Earlier this month, the EPA announced the implementation of new pollution standards–standards which will result in higher electricity costs for consumers in more than two dozen states. The rule, called the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule will require power plants in the eastern half of the U.S. to make major reductions in soot and smog by forcing them to cut emissions of sulfur dioxide by 73% and nitrogen oxide by 54% from 2005 levels by 2014.
The time table for the requirements has caused some concern in the industry:
The EPA rule has generated anxiety in the coal industry partly because some of its emissions targets will take effect in January, a timetable that the companies say gives them too little time to prepare.
A spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based Southern Co., one of the nation’s largest coal-burning utilities and a critic of the proposed version of the EPA rule, called the agency’s compliance deadlines “unreasonable, unnecessary and disruptive.”
The end result of the new regulations–your electricity bill will go up.
Note: This is not the first time the EPA has set policy essentially going around Congress and the legislative process. When President Obama could not get Cap and Trade through Congress, he turned to the EPA to impose it through regulations. Now, the EPA has decided to set new pollution standards and they’ve got a plan to get them in place:
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) believes that U.S. EPA has worked out a nifty way to make an end run around both Congress and the federal regulatory process when it wants to implement a new rule that may be politically sensitive.
All the agency has to do is get some green group to sue over some aspect of the desired rule, he said. Then EPA can roll over in the ensuing legal battle and head right to settlement proceedings, claiming it was “forced” by the court system and consent decrees to initiate the new rulemaking. It is a path devoid of both messy public comment periods and political accusations over whether EPA is moving unilaterally.