New regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency will lead to the closure of older, coal-fired power plants and boost electricity prices in some parts of the country, according to a new reportfrom the Government Accountability Office.
The GAO, at the behest of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), reviewed a host of information from government sources such as the EPA and Energy Information Agency (EIA) as well as private energy-sector forecasters to determine the likely impact of four new EPA regulations aimed at coal-fired power plants.
None of the regulations has taken effect yet and two have yet to be finalized by EPA. In fact, one of the regulations – the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule – was struck down by a federal court on Tuesday, after the GAO issued its findings.
(In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the EPA’s cross-state air pollution rule – which sought to reduce downwind pollution from power plants — exceeded the agency’s statutory authority. The court faulted the EPA for imposing “massive emissions reduction requirements” on upwind states without regard to limits imposed by law.)
GAO found that as many as 12 percent of coal-fired power plants may be closed because the EPA regulations make it too expensive for power companies to operate them, despite coal being one of world’s cheapest fuels.