Letter: Rules on power plants will hurt state economy

To the editor:

Indiana’s environment is cleaner than it’s been in our lifetimes. But such substantial progress here and in other parts of the country is not enough for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Smart, necessary regulations make sense. However, that’s the opposite of what we have with the new directive to strictly limit carbon emissions from the nation’s existing coal-fired power plants. It’s completely unreasonable given our nation’s energy needs.

What’s more, this new EPA regulation will barely even move the needle toward reducing carbon emissions. That reduction is projected at less than 2 percent. Yet, it will deal a substantial blow to the national and state economies.

The Institute for 21st Century Energy predicts the regulation will result in a whopping $51 billion in annual economic losses through 2030. On top of that, some 224,000 Americans will lose their jobs, and consumers will pay $289 billion more for electricity. Separately, the U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that electricity cost increase could equal as much as 80 percent.

Most Hoosier businesses and families can’t afford to pay that, and they certainly can’t afford a slumping economy and job market. There also will be other secondary effects. For example, 20 percent of a water bill is driven by energy costs due to the pumping of the water. So that monthly expense will increase too.

Indiana is the number one per capita manufacturing state in the nation and will certainly be hit hard by this regulation, if it’s enacted. Over 80 percent of Indiana’s electric power comes from coal. Despite diversification efforts, it remains Indiana’s primary energy source.

We encourage you to let the EPA know your thoughts by visiting indianachamber.com/EPA by Dec. 1, the comment deadline. Also, let your members of Congress know; they need to take action before irreparable damage is done to our economy.

Vince Griffin

Indiana Chamber of Commerce vice president of energy and environmental policy

Indianapolis