The editors of the WSJ write today:
Anyone who cares about the U.S. economy is breathing easier now that cap and tax appears to be on the political garbage barge, but don’t be so sure. The White House is still pursuing its carbon agenda through regulation, albeit with almost no public attention, and a new study shows the damage that is already being done.
Yesterday the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a highly regarded federal energy advisory body, released an exhaustive “special assessment” of this covert program. NERC estimates that the Environmental Protection Agency’s pending electric utility regulations will subtract between 46 and 76 gigawatts of generating capacity from the U.S. grid by 2015. To put those numbers in perspective, the worst-case scenario would amount to a reduction of about 7.2% of national power generation, and almost all of it will hit coal-fired plants, the workhorse that supplies a little over half of U.S. electricity.
The EPA’s battery of new rules is mostly obscure, ranging from traditional pollutants such as mercury and sulfur to new regulation of coal ash and even water intake structures, which power plants use to cool down equipment. NERC notes that the “pace and aggressiveness” of issuing so many new rules at once is unprecedented. Keep in mind, too, that these are conservative estimates and don’t even include the EPA’s looming carbon “endangerment” rules.
The rest here.