Power utilities companies in Kansas are warning of Armageddon in 2012, saying Kansans will face rolling blackouts, millions in lost productivity, staggeringly high power bills and even complete outages in the summer months due to Evil Job-Killing EPA Pollution Regulations(tm). These brave souls are suing the EPA in a DC appeals court to…umm, what do you mean that’s all compete garbage?
Kansas utilities say that the rules have come so quickly and are so stringent that they won’t be able to comply in time. As a result, thousands of Kansans will experience rolling blackouts or brownouts, which will also cost jobs when the plants shut down. In addition, customers will face higher utility bills to pay for more than $100 million in new pollution control expenses and other costs.
“The adverse effects from such reductions caused by the 2012 emission limits are dire, concrete, substantial and imminent,” attorneys for Kansas utilities told a federal appeals court.
EPA says that’s nonsense. The costs will be far less — between $5 million and $30 million — and Kansas utilities will have more than a year to implement the emission controls.
“Kansas has failed to show that the lights will go out in Kansas,” attorneys for the EPA wrote.
In fact, the EPA says the benefits of the transport rule — prevention of 83 to 210 deaths annually in Kansas and a savings of $700 million to $1.7 billion annually in health care — far outweigh the utilities’ costs.
So these regulations would actually save Kansas taxpayers in the neighborhood of a billion dollars a year or so. You would think Kansas would go “Hey, this is a pretty great deal for us. Let’s help you guys with the costs of reducing your emissions. Here’s some money. Make this happen.”
You of course would be completely wrong, because Republicans are involved. They’d rather spend the money on suing the EPA.
The utilities and the Kansas attorney general joined a handful of states and several dozen utilities in filing lawsuits in the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., asking for a stay and further review of the rule.
The disagreement between Kansas, the utilities and EPA is so contentious that the two sides can’t even agree when the new rules were known and when they go into effect.
They say the EPA is only giving them until January to comply.
“No one expected that,” said Greg Greenwood, senior vice president of strategy for Westar.
They said the new rules would force them to shut down coal plants in midsummer.
“Unfortunately the new … requirements will substantially cost our members and those they serve,” said Cindy Hertel, a Sunflower spokeswoman. “Sunflower estimates that installing upgraded emission technology … will now cost our members nearly $21 million, and we expect to face additional costs” to meet the requirements.
Nope, we have to pass the costs on to the consumers! It’ll cost a hundred million and Kansas will become an electricity-free third world hellhole this summer! YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES WILL SUFFER!
Look, even if the utilities are completely right on the $100 million figure, and the yearly health care cost savings are overestimated by a factor of ten and Kansas Republicans immediately passed a law that gave all the cost savings to the utilities until they had these new standards paid for as the ultimate in corporate welfare…that still means Kansas would be able to pay the utilities to cover their costs in just two years and Kansas taxpayers would save the difference every year after. Deficit reduction? Not for these guys.
It’s insanity, but the Republicans in Kansas are too busy serving the utilities to serve Kansas.