New regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants are due out at the beginning of next month and industry is warning that they could have a devastating impact on the economy.
Speaking at the Wyoming Business Report’s Energy Summit in Casper, Dan Byers, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the cost of the regulations will likely significantly outweigh the climate benefits, pointing out that developing nations are emitting more than ever. Byers says he’s skeptical of how the Environmental Protection Agency will calculate cost-benefit.
“They’ve come up with with that they call the ‘social cost of carbon,’ Byers said. "Which, if you look at it, it’s fuzzy math on steroids.”
Byers says if new regulations are proposed, they should be rolled out on a much longer timescale.
Utility representatives agreed, saying the technology isn’t ready. Barbara Walz, with Tri-State Generation and Transmission, says there's been too little investment in energy research and development in the past, and that needs to change.
“I think the challenge is before us here, and I think Governor [Matt] Mead stated it right last week when he said the government should really start spending more money on a solution, rather than regulating us out of business," Walz said.
Other panelists representing industry also rejected the idea that regulation might spur the necessary innovation, saying that it would hinder efforts to develop the technology.