Comment Period Ends For Latest Proposed Power Plant Regulations

By: James Sparvero Email
By: James Sparvero Email
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Update: 12/02/2014 4:45 P.M.

The time to comment is over. Now, the EPA has to finalize its carbon emissions guidelines for existing power plants.

West Virginia and Ohio are criticizing them, on the basis of how they will affect jobs and the economy in general.

The Mountain State's governor, Earl Ray Tomblin says the new guidelines, if enacted, have an impact on more than jobs in the coal industry.

They could result in increased electric bills for residents, particularly seniors, along with businesses.

And the head of one of the state's largest power companies doubts it will have the impact environmentalists are seeking.

"The real analysis behind the improved efficiencies in the coal plants," says Charles Patton, President and CEO of Applachian Power, "(as well as) what you can achieve in energy efficiency, what you can achieve in renewables, I think all of those things are going to be proved inconsistent with what the EPA believes is attainable."

In Ohio, the state environmental protection agency told its federal counterpart that a 6% increase in efficiency at existing power plants isn't possible, and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio estimated meeting the new rules would cost ratepayers an extra $2.5 billion.

Environmental groups lined up on the comment period's final day to praise the Obama administration's proposed regulations for certain pollutants from coal- and oil-fired power plants.

Roughly a third of tall smokestacks of coal-fired plants are concentrated in five states along the Ohio River valley.

The Ohio and West Virginia Coal Associations are speaking-out against new EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants.

"EPA's proposal today is unprecedented in its reach, cost and complexity. EPA's carbon regulations are going to cause serious harm to the US economy, raising energy prices and costing jobs, as many as 178-thousand jobs lost per year," said Christian Palich, Govt. Affairs Mgr. with the OH Coal Assoc.

"For all of those who worked last night and are working today, keep the lights on and return home safely because that's what this is about. This rule is bad. It's bad for West Virginia, it's bad for our coal miners, and it's bad for our coal industry," said Bill Raney, president of the WV Coal Assoc.

A lot of local communities are also paying close attention to what's happening in Washington.

Not far from the Muskingum River Plant in Waterford, one man tells WTAP news he supports some regulations, but worries what it could mean for the region.

"It's good to try and cut down on the emissions. Yes, I understand that but as far as regulating them or shutting them down, it just makes the community suffer. Already, they've laid off or relocated 100-people up here at the power plant. That's 100-people who aren't here any more," said Richard Waters of Beverly.

Someone else who we spoke with lives two miles from the plant. She says she supports regulations. Partly, because she's constantly cleaning soot off her property. She thinks it's coming from the plant.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
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