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Study: Obama climate agenda will cost Alabama over 10k manufacturing jobs

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and state officials visit the Golden Dragon plant
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and state officials visit the Golden Dragon plant

A newly released study by the Heritage Foundation estimates that Alabama will lose 10,718 jobs as a result of the Obama Administration’s climate policies. That represents a reduction of 4.14 percent of the state’s total number of manufacturing jobs, making Alabama the seventh most negatively impacted state in the country, by percentage.

“Every state would experience overwhelming negative impacts as a result of these regulations, but especially those with higher-than-average employment in manufacturing and mining,” said Nick Loris, one of the Heritage Foundation energy experts who authored the study.

For context, the massive $600 million Airbus manufacturing facility in Mobile, Ala., will sustain up to 1,000 jobs at full capacity. In other words, the Heritage study predicts that President Obama’s climate policies will ultimately cost Alabama the equivalent of losing 10 Airbus-sized manufacturing projects.

Alabama’s large coal mining industry will undoubtedly take a significant hit if the administration’s proposed environmental regulations continue to be implemented, but the Heritage study paints an even bleaker picture by noting the subsequent impact on manufacturers.

“Our analysis shows that it’s not just coal-country that’s hit hard by the federal government’s climate regulations,” said Loris. “Because America’s industrial base relies on affordable, reliable energy, these regulations would deal a crushing blow to the manufacturing sector

Tiffany Bittner, the executive director of Coal Jobs Count, a grassroots advocacy organization whose stated goal is to “fight the overreach of EPA regulations,” made a similar point during a statewide bus tour late last year.

“More than 16,000 jobs are tied to Alabama’s coal industry,” she said. “Alabama families and businesses depend on coal for affordable power rates. If Washington takes away the state’s coal industry, those jobs and affordable power bills disappear.”

Estimated job losses broken down by Alabama congressional districts:
AL-01: -1,276
AL-02: -1,418
AL-03: -1,788
AL-04: -2,050
AL-05: -1,809
AL-06: -1,167
AL-07: -1,209
TOTAL: -10,718

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to finalize its carbon regulations on existing power plants by mid-summer. Their goal is to force states to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

The EPA begins by setting target emissions caps for each state, then tasks the states with crafting plans for complying with the guidelines.

EPA Press Secretary Liz Purchia said states and businesses are pleased with the flexibility they are being given to implement the new regulations.

“[B]usinesses are concerned about the immediate and long-term implications of climate change,” she said, adding that “tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century.”

But the Heritage Foundation’s energy experts believe the flexibility being touted by the EPA will do little to alleviate the costs involved with the regulations.

“To attract state buy-in, the EPA is touting these regulations as being cooperative with the states and awarding the states flexibility in crafting the regulations,” Loris said. “But flexibility would merely shift the costs around, not prevent them from happening.”

“Instead of trying to cash in and protect special interests, both federal and state legislators should flat out reject the administration’s plan,” he concluded. “That is the only true way to protect the families and business owners in their states.”

Loss of manufacturing jobs

(h/t The Daily Signal)

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