With unemployment unacceptably high, we need to foster a climate in which businesses can retain and hire workers while maintaining production and investment. Earlier this month, President Obama visited North Carolina to urge support for his jobs plan. Unfortunately, he did not mention the policies of his administration that stunt job growth and create uncertainty throughout the private sector. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Utility MACT draft rule is an example of regulatory overreach, and it will cause substantial job losses throughout the state.
The Utility MACT draft rule aims to expand the scope of EPA regulations by ordering coal-fired utilities to retrofit their plants. Working toward cleaner air is a worthy effort, but the rule as written creates more problems than it solves. The upgrades to these power plants must take place on a compressed timeline which will result in the closures of businesses that cannot afford the costly improvements. Since coal provides a majority of our state’s electrical power, this rule affects many utilities and companies that can afford the higher costs of doing business will still find it difficult to maintain their workforces in their current form. This is why a recent study predicted the loss of over 45,000 jobs in North Carolina alone over the next several years.
President Obama can stop the loss of thousands of jobs in North Carolina alone by taking a simple and straightforward step: order the EPA to halt implementation of the Utility MACT draft rule. Such action will save jobs and ensure reliable energy throughout our state.
Rep. Darrell McCormick
North Carolina General Assembly