Associated Industries of Missouri president Ray McCarty traveled to Lenexa Kansas Monday to represent the views of Missouri employers on the latest set of proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency on carbon emissions from electricity generating plants.
The rules would apply to existing power plants, and as they stand now, would put most out of business. Below are the remarks delivered by McCarty to the EPA Region 7 director and an audience of more than 400 citizens and advocates.
COMMENTS FROM ASSOCIATED INDUSTRIES OF MISSOURI PRESIDENT RAY MCCARTY TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY REGARDING DEVELOPMENT OF NEW REGULATIONS AFFECTING EXISTING COAL-FIRED ELECTRICITY GENERATION
NOVEMBER 4, 2013
Associated Industries of Missouri represents Missouri employers. Our members employ hundreds of thousands of Missourians. It is our job to advocate for policies that encourage and sustain our existing employers and allow them to effectively compete in the global marketplace – to make Missouri a great place to locate a business enterprise. In fact, a majority of our members are manufacturers that use vast amounts of electricity to make products.
Although my comments will be limited to 3 minutes, I plan to reiterate points we have made in letters to President Obama and Missouri Governor Nixon earlier this year regarding EPA’s carbon emission rulemaking for new power plants.
We believe the EPA should set a reasonable standard for new coal-fired plants that is achievable by high efficiency plants under normal operating conditions using currently available and affordable technologies without requiring the use of still-evolving carbon capture and storage technology.
As pointed out in a letter from four Democrat Senators to President Obama earlier this year, without these changes, the application of these new regulations for power generation facilities will prevent or render useless upgrades that will improve efficiency, allowing for more electricity generation using less fuel and with fewer emissions.
A similar letter from nearly all Missouri elected officials to President Obama in September of this year noted the cost of EPA’s regulations to utility consumers. Recent upgrades that have been performed to comply with earlier EPA regulations are at risk of being useless if the new regulations fail to recognize the significant improvements made by these upgrades.
If the agency’s decision on future plants is an indicator of its actions on the existing coal fleet, then AIM has serious concerns. The carbon rulemaking for existing power plants would make electricity more expensive, and endanger the reliable production of electricity that is critical to supporting industries of all types, including manufacturers, hospitals, data service providers and others. These commercial and industrial employers are sustaining and creating jobs in the Missouri economy and aiding in the national recovery from recession. There will be real and tangible effects for every business and family in the state.
A recent report from the EPA, based on information from the EIA, indicated commercial and industrial consumers purchased 60% of the electricity sold in 2009, and the largest single source of fuel for electricity generation was coal which accounted for nearly 45% of net electricity generated that year.
The government must move carefully when proposing regulations that will impact the use of coal to generate electricity. Requiring technology that is not fully developed, available or affordable is a careless approach and should be avoided by the EPA.
In effect, the EPA is trying to force the square peg of regulation into the round hole of reason by requiring the use of technology that is neither affordable nor proven, resulting in increased costs to employers and other consumers and job losses.
One of the reasons the Midwest is a great place to do business is our attractive electricity rates that are below the national average. This makes Missouri attractive to manufacturers and other businesses that use large amounts of electricity.
Associated Industries of Missouri asks the EPA to reject any regulation that will prohibit the use of coal, either directly or by making it too expensive or impossible to comply with the new regulations. We ask you to think about the number of jobs that are at stake and the harsh impacts on Heartland States like Missouri. We urge you to fully consider the real impact of your actions on American industry in developing carbon emission rules for the existing coal fleet and to hold more listening sessions in the rural communities that are most directly affected by your actions.