The EPA has released an economic analysis of the climate-energy bill that could give the legislation a boost.

EPA_LogoA stalled climate-energy bill in the Senate got a boost Tuesday from federal regulators who reported it would not be too costly, then from President Obama.

“The transition to clean energy has the potential to grow our economy and create millions of jobs – but only if we accelerate that transition,” Mr. Obama said in his Oval Office speech. He touted a “strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill – a bill that finally makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy for America’s businesses.”

That’s been the billion-dollar question surrounding climate legislation: How much will it cost?

The Environmental Protection Agency answered that question earlier Tuesday in a much-anticipated economic analysis. The climate-energy legislation that’s sponsored by Sens. John Kerry (D) of Massachusetts and Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut would have a “relatively modest [economic] impact” on the US public, the EPA’s models showed.

The bill, which includes a market-based “cap and trade” mechanism to put a price on carbon emissions from US smokestack emitters, would hike energy costs for both businesses and consumers. But with rebates for consumers in the plan, as well as other factors, the overall cost to American households would be $79 to $146 annually, the EPA found.

The American Power Act would have “a relatively modest impact on US consumers,” assuming that the “bulk of revenues from the program are returned to households lump-sum,” the study’s authors wrote.

The EPA also found that the cost to polluting businesses, such as coal-fired utilities, would not be too onerous. The cost to them to purchase allowances from the government for each ton of emissions was projected to be $16 to $17 per metric ton of greenhouse gases by 2013 and $23 to $24 per ton by 2020.

The climate-energy legislation passed last year by the House has roughly the same estimated costs. Both bills would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by about the same amount starting in 2013.

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Source: The Christian Science Monitor
Photo: Environmental Protection Agency