Study: EPA overstated benefits and ignored costs of clean power plan

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan overstates its benefits and underestimates its costs, according to a new study published Thursday by the Manhattan Institute.

“My conclusion is that there are few benefits, which have been massively overestimated, and huge costs, which have been massively underestimated,” Dr. Jonathan Lesser, author of the study and president of the economic consulting firm Continental Economics, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “From a cost-benefit perspective, there’s simply no justification for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. ”

[dcquiz]  The study found the EPA’s cost-benefit analysis significantly Daily Caller  New Foundationoverestimated the direct benefits of the plan. The EPA claims the plan will provide annual benefits worth $20 billion and that other various “co-benefits” could be worth an additional $14 to $34 billion. The agency claims the costs will be a mere $9 billion each year. A study by NERA Economic Consulting for an industry group estimated the Clean Power Plan will cost a much more staggering $41 billion annually.

“The EPA’s analysis has got a lot of errors and sloppy modeling,” Lesser continued. “The agency classifies deaths from heart disease or lung issues as premature and caused by pollution with no age cut-off. So if your aging 90 year old grandmother who smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day dies of lunch cancer, that’s a premature death caused by pollution which the Clean Power Plan would have prevented according to the EPA. ”

The EPA has a long history of assuming extremely dubious health benefits from regulations. In 2012, proposed EPA mercury regulations would have cost users $10 billion to protect a speculative computer-modeled population of unborn children whose mothers annually consume more than 225 pounds of local freshwater fish caught from the most polluted 10 percent of U.S. inland waterways. The regulation found eating such fish would create an undetectable loss of 0.00209 IQ points for children born into subsistence-fishing households in America.

“The EPA assumes $20 billion worth of benefits from the social cost of carbon, ” Lesser told TheDCNF. “However, using the agency’s own climate models the plan will have no impact on the rate of global warming. Where are the benefits coming from? I think that its impossible that the EPA didn’t double-count the plan’s co-benefits.”

The study found many of the EPA’s co-benefits come from assuming coal plants will be closed twice. Many of these plants are already slated to close due to other EPA regulations.

The environmental justifications for the Clean Power Plan are also weak. Analysis by the libertarian Cato Institute using models created by the EPA states the plan will only advert 0.019° Celsius of warming by the year 2100, an amount so small it can’t be detected. The EPA actually omitted the amount of warming the Clean Power Plan will prevent from its regulatory impact analysis. The agency admits it assesses the plan’s benefits “qualitatively because we do not have sufficient confidence in available data or methods.”

“On the cost side, EPA underestimates the costs. Their models assume perfect certainty about the future and make a lot of assumptions about improving operating efficiency of green and conventional energy,” Lesser stated. “They just assume that without the Clean Power Plan, nobody who owns a power plant would ever become more efficient. Finally, the agency just assumes you can easily improve green energy. The agency outright assumes that you can double the amount of wind power used without raising costs and even assumes that solar panels will be generating electricity at midnight! This indicates sloppy modeling.”

The Clean Power Plan will eliminate most cheap coal power plants and replace them with much more expensive and unreliable sources like solar and wind. The EPA’s analysis assumes wind and solar power will solve all technical issues by that time period. The agency even assumes solar panels will generate electricity at midnight.

“Another big problem is that the Plan harms the American economy by raising energy prices which increases the costs of goods and services. The more the EPA harms our economy, the less incentive there is for other countries to make a similar sacrifice. The EPA actually assumes that the plan will somehow encourage other countries to cut CO2 emissions when it will reduce their incentive to do so.”

As electricity becomes more expensive, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases, effectively raising the price of almost everything. These higher prices are ultimately paid for by consumers, particularly the poorest Americans. The poor tend to spend a higher proportion of their incomes on electricity, gasoline, food and other basic needs. When the price of electricity increases, the cost of producing goods and services that use electricity increases too. Thus, high electricity prices effectively increase the price of most basic goods.

Raising the price of electricity to modestly effect global warming is estimated to hurt the poor 1.4 to four times more than the rich, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“My conclusion is that there are few benefits, which have been massively overestimated, and huge costs, which have been massively underestimated. This doesn’t mean that there’s no justification for slowing global warming or reducing CO2 emissions, but from a cost benefit perspective, there’s simply no justification for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Neither of the EPA’s justifications are valid,” Lesser said.

The plan has already been legally challenged by 27 state governments and temporarily blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court.

This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller

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About the Author: Andrew Follett

Andrew Follett covers energy and the environment for the Daily Caller.

  • Frederick Colbourne

    Given that the legislative purpose of the Clean Air Act is to protect “health and welfare”, it is clear that the authority delegated to the EPA imposes upon the Administrator the duty to balance health with welfare.

    Balancing health with welfare has been the main ethical preoccupation of the medical community since Hippocrates: Do no harm.

    The EPA has failed to take account of general welfare in its pursuit of ever more abstruse claims of health hazards. And in so doing, the EPA has perverted the intent and purpose of Congress in enacting the legislation.

  • Dano2

    Standard election-year issue from fossil fool-funded think tank.

    Best,

    D

    • yo neighbor

      Christina Figueres candidly remarked, the true aim of the recent Paris climate conference was “to change the [capitalist] economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”
      ~ The true purpose. The degrowth movement is to end free interchange of goods & services resulting from the industrial revolution. Oh my… providers of energy CREATE WEALTH, Those scoundrels.

      • Dano2

        She did not say that. You were duped.

        Best,

        D

        • BigWaveDave

          How would you know what she said? You spend all your time making stupid comments.

          • Brin Jenkins

            So true, one liner comment bereft of facts.

  • BigWaveDave

    There is a typo in the second sentence of the fourth paragraph. “lunch” should be lung.

  • Angie MacGeil

    If they can’t do their jobs right, why are they still working there. Should have real American workers and not DEMOCRATIC slackers just eating up expenditure money to feed their faces with wrong information. Need Trump to run roughshod over all these osers

  • Isandhlwana79

    Dano the kook FRAUD trolls these sites. He can’t get anyone to believe in his scam of AGW. He can’t prove CO2 is doing anything to the climate…….LMAO at the FRAUD Dano