America’s largest business lobby group, The US Chamber of Commerce, has petitioned a federal appeals court to invalidate environmental regulations it claims will lead to sweeping electricity blackouts by forcing coal-fired power plants to close. The challenge is to the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Utility MACT’ rule, which aims to reduce emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from coal-fired power plants. Lisa Camooso Miller, Vice President for Media Relations at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy writes on the chamber’s website that “America isn’t running out of energy. But the Obama Administration is running away from our most abundant energy resource: coal. We have over two centuries worth of coal, containing more energy than all the rest of the world’s oil reserves combined.“Despite coal’s abundance, reliability and affordability – the EPA is set on knocking coal off its spot at the top of America’s energy portfolio. From Cap and Trade to New Source Performance Standards for Greenhouse Gases and from particulate matter rules to energy industry ‘crucifixions’ the Obama Administration’s environmental agenda will stop at nothing to bring down coal. “The latest attempt, Utility MACT, is the single most expensive EPA regulation ever placed on coal-fueled power plants. According to EPA’s own studies, compliance costs are projected to be $10.4 billion in 2015, with a total compliance cost of $94.8 billion.“Those costs will be passed along to ratepayers, resulting in massive layoffs and higher consumer prices. Utility MACT could cost 1.65 million jobs by 2020 according to industry studies, while causing rate increases of 14-19% in 30 coal-reliant regions.“Utility MACT is the beginning of the end to affordable electricity from coal. That’s why passing Senator Inhofe’s Joint Resolution 37, has been a legislative priority for senators who are worried about keeping America on track.“At a price tag of at least $10 billion, EPA’s Utility MACT rule is one of the most expensive regulations ever for power plants, and has already resulted in the announced shutdown of numerous coal-fired power plants in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, with more sure to come,” the chamber’s lawyers said.The chamber says the EPA has ignored requests by utilities to give them more time to comply with the mercury emission curbs.It also said the EPA violated the Clean Air Act by using a flawed methodology to set emissions standards that are unachievable for coal plants because the necessary pollution control technologies don’t exist.“EPA’s current floor-setting approach has led to circumstances in which virtually all existing facilities in certain source categories will have to shut down, and new sources will likely never be built because of the inability to achieve the standards,” the chamber said in its brief.