It estimates this could lead to wholesale electricity rates increasing by nearly 40%. All these costs are in addition to what Kentucky’s electric utilities have already spent on cleaning up their emissions. East Kentucky Power Cooperative, for example, has spent more than $1.8 billion in recent years on new plants featuring clean coal technology and retrofitting existing plants. Kentucky Chamber President & CEO Dave Adkisson is warning Kentucky businesses and residents to take notice.
“The cost of these new regulations is simply too much for most businesses to absorb on their own. Our utility companies have already warned us that a portion of this cost will be passed down to businesses and consumers alike, proving that this is not just about large industrial customers but also small businesses and anyone who literally flips on a light switch, turns on an air conditioner or uses a refrigerator,” said Adkisson.
But there is even more to this issue than the immediate cost to businesses of complying with these new and proposed regulations. For decades Kentucky has enjoyed some of the lowest energy rates in the country, due in part to its high coal production. This is a major incentive for businesses of all sizes to locate to the Commonwealth. A dramatic increase in energy rates could cause some companies to reevaluate the economic benefit they receive from locating their business not only in Kentucky, but in the United States. These onerous regulations could destroy years of growth in the Commonwealth.
“The EPA has chosen to make significant policy changes in Washington, D.C. without Congressional approval or oversight,” said Adkisson. “The Chamber believes economic decisions of this magnitude deserve the rigor of the full legislative process and should not be circumvented to accomplish a one-sided agenda.”
The Chamber’s Energy and Environmental Council has been working diligently to stay on top of this ongoing battle. The Chamber testified twice last fall against the proposed Coal Combustion Residual Rule and submitted significant comments on the Clean Air Transport Rule.