The war on coal takes a new turn.
The president targets coal in his climate change initiative. An initiative he plans to enforce all on his own without Congress, but it's a plan that won't go down without a fight from both sides of the political aisle.
"What they're asking for and what they're trying to do John doesn't even make sense," says Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).
The president's proposal received strong backlash.
"Let me tell you how asinine this is John," Manchin says. "If you have an old power plant, an old coal fired power plant that you know needs to be retrofitted using the new technology that's been proven today (and) if a utility company tries to start upgrading that plant, they have to go to the new source standards today, which is greater than what can be obtained."
Some call it confirmation that the White House has a war on coal.
"It's now being embraced completely and openly by the President and his advisers," says Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH). "They're proposing unattainable and costly new standards on existing coal fired power plants that's going to result in the killing of thousands of jobs."
The price of coal is going to go sky high, according to Manchin.
"You're going to see an effect and you know what it really hits -- it hits the poor, it hits the elderly, it hits those people on fixed income more than anything else," he says. "It would be different if we had no alternative."
Johnson wants the market to drive what's needed to make coal in a more environmentally friendly way.
"Nobody is as concerned about the air that we breathe or the water that we drink for that matter than the folks who live in our region," he says.
The President's obligations stretch far and wide.
"But you know when you're elected leader of the free country, you're leader of all 50 states," Manchin says. "Over 300 million people are depending on good decisions. This is not a good decision for America or Americans in general."
From Ohio to West Virginia, many delegates we talked to believe in becoming energy independent. They say you can't do that by killing the coal industry.
STATEMENT: Senator Sherrod Brown
"It’s critical that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but we must do this in a way that creates Ohio jobs rather than puts them at risk. That means we must utilize every available tool: investing in carbon capture technology, increasing our use of renewable energy, and promoting energy efficiency in our homes and businesses. But we must make sure that industries in other nations are operating under the same rules as our domestic manufacturers. We must develop global solutions that are both comprehensive and fair to Ohio workers and manufacturers."
PRESS RELEASE: Senator Jay Rockefeller
I've long believed the science is real and we need to address climate change. Congress should be working to develop an energy policy that protects our families, grows our economy and creates jobs. But instead we have been stuck in deep partisan gridlock.
I understand the President wants to move forward on climate change, but his remarks today were short on details, and those details matter in the lives of West Virginians. Any action on climate change is going to have a direct effect on the lives of our mining communities that are already facing great uncertainties, and on the pocketbooks of every one of our middle-class families still dealing with a recovering job market.
We need more from the President to assure our miners and working families they're part of this plan. To begin with, we need to see a timeline, a cost estimate and to understand how communities that have relied on coal are going to be supported once these proposals take effect. I'm deeply concerned that, in its current form, there's not enough emphasis in the President's plan on the people who are the backbone of our economy and the fabric of our nation.
And any road map to deal with our future energy needs must include the promise of clean coal. Our demand for energy can't be met without it.
Rockefeller has taken a lead in securing a clean future for coal.
He is working with the coal industry, labor and environmental groups that will join him in working for the future of energy in West Virginia and throughout the country. To do that, Rockefeller sent letters to coal operators, industry groups, labor organizations and environmental advocates asking for their ideas about how to drive deployment of clean coal technology in the state. Their input is critical as Rockefeller is working on shaping a new, comprehensive clean coal bill.
In 2010, he co-authored the first comprehensive legislation designed to realize widespread Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage technologies. The Carbon Capture and Storage Deployment Act of 2010 would create funding for research; financial incentives for large-scale deployment; and technology standards for new power plants, among other provisions.
In addition, Rockefeller fought for and secured funding for CCS as part of $3.4 billion for advanced coal in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
And last fall, Rockefeller joined Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) in introducing legislation that would allow companies to claim a credit of $20 per ton of carbon dioxide captured when producing energy. That bill amends current law to provide assurances to companies who were previously concerned that the tax credit would no longer be available to them once construction of CCS projects began.
More broadly, Rockefeller remains committed to a broad plan to secure a future for West Virginia coal that includes his new CCS bill; a push for stronger funding of the Fossil Energy R&D program; continued efforts to push regulations that help promote the development of CCS technology. In addition, Rockefeller is focused on jobs and retraining efforts for existing and new coal miners and operators; and strengthened mine safety legislation and worker benefit laws.
PRESS RELEASE: Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito
After failing to get congressional approval for his partisan environmental agenda, President Obama has announced that he will unilaterally forge ahead with his job-killing plan. In 2008, then-Senator Obama made threats to bankrupt anyone who wants to build a new coal-fired power plant, and over the years he has used the Environmental Protection Agency as a way to accomplish that goal. Sadly, this recent announcement spells trouble for a vital industry in West Virginia that has already been hard-hit by this administration.
Today's announcement is another move in the president's tyrannical game of picking winners and losers in the energy industry. Instead of supporting an all-of-the-above plan, President Obama's devastating regulations will shut down existing coal plants and halt the development of clean coal technology facilities. Not only will this decision hamstring our nation's ability to become energy independent, but it will prove devastating for American workers and consumers.
PRESS RELEASE: Senator Rob Portman
President Obama's EPA overreach has already cost jobs in Ohio. At least eight coal fired power plants in Ohio are set to close due in large part to regulatory mandates put in place by the EPA. As a result, nearly a thousand Ohio jobs will be directly impacted, local communities will lose millions in tax revenue, and more than 6,000 megawatts ? enough energy to power thousands of homes ? will be taken off the grid, said Portman. America does not need another top-down climate mandate by its Federal government; instead it needs a low-cost energy plan that ensures we have access to reliable, affordable, and cleaner domestic energy. This is not a problem that calls for a one size fits all solution. Ohio knows this better than most, since more than 80 percent of our electricity comes from coal generation and this new regulation could raise costs for Ohio families, many of whom are struggling to make ends meet. We must explore and develop a variety of sources ? including coal, natural gas, nuclear, and renewable resources to secure our energy independence and rein in energy costs. In addition, we must pursue energy efficiency, as my legislation S.761 does. Through efficiency we can lower energy costs, create jobs and economic growth, and have a cleaner environment. We need a solution that balances the economic, energy, and environmental needs of our nation while taking full advantage of America's abundant natural resources.
Before announcing any new EPA regulatory rule, Washington should take a hard look to make sure it does not impose unnecessary burdens on job creators and consumers. Earlier this year, I introduced the bipartisan Regulatory Accountability Act of 2013 to reform the current rulemaking process to lower the costs and improve the quality of new regulations. Through stronger cost-benefit analysis and greater transparency, Ohio businesses will be less likely to suffer under the increasing burden and uncertainty of government red tape.