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Phasing out fossil fuels will cost one million jobs, Big Business warns

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Sean Higgins,EPA,Coal,Chambers of Commerce,Energy Efficiency

Big Business is warning that the Environmental Protection Agency's efforts to push coal out of the energy mix will result in the loss of one million jobs while reducing annual household income by $2,100.

That's the conclusion of a study released Friday by the Institute For Humane Studies done for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Edison Electric Institute and the Nuclear Energy Institute.

The conclusion is based on the fact that a "diversified portfolio" of fuels helps to ride out the regular fluctuations in energy costs that can be caused by anything from Middle East unrest to bad weather.

"In addition, a diverse power generation technology mix is essential to cost-effectively integrate intermittent renewable power resources into the power supply mix," the study found.

In other words, because even if you do heavily use renewable resources, the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow, so you need backups.

The study argues that phasing out some energy sources even while also boosting others won't necessarily balance things out because the economy will have fewer options to turn to during a disruption.

The EPA released a proposed rule last month to reduce carbon emissions, which are primarily produced by burning coal, by 30 percent.

"If EPA's greenhouse gas policies were already in effect, many Americans would have been shivering, sitting in the dark, or both," said Chamber blogger Sean Hackbarth.

US power is currently mainly generated from coal (40 percent of the overall total), natural gas (27 percent), nuclear (20 percent) and hydro power (7 percent). Wind and solar currently account for less than 5 percent.

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