The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed rules on greenhouse gas regulations that could mean a reduction in economic production of up to $290 billion in 2011 and another $300 billion in 2014, says one environmental law expert.
Peter Glaser, a Washington D.C. attorney who specializes in energy and environmental law, said studies from the business community estimate losses in 2011 and 2014 that rival this country’s economic meltdown in the fourth quarter of 2007 when Wall Street collapsed. Glaser will be the speaker at a Jan. 20 forum on the topic put on by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The event will be at noon at the Lansing Center in Rooms 204-205.
The EPA said its “common sense” plan to impose standards on how much “harmful pollutants” new facilities can emit will be phased in from July 2011 through December 2012. The EPA claims fossil fuel power plants and petroleum refineries create 40 percent of the greenhouse gases in the U.S. The EPA considers carbon dioxide to be a greenhouse gas.
Glaser said the Obama Administration is trying to force the U.S. off fossil fuels, which are the cheapest forms of energy.
“There is a reason we use fossil fuels in the United States: It lowers costs,” Glaser said.
“You want to reduce it by what the Obama Administration is talking about, there are high costs. It is as simple as that. There is no free lunch.”
Environmentalist say the EPA is targeting the biggest polluters.
“Carbon pollution poses serious threats to Americans’ health, our economy and our future,” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune said in a press release. “We’re pleased that EPA is working to deliberately bring this dangerous pollution under control, focusing on the biggest polluters first. This is a major endeavor and the timeline laid out in today’s announcement balances the need for public input with the urgency to act quickly.
“For too long, dirty coal plants, oil refineries and other big polluters have been allowed to use our air and water as dumping grounds for their toxic pollution, and our families are paying the price.
“But there is a solution. There is technology available today that can affordably reduce carbon pollution. There is no reason why these big polluters shouldn’t be using it.”
“EPA’s plan sets clear goals for cleaning up the way we power our country -- a move that will make for healthier kids and families and create much-needed jobs. Taken together with other agency efforts, this plan will help ensure cleaner air and water and a better quality of life for us all.”
Glaser said the regulations would create a reduction in business investment due to uncertainty and bring higher costs to the biggest employers.
“These are the type of facilities that employ a lot of people,” he said.