For Immediate Release
August 3, 2015
HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry today expressed concerns with the potential negative impacts the final version of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan will have on the state’s economy. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector by mandating significant emissions reductions from new and existing coal-fired power plants, as well as requiring wholesale changes to the state’s energy portfolio with little consideration of costs or practicality. The proposal would impact the way Pennsylvania produces energy, likely leading to a negative impact on the business community and potentially threatening reliability across the energy grid should regulators require an overabundance of alternative energy.
“By any reasonable measure, these aggressive, far-reaching rules will increase energy costs for consumers and businesses in order to produce a negligible reduction in global carbon emissions,” said PA Chamber President and CEO Gene Barr. “The EPA has previously admitted that this rule will result in relatively small reductions in global emissions of less than two percent. Further, an overreliance on alternative energy resources, whose energy production is variable and extremely costly, will only exacerbate the challenge to Pennsylvania’s electric grid and to our economy.”
The final plan’s mandate on Pennsylvania is one of the steepest in the nation. The EPA had, in its proposed rules released last year, estimated that its plan will increase energy prices nationwide by 6 to 7 percent over the next five years. Additionally, according to EPA estimates, by 2020 the energy sector will pay between $5.4 billion and $7.4 billion in compliance costs. An independent economic analysis by NERA Economic Consulting showed that Pennsylvania’s electricity prices could increase by more than 14 percent.
Knowing the negative impact this plan could have on the state’s economy and energy prices, the PA Chamber joined many other stakeholder groups – including trade labor unions – in advocating for the passage of Act 175 of 2014. This Act, which had strong bipartisan support, requires that Pennsylvania’s compliance plan must prioritize least-cost compliance options and must be approved by the General Assembly prior to going to the EPA for approval.
“The EPA’s Clean Power Plan jeopardizes Pennsylvania’s role as an energy leader,” Barr added. “Continued government mandates and regulations distort the market and provide little benefit to human health – all while raising energy costs on consumers. Despite hundreds of millions of dollars of state and federal subsidies and mandated purchases, renewable energy has yet to demonstrate it can compete on its own. In order to have a strong and robust electric grid that can affordably and reliably provide power, we need to embrace all forms of energy production and recognize the important role that coal, nuclear and natural gas play in our energy portfolio.”
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its statewide membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.