The Environmental Protection Agency is putting the final touches on a rule requiring a 30% reduction of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030. An independent analysis by The Heritage Foundation predicts “[a]n average employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs,” adding the U.S. may lose half a million jobs in the manufacturing sector and 45% of the jobs in the coal mining industry. As for the EPA, it says collateral damage could cost up to 80,000 jobs. But a new American Action Forum report, whose findings mirror that of Heritage, says the EPA isn’t taking secondary impacts into consideration. All told, nearly 100 power plants may be taken offline, which will have major economic ramifications. “Based on American Action Forum (AAF) research … more than 90 coal-fired power plants could be retired across the country,” write Catrina Rorke and Sam Batkins. “Secondary employment impacts suggest that EPA’s power plant regulation could eliminate 296,000 jobs, about the population of Cincinnati, Ohio, and more than the total number of jobs the economy created in February 2015.” The writers conclude, “EPA might tout the benefits of its proposal, but the significant job losses are just as noteworthy.” Indeed. Unfortunately, all that’s important in the minds of this administration is, as EPA administrator Gina McCarthy explained, “We have a moral obligation to act.” A very contorted moral obligation.
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