Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continued their aggressive regulatory agenda  and announced the first of two rules affecting power plants that will significantly increase electricity prices for manufacturers and consumers. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today signed the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) which requires power plants in 27 eastern states to reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions that move from one state to another.

In addition, the EPA plans to finalize the Utility MACT rule in November, which would require coal-fired power plants to reduce mercury emissions. The combination of CSAPR, Utility MACT and other regulations impacting coal-fired utilities are already having a significant impact on the economy. American Electric Power Co. Inc. (AEP), one of the nation’s largest generators of electricity, recently announced that it will retire coal-fired power plants with 6,000 megawatts of generating capacity and spend another six to eight billion dollars installing new emission control technology on the rest of its fleet.

In addition, a recent study from the National Economic Research Associates (NERA) estimates that CSAPR and Utility MACT would increase the nationwide average retail electricity price by 11.5 percent. Nationwide net employment losses are expected to total 1.44 million job-years between 2013 and 2020.

Higher energy prices heighten uncertainty and prevent manufacturers from investing in the future and expanding their operations, inhibiting the job creating necessary to get our economy back on track. Manufacturers urge the EPA to end these unreasonable, overreaching regulations. While manufacturers support a sensible way to reduce pollution, imposing regulations that will only hurt American workers, consumers and manufacturers is not the way to achieve such a goal.

Coverage of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule:

Wall Street Journal: EPA Sets Rule Capping Coal-Plant Emissions
The Hill: EPA finalizes rules for cross-state air polution

Alicia Meads is director of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers