Posts filed under ACCCE News

EPA’s Carbon Emissions Rule Missed the Mark for Americans

Yesterday, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy personally announced the long-awaited proposed rule to reduce emissions from America’s existing power plants. This complex rule has a preamble alone of over 600 pages. We are working our way through the text of the regulation, but a few things became clear from the start.

If this rule is allowed to go into effect, the administration for all intents and purposes, is creating America’s next energy crisis. Coal is one of America’s most vital fuel sources, currently providing nearly 40 percent of our nation’s power. It is also far more stable in pricing and supply than other sources. If we turn away from this natural resource now, we will be ill-prepared for America’s energy needs in the coming years. This could lead to rolling brownouts and blackouts, not to mention volatile price spikes for ratepayers year-round.

The expansive, expensive regulatory agenda put forward by EPA has already become a burden for American consumers and our nation’s economy. Contrary to what EPA tells us, it will be costly to our big cities and our small towns, as all communities grapple with less base load power fueling our electricity grid. It will be costly to our low- and middle-income families for whom electricity bills make up a significant amount of their monthly budgets already. They will continue to see those rates rise. And it will be costly to the hundreds of thousands of Americans who will lose their jobs when these regulations go into effect.

Reliable, low-cost power drives America’s economy, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly tied to the power generation industry. The total cost of the cumulative lost jobs and unemployed American workers are a huge price to pay for negligible environmental improvements.  A recent paper released by ACCCE finds that the climate benefits of reducing carbon from America’s coal fleet are negligible. By 2050, eliminating our coal-based power plants would result in only 1% reduction in atmospheric CO2 concentration.

As I said yesterday, President Obama and EPA have chosen political expediency over practical reality as they unveiled energy standards devoid of commonsense. I look forward to weighing in on this proposed rule over the coming months and hope we can craft a final rule that makes far more sense for American than the one that has been proposed.

 


Gearing Up for EPA’s Most Menacing Rule to Date

Monday, June 2nd is the day when EPA has said it will release its proposed regulations for existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. We fear that an overly stringent rule will be proposed that will seek to enact poor policy that fails to prioritize American consumers and businesses.

While Gina McCarthy has been touting EPA’s efforts to receive stakeholder input on the rule, she has entirely neglected the communities that will be hardest hit by EPA’s regulations for coal-based power plants. Even though she promised Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) that she would visit West Virginia—a state that will be hard hit by EPA’s regulations—that has yet to happen.

It is important that EPA listens to communities not just in West Virginia but across the country. Coal provides power generation, jobs and economic development that cross all state lines. Coal-based power is our most abundant, stable form of energy, and it keeps electricity rates low. The costs of reducing our dependence on this domestic resource will be far-reaching, putting our nation’s economy and electric reliability at risk.

Several studies have demonstrated EPA regulations’ potentially profound costs, including a study by ACCCE and a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Our study, conducted with NERA Economic Consulting, revealed that a proposal by the NRDC’s to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plans  will carry a high price tag of 2.85 million lost jobs and $13 to $17 billion in added costs to consumers each year from 2018-2033. Further detailing the problems with the regulations, our newest paper finds that the climate benefits of reducing carbon from the nation’s coal fleet are trivial. For example, eliminating America’s entire coal fleet by 2050 would result in a 1% reduction in atmospheric CO2 concentration, a reduction of 1/20th of a degree in warming and a reduction of 1/25th of an inch in sea level rise – that’s equal to less than a thickness of a dime.

This week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released its study that looked at a suite of EPA regulations including the same NRDC proposal for existing power plants and also demonstrated huge costs to our economy and to consumers. The Chamber’s study found enormous costs, including 224,000 fewer U.S. jobs on average each year and $51 billion decrease in U.S. GDP each year through 2030.

Numbers don’t lie: EPA regulations have already cost our country jobs and economic output, and this 111(d) regulation for existing power plants will do the same. We’re gearing up for Monday’s announcement and will ensure that EPA hears our voice and our supporters’ voices in the coming weeks and months as we stand with America’s most abundant, affordable and reliable power source – coal.

 


New York Times Article Misses the Mark on EPA Regulations

Just under a month ago, The New York Times ran an article by Coral Davenport, “Keystone Pipeline May Be Big, but This Is Bigger,” that missed the biggest thing of all.

Despite six years of study, President Obama has decided to further delay the Keystone pipeline and has, instead, set his sights on carbon regulations. Now, he is hastily jamming through unworkable rules in order to fulfill his political legacy; rules that will cost consumers billions of dollars, threaten U.S. jobs, and weaken the broader economy.

Interestingly in a different article published the same week, the Times reported on the poverty still plaguing Appalachia, citing the decline of the coal industry as one of the principal reasons. Now, Ms. Davenport’s piece reports that Obama’s EPA rules could shut down 600 more coal plants and put nearly 78,000 miners out of work.

What the Times has failed to do is connect the dots. If things are bad now, how much worse will they become when these rules are enacted? And what exactly is the plan to help the people in these impoverished regions, not to mention the millions of Americans who will pay higher energy costs?

The industry has invested $118 billion in new technologies that have reduced emissions more than 90 percent and it will spend another $27 billion through 2016 to reduce emissions even more. But instead of working with the industry for the benefit of all Americans, President Obama is determined to shut out the lights on working-class families.


A common-sense approach to coal

On Friday, The Washington Times published my Opinion Editorial, “A common-sense approach to coal.” As we prepare for the EPA’s pending 111(d) greenhouse gas regulations that will place emissions limits on existing coal-fired power plants, it is critical that we analyze the potential costs to consumers and potential job losses.

ACCCE recently released a detailed economic analysis that critiques the Natural Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) carbon regulation proposal, first put forth by NRDC in December 2012 and updated in March of this year. Unfortunately, their proposal ignored a lot of costs to consumers.

You can read the study by NERA Economic Consulting here and my piece in The Washington Times here.


Win a Chance to Meet Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

How would you like to meet America’s Favorite Driver and 2014 Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr.? We’re excited to announce our new contest where you can sign up with America’s Power and be entered to win a day with Dale Jr. and tickets to the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races in Florida this November, along with other great prizes.

The grand prize is a four-day, three-night trip for two to the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on November 15, 2014 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finale on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. The grand prize winner will have a private meet-and-greet with Earnhardt, Jr. Other great prizes include a race car hood signed by Earnhardt, Jr., a racing tire signed by Earnhardt, Jr., die-cast cars signed by Earnhardt, Jr., and hero cards autographed by JR Motorsports driver Regan Smith.

I’m very excited about this initiative as a continuation of our partnership with Earnhardt, Jr., Regan Smith and the JR Motorsports team. For the third year running, we have teamed up with these talented drivers and their crews. It has been a wonderful collaboration, just take Dale’s word for it:

“Our partnership with America’s Power has enabled us to get the word out about importance of coal as part of our nation’s energy mix, while affording me and Regan the opportunity to meet fans and supporters from across the country, including those who work in the coal industry directly,” Earnhardt, Jr. said. “It’s been a fantastic relationship and a natural pairing since so many NASCAR fans live in areas that depend on affordable energy from coal and I know firsthand as a business owner that low energy costs allow me to continue hiring and growing.”

Entries for the contest must be received no later than Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. For contest entry information, including rules and terms, visit www.AmericasPower.org/meet-dale.

Best of luck to all those who enter our contest – and thanks for supporting America’s Power!

 


New Study Reveals Billions in Costs, Lost Jobs Under NRDC’s Carbon Regulation Proposal

This week, we released a detailed economic analysis of the Natural Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) carbon regulation proposal, first put forth by NRDC in December 2012 and updated last week.

The newest version of NRDC’s proposal ludicrously asserts that its plan to reduce CO2 emissions from existing power plants would carry no costs at all and would actually spur numerous benefits. Worse yet, the NRDC proposal recommends a system-based approach (also known as “outside-the-fence”) that is essentially a cap-and-trade program. Our analysis, performed by leading research firm the National Economic Research Associates (NERA), clearly demonstrates that NRDC left out some critical facts including the $13 to $17 billion-per-year price tag for consumers and the millions of jobs America stands to lose under its proposed policy.

Our economic analysis further projects the NRDC proposal would cost consumers a total of $116 to $151 billion during the period of 2018-2033. And, retail electricity prices would increase by double digit percentages in as many as 29 states.

Over this same time period, net job losses could total as many as 2.85 million. NRDC projects net job gains in the thousands, but only in the years 2016 and 2020.

NRDC also asserts that gas-fired generation would increase by 2 percent. Our economic analysis found that natural gas-fired generation would increase by 8-16 percent to keep up with demand, while rates would simultaneously increase by as much as 16 percent.

The results of our economic analysis reveal that the NRDC proposal is, in fact, all pain with very little gain. And the proposal’s failure to mention the many potential consequences, like cost increases and job losses, suggests that the group is ignoring reality in order to drum up support for its impractical plan. A more reasonable approach to greenhouse gas regulations would offer more flexibility and would focus on measures that can be taken at power plants to reduce their impact, while maintaining dependable, low-cost, coal-based electricity.

Here at America’s Power, we support an “inside-the-fence,” source-based approach that bases emissions reductions on measures taken at existing power plants. This would include many improvements power plants can make to their facilities that improve efficiency, remove emissions and more. Being able to implement measures at individual generating units is a common sense approach to working with utilities and achieving significant emissions reductions and environmental improvements. Let’s work together to craft a solution that works for our consumers and for America’s energy future.

Join us in asking the EPA to set common sense policies and to protect American jobs today.


Another Polar Vortex Highlights the Problems with Over-Reliance on Natural Gas

Milder spring temperatures may be on the horizon, but not before another cold snap sweeps the nation. This winter, we’ve seen what can happen when a polar vortex strikes: consumers are asked to cut back on electricity, our power grids are stretched to the limit and natural gas prices skyrocket. Extreme temperatures have highlighted the problems associated with an over-reliance on any one fuel source, like natural gas, for baseload electricity.

Underscoring these problems, the Washington Post reported this morning that homeowners can expect to see particularly steep natural gas bills this winter. The article reports that a typical gas consumer may see a bill of $388, a 17 percent rate increase from just a year ago.

Despite these recent, real-world examples, the president and his EPA remain unfazed and are proceeding as planned to all but ensure that America doesn’t have the affordable, reliable energy it needs to keep the lights on and businesses running.  Of course, American consumers will ultimately foot the bill for the president’s politically driven—and very costly—energy policy. And, based on recent data, we now know that low- and middle-income families are most vulnerable to increased energy costs, which often force them to choose between keeping their heat on and putting food on their tables.

The simple fact is that coal remains the most reliable, affordable energy source in America. Coal can be stored on-site and held in reserve, unlike natural gas, which is a “just-in-time” fuel that is piped in when needed and is susceptible to roller coaster prices. Using less coal, and instead relying too heavily on resources like natural gas, solar, wind and renewables, could undermine the reliability of our electric grid and threaten volatile price swings and overall higher bills for ratepayers.

It’s encouraging to see that our elected officials on Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the country are recognizing the dire consequences of this administration’s rulemaking—and taking action to stop it. The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing this Thursday, February 27, to discuss American energy successes, as well as electric reliability and grid issues. The hearing is very timely, since temperatures across the country are expected to drop later this week—reinforcing the sobering lessons from this winter’s cold snap.

We’ll be live tweeting from the hearing, so be sure to tune in on Twitter for updates throughout the morning. And while you’re at it, sign our petition and tell EPA that coal must continue to be a part of America’s energy future.

 


Secretary Moniz Lays Out “All-but-One” Energy Strategy

At the National Press Club on Wednesday, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz asserted his commitment to an all-of-the-above energy philosophy. “’All-of-the-above’ is working,” Moniz said. “’All-of-the-above’ is not a slogan, it is a policy and a pathway.” In fact, he repeated this commitment on behalf of DOE and the Obama administration repeatedly throughout the lunch discussion. Moniz walked through successes and challenges involved with every major fuel source in America with one glaring exception: he made no mention of coal, our nation’s most abundant and reliable resource.

Moniz’ speech made it clear that the administration is, indeed, espousing an “all-but-one” philosophy when it comes to energy in practice. Coal was left out of the discussion entirely, even though it is a critical energy source that provides the largest percentage of base load power to America’s electricity grid.

Moniz touted domestic energy production as a recent success for the economy and the energy industry. He was correct when he said this is an exciting time for American energy production, if you consider the great potential we have to fully utilize every one of this nation’s resources. But this can only happen with supportive regulation. Unfortunately, the Obama administration is pursuing unworkable regulations that are jeopardizing our nation’s energy future instead of capitalizing on our abundance. With irrational regulation, we lose all potential for a true “all-of-the-above” strategy that secures our energy portfolio and creates a reliable electricity grid.

Coal is America’s most abundant energy resource. We know how to produce, transmit, store, and utilize it, and we know it well. We can do so affordably and reliably. But Moniz’ omission of coal in his outline of America’s energy industry demonstrates how the Obama administration is turning their back on coal-fired power. Perhaps the most frustrating element of this policy is that it also means turning their back on the hard-working coal miners, power plant workers, and thousands of Americans whose livelihoods and incomes are directly and indirectly tied to the coal industry. If Secretary Moniz and the Obama administration truly agree that an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy is best for our country, they should not forget that coal is a fundamental piece of this portfolio.