Archive for October, 2011

MACT Fact #1: Utility MACT is Expensive

By mid-December, the EPA is planning to enact the Utility MACT rule, which would place unnecessary burden on America’s economic recovery. This week, Behind the Plug will feature five facts about the Utility MACT rule that show the EPA needs to slow down and assess these regulations before they’re enacted. Share this post on Facebook by clicking “Like” above.

The EPA’s proposed Utility MACT rule is, simply put, the most expensive rule that EPA has ever written for coal-fueled power plants.

By the EPA’s own analysis, Utility MACT will cost $11.4 billion in 2015—making it more expensive than the Acid Rain Program from 1990, which cost $3.75 billion in 2010, and the 2005 Clean Air Interstate Rule, with a cost of $4.6 billion in 2015.

Together with three other EPA regulations, National Economic Research Associates found, the Utility MACT Rule would cost electricity producers $21 billion annually from 2012 to 2020. Additionally, an average of 183,000 American jobs could be lost per year, and electricity rates could increase by double digits in many regions of the U.S.

America’s economy just can’t afford to be buried by regulations right now.

Share this post with friends and family on Twitter and Facebook using the buttons above. It’s important to spread the word about how damaging the Utility MACT Rule will be for Americans.


The Bottom Line: Coal Keeps America Strong

October is National Energy Awareness Month! The White House created National Energy Awareness Month to reinforce just how important energy is to the United States. To celebrate, Behind the Plug will feature a series about energy in America. Read part 1, part 2 and part 3.

National Energy Awareness Month is coming to a close, and we’ve spent time this month thinking and talking about energy in America. We’ve shared where energy in the U.S. comes from (nearly half from coal), some key terms about energy policy and about how we meet the increasing demand for more electricity using clean coal technologies.

As we’ve said in the past, we need many sources of energy production to meet our country’s growing demand for electricity, but America still relies on coal’s always available baseload power. Coal is able to meet the country’s constant need for electricity and that’s important for places like hospitals and data centers that all rely on the dependable, stable electricity that coal provides.

The U.S. has more coal reserves than any other country in the world—nearly 272 billion tons of coal. The country uses about 1.1 billion tons annually, and at this rate, America’s coal reserves will last nearly 250 years. The future of American electricity is bright with coal.

Throughout the other months of the year, when you’re waiting for your coffee to brew or warming up by a heater, keep in mind where the majority of our electricity comes from: America gets more electricity from coal than from any other source.

But Energy Awareness Month is not over yet! Let your friends know with a tweet: Coal Keeps America Strong.


What EPA Regulations Mean for Missourians

America’s Power Tour recently took us to Peabody Energy in St. Louis, where we caught up with Morry Davis, the Director of Government Relations for Peabody Energy. Davis spoke with us about the impacts proposed EPA regulations would have on Missourians, and described the balance between the recovering economy and the environment.

With more than 80 percent of its electricity coming from coal, Missouri would be heavily impacted by proposed EPA regulations. If these regulations are enacted, Missouri could lose 76,000 jobs, and electricity rates could increase by 23.1 percent, according to a study from the National Economic Research Associates.

“Primarily people want to see job creation…they’re also concerned about the environment, but everything has to be in balance,” says Davis.

The EPA has not assessed the impact that all of these regulations would have on small businesses and families across the country. And those are exactly who will be impacted the most in Missouri – the families and small businesses.

“Economic recovery is a primary issue, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of environmental progress. There’s ways to do both, you just have to have well crafted policies,” says Davis. “[People are] asking elected officials as well as EPA and the current administration to take that into account when trying to put these rules into place.”

If you’re concerned about regulations’ effect on Missouri, join Energy for Missouri Jobs.


Speaking Up About EPA Regulations

Across the country, Americans are speaking up and telling the EPA to slow down on regulations that could destroy jobs.

In a guest editorial for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hugh McVey, the President of the Missouri AFL-CIO and Dan Mehan, the president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce—one on behalf of local unions and one on behalf of local businesses—describe the impact these regulations would have on small businesses and working Missourians:

Even if the national and state economies were in better shape, such an extensive series of rulemaking would challenge utility decision makers and power plant operators…In a time of great economic uncertainty, this could burden Missouri workers, businesses and families with job losses and energy price increases that we cannot afford. – McVey & Mehan

In a recent piece published by the Columbus Dispatch, Kevin Schmidt, who works with the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, agrees that before regulations are put into place, a complete assessment of their impacts needs to be completed. For example, EPA regulations could end up costing Ohio 53,000 jobs—something the Buckeye State just can’t afford.

We all also want a brighter economic future for all Ohioans. The fact is, we can have both a healthier environment and a stronger economy with the sound public policies and prudent business investments that will be fostered by balanced regulations… Ohio manufacturers, businesses and families are depending on our leaders in Washington to take common-sense action on this critical policy front. – Schmidt

Losing good paying jobs can be devastating to an entire region, and unfortunately that’s a scenario that many hard-working Pennsylvanians have become all too familiar with.   Ed Yankovich, the international vice president of District 2 of the United Mine Workers, told this to the Pittsburgh-Tribune Review just today:

This combination of unrealistic EPA compliance deadlines and unachievable standards is a recipe for economic disaster…There can be little doubt — EPA assurances to the contrary — that tens of thousands of jobs are going to be lost in the utility, coal mining and transportation sectors nationwide…The EPA needs to wake up to the realities working families and small businesses face in this economy. – Yankovich

“Like” or Tweet this post with the buttons above to share with your friends the effects of coming regulations.


From the Mine to Your Power Outlet

October is National Energy Awareness Month! The White House created National Energy Awareness Month two years ago to reinforce just how important energy is to the United States. To celebrate, Behind the Plug will feature a series about energy in America. Read part 1 and part 2.

Generating electricity is more than just flipping the “on” switch. The numerous energy sources in America all have different processes from turning raw natural resources into the power used in our homes and businesses.

There are many facets involved in producing electricity from coal; including how it’s mined, shipped, processed and used to turn turbines that ultimately produce reliable baseload power.  Because of  this extensive process used by nearly 600 coal-fueled power plants across the country, the coal industry is able to support 550,000 American jobs.

In a piece from Ohio’s Coshocton Tribune, readers can see just how coal goes from the mine to your power outlets. Check out the Tribune’s full article to read about the coal-power generating process in Ohio, where more than 80 percent of electricity is powered by coal:

From mine to electricity: a closer look at coal


House Passes Bipartisan Coal Ash Bill

Legislation Would Protect Jobs and the Environment

Alexandria, Va. – The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity today commended the U.S. House of Representatives for passing bipartisan legislation that would establish a state-based regulatory framework for management and disposal of coal ash.  The legislation, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act (HR 2273), creates Federally-enforceable standards that can be implemented quickly and flexibly by the states.

“We support this bipartisan legislation because it would establish a sensible program to regulate coal ash and ensure the environment is protected without unnecessary increases in energy costs or putting American jobs in jeopardy,” said Steve Miller, President and CEO of ACCCE.

Coal ash is a byproduct of using coal to generate electricity, and is frequently recycled beneficially into a variety of applications such as additives in concrete, cement, wallboard, and roofing materials.  It is also used to produce road base and fill materials, and in snow and ice control.

According to Miller, “This legislation represents the kind of balanced federal-state partnership that is needed for environmental protection.   On the other hand, EPA is considering regulations for coal-fueled power plants that will raise energy prices, hurt families, and destroy American jobs.”  A recent analysis by National Economic Research Associates (NERA) found that four of EPA’s regulations would cause double-digit electricity price increases in many regions of the country, raise other energy prices, and destroy over 180,000 American jobs annually.  ACCCE continues to urge EPA to develop sensible regulations that protect the economy and jobs, as well as the environment.


Terms You Need to Know About Coal and Energy Policy

October is National Energy Awareness Month! The White House created National Energy Awareness Month two years ago to reinforce just how important energy is to the United States. To celebrate, Behind the Plug will feature a series about energy in America. Read part 1 here.

Energy in America is a much debated topic. What resources are being used and developed, how electricity rates can stay stable and affordable, and what role coal plays in this equation are all questions you might have encountered talking to friends and family about energy.

If you want to get more involved in the discussion about energy and coal’s role in America’s energy portfolio, here are a handful of terms and phrases you should know:

  • Clean Coal Technology (CCT): A hot topic in the country right now is clean energy. Clean coal technologies improve the environmental performance of coal-based electricity plants. These technologies include equipment that increases the operational efficiency of power plants, as well as technology that reduces emissions. From 1970 to 2008, emissions of regulated pollutants have been reduced by more than 80 percent per unit of electricity generated.
  • Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS): This clean coal technology makes possible to reduce emissions to very low levels, as well as capture and safely store carbon dioxide while ensuring affordable electricity is still reliably produced using America’s most abundant resource – coal.

Why are these terms important? The fact is that clean coal technologies help ensure that we will continue to have access to a low-cost reliable source of baseload power while leading America toward a clean energy future. As Janet Gellici, CEO of the American Coal Council, said at yesterday’s House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment hearing on advanced coal technologies:

The U.S. cannot achieve its economic, energy security and environmental objectives without coal and the advancement of clean coal technologies. The benefits of clean coal technology include cleaner air, reduced pollution, increased energy efficiency, support for U.S. manufacturing, increased U.S. exports, enhanced national security and job creation.

Get more involved in the energy debate by following America’s Power on Twitter to see interesting articles, facts and videos about energy in America.


25 States Ask EPA to Delay Costly New Regulation on Coal-Fueled Power Plants

New Regulations Would Increase Electricity Prices & Destroy U.S. Jobs

Alexandria, Va. – Attorneys general representing 24 states, along with the Governor of Iowa, have joined in a bipartisan action to request that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia modify its Consent Decree to extend the November 16, 2011 deadline for promulgating EPA’s new Electric Generating Unit Maximum Achievable Control Technology (EGU MACT) rule by one year.  In response, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity President and CEO Steve Miller released the following statement:

“Key policymakers from 25 states have come to an important, bipartisan conclusion — EPA’s proposed MACT regulations would cause significant harm to their electricity consumers, as well as to the economy of their states and the nation.  In asking the federal court to extend the deadline for EPA to finalize the MACT rule on utilities, 24 state attorneys general and Iowa Governor Branstad were correct when they stated, ‘There can be no doubt that the proposed EGU MACT rule will impose substantial new costs on electric utilities, which will be passed along to their industrial, commercial, and residential consumers.’

“The attorneys general and Governor Branstad put a spotlight on the significant job losses that would result from the EGU MACT and the EPA’s recently adopted Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.  As one part of the rationale for delaying imposition of the EGU MACT, they stated, ‘Such substantial increases in electricity cost and job loss will further hinder efforts to revive our States’ and the Nation’s economy.’

“In their filing with the court, these 25 states referenced initial analysis conducted by National Economic Research Associates (NERA) for ACCCE.  NERA found that the proposed EGU MACT and the final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule would lead to a net loss of more than 1.4 million job years nationwide, along with significant increases in the price of energy.  These rules will be among the most expensive regulations ever written for coal-fueled power plants.

“As we struggle to claw our way out of this deep recession, now is not the time for EPA to implement heavy-handed rules that will cost jobs, increase power costs, and threaten the reliability of our electricity. To aid in the economic recovery, our nation needs to continue relying on affordable, reliable electricity from America’s most abundant domestically-produced fuel: coal.”

The 25 states that joined in seeking a one-year delay in promulgating the EGU MACT were: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, along with Terry E. Branstad, Governor of Iowa, on behalf of the people of Iowa.

To see a full report from NERA about EPA’s damaging regulations, please visit: http://www.americaspower.org/NERA_CATR_MACT_29.pdf