EPA proposes new "costless" regulation

September 23, 2013 | By JONATHAN WOOD

Last week, EPA proposed a new standard for power plants under the Clean Air Act. Although the regulation would limit emissions from new power plants to approximately half the levels met by existing plants, EPA predicts that the regulation will not impose any costs on the economy.

Based on [EPA’s analysis], expected and anticipated economic conditions will lead electricity generators to choose fuels and technologies that are designed to meet the proposed standard without the need for additional capture or control, even in the absence of the rule. As a result, this rule is expected to have no, or negligible, costs or monetized benefits associated with it.

EPA reaches this conclusion by predicting that all new power plants would have met the standard anyway—making the regulation rather pointless. Contradictorily, EPA’s press release trumpeting the proposed standard takes a noticeably different tact, claiming that the regulation will lead to a host of benefits and transform our economy. The public is left to wonder which, if either, of these inconsistent predictions will prove accurate.