WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (UPI) — New rules governing air pollution from coal plants in the United States will have to develop gradually, an analyst said amid concerns of economic calamity.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed rules meant to reduce industrial pollution tied to coal-fired power plants. Cross-state air pollution rules that deal with the chemicals that cause acid rain are to go into force by 2012.
The new regulations could force up to 20 percent of the plants in the United States to close, industry officials say, because of the costs tied to meeting the new regulations, the Financial Times reports.
Free market advocates described the EPA move as likely to create a “train wreck” that could lead to blackouts, higher energy prices and more unemployment, the newspaper adds.
Brannin McBee, an adviser at consultancy Bentek Energy, said the EPA will likely phase in many of its proposed measures in order to give the energy sector time to cope.
“The general consensus in the industry is that the new rules will have to be delayed somehow,” he said.
The Financial Times points to a study published by the Congressional Research Service that said most of the concern over the new EPA regulations was based on hype.