Perry Blames EPA For 500 Jobs Losses

on September 13, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), the frontrunner in the GOP presidential primary, said that the Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution regulations are to blame for the loss of 500 energy-related jobs in Texas, calling the rules emblematic of President Obama’s regulatory “red tape.”

“The Obama Administration continues to put up road blocks for our nation’s job creators by imposing burdensome regulations based on assumptions, not facts, that will result in job losses and increased energy costs with no definite environmental benefit,” said Perry in a statement Monday. “Yet again, this administration is ignoring Texas’ proven track record of cleaning our air while creating jobs, opting instead for more stifling red tape. As expected, the only results of this rule will be putting Texans out of work and creating hardships for them and their families, while putting the reliability of Texas’ grid in jeopardy.”

Perry is referring to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which is designed to help curb the air pollution that has come to mark the eastern United States. The new regulations scheduled to go into effect in 2012 will cut millions of tons of soot and smog emissions from power plants in 27 states at a cost of less than $1 billion per year to utility companies.

Perry’s announcement comes hours after Luminant, the largest power generator in Texas, announced it would be closing two of its coal-fired power units and laying off 500 workers to comply with the EPA’s new regulations — a move projected to cut the Dallas-based company’s generating capacity by 1,200 megawatts. Luminant has also announced a lawsuit targeting the new regulation, which would force it to curb emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide at power plant smokestacks. The company aims to push back the deadline for compliance.

“We have spent the last two months identifying all possible options to meet the requirements of this new rule, and we are launching a significant investment program to reduce emissions across our facilities,” Luminant CEO David Campbell said in a statement on Monday. “However, meeting this unrealistic deadline also forces us to take steps that will idle facilities and result in the loss of jobs.”