A Free-Market Energy Blog

Final Power Plant Rule: The Hit Get Hit Harder

By Scott Segal -- August 10, 2015

“What is being proposed for Kentucky is disastrous – disastrous for our declining coal economy and equally disastrous for our very important manufacturing economy. The EPA claimed that it listened to the comments received on the proposed rule for the Clean Power Plan. It is clear from the emissions numbers the EPA has set for Kentucky that the agency did not listen to us.”

Democratic Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (above) sounds a lot like Mitch McConnell. Kentucky’s energy way-of-life is threatened, and the news is not good for the other states that have grown up using coal as low-cost, reliable fossil-fuel generation.

The new formulation puts an upper bound on a state target of 1,305lb/MWh (for those states with 100% coal generation in their mix).  This has jammed a number of states whose rate was higher than this upper bound under the Proposed formulation, namely; Kentucky, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, West Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Ohio.

Many states have an increase in their targets, chiefly; South Carolina, New Jersey, California, South Dakota, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon, Idaho and Washington to name a few.

Wisconsin, Illinois, Rhode Island and Iowa remain just about the same.

Already, more than 25 states that have been aggressively supporting pushback on the rule starting with their Governors and Attorneys General:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arkansas
  4. Arizona
  5. Florida
  6. Georgia
  7. Idaho
  8. Indiana
  9. Kansas
  10. Kentucky
  11. Louisiana
  12. Michigan
  13. Montana
  14. Nebraska
  15. New Mexico
  16. North Carolina
  17. North Dakota
  18. Ohio
  19. Oklahoma
  20. South Carolina
  21. South Dakota
  22. Texas
  23. Utah
  24. West Virginia
  25. Wisconsin
  26. Wyoming

In addition on the state level, more state legislatures, PUCs and DEQs have offered critical opinions about the EPA proposed rule. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on PBS Newshour had an illuminating exchange on the Final Rule.

Rural Concerns Too

Rural communities weren’t helped by the changes. In fact, many get hit harder.

NRECA recently commissioned a study that underscores the devastating relationship between higher electricity prices and job losses. The study, Affordable Electricity: Rural America’s Economic Lifeline, measures the impact of a 10 and 25 percent electricity price increase on jobs and gross domestic product (GDP) from 2020 to 2040.

Even a 10 percent increase in electricity prices results in 1.2 million jobs lost in 2021 across the country with nearly 500,000 of those lost jobs in rural communities. And 20 years later, the economy fails to fully recover.

NRECA’s interactive map, offering more insight, is here.


Scott Segal is director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council (ERCC), a group of power-generating companies responsible for providing reliable and affordable power to millions of American households, small businesses, industrial facilities, schools and hospitals.


  1. Ed Reid  

    The nation’s electric utilities would continue to be held “responsible for providing reliable and affordable power to millions of American households, small businesses, industrial facilities, schools and hospitals’ even as they were relieved of access to the best tools to meet that responsibility. They would be blamed for the rate increases and reduced reliability, even as their efforts to build adequate new facilities were resisted.

    “Beatings will continue until morale improves.”


  2. Mark Krebs  

    Ed’s right. It will end badly.


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