11 Jun USEPA Carbon regulations to create tens of thousands of jobs
On June 9, 2015, a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) stated that The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Clean Power Plan will create approximately 100,000 more jobs than are lost by 2020.
Coal mining and coal fired power plant jobs will face the most substantial losses if the Plan is implemented, because coal fired power plants contribute nearly 40% of the United States’ electricity generation and 75% of the electricity sector’s carbon dioxide emissions. The Policy Institute’s report examined both direct employment (eg. coal mining positions lost or solar energy jobs created) and indirect employment (eg. railcar driver jobs affected by less coal shipping). Renewable energy, scientific research and appliance manufacturing jobs will all increase as well.
The EPA estimates that the Clean Power Plan will have health and climate benefits totalling $55-$93 billion per year and includes avoiding 2,700-6,600 premature deaths and 140,000-150,000 asthma attacks in children. These savings were not included in the Economic Policy Institute’s analysis according to Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens.
According to the National Mining Association, approximately 80,000 people are employed in coal mining in the United States, however this number is declining each year as coal is less competitive as a result of lower natural gas prices. Increased automation in the coal mining industry is also contributing to the decline. In addition, a number of very high profile groups including Stanford University and the Church of England have divested from coal investments, and reports are emerging that some coal companies may have insufficient funds to restore the lands they have mined.
The decline in the workforce is having other effects that may not have been foreseeable to any great extent. The United Mine Workers pension fund is reportedly approximately $1 billion short of being in balance, according to the EPI report. President Obama has proposed in excess of $55 million in funding for job retraining, job creation and other economic measures in communities impacted by the decline in the coal industry in the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget. The funding is unprecedented and is seen as critical to ensuring the financial security of coal miners and their families who have “kept the lights on in the US for generations” according to the White House.