environmental regulation compromises that goal, says IBD.

Source: "EPA Regulations Still Killing Jobs," Investor's Business Daily, September 14, 2011.

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