U.S. Industry Gears Up to Fight Obama’s Climate Rules

(Reuters) -

This summer is likely to see a series of attacks by industry opponents of a U.S. plan to curb carbon emissions from power plants in a bid to stir voter anger ahead of elections in November, when voters in states such as Kentucky and West Virginia may determine whether Democrats keep control of the Senate.

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to propose new rules to crack down on power plant emissions, part of President Barack Obama’s efforts to combat global climate change.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report Wednesday that predicted the yet-to-be-announced regulations will cost consumers $289 billion more for electricity through 2030, and crimp the economy by $50 billion a year.

The chamber hired energy research firm IHS to model the costs, based on a regulatory approach promoted by the Natural Resources Defense Council which the chamber expects to be the foundation for the new EPA regulations.

Coal industry lobbyists say the new rules will probably raise household electricity costs, prompt power brown-outs during heat waves and cold snaps and destroy jobs at coal mines and manufacturing plants.

“We fully expect that whatever comes out will be overly stringent, and will be something that is not good for American consumers or businesses,” said Laura Sheehan, spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.