NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

EPA's Approaching Regulatory Avalanche

February 14, 2012

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is churning out new rules unprecedented in speed, number, scope, stringency and costs.  Yet the new rules have marginal, if any, health benefits.  Nor are they supported by credible science.  The National Academy of Science and the EPA's own scientific advisory panels have sharply criticized regulations they see as framed on the basis of weak, manipulated scientific evidence, says Kathleen Hartnett White, director of the Armstrong Center for Energy and the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

  • Cumulatively, EPA rules scheduled to become effective in the next three years could cost more than $1 trillion and destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs.
  • Four of the rules, directed at electric generation, threaten the fundamental viability of continued coal-fired generation -- now the mainstay of the nation's electric power.
  • The Federal Energy Reliability Commission (FERC), the National Electric Reliability Council (NERC), and multiple studies conclude that these four EPA rules risk the involuntary retirement of over 80 gigawatts (GW) of electric capacity by 2015.

The possibility of losing up to 8 percent of the country's current 1,010 GW of electric generating capacity should be a wake-up call as to the magnitude of EPA's regulatory agenda.  On EPA's current schedule, there is not sufficient lead time to replace this amount of the nation's electric power supply.  Power outages, higher electric rates, job losses, sharply regressive impacts on families with low or fixed incomes, and the relocation of U.S. industries to foreign countries are highly likely outcomes under EPA's regulatory plan.

Hartnett White's paper reviews 10 EPA rules now adopted, proposed or scheduled for proposal:

  • Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR).
  • Electric Utility Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT).
  • Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (Utility MACT).
  • Industrial Boiler MACT.
  • Portland Cement Kiln MACT.
  • Cooling Water Intake Structure Rule (CWIS).
  • Coal Combustion Residuals Rule (CCR).
  • Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).
  • Particulate Matter (PM) NAAQS.
  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Regulation of Stationary Sources.
  • GHG Regulation of Mobile Sources.

Source: Kathleen Hartnett White, "EPA's Approaching Regulatory Avalanche 'A Regulatory Spree Unprecedented in U.S. History,'" Texas Public Policy Foundation, February 2012.

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