Archive for March, 2012

‘This EPA is Fully Engaging in a War on Coal’

That’s what Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said after the EPA issued new rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fueled power plants. Manchin points out that this and other new EPA regulations essentially force utilities to fuel switch, which only harms our economy:

This approach relies totally on cheap natural gas and we’ve seen that bubble burst before. It might sound good now, but what happens if those prices go up? Your average hardworking families and manufacturers will be left holding the bag of uncertainty – either in the prices they pay or in the reliability of our electrical system … This is what happens when this country doesn’t have a true all-of-the-above energy approach. Instead of trying to completely eliminate coal in the long-term, the EPA should be trying to work with industry.

Manchin’s colleague on the other side of the aisle, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) notes who exactly would be affected by these new regulations:

The last thing we need at this critical stage of economic recovery is to have President Obama pushing more regulations that drive up costs and threaten even more jobs … Our energy focus should be on dealing with our strategic oil vulnerability that contributes to high gasoline prices and weakens our national security … the emissions regulations that the Obama Administration is implementing and other regulations it is considering, will affect every corner of our economy, from big utilities to family farmers, and every Hoosier rate payer.

The experts agree. The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council argues that these new EPA regulations are in direct contrast to President Obama’s rhetoric on energy policy:

[W]e believe that the proposal is short-sighted and marks a real departure from the Administration’s goal of an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy.  The rule would effectively ban the future of almost half of our current electric portfolio … The GHG rule must be placed in the context of many other rules – such as the air toxics rule, the visibility rule, and the interstate rule – that have the effect of increasing the price of energy for consumers by double digits in some areas, and have the effect of making industry less competitive and destroying jobs as each plant closes.

Watch this video to learn more about how new EPA regulations will affect towns across America.

Energy Regulations vs. Reality

Last week, we wrote about the impact new EPA regulations like Utility MACT could have on Avon Lake, Ohio. It’s a small town in the state, but the closing of a generating facility there could potentially cost the community $4 million each year—an 11 percent reduction in the town’s education budget.

Due to shuttering facilities, severe budget cuts are something that communities across the country may soon have to face.

Meanwhile, as the EPA proposes new regulations that could cause coal-fueled plants into early retirement, President Obama continues to tout an “all-of-the-above” energy policy. These regulations threaten the stable, affordable power provided by coal-fueled plants, as well as the jobs of hard working Americans.

See President Obama’s energy ideas contrasted with the reality of towns like Avon Lake in the short video below.

EPA regulations have already caused the announced closure of more than 140 electricity generating units, and the jobs that go with them. Retweet this to your friends:

RT and tell @: New regulations will destroy jobs & drive up energy prices
America's Power

New EPA Regulations are the Latest Attempt to Shutter America’s Coal Industry

ACCCE Responds to EPA’s New Source Performance Standards

WASHINGTON – The following statement was released today by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity President and CEO Steve Miller in response to the EPA’s proposed New Source Performance Standards for greenhouse gas emissions:

“Unfortunately, the EPA continues to ignore the real impact their rules will have on American families and businesses by driving up energy prices and destroying jobs.

“This is another, in a series of new regulations, written by EPA to prevent the U.S. from taking advantage of our vast coal resources that are responsible for providing affordable electricity for America’s families and businesses.   This latest rule will make it impossible to build any new coal-fueled power plants, and could cause the premature closure of many more coal-fueled power plants operating today.

“So far, other EPA regulations are responsible for the announced closure of more than 140 electricity generating units in 19 states.  The regulation EPA proposed today could raise the number of closures even higher and put more workers out of jobs.

“Rarely is there bipartisan agreement in Washington, D.C., but there is on this issue.  This was evident when a bipartisan majority of U.S. House of Representatives recently wrote to President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget urging them to stop this economically-damaging rule.”

Last month, 221 Democrat and Republican Members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget explaining that new  GHG standards for coal-fueled power plants would force a transition to undeveloped technologies and send thousands of U.S. jobs overseas. To see the full letter, please click here.

Simply Said, ‘Coal is Good’

One of the exciting parts of an election year is getting out on the road. In the last few weeks, we’ve been out in Illinois and Ohio at Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney rallies, Vice President Biden’s speech in Toledo and a handful of other events. We’ve heard candidates discussing a number of issues, including energy and jobs.

In the video below, hear Governor Romney discuss why coal is an essential part of a strong American energy portfolio. Romney says it simply: “Coal is good.”

Not only do we get a chance to interact with potential presidential candidates, our field team gets to sit down and talk with Americans invested in the outcome of elections on the local, state and national level. Along the way, we’ve been able to visit with Americans who want to send an important message to elected officials: Coal = Jobs.

To check out more of our trip, visit our photo album on Facebook. While you’re there, Like our page to stay up-to-date with our travels.

Avon Lake, Ohio and the Consequences of New EPA Rules

Yesterday, the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs sent a memo to all agencies asking them to “take active steps to take account of the cumulative effects of new and existing rules and to identify opportunities to harmonize and streamline multiple rules” because of special challenges it can create for job creators.

Unfortunately, the EPA ignored the cumulative effects of its recently finalized Utility MACT rule and other new and proposed regulations that would lead to 183,000 jobs lost per year and electricity price increases of up to 19 percent. And many of the victims of EPA’s decision to ignore these negative consequences are in towns where coal-fueled power plants targeted by these regulations are being forced to shut down.

At a Senate subcommittee hearing on the Utility MACT rule yesterday, Robert James, a member of the Avon Lake (Ohio) City Council, talked about the consequences from the closure of the town’s coal-fueled power plant in 2015 due to “rising costs associated with EPA’s regulations”:

In present dollars, closure of the Avon Lake generating facility will cost the City of Avon Lake over $77,000 in income taxes, and at least $268,000 in property taxes per year …

[A] sizeable portion of the property taxes collected is used to fund Avon Lake paramedics and emergency medical services. The loss of nearly $50,000 annually from the EMS budget, which is the amount that would be lost from the closure, would reduce the EMS operating budget by half …

The potential loss of nearly $4 million dollars each year would have an unimaginable effect on Avon Lake’s schools. Based on fiscal year 2011 revenue of $35,997,561, a loss of $3.9 million equates to an 11% reduction.

James also points out that Avon Lake isn’t the only town that will fall victim to the EPA’s new regulations:

In Ohio alone, nine other power plants have announced that they will close … This represents a loss of 5,870 megawatts in just Ohio. Additional losses will be felt outside of Ohio, including Glen Lyn, Virginia; Muskegon, Michigan; and Upper Mount Bethel Township, Pennsylvania. In each of these communities, and all the other locations where plants are closing, it will be harder to pay for the schools, hospitals, and basic services that keep communities vibrant and healthy.

As our President and CEO Steve Miller pointed out yesterday, the closure of these plants “that provide good jobs and tax dollars to local communities is counterproductive to our national goal of reducing unemployment and helping our economy recover.”

ACCCE Urges Close Look at EPA’s Expensive, Job Destroying Regulation

Hearing draws attention to EPA’s Utility MACT regulation as a contributing factor in coal plant closings

WASHINGTON – As the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety holds a hearing to review EPA’s Utility MACT rule, President and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity Steve Miller released the following statement:

“The EPA’s heavy-handed regulations are forcing coal plants across the country to close, which will result in job losses, higher electricity prices and a less reliable electric grid.  In many communities, shuttering these plants will also result in fewer local tax dollars, hurting schools and other public services.

“Recently finalized EPA rules and regulations, including EPA’s Utility MACT rule, are a contributing factor in the announced closure of more than 140 coal units in 20 states.  Closing these plants that provide good jobs and tax dollars to local communities is counterproductive to our national goal of reducing unemployment and helping our economy recover.

“We urge the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety to take a serious look at how EPA’s heavy-handed agenda is hurting our families, communities, and businesses with higher energy costs and job losses.”

Congress Taking a Look at Multi-Billion Dollar Regulations

Today, a Senate subcommittee is meeting to discuss the Utility MACT rule which remains the most expensive regulation ever enacted on coal-fueled plants. In December, workers across the country were concerned about the implications of these new regulations. Jobs could be lost and electricity rates could increase as a result of this regulation.

When talking to friends, family and elected officials about energy, here are five quick facts to keep in mind about this detrimental rule:

  • Utility MACT is expensive. This is the most expensive rule the EPA has ever written for coal-fueled power plants.
  • Utility MACT ignores current investment. Almost $100 billion has already been invested to significantly reduce emissions without new EPA rules. By 2015, $125 billion will be invested to reduce emissions.
  • The EPA has ignored the negative effects of Utility MACT. In its rush to enact this regulation, the EPA has said that job losses due to high energy prices were not considered. The agency doesn’t fully know or understand the effects of this rule.
  • Utility MACT is harmful to the national economy. Along with other new EPA regulations, Utility MACT will cost the country 183,000 jobs annually.
  • Utility MACT is hard on states. States with both Democratic and Republican governors are concerned that the EPA is not considering how increasing electricity rates and threatening reliability would impact each state’s economy.

These five facts are just as real today as they were in December. The EPA needs to take a step back and fully assess the effects of this rule, and give power plants and utilities reasonable time to comply with new regulations.

If you were one of the thousands who spoke up against these regulations last year, we thank you. But as Congress takes a closer look at them again today, speak out and tell them what you think.

RT & tell Congress: Affordable energy being threatened by Utility MACT regs
America's Power

Costly Fuel Switching Isn’t the Answer

Under newly proposed EPA regulations, America’s power plants may be forced to replace their use of stable, affordable coal with less reliable and potentially more expensive sources of fuel. This idea of “fuel switching” is detrimental to the nation’s energy portfolio and economic security.

There’s more to fuel switching than simply replacing one fuel source with another. There are serious economic consequences to fuel switching policies that would impact hard-working Americans across the country.

  • Electricity rates will increase for families and small businesses. If power plants are forced to switch from a low-cost fuel to a fluctuating, high-cost fuel, American families will feel this strain on their budget. As we’ve said, states that use more coal to generate electricity have lower electricity rates. According to a recent study, new EPA regulations could raise rates by as much as 19 percent in parts of the country.
  • Jobs will be lost. Small business owners who depend on affordable electricity may not be able to handle an additional financial burden. Take Olivia Albright, a small business owner in Ohio who would have to let employees go if electricity became too expensive. New EPA regulations could lead to 1.65 million jobs lost by 2020.
  • Electricity could become less reliable. America’s abundant natural resources have built a strong energy portfolio. Baseload and peaking power work to meet the needs of the country on a daily basis. Replacing our most abundant energy resource – coal – with more costly alternatives creates instability, making electricity less reliable.

America’s energy security is closely linked with our access to domestic energy sources. The U.S. has more coal reserves than any other country in the world—enough to last nearly 250 years. Failing to utilize this natural resource puts affordable electricity, jobs and reliability at risk.