37.4 °F
December 03, 2016
River Reporter Facebook pageTRR TwitterRSS Search

Corbett opposes ‘job-killing’ EPA rule

By Fritz Mayer
June 11, 2014

HARRISBURG, PA — On June 2, the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled a proposed rule to limit emissions from coal-fired power plants, and within hours the campaign of Gov. Tom Corbett issued a press release characterizing the proposed rule as “job killing,” and tying his opponent, Tom Wolf, to the policy and to president Barack Obama.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that the EPA had the authority to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant if the agency felt that release of the gas posed a threat to the public health and safety.

In 2009, the EPA “determined that greenhouse gas pollution threatens Americans’ health and welfare by leading to long-lasting changes in our climate that can have a range of negative effects on human health and the environment.”

The proposed rule, which was issued as a draft and will be subject to public comment, places limits on the amount of carbon pollution that may be emitted from power plants, aiming for a 30% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. If the rule takes effect, states will have until 2016 to come up with a plan to come into compliance.

Corbett, in a press release, said, “Pennsylvania is the country’s fourth-leading coal producer, and if President Obama and Tom Wolf had their way, they would be handing out pink slips to 62,000 Pennsylvanians.”

He also said the proposal was the same as a cap-and-trade scheme because if power companies released more emissions than allowed, “they could be forced to purchase costly emissions credits, install expensive upgrades, or install a host of other carbon-reducing measures all on the backs of consumers.”

The EPA says the rule will “avoid up to 6,600 premature deaths, up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children, and up to 490,000 missed work or school days—providing up to $93 billion in climate and public health benefits.” The agency also said the move will “shrink electricity bills roughly 8% percent by increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand in the electricity system.”

Wolf, on his website, says that if he is elected, within his first year in office, he “will introduce legislation expanding Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards and restoring some funding for the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority.” He will also join the Regional Greenhouse Gas initiative, which currently comprises the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont, and which seeks to cap and reduce power plant emissions.