A new set of Environmental Protection Agency guidelines designed to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions by one third could have “devastating” implication’s for the state of Indiana, according to the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
The new guidelines, which go into effect in 2015, will require states to reduce emissions from existing coal- and gas-fired power plants by about 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. Emissions have already dropped about 13 percent since 2005, in part because of the recession and also due to increased availability of natural gas.
According to The Climate Desk, Indiana has the fourth-highest carbon emissions in the country.
The guidelines provide several options for states to use in lowering emissions, including improving coal plant efficiency, using more natural gas, using more renewable energy sources, using electricity more efficiently and using cap-and-trade programs.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce said in a news release Monday, June 2, that the new guidelines amount to an “all-out war against coal” and could raise electricity costs by up to 80 percent.
“Most Hoosier businesses and families can’t afford to pay that, and they certainly can’t afford a slumping economy and job market,” said Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.
Brinegar said Indiana’s low energy costs have given the state an advantage in attracting new businesses and jobs, but the new guidelines would remove that advantage.
The EPA estimates that US retail electricity prices will increase roughly 4 percent to 7 percent by 2020.
The EPA has the power to regulate emissions under the Clean Air Act. The agency has used this power in the past to regulate fuel-economy standards for cars.
Congress could modify or repeal the EPA’s power to regulate emissions with a two-thirds vote, but Vox.com reports that opponents of the guidelines are unlikely to get enough votes.