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If Power Plants Close, Your Bills Go Up: Wicker Blasts New EPA Rules at DC Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C.–If coal power plants are forced to close under new EPA rules, your light bill could go way up. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) blasted the new Environmental Protection Agency rules in a Senate hearing in DC Wednesday.

The rules are designed to cut carbon emissions. Politicians on the right have said the rules are too strict and would hurt the economy and consumers. Thinking on the left of the issue is that the rules would protect the environment.

“People in Mississippi have told me that we are going to have to close down the entire coal-fired power production in the state because of this rule,” said Wicker, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. “This is going to be a regulatory nightmare for electric providers, users, and working families.”

Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, testified for the Obama Administration.

“The rule does not require any particular plant to take any particular action,” she said. “The average age of coal fire plants is over 40 years, so there are a lot of plants that are close to living out their remaining useful life

“The Mississippi Development Authority says that the minimum incremental capital cost to the state, if this rule is implemented, would be $14.2 billion,” said Wicker. “The cost would be mainly constructing generating facilities that we do not need under the current set of laws and regulations.

“Many power plants in Mississippi have spent billions of dollars to come into compliance with EPA rules. Yet, because of the new rules, they might have to retire anyway, irrespective of the fact that they have years of remaining useful life. We were very mindful of not putting states in the position of stranding assets.”

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