The PJ Tatler

Wow: Obama's EPA Fires Back at Luminant, Blames Company for 500 Layoffs

When the Obama EPA blindsided Texas by including it in its cross-state pollution rule at the last minute, power giant Luminant warned that the decision would lead to layoffs in the industry. That was two months ago. The EPA went full steam ahead with its rulemaking, despite protests from the industry and the state itself.

News broke earlier today that, as it had warned, Luminant will have to lay 500 workers off.

The EPA’s response? Blame Luminant (link goes behind a pay firewall).

“The Cross State Air Pollution Rule will prevent tens of thousands of premature deaths and thousands of asthma attacks by ensuring Americans do not have to breathe pollution emitted by facilities in other states.

Prior to announcing this important rule, EPA did extensive outreach to industry to ensure there were an array of compliance options, and in recent weeks, we have continued to work specifically with Luminant, making the administrator, deputy administrator and EPA technical staff available to assess their needs and continue to ensure they have options to meet these important new standards — including exploring additional flexibility for the company and encouraging more reliance on technologies the company has already installed. As recently as yesterday EPA offered to share additional information that shows the potential for a no-shut down, no-layoff solution for statewide compliance. It is unfortunate that company leadership rushed to a decision that needlessly puts their workers’ jobs at risk.

This administration agreed with the previous administration’s 2005 decision that these facilities threatened the health of Americans living downwind, and this action by Luminant represents an abrupt change of direction. Since the Bush Administration, these facilities have made business decisions to comply with a rule that is very similar to what we announced in July — staying within pollution limits without needing to make serious investments in pollution controls at several facilities.

Today, rather than continuing their previous efforts at complying with important health safeguards, and despite EPA’s repeated pledges to work with them in finding an agreeable path to cutting pollution, they made the choice to lay off workers and idle facilities….”

I don’t know what discussions have taken place between Luminant and the EPA, but the parts about the Bush administration are simply not true. Obama’s EPA added Texas at the last minute despite the findings of its own scientists. And it is now blaming the victim of its job killing policies.

The EPA needs to be defunded, asap.