The Future of Energy: 2016 Presidential Candidates on Powering America

Posted by Emma Battle at 12:56 pm, July 22, 2015

The pool of individuals vying for the presidency has long since been in the double digits and continued to grow just this week. For the average family, staying informed on the specific stances of the multitude of candidates can be a daunting task. That’s why America’s Power is helping voters cut through the noise through a series of events called “The Road to 2016.”

In a hyper-politicized age, Americans too often only hear about the controversial, hot-button issue of the day. Which is precisely why The Road to 2016 is designed to help citizens learn about the candidates’ views on topics like energy that can too easily be drowned out by incessant loops of the same political soundbite.

Energy issues are critical to the political discourse leading up to November 2016. The future of the coal industry affects the jobs and livelihoods of more than 700,000 people, as well as electricity prices for every American. Families across the country must understand candidates’ stances on the many issues facing the energy sector and the role it plays in ensuring a healthy economy.

Carly FiorinaAmerica’s Power recently hosted presidential candidate and businesswoman Carly Fiorina in Denver, Colorado, as part of The Road to 2016 series. Given the recent onslaught of regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, Fiorina spoke of the impact these rules will have on the American economy. Fiorina in particular addressed the agency’s upcoming carbon regulations, noting: “They’re terrible. Every single one of them ought to be repealed.” She went on to state: “It’s impossible for any single nation acting alone to make any difference at all” when it comes to climate change. If elected president, Fiorina would incentivize companies to invest in clean coal technologies, saying: “The answer to energy is not regulation. It’s innovation.”

In addition to Denver, America’s Power traveled to Des Moines, Iowa in April for an event featuring Governor Bobby Jindal, former Governor Rick Perry and former Senator Rick Santorum. Additional events will be held throughout the year, with the next installment on June 28 in Columbia, South Carolina. In an already inflammatory election cycle, The Road to 2016 is providing a much-needed platform for the American people to hear direct and substantive answers on important energy questions.


A Look at the Paris Climate Talks and the Use of Coal in China and India

Posted by ACCCE at 4:44 pm, July 21, 2015

By Emma Battle and Cedrick Dalluge

Later this year, more than 190 countries will meet in Paris, France with the aim of formalizing a global agreement to address climate change. The talks, known as COP21, will have two main goals: to curb global warming and to provide funding to help countries invest in cleaner technologies. The U.N. believes the first goal will require a cut in global greenhouse gas emissions of 40 to 70 percent by 2050. The second is based on mobilizing $100 billion per year in funding. Paris attendees are likely to arrive, therefore, with high expectations and tight purse strings. While many world leaders originally hoped COP21 would produce a binding international treaty, political tensions and recent conversations point to the potential for looser, unenforceable pledges, particularly from developing countries.

For example, both India and China have been vocal about their focus on empowering their middle classes, developing their infrastructures and growing their economies. Their paths towards this progress are marked by a similar trend: reliance on low-cost, abundant energy – chiefly coal. China has lifted more than 400 million people out of poverty since 1980, arguably the greatest poverty alleviation movement in history. That nation’s reliance on reliable, affordable coal-based electricity has allowed it to rapidly develop its infrastructure and grow its economy. Its neighbor, India, now seeks to follow suit, using coal-based electricity to end widespread energy poverty and empower its growing middle class.

While some negotiators in Paris this November may forget coal’s history as a tool of economic growth, it’s important this overall message does not get lost in translation: coal, one of the planet’s most abundant resources, still serves as a conduit for empowerment. After watching coal help power the growth of other nation’s economies for decades, developing countries around the world seek to do the same.

It will be interesting to watch how the Paris talks play out, given the many different countries in attendance. No matter the debate, we are hopeful pragmatic voices will speak out in favor of an approach that allows continued economic empowerment for all nations through the use of all of our natural resources.


Sharing Your Story on Affordable Power

Posted by Julia Treanor at 12:15 pm, July 15, 2015

In America, affordable power has many different meanings. For our nation as a whole, it means continued economic growth by allowing our factories and businesses to reinvest in operations and create new job opportunities. For the American people, affordable power means more room in household budgets, allowing us to reinvest in our lives and create better opportunities for our families.

Everyone has a story about the role affordable power plays in fueling each and every day. With upcoming regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency threatening America’s access to affordable electricity, it’s time these stories were told.

By visiting www.AmericasPower.org/Share-Your-Story, you can join the movement to protect low-cost electricity by explaining what affordable power means to you. We’ve already heard from hundreds of supporters from across the country. For some, affordable energy means more food on the dinner table each night. For others, it means more money to save for a college education or a much needed family vacation.

Share Your Story

Our partners Regan Smith, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Kelley Earnhardt Miller have even shared their own stories about the role affordable power from coal has played in their family history and lives as small business owners.

The fact of the matter is, money matters and Americans would rather spend it on improving their lives – not on unnecessarily high power bills. By raising your voice about the importance of low-cost electricity from coal, you can help keep your extra dollars right where you want and where they are most needed.

Join the movement and share what affordable power means to you by visiting our site. You may see your story featured on our Facebook page in the near future.


SCOTUS Reins in EPA and Stands Up for Americans with MATS Ruling

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 9:47 am, July 09, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court took an important step in reining in the Environmental Protection Agency’s egregious overreach last week with a 5-4 vote against the agency’s mercury and air toxics standards for power plants. The Court confirmed what numerous experts have been saying all along: the agency failed to adequately consider the costs its rule would impose on Americans.

In fact, EPA’s disregard was so blatant it put forth a rule that added up to $9.6 billion a year in compliance costs, but only $4 to $6 million in direct benefits. The agency claimed it was able to act in spite of this staggering difference because it deemed the regulation “appropriate and necessary.”

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, along with four others, vehemently disagreed. In the majority opinion, Justice Scalia asserted “EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants….It is not rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits.”

Supreme Court

America’s Power, along with millions of other Americans, applauded the U.S. Supreme Court for its ruling. By standing up to this overzealous agency, America’s highest court also stood up for the livelihoods of families and businesses put at risk by EPA’s costly agenda.

We hope this ruling proves to EPA that basing regulations on elitist ideology, instead of what is right for the future of America’s energy and economy, truly is irrational.


The Truth Behind EPA’s Energy Policy

Posted by Emma Battle at 12:19 pm, July 07, 2015

When someone criticizes the Environmental Protection Agency, the normal response nowadays is a retort along the lines of, “What did Mother Nature ever do to you?” or “So, you hate puppies and all things good, then?” Yes, I may be exaggerating, but don’t miss my overall point: Americans should feel free, and indeed obligated, to analyze and criticize the actions of federal government agencies. Since our tax dollars fund these massive institutions, it should be expected that we monitor their policies and initiatives, and EPA is no exception.

For the past several years, EPA has targeted domestic energy industries, particularly those producing fossil fuels, under the guise that doing so will significantly thwart climate change and produce a stronger economy. The coal industry in particular has been pinpointed by such EPA policies, which have been cited as a factor in the closure of 62,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity (393 coal units) in 36 states as of June 18. Entire communities have been devastated by these closures, forcing state officials to cope with weakened regional economies and increased unemployment. Hard-working Americans have seen their way of life destroyed for the sake of EPA’s politically fashionable and hastily implemented agenda.

Unfortunately, these irresponsible practices continue to persist in the form of additional, burdensome regulations. What does this trend actually mean for the environment? Will more layoffs, plant shutdowns and intentional economic dilapidation add up to a greener planet? EPA’s proposed carbon regulations, the centerpiece of its climate change program, would reduce sea level rise by a mere 1/100th of an inch – the equivalent of three sheets of paper! From an economic standpoint, the effects are even less inspiring; economic analysis reveals the costs to comply with the plan could total $366 billion, or more, in today’s dollars. Consumers will ultimately foot the bill for these rising costs, which include double-digit electricity price increases in 43 states. Consider the amount of irreversible economic damage these regulations will cause compared to their practically nonexistent environmental achievement and ask yourself, “isn’t there a better way?”

America’s coal industry has undergone vast and impressive improvements to use coal more cleanly and efficiently than ever before. Emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by approximately 90 percent over the period of 1970-2014. Meanwhile, the industry continues to provide jobs to over 700,000 hard-working Americans and pump revenue and ingenuity into our national economy. As America’s most expansive electricity source, coal provides reliable and affordable energy to families and businesses across the country. States benefit as well; those that generate the majority of their electricity from coal pay on average 11 percent less than the national average.

If EPA wants to make a true, lasting difference in the well-being of our national and global environment, stifling entrepreneurship and hindering families is not the right approach. Instead, incentivize existing industries to develop and utilize cleaner technologies. Encourage responsible growth so businesses can more easily contribute to scientific research and innovation. The American people, and their more manageable power bills, will thank you.


Kelley Earnhardt Miller on July 4 and Veterans in the Coal Industry

Posted by Kelley Earnhardt Miller at 1:18 pm, June 30, 2015

In our house, the Fourth of July isn’t just a time for food, family, fun and fireworks. It’s a time to reflect on our nation’s freedom and thank the active duty service men and women, as well as our veterans, who have sacrificed to keep our country safe and secure.

We’re proud to count many active members of the military and veterans as fans of NASCAR and JR Motorsports. We love meeting them and thanking them for their service to our nation.

The coal industry has a tremendous legacy of veteran support too, and is a proud leader in veteran employment. From mining in Kentucky and West Virginia, to hauling coal across America’s railways, to building cutting-edge power generation facilities, the coal industry has always welcomed veterans as valuable employees and leaders.

This Fourth of July, the teams at JR Motorsports and America’s Power thank the members of our armed forces both here in the U.S. and stationed abroad. We know that without you we wouldn’t be celebrating this holiday weekend – or any weekend – under the blanket of freedom we all appreciate.

Have a Happy Independence Day, America.


Political Theater vs Stark Reality

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 10:10 am, June 25, 2015

Two years ago, President Obama stood outside on a typical, swampy summer day in D.C. to announce the launch of his Climate Action Plan. Giving the speech outdoors, where the White House knew those in the audience and media would soon be drenched in sweat, demonstrated the dramatic showmanship the President is willing to go to peddle his climate crusade to the American people.

Unfortunately for millions of American families the president’s agenda isn’t just theater but an all-out quest to curtail the use of coal-based electricity, which currently provides nearly 40 percent of America’s power.  No one is sure where his quest will ultimately end, but we know the result if it isn’t halted – less reliable, more expensive energy.

As energy costs go up and already struggling families attempt to navigate which bills to pay to keep the lights on or whether they can afford their favorite Chinese takeout, the reality of the President’s message to them will kick in: You Choose – #LightsOrLoMein.

To underscore this stark reality we developed and delivered fortune cookies to reporters and others that predict the “mis-fortunes” associated with the President’s plan:

  • Pay electric or grocery bill? Tough choices ahead for families.
  • Take meds or . . . Keep the lights on?
  • As temps rise, so will your electricity bills.
  • Keep the lights on or go to sleep hungry?
  • Eat the cost of electricity or eat dinner?
  • Family pocketbooks will shrink as power bills rise.

For nearly half of American households who on average are living on just $1,900 a month and spending 17 percent of their income on energy these aren’t just kitschy phrases, but rather a tragic reality. Too many of them are already missing meals or skipping needed healthcare as a result of high energy bills, we can only imagine how much harder their lives will be if the President’s vision becomes reality.

We hope the president understands the impossible choices his policies will force on American families. He should do the right thing by calling a halt to his politicized agenda so that families can indulge in Lo Mein with the lights on.


Kelley Earnhardt Miller on Sharing Your Story: What Does Affordable Power Mean to You?

Posted by Kelley Earnhardt Miller at 3:45 pm, June 23, 2015

From schools to hospitals to homes, affordable energy is critical to communities from coast to coast. Through our work with America’s Power, the JR Motorsports team has gained a deep appreciation for low-cost, coal-based electricity, and we’ve given a lot of thought to how this issue touches each of our lives. As business owners, Dale Jr. and I are more aware of the importance of affordable energy from coal to keep our costs low and expenses in check. For Regan, whose grandfather sold coal in upstate New York, the subject is even more personal; the coal industry actually provided his family’s livelihood.

Every person has a unique story about how affordable power impacts his or her family and community. This is the basis for America’s Power’s Share Your Story initiative, which encourages supporters to speak about what low-cost electricity means to them. As a mom, I related to Pam M. from Kentucky, who said “Coal means food on the table, a roof over our head and keeping our energy bills lower.”

Hundreds of people from across the country have already shared their story. While the responses are all unique, they reveal a common message: we must protect coal-based electricity and support the people who work hard to keep the lights on in our homes and communities.

So, what does affordable power mean to you? Join Dale Jr., Regan and me, as well as hundreds of other supporters from across the country, and share your story with us.

Visit www.AmericasPower.org/Share-Your-Story to take part today.