By Mike Duncan, President and CEO of ACCCE
We can all agree that Russell Train was a valuable asset to our country and our environment. The one big difference between Mr. Train’s time as EPA Administrator and the current EPA administration is that Mr. Train never thought of interested stakeholders, whether industry officials or environmentalists, as adversaries.
We all want clean air, clean water and less pollution in our cities. That is why, beyond providing affordable and reliable electricity, the coal industry has been working to see that coal is used in an increasingly clean manner. From the time of the Nixon Administration through today, the coal-fired power industry has been making continuous progress on clean coal technologies. Coal-fueled power plants have spent nearly $100 billion dollars since 1970 in an effort to reduce emissions. Their efforts continue to produce results as emissions of major pollutants from coal-fueled power plants are over 85 percent less.
And, going forward, the industry will continue to invest in clean coal technologies to reduce emissions. In fact, the coal industry already plans to spend another $100 billion this decade to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Unfortunately, coal’s critics continue to offer Americans a false choice. Led by the EPA and extreme environmentalist groups, they ignore the progress made in clean coal technology, instead pursuing coal’s demise no matter the collateral damage it causes in terms of lost jobs, more expensive electricity, and fewer energy options.
All across the U.S., coal units are scheduled to be shut down, due, at least in part, to federal EPA regulations. A new analysis released by ACCCE shows that 204 units are scheduled to be closed across 25 states, representing 31,000 megawatts of electric generating supply. This is the equivalent to shutting down the entire electricity supply of Ohio. Another comprehensive analysis done for ACCCE by National Economic Research Associates found that just four of EPA’s rules could destroy more than 180,000 jobs per year and increase electricity prices by as much as 19 percent in some areas of the U.S.
These federal EPA regulations are hurting U.S. competitiveness and creating a diminishing return on the investments made in clean coal technologies. The “Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012” is a way for Congress to protect our communities and our economy from the federal EPA’s unreasonable rules and regulations.