Bloomberg reported Friday on the latest developments in the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory push against the fossil fuel industry. Southern Co., the largest American utility owner in terms of market share, now says it will lose up to $18 billion as a result of new EPA regulations.
The planned regulations “are misguided in their content and timing,” Southern Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Fanning said today in a statement.
Southern, based in Atlanta, is among energy companies that say new rules from President Barack Obama’s EPA will force some coal-fired power plants to close, and may lead to higher energy costs. Electricity prices for Southern customers may increase an additional 10 percent to 20 percent during the next 10 years, according to the company.
The EPA regulations will “only impede the U.S. economic recovery, reduce our ability to create jobs and add to the economic burdens of our customers,” Fanning said.
Air, water and waste rules affecting coal-fueled electric utilities will require $13 billion to $18 billion in capital expenses through 2020, according to the company.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said the agency’s rules are needed to protect public health and the environment. EPA spokesmen didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Southern’s projections.
The company said the EPA actions, including a proposal to cut mercury and other air toxics from power plants, will require installation of pollution controls on about 12,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation, or about 60 percent of the company’s fleet. The rules also will contribute to the shutdown of units with a total capacity of 4,000 megawatts.