Study – EPA’s Climate Rule to Put 300,000 Jobs at Risk

A new study from the American Action Forum shows that a soon-to-be-finalized rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would shutter 93 coal power plants and put almost 300,000 jobs at risk. Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania and Michigan would be the hardest hit.

The study’s authors Catrina Rorke and Sam Batkins write:

The regulation, set for final publication this summer, would regulate emissions at existing coal and natural gas power plants, while also ensuring that consumers use less energy from coal facilities. Based on American Action Forum (AAF) research, this means that more than 90 coal-fired power plants could be retired across the country. Secondary employment impacts suggest that EPA’s power plant regulation could eliminate 296,000 jobs, about the population of Cincinnati, Ohio and more than the total number of jobs the economy created in February 2015. …

EPA predicts that if states adopt only options one and two of the administration’s plan for power plants, 80,000 energy industry jobs will be lost to EPA climate regulations.

For perspective, 80,000 jobs is larger than the population of Napa, CA. But this is only the first part of the story. EPA never quantifies the secondary employment effects of these lost jobs. A 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that one energy job supports 3.7 additional jobs. Using a jobs multiplier of 3.7, applied to the 80,000 lost jobs that EPA concedes, yields about 296,000 lost jobs across the U.S. 

To put the figure of 296,000 lost jobs in context, the average annual pay in the “fossil fuel electric power generation” industry is $103,645 and the average coal mining salary is $82,068. This means that by 2030, the economy could lose $27.7 billion in wages, larger than the GDP of Jamaica. However, nowhere in EPA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) do they monetize the loss of these jobs or wages.

Read the full report from Rorke and Batkins at the American Action Forum.