Politics & Policy

EPA Coal Regulations Could Factor Into Jobs Debate

The Environmental Protection Agency just held hearings in Philadelphia on proposed changes to clean-air regulations that could have a big impact on the coal industry in the Keystone State. Pennsylvania produces more than half its energy — roughly 55 percent — from coal.

Although the EPA estimates the overall cost to meet the new regulations at $2.8 billion a year – far less than the value of the health benefits – individual plants may not be able to raise the capital.

“It’s fully expected that some smaller coal-fired power plants will retire,” [Doug] Biden, [president of the Electric Power Generation Association] said. “Eddystone and Cromby have already seen the handwriting on the wall,” he said, referring to Exelon Corp. plants in Chester and Phoenixville, which will close by 2013.

As the regulations gain steam, this could quickly become a part of the “jobs” narrative dominating the campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans.

Rural Pennsylvanians are typically a consistent vote for Republicans, while Democrats reliably win over more urban areas, but even proposed regulations that could harm livelihoods in rural areas could translate into higher-turnout for politicians seen as protecting jobs in a volatile economy.




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