Utility giant American Electric Power said Thursday that it will shut down five coal-fired power plants and spend billions of dollars to comply with a series of pending Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
The company’s dramatic plan to comply with the regulations could give Republicans and moderate Democrats ammunition in their ongoing fight against EPA's efforts to impose new regulations aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants including mercury and arsenic.
"Let me be clear, it’s decisions like the one made by AEP today that demonstrate the urgent need to rein in government agencies like the EPA, preventing them from overstepping their bounds and imposing regulations that not only cost us good American jobs, but hurt our economy," said[west virginia senator joe] Manchin, an outspoken critic of the EPA.
In a statement outlining its plan to comply with EPA's regulations, AEP said it would need to retire 6,000 megawatts of coal-fired power generation in the coming years.
The company, one of the country’s largest electric utilities, estimated that it will cost between $6 billion and $8 billion in capital investments over the next decade to comply with the regulations in their current form.
The costs of complying with the regulations will result in an increase in electricity prices of 10 to 35 percent and cost 600 jobs, AEP said.