WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is pressing ahead with tough requirements for new coal-fired power plants, moving to impose for the first time strict limits on the pollution blamed for global warming.
The regulation would reshape where Americans get electricity, away from a coal-dependent past into a future fired by cleaner sources of energy. It also is a key step in President Barack Obama's global warming plans, because it would help end what he called "the limitless dumping of carbon pollution" from power plants.
"While the rest of the world is continuing to build coal-fired power plants and take advantage of affordable, reliable electricity," 6th District Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson told WTAP Friday, "this president seems intent on moving America and our region back to the stone ages."
The proposed rule packs the same punch as one announced last year. To meet the standard, new coal-fired power plants would need to install expensive technology to capture carbon dioxide and bury it underground.
The industry and Republicans say that means no new coal plants would be built.
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Senator Jay Rockefeller Friday released the following statement:
“I’ve always said that any clean coal policy must, at its core, have the interests of miners and their families in mind -- and that new technology is the best and only way to secure their future.
The EPA’s new carbon emission plan includes tough requirements for future coal-fired power plants and pushes us hard toward clean coal technologies that have great potential but are not yet deployed at full-scale, and are difficult to finance.
These rules will only work if we act now to strengthen our investment in clean coal technology and to advance public-private partnerships more seriously than ever. We need everyone with a stake in clean coal to come together for these solutions to become a reality.
This rule is undeniably a daunting challenge, but it’s also a call to action. West Virginia and America have overcome far greater technological obstacles than this one, and I refuse to believe we can’t do it again.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) issued the following statement:
“Today’s announcement of the EPA’s new source performance standard is direct evidence that this Administration is trying to hold the coal industry to impossible standards. Never before has the federal government forced an industry to do something that is technologically impossible. Forcing coal to meet the same emissions standards as gas when experts know that the required technology is not operational on a commercial scale makes absolutely no sense and will have devastating impacts to the coal industry and our economy.
It is past time that this country establishes an all-of-the-above energy policy that uses every domestic resource available to us, and that includes coal. The facts are plain and simple: Coal provides the greatest share of electricity we use, generating around 40 percent of our power. The President’s own Department of Energy predicts that coal will continue to be a major source of electricity for at least the next 30 years. It’s just common sense to level the playing field and accept that coal is, and will be for the foreseeable future, a significant part of our energy mix.
If these regulations go into effect, American jobs will be lost, electricity prices will soar, and economic uncertainty will grow. We need the federal government to work as a partner, not an adversary, and to invest in America’s energy future. I will continue to fight EPA overreach, just as I did as Governor, to protect the reliable, affordable energy and the good-paying jobs that coal-fired power plants provide in West Virginia and across this country.”
U.S. Rep. Nick J. Rahall released the following statement:
“I am dead-set against the EPA and their scheme to issue emissions standards that would make it next to impossible for new coal-fired power plants to be constructed. In mandating that new power plants utilize technology that is not even commercially available, let alone affordable, the Agency is preventing abundant American coal from meeting America’s future energy needs. The result of this wrong-headed policy would be higher energy bills for families and businesses, reduced power reliability and energy independence for our nation, and lost jobs for our coal miners.
This callous, ideologically driven Agency continues to be numb to the economic pain that their reckless regulations cause. Today’s rule is just the latest salvo in the EPA’s war on coal, a war I have unwaveringly soldiered against, and I will work tirelessly to prevent such an ill-conceived and illogical plan from moving forward. It is in this vein, that I am today introducing a Resolution to express Congress’ strong disapproval of this rule and I invite both Democrats and Republicans to join me in this initial effort.”
Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) released the following statement:
“EPA’s action strikes at the core of West Virginia and is yet another sign that this Administration simply doesn’t care about the hard working men and women who earn their living in the coal industry, doesn’t care about providing reliable and affordable energy to power the national economy for years to come, and doesn’t care about harming the very fabric of communities across our state.
West Virginia families and businesses have already paid a heavy price due to EPA’s overbearing regulations. We must take into account the economic impact of government regulations on local communities, and we should not take an action that hinders our nation’s ability to compete globally.
Last night I introduced the Ensure Reliable and Affordable American Energy Act. My bill would delay the implementation of these new EPA regulations until other countries comprising at least 80 percent of non-U.S. global carbon dioxide emissions enact regulations that are at least as stringent as EPA’s new standards.
Blocking the use our domestic coal reserves while our global competitors use our coal to power their own economic growth means that America will be forced to compete globally with one arm tied behind our back. West Virginians know that an energy economy is a jobs economy and our state will unite to fight the Administration tooth and nail.”
Rep. David B. McKinley released the following statement:
“The Obama Administration and EPA have imposed revised regulations on new coal-fired power plants that, simply put, cannot be achieved,” said Rep. McKinley. “The technology required by this rule is not commercially viable. Even the EPA has admitted this.”
"Despite that, the EPA is moving forward with a regulation that will eventually remove the largest source of America’s electricity,” added McKinley. “This will lead to higher electricity costs for millions and thousands of lost jobs."
“At the same time his EPA is imposing these new standards, President Obama has slashed research money for clean coal technology in his budget,” said Rep. McKinley. “This continues to be another manifestation of this administration’s war on coal,” said Rep. McKinley.
“Regulations based on ideology and imposing standards on coal plants that they admit can’t be achieved is not fair,” added McKinley. “As a result of these extensive regulations, manufacturers will continue to locate elsewhere where energy costs are more affordable and dependable; and Americans can expect to pay more for their electric bills.”
Jennifer Garrison, Democratic candidate for Ohio's 6th Congressional District, issued the following statement:
“Unlike most politicians from both parties in Washington, I have direct personal experience with how these energy issues impact people in southern and eastern Ohio. I supported clean coal technology in the Ohio House and I have played an active role in helping to develop this region’s shale industry.”
“It troubles me that people in Washington making these regulations may not understand the impact it will have on people where I live. Part of what’s wrong in Washington is when people put the interests of their party or their party’s leaders ahead of the needs of their constituents. When President Obama is wrong, I won’t hesitate to speak out, and this is one of those times.”
“I am very concerned that President Obama and the EPA are moving too quickly in trying to force overly burdensome regulations on the coal industry. This is short-sighted, and it would have a tremendously negative effect on Ohio coal miners and the nation’s economy. The technology does not yet exist at a scale or cost that would allow the industry to comply with these regulations. These regulations would sound the death knell for the coal industry.”
Noting the far-reaching economic implications of the proposed regulations, Garrison stated, “Not only would these burdensome regulations put Ohio coal miners out-of-work, but it would cause American families’ electricity rates to surge and lead to more manufacturers shipping jobs overseas. Our economy cannot afford these types of job-killing measures.”
Additionally, Garrison emphasized the importance of achieving energy independence. “Ohio and other states throughout our country have been blessed with natural resources. The recent expansion of shale oil and gas, combined with our coal resources, provide a realistic opportunity for us to achieve energy independence within the next few years. This must be a priority. And, we must proceed at a pace that allows us to not only develop our domestic resources responsibly, but that also keeps our energy rates affordable and our mining and manufacturing jobs here in Ohio and not overseas.”
Natalie Tennant, candidate for U.S. Senate, issued the following statement:
“Yet again, President Obama has taken direct aim at West Virginia’s coal industry. This proposed regulation would effectively prohibit the construction of any new coal-fired plants. This regulation is bad for West Virginia coal miners, their families and communities across the coal fields.
I’m not afraid to take on leaders in my own party to protect West Virginia’s coal industry. Washington needs to be realistic about what powers our nation and recognize that developing West Virginia’s supplies of coal and coal-fired power plants are crucial.
As I have been saying, our nation needs increased investment in clean coal technology to ensure coal remains at the forefront of powering our nation. With our American ingenuity, starting at the National Energy Technology Lab in Morgantown, and in partnership with the industry, we can develop carbon capture and sequestration technology that is commercially viable.”
Congressman Bill Johnson (OH-6) released the following statement:
“Yesterday, the Obama Administration unveiled the details of their costly new carbon regulations. As expected, these regulations are expensive, unrealistic, not commercially viable, and will kill jobs in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio.
Bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency have demonstrated time and time again that they are incapable of enacting realistic, effective regulations that take into account the economic consequences of their actions. This is, yet, another example of President Obama picking winners and losers based on his personal political interests.
Simply put, these regulations will close down American-made businesses, and will put thousands of hardworking, middle class Americans out of work. It will also raise the price of electricity on families and small businesses here in Ohio. It's clear that the President is prioritizing special interests over American interests.
Coal is reliable and affordable, and provides nearly 42% of the energy Americans depend on to heat their homes and keep their lights on. And, coal provides 80% of Ohio's power, as well as the livelihood of thousands here along the Ohio River. Americans deserve affordable energy, and America can be energy independent and secure - if the federal government would become a partner in progress rather than an obstacle to opportunity. I will continue to fight to save the coal industry from the reckless actions of this Administration.”