EPA’s carbon dioxide emissions ruling could raise energy costs

by Julie Schmit
USA Today
12/08/2009

The latest step by the government to regulate carbon dioxide emissions saddles industry with uncertainty and potentially higher costs, industry groups said Monday after the Environmental Protection Agency declared carbon dioxide a health hazard.

The EPA’s decision paves the way for new regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and factories even if Congress doesn’t pass legislation to do so.

EPA RULING: Regulation of greenhouse gases approved

If nothing changes, the EPA, sometime next year, could require big carbon emitters – such as power plants, steel mills, cement makers and others – to put the best available equipment on new and modified plants to curb emissions.

Industry groups say EPA regulation would eventually drive up energy costs, lead to lost jobs and delays in project permits and construction. More immediately, “This adds more uncertainty and could impact how companies make decisions,” says Keith McCoy, vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Instead of EPA regulation, industry wants Congress to pass climate change legislation to limit carbon emissions – a stance also taken by the EPA and the White House. Such efforts are underway in the House and Senate.

That way, emission cuts could be made more strategically and “soften the impact on consumers,” says Dan Riedinger of the Edison Electric Institute, a power industry trade group. He says energy costs will “go up more under EPA regulation.”

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