A Philadelphia woman with no apparent ties to the coal industry issued a warning last night that a proposal by the Obama administration could have disastrous economic impact.

"It is estimated 59,000 jobs will be lost because of one regulation," said Jennifer Stefano, Pa. State Director for Americans for Prosperity.

Stefano spoke during a meeting of the Lehighton 9/12 Project at Penn's Peak in Jim Thorpe.

She was introduced by Sandy Dellicker, president of the Lehighton 9/12 project.

She added that if the proposal is adopted, it could force electric rates to rise as much as 17 percent.

Dubbed "Utility MACT," with MACT being an Environmental Protection Agency acronym for Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Standards, it is proposed by the EPA, supported by President Barack Obama, and, says Stefano, "is the most expensive regulation ever published by the United States government." She said the EPA estimates the cost to implement the policies will be $11 billion per year, but independent estimates range much higher.

"Utility MACT...could bankrupt our lives," she warned. "It makes coal look terrible."

The EPA's controversial order mandates that that mercury and other hazardous emissions must be drastically reduced from coal-fired power plants, including utility plants. By 2016, all plants must emit as little mercury as the best 12 percent do today, lowering national emissions 90 percent.

Coal companies will lay-off people and shut down, she cautioned.

Stefano said "Coal is so important to our lives." She added that if you look at the world, "the most prosperous places on earth are those who use electricity."

She stressed that she is not against environmental regulations that are logical.

"We love the earth, too," she said. "We want responsible laws, too. It is truly immoral that we don't develop our natural resources and send these to the world."

She continued, "I don't want to see our environment bad. I want our children to live in a clean and better world, and we do. We live in a much cleaner and better world than we did 30 years ago."

The speaker said the proposed MACT is the result of a global treaty, but cautioned that many nations behind the treaty "want to see the lowering of standards of all of us."

She said the combination of layoffs, matched with higher electric rates which will have to be paid by all of us including those left jobless by the regulations, will have major negative economic impact.

"Real political freedom only comes when you have economic freedom," she assessed. "Economic freedom is the underpinning of our political freedom."

The American for Prosperity official remarked that President Obama wasn't able to get the controversial Cap and Trade proposal passed the past few years, so this EPA proposal is an alternative for him.

Stefano touched on several other political matters during the meeting:

Ÿ On Obamacare, she said if the Supreme Court doesn't rule against it, a major rally will occur. She was critical of Governor Tom Corbett who had, during his election campaign, indicated he would fight Obamacare but has since stated he is considering creating a Health Care Exchange. She said this could signal compliance with Obamacare.

Ÿ In response to a question, she feels Pennsylvania will someday become a Right-to-Work state. "It will happen," she said. "It's a 10-year process. It happened in Wisconsin and it was 10 years in the making."

Ÿ The speaker said she is optimistic about the future of America.

"Two things that always bond America," she said. "Americans love to win and Americans are optimists."

"I believe in America and I believe in liberty and freedom," she remarked.

The Lehighton 9/12 Project will sponsor a film, the documentary "Rumors of WWIII: Target U.S.," on Wednesday, May 30, in the Mahoning Ambulance Building, Route 902, Mahoning Township.

Dellicker said, "This is not a meeting. This is a showing of the documentary."

The film will be shown at 7 p.m.