Thursday, December 22, 2011

Josh Mandel Opposes New EPA Utility MACT Decision, Calls on Sherrod Brown to Join Him in Bipartisan Effort to Stand Up to This Job-Killing Regulation

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Yesterday afternoon the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced a new job-killing rule known as Utility MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) that is expected to cost Ohioans thousands of jobs, close energy production plants and increase energy rates for Ohioans.

The Ohio Manufacturers Association anticipates 53,500 Ohio jobs will be lost and electricity rates will increase 13% as a result of the Utility MACT rule. Moreover, according to the EPA’s own numbers, Utility MACT will impose an estimated $11 billion each year in new costs for our already struggling economy. Several Ohio power producers representing thousands of Ohio jobs, such as American Electric Power, Duke Energy, and FirstEnergy have announced plant closures and layoffs as a result of this most recent overreach by the EPA.

The Utility MACT regulation has been at the center of intense scrutiny as a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, including Democrats Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), have called for a delay in its implementation so that its negative economic impact may be fully studied and to allow companies to adjust. The EPA has acknowledged that Utility MACT may be the most expensive rule ever issued for power plants. Ohio will suffer more than most states due to Ohio’s reliance on coal-fired power generation.

This new job-killing regulation bombards Ohio businesses in the wake of yesterday's report by The Columbus Dispatch that, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau, Ohio ranks 48th in growth.

“Republican, Democratic and Independent civic leaders and elected officials have joined together to voice their concerns over this irrational, unnecessary and job-killing EPA rule,” said Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel. “Why is Sherrod Brown standing idly by and doing nothing while Washington bureaucrats issue job-killing regulations for Ohio?” Mandel asked.

Mandel added, "We've already drawn a line in the sand on oil and gas exploration with Sherrod Brown choosing fringe extremists and Washington bureaucrats over jobs for Ohio families. Now we are drawing another line in the sand where Sherrod Brown can either stand with us on jobs for Ohio, or once again stand with fringe extremists and bureaucrats in Washington. This out-of-touch Washington regulation will hit especially hard on Ohioans who work in manufacturing jobs throughout the state and in energy jobs in Appalachia. With families struggling throughout Ohio, the timing could not be any worse."

Sen. Sherrod Brown has refused to speak out against this economically destructive regulation that disproportionately targets thousands of Ohio jobs and will cause energy costs to rise on Ohio's families, senior citizens and small businesses. Brown remains indecisive despite the fact that he stated just last month that he would not be afraid to take a stand on this crucial issue for Ohio's economy and jobs -- he stated , “That’s what my job is, to make decisions.”

“It’s time for Sherrod Brown to do his job, make a decision and tell Ohioans where he stands,” said Mandel spokesman Joe Aquilino. “In Ohio, Sherrod Brown runs around claiming he is fighting for Ohio jobs, but while back in Washington D.C. he is undermining the very economic fabric that sustains Ohio businesses, manufacturing and industry. Where is Sherrod Brown when Ohioans need a voice for jobs in the United States Senate?” Aquilino continued.

“During Sherrod Brown's past decade in Washington, Ohio has lost 600,000 jobs and 3,500 factories. Yesterday, Washington bureaucrats launched a vicious assault on Ohio’s staggering economy and all Sherrod Brown can offer is silence. Sherrod Brown has once again put Washington bureaucrats and fringe extremists ahead of jobs for Ohioans,” Aquilino concluded.


"New federal pollution rules will cost Ohio power companies billions", Akron Beacon Journal, 12/22/11

"EPA toughens clear air rules", The Columbus Dispatch, 12/22/11

"U.S. EPA issues tough mercury and other toxic emission standards; some coal-burning power plants may close", The Plain Dealer, 12/22/11

New EPA Regulation Ignores Industry Concerns and Calls for Improvement: Utility MACT, Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, was signed by the Environmental Agency on December 16, 2011 and was published on December 21, 2011. Industry calls for the “EPA to give companies an additional year to comply” were ignored. (“EPA Final Rule for Coal Plants Deemed “Unfortunate” by Industry,” Bloomberg, December 19, 2011 )

New EPA Regulation Kills Ohio Jobs and Increases Energy Costs: The Ohio Manufacturers Association, citing a National Economic Research Associates study, anticipates that 53,500 Ohio jobs will be lost and electricity rates will increase 13% as a result of the Utility MACT rule. (“Impact of regulations is costly,” The Columbus Dispatch, 10/20/11)

New EPA Regulation Will Force the Closing of Power Plants and Job Loss: American Electric Power, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, announced in June that the Utility MACT rule would force it to close parts or all of 11 power plants and eliminate 600 jobs. The Wheeling News-Register reports that American Electric Power’s Muskingum, Ohio Power Plant will close as a result of the Utility MACT rule. Duke Energy says compliance costs with the new Utility MACT rule will force it to shutter six coal-fired generation units at the 60-year-old Beckjord station. (“EPA’s War on Coal Deadlines Irrational,” The Wheeling News-Register, 11/16/11; “Duke Energy Anticipates Ohio Coal Plant Retirement,” Duke Energy, 7/15/11)

New EPA Regulation Will Create “Rate-Shock” for Ohio Ratepayers: The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's comments submitted to the EPA stated, "The current and foreseeable economic environment indicates that Ohio's ratepayers will be hard-pressed to absorb rate-shock due to the implementation schedule advanced in the proposed rule.” (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio's Comments submitted 10/1/10)

New EPA Regulation Most Expensive Ever: EPA Has Acknowledged that Utility MACT would be the most expensive direct rule in the agency’s history. (“ERCC Comments on Utility MACT,” Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, 8/4/11)

Bipartisan Group of Senators Seek to Delay Implementation: The Fair Compliance Act of 2011, (Senate Bill 1833), would provide additional time for compliance with the new Utility MACT rule and help preserve jobs and protect consumers from increased utility bills. The bipartisan bill, introduced on November 8th, is co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Daniel Coats (R-IN), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Sen. John Thune, (R-SD).

Sherrod Brown Refuses to Take a Stand Despite Exclaiming “That’s what my job is, to make decisions”: According to a recent Bloomberg interview, Brown is “in a bind” and is “facing demands from two of his key supporters, labor unions and environmentalists.” The article details that Brown is “waiting for the Environmental Protection Agency to issue its final rules…before taking a position.” (“Obama’s $11 billion rule roils Democrats who see lost jobs,” Bloomberg, 11/9/11)

Sherrod Brown Has Previously Voted Against An Amendment Which Would Have Blocked The EPA From Regulating Carbon Dioxide And Other Greenhouse Gasses: “McConnell, R-Ky., amendment no. 183 that would block the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.” (S. 493, CQ Vote #54: Rejected 50-50: R 46-1; D 4-47; I 0-2, 4/6/11, Brown Voted Nay)

Sherrod Brown's Dismal Jobs Record: During Sherrod Brown's past decade in Washington, Ohio has lost 600,000 jobs (The Plain Dealer, 9/5/11) and 3,500 factories (Dayton Daily News, 10/22/11).