Carbon Caps Bad for 'Anyone Who Pays Electric Bill'

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The president's ambitious $8 billion plan to cut pollution from power plants will likely take an enormous toll on American workers and anyone who pays an electric bill, according to the GOP and industry groups.

Power plants have already reduced their carbon emissions nearly 13 percent since 2005, but the president's plan will force another 17 percent by the year 2030.

The Obama administration is dismissing the economic concerns, saying health savings will offset the costs.

"This is about protecting our health and it is about protecting our homes," Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said.

But critics are concerned that many businesses that rely on coal as a power source will no longer be able to afford it, thanks to the new regulations.

"Anyway you look at it, hundreds of thousands of Americans are going to be out of work and this is during a time when the economy is very, very weak to start with," Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, told CBN News.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said the new plan will lead to the loss of 224,000 jobs each year for the next 16 years, with a $51 billion annual cost to the economy.

"Environmental regulations that are coming into effect will retire 60 percent of today's coal fleet," said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Chamber's Institute for 21st Century Energy.

For DGI Trading, a Kentucky business that buys and sells mining equipment, the move has an enormous ripple effect. If power plants aren't using as much coal, the mines won't need as much equipment and they may leave Kentucky.

"It's sort of a real-life scenario that if mining becomes that bad in this part of the U.S., then absolutely it could be necessary for us to relocate," one expert warned.

And because 40 percent of the nation's electricity comes from coal, expected hikes in electricity costs will hurt consumers as well.

"Within a five-year period after it goes into effect, in many states you will have a double digit increase in electricity prices," Mike Duncan, with the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said.

The plan serves as the centerpiece of the president's efforts to deal with climate change, but its future is uncertain.

It must survive legal and other challenges. And scrapping it could be possible if Republicans take the Senate in November.

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