Harsh Midwest winters have a tendency to make Wisconsinites’ electricity bills jump quite a bit, but that is not the only thing that will increase our bills if the Environmental Protection Agency gets its way.
Recently proposed rules by the EPA, expected to be finalized this summer, would sharply limit carbon emissions at coal-fired power plants across the country over the next 15 years. Wisconsin would be hit especially hard because coal-fired plants generate 62 percent of the state’s electricity.
The rules would limit the supply of power from these plants by forcing them to adopt expensive and unproven technologies, such as carbon capture and storage, or shut down completely.
The cost of compliance with these rules for Wisconsin is estimated at nearly $1 billion a year by 2030.
According to a new report from the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University and the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy, the EPA’s proposed carbon emission rules under the Clean Air Act would raise Wisconsin electricity prices by 19 percent over the next decade and a half.
That is an average annual increase of $225 for the typical residential ratepayer by 2030. Commercial ratepayers would see an average increase of $1,530. But each is a fraction of the cost of what our state’s manufacturers would pay.
Because of a heavy reliance on electricity to power large machinery, the average industrial ratepayer would see an increase of $105,094 a year by 2030. A major cost hike like that would be unsustainable for many of Wisconsin’s manufacturers.
Massive growth in electricity costs like this would harm the state’s economy, where one in five private-sector workers is in the manufacturing sector. That makes Wisconsin one of the top manufacturing states in the country.
If the EPA’s rules go into effect as they are currently written, nearly 21,000 jobs would be lost by 2030 according to the Beacon Hill/MacIver study.
The country is still struggling to bounce back from the recession. The last thing we need from the federal government is another set of burdensome regulations that will make our economic recovery more difficult.
It is particularly maddening that the EPA will not give the state credit for already reducing carbon emissions when it claims that is the true reason for the new rules.
Since 2005, Wisconsin has seen a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions according to the Public Service Commission. That is the equivalent of more than 10 million tons of carbon dioxide. But the EPA rules ignore Wisconsin’s progress, leading to greater harm to the state’s economy.
Thanks to higher electricity prices and fewer jobs, the state’s disposable income would drop by $1.82 billion by 2030.
It is obvious that these rules will have harmful effects on Wisconsin’s families and businesses, and that is simply unacceptable.
We cannot afford to have Washington bureaucrats hand down a decision that will negatively impact the daily lives of everyone in our great state. That is why policymakers — especially those at the EPA — need to be aware of the detrimental effects these rules will have on businesses, workers and families all across Wisconsin and this country.
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- On February 7, 2015