UPDATE 1-US air rules seen adding 1.5 mln jobs through 2015

Tue Feb 8, 2011 4:52pm GMT

* Temporary job creation depends on $200 bln investments

* EPA rules govern NOX, SOX, mercury and other pollutants

* More than 2,000 net permanent jobs seen created (Adds quote from Senator Carper, paragraph 9)

WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Looming U.S. rules that power utilities face on air pollution could create nearly 1.5 million jobs over the next five years, according to a report.

Engineering, construction and pipefitting are some of the professions that could see a rise in jobs as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules push utilities to invest in new capacity and pollution controls, said the report "New Jobs - Cleaner Air". The report was commissioned by Ceres, a coalition of environmentalists and institutional investors. (To read the report, click r.reuters.com/nyp87r)

Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have slammed the EPA's looming air rules on utilities as "job killing", saying they could push older coal plants into early retirement and raise electricity prices.

But the report, produced by researchers at University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute, said investments to comply with the Clean Air Act have been good for the economy. It quoted the Office of Management and Budget, which said in 2003 that every dollar spent on compliance with the act since 1970 has led to $4 to $8 in economic benefits.

"The bottom line: clean air is a worthwhile investment," said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres.

Most of the nearly 1.5 million jobs would be temporary, lasting through 2015 and depend on plants spending nearly $200 billion on pollution controls and building new capacity.   Continued...

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