Obama's Regulatory State Just Killed 500 More Jobs in Texas (Update: Support the TRAIN Act)

President Obama has a jobs plan, alright: To hurt the largest Republican state however he can.

Texas energy company Luminant announced on Monday new burdensome Environmental Protection Agency regulations are forcing it to close several facilities, which will result in about 500 job losses.

The company will be idling — stopping the usage of — two energy generating units. It will also cease extracting lignite from three different Texas mines.

The EPA regulation Luminant cites as too burdensome is the new Cross-State Air Pollution rule, which requires Texas power generators to make “dramatic reductions” in emissions beginning on January 1, 2012.

“We have hundreds of employees who have spent their entire professional careers at Luminant and its predecessor companies,” Luminant CEO David Campbell said in a statement. “At every step of this process, we have tried to minimize these impacts, and it truly saddens me that we are being compelled to take the actions we’ve announced today. We have filed suit to try to avoid these consequences.”


I’ve written about that rule before. It’s the one the EPA imposed on Texas despite its own science, which said that emissions in Texas do not impact neighboring states. That rule was imposed at the last minute, and despite the president’s promises regarding transparency, the public and impacted industries were not given ample time to comment on its impact.

And here’s its impact so far: 500 jobs down the drain. That’s 500 Texas families now wondering what they’re going to do in this wrecked economy. And along with their uncertainty, other Texans may experience decreased electric output on the state’s power grid when we’re on the tail end of a historic heatwave.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the EPA is going out of its way to drive up Texas’ unemployment numbers as the state’s governor is running to take Obama’s job.

Obama can send all the fat stacks of porkulus laden paper he wants to send to Congress, but until he stops using the regulatory state to punish his economic and political enemies, the jobs picture will not improve.

Update: The House is moving forward on the TRAIN Act to push back the Obama regulatory state:

The TRAIN Act (H.R. 2401, “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011”) establishes an 11-member federal interagency committee, chaired by the Department of Commerce, to analyze the cumulative impacts of a number of major EPA regulations. A final report on the results of the analysis is due to Congress by August 1, 2012.

The analysis includes, but is not limited to, impacts on: jobs, consumers and small businesses; electricity and other energy prices; the global economic competitiveness of the U.S.; and the reliability of the electric power grid.

The TRAIN Act is needed because EPA has failed to analyze the cumulative impacts of its own rules. Instead, EPA analyzes each rule by itself and typically concludes that the impact of each rule would be relatively modest, even though the total (cumulative) impacts caused by multiple EPA rules are substantial. For example, EPA estimated the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) would cause 4.8 GW of coal-fueled power plants to retire and the Utility MACT rule would cause an additional 9.9 GW to retire, while studies by other organizations – including Sanford Bernstein, Credit Suisse, NERC, FERC and National Economic Research Associates (NERA) – project coal plant retirements ranging from 30 GW to 100 GW because of these and other EPA rules.


You can write to your representative and urge them to support the TRAIN Act, here.



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