EPA rules hurt Georgians

President Barack Obama once promised he would make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.” Earlier this month, he delivered on his word. Starting next year, the Environmental Protection Agency will force Georgia’s power plants to cut carbon emissions by 44 percent.

The administrations claims this rule will save the planet and even create jobs, but its real effects will be job losses, higher prices for electricity and everyday goods, and less economic growth. The EPA itself admits it will do almost nothing for the climate — reducing temperatures by a meager 0.02 degrees Celsius by 2100, a long time to wait for something so insignificant.

The environment won’t be better off, but the economy will be ravaged. It is unclear what the actual reductions are in the convoluted rule. One study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce looks at the impacts of a 42-percent (nationwide) reduction. The EPA says its reduction is smaller.

Either way, in Georgia, there will be a mandatory 44-percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, which brings it close to the chamber’s estimates.

Georgia generates 37 percent of its electricity from coal. To meet the 44-percent goal, the state will have to close low-cost power plants and force utilities to purchase electricity from new, more expensive sources.

This will affect your electricity bill. According to the chamber report, your disposable income would decrease by $200 next year and by nearly $400 within a decade.

This also affects small businesses. When employers pay more for energy, they have less money to spend on employees. With the EPA rule, the chamber estimates Georgia and its immediate neighbors could lose up to 59,700 jobs a year.

Higher costs and fewer jobs mean less wealth for the middle class. Over the next decade, the EPA rules will annually eliminate as much as $10.5 billion in new wealth in the south Atlantic region. Nationally, the country could be $50 billion poorer every year.

The EPA’s and the president’s lack of transparency on this question mean the effects could be even worse. But it is undeniable the EPA rule will mean less income, fewer jobs and less wealth for Georgians. And it is equally undeniable that your pain will not be the climate’s gain.

Remember that the next time Obama or any other politician claims they’re saving the world and protecting our children. This is as false as, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” The EPA regulations are a war on middle-class jobs, the economy and affordable energy. No matter what you call it, Georgians will be the casualties.

Tom Pyle is the president of the American Energy Alliance.