The House Subcommittee on Energy and Power is holding a field hearing in Abingdon, Virginia to examine the impact of the EPA’s New Source Performance Standards for greenhouse gas emissions. This costly regulation would require new coal plants to meet emissions standards equivalent to natural gas fueled power plants. This will be costly for customers, but more importantly, these regulations are already costing our fragile economy. As Paul H. Vining, the president of Alpha Natural Resources, testified today regarding new regulations:
What we are experiencing a war on affordable electricity, a significant building block for American prosperity, and it will be American consumers, small businesses, and an already struggling domestic manufacturing sector that will pay the price in the years ahead.
It is tough not to agree. This weekend, the president visited Virginia, a state with many coal jobs, and despite his “all-of-the-above” energy platform, hedid not mention coal. And today, he is heading to Ohio, a state that gets 78 percent of its power from coal-fueled electricity. That helps keep electricity prices low for families, allowing them to spend money on other necessities.
As John N. Voyles, Jr., a vice president for Louisville Gas & Electric and KU Energy, said about the proposed new regulation:
A standard requiring each existing coal-fired unit to achieve CO2 reductions equivalent to a gas-fired unit would likely result in shutdown of virtually all coal-fired units in the nation. Such a result would wreak havoc with the nation’s energy supply in terms of both cost and reliability. In the state of Kentucky, and other Midwest states, where customers obtain more than 90% of their electricity supply from coal-fired generation, the outcome would be disastrous to the economies of those states.
For families that are on a fixed income, these regulations force tough decisions. No family should be forced to decide between paying electricity bills or paying for food. But this is the stark truth about higher electricity costs being forced on Americans. We hope the president hears the tough truths coming out of today’s field hearing, and will speak to the families of Ohio who care deeply about keeping coal as part of the energy mix in order to keep their costs low, and provide for their families.