Starting today, the Environmental Protection Agency is holding public hearings in Pittsburgh regarding a proposed rule for greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. This far-reaching “climate rule” is going to drive up the cost of energy in Pennsylvania and in every state in America, a fact that even President Barack Obama has acknowledged. Everyone will pay a price for it — families, businesses, retirees — anyone who uses electricity.
Manufacturers, including producers of products such as steel, cement and transportation fuels, will also be hurt. These industries prosper in Pennsylvania where coal-based power plants providing low-cost electricity make up about 40 percent of our state’s energy mix.
Policies that hurt American manufacturing also hurt American workers. The United Mine Workers of America estimates that job losses from EPA’s climate rule could reach 208,221 by 2025.
For Pennsylvania, the stakes are high. The EPA’s proposed rule will remove low-cost and reliable electricity and replace it with more expensive and less reliable sources. A different policy is needed that supports all forms of energy, including coal, to keep affordable and reliable electricity for Pennsylvania industry, workers and families.
Let’s hope our state government prevents the EPA from raising our utility bills and lowering our standard of living for years to come.
The writer is business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 812.