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New EPA Coal Regulations Will Hurt the Poor

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The new EPA regulations on power plants, if enacted, will drive up costs significantly, especially for low-income families and minorities. The National Black Chamber of Commerce just released a study showing electric rates alone would push 6 percent more African-American and Latino families into poverty. Dominion Power, in Virginia where I moved from a year ago, estimates a 25 percent increase at a minimum on rates.

As a pragmatic environmentalist ( ) and former Congressional Chief of Staff and energy author, this “legislating” through regulation is also a huge mistake. What the Obama administration cannot do via the Congress because it has little or no support, it is attempting to do via regulation and so far, EPA has already been stopped in the courts several times. This will be another time.

The U.S. leads the world in emissions reduction and has already greatly reduced power plant emissions. Emissions from coal-fired power plants have been reduced by 90 percent since 1970. One of our most valuable resources, coal, is being driven out of business by this administration, along with tens of thousands of jobs.

Environmental protection based on sound science with minimal economic dislocation and harm to sensitive populations is a fine goal. These new regulations achieve exactly the opposite and not only would cause huge economic dislocation, but in view of the progress already made by industry are not needed at all.

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