A retired professor of economics at the University of Montana challenges a report from UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research on the impacts of the Clean Power Plan.
The report predicts dire consequences if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency implements the plan in Montana:
• The state would lose more than 7,000 jobs, including positions at the four units of the Colstrip plant in addition to the coal mine and local government jobs created by property taxes from those entities.
• The state would lose more than $500 million in yearly income, factoring in the higher-paying jobs that would disappear.
• Lose more than $1.5 billion in gross annual sales as the state moves from its status as an energy exporter to an importer.
• See a population loss of approximately 10,000 people as families seek jobs out of state.
Former chairman of UM’s Department of Economics, Dr. Tom Power, has a great rebuttal. It should be noted that Northwestern Energy, Montana’s largest utility company, commissioned the BBER report. Power says the report:
“ … earns a big red F and shouldn’t serve as the basis of any policy decision. It is based exclusively on extreme assumptions about the Montana impacts of the Clean Power Plan regulations that NorthWestern told the authors of the report to use.”
In addition, he said the EPA will allow states to meet requirements by boosting renewables, increased energy efficiency and purchasing carbon allowances.
So, the report didn’t look into the potential jobs created by alternative energy: wind, solar, perhaps additional hydro, and an upgraded grid. And, of course, it didn’t take a look at the cost of continuing to spew CO2 into the atmosphere.
Then there’s the lost tax revenue, which I addressed in an earlier post. It’s really minuscule. Here’s a pie chart produced by another UM economist, Dr. Dick Barrett, showing that about one percent of total state revenue comes from coal.