EPA Proposed Carbon Dioxide Regulations on Power Plants Will Hit Wyoming Hard

Regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will have a significant negative economic impact on many states but it’s going to have a particularly harsh impact on Wyoming.

A story in the Wyoming Business Report describes a new study on the economic impact of EPA’s plan on the state.

According to a yet-to-be-released study by the University of Wyoming’s Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy, the Environmental Protection Agency’s planned carbon emissions standards for coal-fired power plants could cause a decline in Wyoming coal output by 20 to 45 percent in 2030.

University of Wyoming Professor Robert Godby presented the executive summary of the massive study to the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority (WIA) during their winter meeting. He said that when he first obtained the figures outlining the potential decline of Wyoming coal, “I felt like an astronomer, looking in the telescope and being the first one to see the asteroid heading towards earth.”

Since 1986, Wyoming has been the largest producer of coal in the United States, and for the past four decades coal has been the most stable source of state revenues. Yet despite coal’s importance to the state’s economy, few studies have been done to quantify the economic impact of the industry. Before Godby and company’s study, the most recent examination was done back in 2000.

The new study examined both the economic impact of coalmining itself and the ‘wider coal economy’ which takes into account all activity caused by the presence of coalmining, including rail shipping of coal and the coal-fired electrical power industry. The wider coal economy has a 14 percent share of the state’s gross economic product, while coalmining itself generated $1.3 billion, or 11.2 percent of all state revenues for fiscal year 2012, the most recent year that figures were available.

Read more here.