The unions argued through a statement the stringency and timing of the standards – setting limits on pollutants like mercury, arsenic and metals – are causing premature, irreplaceable shutdowns of coal-fired plants and the electricity they generate. In particular, the unions addressed Energy and Natural Resources Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

In the letter, the unions warned compliance under the current timeline would result in the closing of 56 gigawatts of coal-fired generation and the loss of 250,000 jobs. “Despite assurances by the EPA, our prediction is now coming to pass,” the letter said.

Signatories, including SMART Transportation, United Mine Workers, Boilermakers, Utility Workers, and Transportation Communications Union/IAM, warned spiraling energy inflation will also ensue. “As these plants retire, generation assets to meet demand become questionable, as witnessed by the astronomical electric price spikes during the recent polar vortex,” the letter said.