The passage of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules regarding emissions at power plants could cost the railroad industry “a staggering number of jobs,” according to The Teamsters Rail Conference, a subset of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
The organization argued that if the rule passes, coal usage would decline, and the one-in-five rail jobs linked to the transportation of coal would suffer.
“If these jobs are lost, it is unlikely that new business generated on our nation’s railroads will ever make up for the loss of coal. This rule has the potential to devastate communities reliant on the coal industry,” the group said in a statement. “We support efforts to invest in renewable energy and corresponding jobs in the so-called ‘green economy,’ but the nation’s economy, as a whole, will suffer if those jobs are not as well-paying and secure, which is likely.”
The EPA’s Clean Power Plan calls for guidelines to cut emissions from power plants, which it points to as the source of one-third of domestic greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030, the EPA is seeking to cut emissions from power plants by 30 percent when compared to 2005 levels.
According to a statement by the EPA, “While there are limits in place for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels.”
The Teamsters' organization went on to say that coal needs to be part of the country’s future energy plan, a plan that should embrace all forms of energy.
“There is a place for renewebles in this plan, but the rising cost of energy in Spain and other European countries should act as a cautionary tale against moving too quickly and aggressively, and failing to diversify our energy portfolio,” the group said.