Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a rule requiring power plants in 28 states to curtail emissions. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) replaces the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down in 2008. The EPA estimates the new CSPAR rule will yield $120 to $140 billion in environmental benefits by 2014. Projected benefits include aversion of 420,000 cases of upper and lower respiratory symptoms, 400,000 asthma cases, 1.8 million sick days, and up to 34,000 premature deaths otherwise attributable to air pollution.
The rule will generate about $800 million dollars per year in incremental compliance costs for power providers. These costs augment $1.6 billion in annual investments already made to comply with CAIR. To control costs, some power companies have proposed mergers. The mergers aim to enhance efficiency, decrease production costs and yield savings for consumers. Consumer benefits, along with implications for jobs and renewable and efficient energy policies, are three major factors considered during recent merger reviews.