It's Great to Have a Job...Unless You Work at a Coal Power Plant in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Maryland

Jan 27, 2012

EPA's Utility MACT, A.K.A. the Blackout Rule, hit more power plants, costing more jobs. The latest victims are more than 500 workers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland:

The plants, which are in Cleveland, Ashtabula, Oregon and Eastlake in Ohio, Adrian, Pa. and Williamsport, Md., will be retired by Sept. 1. They have generated about 10 percent of the electricity produced by FirstEnergy over the last three years, the company said.

In a statement James Lash, head of the company's generation unit, indicated that a review of the company's coal-fired plants determined it would not be cost-effective to get the older ones into compliance with environmental regulations the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced in December.

The new standards are designed to reduce emissions of mercury and other toxic pollution from coal- and oil-fired power plants. An Associated Press survey found that the changes were likely to result in the mothballing of dozens of units in the Midwest and in the coal belt — Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.

Maggie Thurber, who lives in one of the towns affected writes,

And what about the employees??? More than 500 employees will be out of work, though some may relocate to other plants or take early retirement. And then there are the ancillary jobs and economic benefits that will decrease, including transportation, office and manufacturing suppliers, etc...

Utility MACT is only part of the assault on coal power plants. Last September, I wrote about how EPA's Cross-State Air Pollution rule cost 500 jobs in Texas. The Chamber's senior vice president of Environment, Technology, and Regulatory Affairs, Bill Kovacs told Congressmen last summer that the "cumulative impact of regulatory action can be overwhelming" and is causing power plants to be taken offline and putting people out of work.

But as we know, EPA doesn't count jobs losses.

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