Archive for 2011

See Coal Across the Country on America’s Power Tour

With 2011 coming to a close, it’s time to look back to the many places and people we visited this year. Over the year, the America’s Power Tour really showed us how coal and the people who produce coal-based electricity keep America strong.

Along the way, we spoke to many small business owners and elected officials who understand the need for the reliable and affordable electricity that coal provides.

  • Lindenwood University, St. Charles, Missouri: At Lindenwood, we spoke to Senior Economic Fellow Kenneth Chilton about the economic impacts of proposed EPA regulations, and discussed the close relationship between the environment and energy.

  • Kirkwood Inn, Kirkwood, Missouri: In Kirkwood, we met Cynthia Brasseur, Best Western general manager. She told us about the impact that increased electricity rates would have on businesses in the Missouri tourism industry.

  • Orrville, Ohio: Home to Smucker’s, Orville is also home to its own coal-fueled plant. Mayor David Handwerk discussed the importance of stable electricity rates in the town.

Visit the America’s Power to watch more videos, see photos and learn more about our trips around the country.

EPA Finalizes New Rule That Will Hurt American Economy

WASHINGTON – Late last week, EPA finalized the Utility MACT (“Maximum Achievable Control Technology”) rule for coal-fueled power plants.  In response, President and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, Steve Miller, released the following statement:

“The EPA is out of touch with the hard reality facing American families and businesses.  This latest rule will destroy jobs, raise the cost of energy and could even make electricity less reliable.

“Coal helps make electricity affordable for families and businesses.   Unfortunately, this new rule is likely to be the most expensive rule ever imposed on coal-fueled power plants which are responsible for providing affordable electricity.  We will study the new rule carefully.  If this final rule is as bad as the one EPA proposed earlier, Congress will need to step in.  People’s jobs, their family budgets and their access to affordable electricity are at stake.”

An analysis for ACCCE by National Economic Research Associates (NERA) found that the proposed Utility MACT rule and other pending EPA regulations would destroy an average of 183,000 jobs every year from 2012- 2020 and increase electricity and other energy prices by $170 billion. The NERA analysis also found that the average American household would have $270 less to spend each year because of new EPA regulations.  According to EPA’s own analysis, the Utility MACT regulation could cost more than $100 billion.

The Time to Speak Up on Utility MACT is Now

The time is now. It’s time to speak up and tell the EPA to slow down on their proposed Utility MACT rule.

Tomorrow, the EPA expected to rush through and finalize this rule which, if enacted with other regulations, will cost 1.65 million jobs through 2020. Electricity producers would lose $21 billion annually from 2012 to 2020. Utility MACT alone is the most expensive rule ever written for power plants.

The EPA has been in such a rush, as described in a recent article in Politico Pro [subscription required], that they “may have discounted Energy Department concerns about how its … rule for power plants could affect power grid reliability,” according to emails from experts at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

It’s clear that, on top of the damages it will cause, the total impact of these regulations are not fully understood—something that the EPA has already admitted.

Below is a letter we wrote to President Obama telling him to stop the EPA. The time is now: tell your legislator about Utility MACT.

Time is Running Out: ‘Congress Must Step In’

It’s only two days until the EPA is scheduled to finalize the Utility MACT rule, and legislators are speaking up and telling the EPA to slow down. Make sure your legislator joins in.

In addition to costing the country 1.65 million jobs between 2012-2020, the Utility MACT rule and other proposed EPA regulations could hamper reliability and cause electricity rates to increase—forcing Americans to make cutbacks during this recovery.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) reiterated her concerns earlier this week about proposed EPA regulations like the Utility MACT rule and the damage they will have on America’s power:

We all want cleaner air, but regulators must go about it in a way that does not disrupt the grid or result in higher utility bills for Americans…Expecting the EPA and FERC to do their respective jobs before the administration imposes new restrictions that would diminish the reliability of our nation’s power supply is not too much to ask…Given the reckless pace at which the EPA is advancing new rules, it is clear Congress must step in.

Sen. Murkowski is right: Congress must step in. Let your legislator know you’re counting on them.

The Full Story on Proposed EPA Rules

If you’ve heard that proposed EPA regulations like Utility MACT will create jobs, you haven’t heard the half of it.

In fact, you’ve heard only one quarter of the story. Coming EPA regulations will create some jobs in the industry, such as installing pollution controls on power plants. But for each one of these jobs created, at least three will be lost.

Even accounting for jobs gained, proposed regulations will lead to 183,000 net jobs lost annually.

There’s still time to act. Write your legislator today and let them know that you’re opposed to EPA regulations threatening America’s recovery.

These regulations are a preventable threat to America’s recovery. Not only will 1.65 million jobs be lost in the next few years, electricity costs could increase by double digits in parts of the country as nearly 39.1 gigawatts of coal-fueled power plants are forced into premature retirement.

It’s time to ACT on MACT.

EPA Set to Finalize Expensive and Job Destroying New Regulation

ACCCE Runs Open Letter to the President in Nationwide Newspapers

Alexandria, Va. – The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity is running an open letter in newspapers across the country this week urging President Obama to consider the severe economic impacts of EPA’s Utility MACT rule, which is expected to be finalized this week. The letter, which is running in national, regional and Capitol Hill newspapers, asks the President to fix the proposed rule because the EPA doesn’t have to destroy jobs, unnecessarily increase energy prices, and jeopardize electric reliability to make the air cleaner.

“EPA’s proposal would kick the economy when it’s down,” said Evan Tracey, senior vice president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.  “Utility MACT is the most expensive rule ever written for power plants and will make it even more difficult for families, businesses and industry to recover in these rough economic times. The EPA’s heavy-handed Utility MACT rule must be fixed by the President before our hope of economic recovery is dimmed further.  If the President won’t fix the rule, we hope Congress will step in and pass legislation that achieves environmental results without wrecking the economy.”

To read the full letter from ACCCE to President Obama, please click here. The points include:

  • This is the most expensive rule ever written for power plants. According to the EPA’s own analysis, this one regulation could cost as much as $130 billion.  This is more than the utility industry has spent over the past four decades to comply with all of EPA’s other rules.
  • An analysis by the National Economic Research Associates of the Utility MACT and other pending EPA regulations projects that 183,000 jobs per year could be destroyed, and energy prices could increase by $170 billion.
  • Democrat and Republican public officials, labor unions, organizations and businesses have expressed their concerns about the economic damage Utility MACT and other EPA rules could cause.
  • The EPA and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have been told by over 50 public officials, individual states, and experts that electric reliability could be in jeopardy – the first time such widespread reliability concerns have ever been raised about EPA regulations.

Wall Street Journal Weighs In: Could New EPA Rules Impact Our Power?

There’s no doubt that proposed EPA regulations will cost Americans both jobs and money. That’s why it’s important to tell your legislators to speak up.

But how can a handful of regulations have such a large impact? These proposed regulations could force a number of coal-fueled power plants into early retirement. Some have suggested fuel switching, but without the same amount of coal providing a strong baseload power supply, the nation’s power grid could be strained.

In a recent piece, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board makes a clear comparison to describe why these regulations will be damaging:

The latest body to sound the EPA alarm is the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), which last Tuesday released its exhaustive annual 10-year projections. “Environmental regulations are shown to be the number one risk to reliability over the next one to five years,” the report explains … According to the report “the nation’s power grid will be stressed in ways never before experienced” and reliability depends on building new power plants to cover the losses. But the electric industry has only three years to comply under one EPA regulation known as the utility rule that is meant to target mercury and is due to be finalized soon, while many other destructive rules are in the works. Replacing power is not like replacing a lost cellphone. There are bottlenecks in permitting, engineering, financing and building a new plant and then tying it to the electricity network.

Proposed EPA regulations could force utilities to take plants off the power grid for long periods of time, which could sacrifice reliability and continued affordable electricity rates.

That’s why the EPA needs to slow down, and fully understand these regulations before they’re enacted. Let your elected official know, before it’s too late.

Utility MACT: Threatening Our Jobs and Affordable Electricity

There are only 10 days to go until the EPA is scheduled to finalize the most expensive rule it has ever written for coal-fueled power plants, the Utility MACT rule. It’s time to let our elected officials know what the impacts of this rule are before our economic recovery is damaged.

Many local elected officials, like the assistant Democrat leader in the Ohio House of Representatives, Rep. Matthew A. Szollosi (49th District – Toledo), are worried about what would happen if new EPA regulations like the Utility MACT rule significantly decreased the amount of coal used for power generation in the Buckeye State. Here’s what Rep. Szollosi wrote in a letter to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:

New EPA regulations such as the Utility MACT are expected to greatly reduce the amount of coal-fired electricity generation available on the power grid …This could have a very negative impact on the hardworking men and women who operate, maintain and upgrade coal-fired power plants…It is imperative that Congress and the administration work together to pursue common-sense rules and regulations that will protect our environment while also fostering economic development and job creation.

Szollosi also notes that job creators need to know if they can rely on affordable electricity to run their businesses, something that rules like the proposed Utility MACT could threaten:

It is vital our industries and employers know where and how they are getting affordable energy to power their facilities and to keep Americans working. Small businesses and homeowners need certainty as well that they are receiving the most cost-efficient form of energy available in the market.

Our elected officials in Washington need to tell the EPA to slow down. Make sure your elected official does just that.