WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’ll be next week before the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed new emissions limits for existing coal-fired power plants are released, but those with the country’s largest business lobbying group are already claiming the regulations will be devastating for both the U.S. economy and West Virginia’s economy.

A new study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, released Wednesday, showed proposals that would reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent before 2030 would shutdown a third of current coal capacity and could result in economic losses of as much as $50 billion a year and the elimination of as many as 224,000 jobs.

“You start looking at close to home there in West Virginia, you’re looking at — on an annual basis in the South Atlantic, it includes Appalachia — a $10 billion hit every year and 60,000 jobs lost every year,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

“This is a big, economy-wide hit.”

On Monday, President Barack Obama is expected to personally unveil a new set of federal regulations from the EPA for existing coal-fired power plants designed to slow climate change.  In general, the EPA proposals could give states a target for emission reductions with a deadline to meet that target, though the details have not been released.

The EPA has already proposed emissions limits for any new plants that are built.

According to supporters of the soon-to-be proposed regulations from the EPA, reducing emissions from existing plants in the U.S. will slow down climate change and give the U.S. more leverage to negotiate international emissions limits at a cost that — if you consider the $50 billion in the Chamber analysis — is .31 percent of the total U.S. gross domestic product.

Harbert dismissed that. “If we show what this does to our economy, is any other country going to want to follow us when they look at the type of job losses and economic losses? That would scare them into doing, probably, the exact opposite,” she said on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“The idea that the United States can come in and just solve this problem on its own is just absolutely incorrect.”

On Thursday, the Natural Resources Defense Council will release its own economic study showing the EPA proposals could potentially create thousands of jobs while lowering power bills in the long run because states may get a good amount of discretion in implementing the emissions reductions.

The conclusions of the two groups are much different, even though the Chamber hired IHS Energy — an independent research firm — to analyze a plan the NRDC released back in 2012. Members of the Obama Administration’s EPA reportedly considered that plan while developing the new emissions limits.

It will take at least a year to finalize any regulations that come from the EPA next week. Public comments will be collected during that time period.

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  • Steve

    Dear MR. Rahall and Mr. Manchin: I regret to inform you that President Obama is going to ruin your chances for reelection come 2015 and this November........sorry.......

  • George

    Are we going to continue to put these idiots back in office or are we finally going to wise up and dump these Democrats???

  • George


  • David

    The EPA needs to be defunded. They cannot make laws it is unconstitutional !

    Thanks Manchin & Rockefeller who think anyone in disagreement is a racist!

  • Mountain Navy

    A vote for Tennant is a vote for more of this stuff. Also expect her to support more gun control.

  • EPA

    Go EPA!!! Shut every coal plant and mine down. Hope every coal miner in WV loses their job.

    • Roger

      Come on people wise up and don't feed the troll.

    • George

      Dangerous comment stupid!!!!!

    • ViennaGuy

      Remember that statement the next time you lose heat in the middle of the winter.

    • Wirerowe

      Outrageous statement.Please go tell that to a miner and his family face to face

    • Pickle Barrel

      Then walk the walk, dimwit, and shut off your power for 23.3 hours each day…because you derive 97% of your electricity from coal. See how you like living on Gilligan's Island.

    • JL

      What a stupid comment from EPA . You must be one of Obamas liberal puppets. Iam a retired coal miner with 36years of service and proud of it. Hope every proud WV responds to your stupid comment. Coal miners help build this country that you and Obama is destroying.

  • Pickle Barrel

    And the environazis are coming after natural gas next.

    • The bookman

      The rule parallels the proposal offered by the Natural Resource Defense Council. They actually let an environmental advocacy organization write the rule. Looking over their site, every other story on Natural Gas is negatively charged, and they only see NG as a short term solution to the overall strategy of reducing GHG's.

  • FungoJoe

    Just more implementation of the liberal Progressive/New Party Agenda. That federal inmate that many W. Virginians voted for instead of Barack Hussein Obama would have made a better president than this coward-in-chief.
    Pony up to the Progressive Bar and drink all the Kool-Aid you want.

  • The bookman

    So as Australia prepares to back away from its carbon reduction commitments, we in the US believe our unilateral move to reduce GHG's by 17% come 2020 will encourage the Chinese to follow suit? The EPA is going to attempt to coerce Cap and Trade when Congress rejected it! When will the abuse of executive action be stopped?

    • Wirerowe

      To all those that thought there were national democrats and Wesr Virginia democrats. There is only one kind of democrat and that is an Barack Obama democrat. You either are a Barack Obama democrat or you are an independent or a republican.

      • jss

        Is the USA going to lead or follow?

        • Wirerowe

          Nobody pays attention to America anymore and even if they did they sure aren't going to follow this policy. This is all about the President's legacy and to help the "good" blue states in the midterm US senate races

        • The bookman

          You assume much by your question. Lead or follow who, and where?

    • John

      Bookman: To answer your question of when will the abuse of executive action be stopped, well it won't be before Obama is put out to pasture. He has it in for West Virginia due to the rejection of him in the election and he is getting even now. He doesn't care about jobs or expected big time increases in electricity rates. Many folks are just squeaking by on their income now, and this will be devastating to many, especially senior citizens. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.....