coal fired plantThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the MACT rule recently issued by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is unrealistic and will have a negative impact on the economy and the reliability of electricity.

Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said the administration ignored "significant risks" involved with the implementation timeline of the rule, which will require coal-fired power plants to limit their emissions of hazardous air pollutants, including mercury, by January 2015, with some getting one- to two-year extensions. He claimed that the administration acknowledged the need to provide utilities additional time to comply.

"However, without any certainty that utilities will actually be able to secure additional time in the future, the rule as currently issued could threaten America’s electricity reliability, global competitiveness, and job creation," said Donohue. "The Utility MACT rule is unprecedented in its size and scope and could literally leave our nation’s economy in the dark."

Donohue said the "rushed" implementation of the rule could undermine the nation's economic recovery.

"The rule will require power plants to be shut down, significantly modified, or replaced, and for gas pipeline and electric transmission infrastructure to be built. Making these sweeping changes to business operations is a long-term process and it is unrealistic to think businesses can comply with this rule within three years, with an uncertain prospect for limited additional time, particularly in light of the significant regulatory burdens companies will face in siting and permitting these large projects."