Saturday, October 15, 2011

New EPA regulations on powerplants

The EPA is attempting to finalize a plan designed to reduce emissions of mercury and acid gases from power plants fired by coal and oil. The plan, called "maximum achievable control technology," was set to be completed by November 16th of this year. These improved regulations and standards would cause a loss of somewhere between 30,000 and 70,000 megawatts of electricity made by coal fired power plants. Outdated and ill maintained plants could be shut down due to these new rules. Opponents of the plan say these rules will kill jobs and cost companies billions of dollars at the worst possible time. The EPA fired back saying the plan will save more in health costs and hospital visits than it will cost in utilities. Twenty five states are asking a federal court to delay this measure at least a year. This is due to both a poor economy and to the loss of jobs and energy they anticipate. The EPA also said that these regulations will create jobs for those to inspect plants and enforce these rules.
While I agree with the EPA’s attempted effort to reduce the emission of these materials into the atmosphere, I also see the state’s argument. This is a down economy and people may not be able to afford increased energy costs. I am also not sure if this plan will create as many jobs as the EPA anticipates, however, jobs could be created in both the inspection field and new energy sources. If states find a new and improved way to produce electricity, it will have to be maintained, built and inspected as well. I believe the measures taken by the EPA are a good idea, just not at this time.

--Nick Freese

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