Posts filed under Jobs

Out of Touch at the EPA

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “out of touch.”

Yesterday, speaking to a group of labor advocates, McCarthy predicted that this administration’s environmental regulations on new power plants and the forthcoming regulations for existing plants will create new opportunities for employment.

As she was making her statement, however, Gallup published its Economic Confidence Rankings, which shows major coal states are gravely concerned about their economic future.

The Gallup index, which ranks the 50 states and Washington, D.C. based on their views of  “current U.S. economic conditions and their perceptions of the economy’s direction,” listed West Virginia, Wyoming and Kentucky as three of the four least economically confident states.

These major coal producing states view the EPA’s efforts to regulate coal out of our energy mix as a major threat to their local economies, and with good reason.

“Kentucky and West Virginia, because of the nature of our economies, are going to be hit the hardest,” said Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett.

Bissett went on to note that the opposition to these new regulations in coal producing states isn’t a partisan issue: “Where we’ve lost more than seven thousand direct coal mining jobs… is in our eastern Kentucky coal fields, which is a heavily Democratic area.”

Bissett’s comments stand in strong contrast to the EPA’s McCarthy who has been emphasizing the high level of stakeholder involvement in the lead up to the existing power plant rule.

We’re not sure what McCarthy considers to be a high level of stakeholder involvement or who she thinks important stakeholders are. Clearly, however, they are not the coal communities and families that will be most impacted by EPA’s NSPS regulations as she didn’t even bother to visit them during EPA’s so-called listening tour.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell captured the reality of these regulations perfectly:

“The real tragedy here is that those claiming to be fighting for the poor are not only making things worse in places like Eastern Kentucky, they’re deliberately ignoring the voices of those who live outside their comfortable Beltway cocoon.”


Coal Keeps America Thriving

Yesterday, the EPA held public hearings on its proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new coal and gas-fueled power plants.   EPA’s proposal sets an unattainable standard based on technology that hasn’t been proven on a full-scale power plant making it all but impossible to build any future, technologically advanced coal plants in the United States.

This isn’t the right path forward for American energy policy.

The right path forward includes all of our energy resources, especially our most affordable, reliable, domestic fuel source: coal.

The president says he supports an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy, but in reality his administration is pursuing an “all but one” energy agenda.

We know how important coal-based electricity is to millions of Americans.  Energy from coal helps keep our lights on, our homes warm and our electricity prices affordable.  That’s why yesterday, as the EPA held its hearing, we circled the nation’s capital with a message for the president:

We can’t change policy by ourselves, which is why we need your help.  We’ve launched a campaign to let the EPA know that they must protect American jobs and ensure we all have the affordable, reliable power we need to fuel our lives.

Sign our letter today and tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that you deserve affordable, reliable power.

 


America Can’t Afford to Turn Its’ Back On Coal

Last week it was our pleasure to host Governor Bobby Jindal as a keynote speaker at our annual meeting. Governor Jindal spoke to leaders of our industry, laid out the challenges we face and the role he sees coal playing in our energy future.

In his home state of Louisiana, coal is the second leading electricity generator, accounting for about 1/4 of the electricity production in the state.

Coal isn’t just the second largest source of power in Louisiana, it’s also a major economic driver. The port of New Orleans is now the second highest volume coal port in the U.S.

With coal playing such a large role in the state, it’s no surprise that Gov. Jindal supports coal as a part of our energy mix for years to come.

“Coal will certainly continue to be an important part of our energy economy, and anything we do to inhibit the industry’s ability to continue delivering affordable, reliable electricity is doing harm to us all.”

With leaders like Gov. Jindal supporting our industry, we’ll continue to strive to create cleaner, more efficient technology for generating coal-fueled electricity.

What we won’t do, is sit on the sidelines while the EPA and this administration enact harmful regulations to stifle an industry American families rely on. Gov. Jindal put it best when he said:

“We need Washington D.C. to get out of the way. Let’s reduce energy consumption through efficiency and innovation, not austerity.”

We need you to stand with Gov. Jindal and with America’s Power. Go to www.EPARegsCostJobs.com  and sign our letter to the EPA. Help us protect coal communities.


Seeing is Believing

Jade Davis is the Director of State Affairs and Outreach for The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Last week I had the unique opportunity to bring a group of thought leaders, community activists and elected officials to tour the Kemper County Energy Facility in Kemper County Mississippi.

Representatives from various organizations including The National Policy Alliance, The National Association of Black County Officials, The American Association of Blacks in Energy, The Forrest County NAACP, The Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy, Manufacture Alabama, and the Tennessee Valley Association joined with a representative from Alabama Governor Bentley’s Office and Mississippi State Senators Sampson Jackson II, Kenneth Wayne Jones, Kelvin Butler and Robert Jackson to see first hand how 21st century coal is having a major positive impact on Eastern Mississippi and Western Alabama.

One of the constant challenges we face in the coal industry is the misconception that clean coal isn’t real.  We didn’t want to ask these leaders to believe it without seeing it so we gave them the opportunity to experience our cleaner coal technology in action.  They had a chance to meet the engineers and plant operators who provide cleaner, affordable energy to the region and tour a 21st century coal mine to see how our industry has grown and adapted over the years.

This trip wasn’t just about showing off our technological advances, we wanted to make sure everyone who joined the tour knew about the opportunities cleaner coal offers the community.  Whether it’s creating and supporting jobs, investment opportunities, or providing a backbone for communities to grow and develop, facilities like Kemper help power progress regionally.

For me, this was more than just another work trip.  Though I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, my mother’s family migrated to Ohio from Western Alabama. Being able to see how Kemper has brought good jobs, affordable power and community investment into the region was especially moving to me and sharing that experience with leaders, activists and officials made this trip all the more worthwhile.

At facilities like Kemper, cutting edge technology is being deployed to power our homes, businesses, hospitals and schools.  Clean coal technology is real and it’s a viable way to help communities grow.

It’s my hope that everyone can see how plants like Kemper, employing cutting edge clean coal technologies, can improve quality of life while providing affordable energy.


Thrilled to Be Here

I was fortunate last week to join the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and begin working with our talented team to help fight for jobs and protect American energy consumers.

Right now is a critical time for our industry and for our country.  We need to work with officials in the energy industry and members of both political parties, on the federal level and in the states to protect the jobs in our coal communities and develop an energy agenda that recognizes coal as a critical part of our energy mix.

Our goal is to call for a balanced approach to our energy policies on the national level and in the states.  With potential new regulations from the administration looming, we’re working to ensure that these policies are sensible and not devastating to American workers, consumers and the future of our economy.

If the administration gets their new policies wrong, they could have a lasting and negative impact not just on workers and consumers but also on the great strides the industry has taken to reduce its environmental footprint.

Our industry has built some of the cleanest coal-fueled plants in the world and through our continued investments in new technologies, we’re working every day to produce cleaner, more efficient energy. Because of this innovation and more than $110 billion in industry investments, new coal plants built today can remove more than 90% of emissions.

The coal-based electricity industry supports more than 760,000 jobs and I’m proud to be part of a team fighting to protect those jobs and the people and families who rely on them to make ends meet.

You can be a part of our team too, sign our new petition and stand with us to protect coal jobs.


Just The Beginning

The negative impacts of the EPA’s proposed regulations are already being felt by American workers.

Citing the cost of compliance with current and future regulations, FirstEnergy Corp. announced its plan to decommission two coal-fueled power plants in Pennsylvania: Hatfield’s Ferry Power Station in Masontown and Mitchell Power Station in Courtney.

FirstEnergy Corp. was already working to make these plants cleaner and more efficient – investing nearly $1 billion in environmental controls at Hatfield’s Ferry.

The technology at Hatfield’s Ferry included current supercritical technology and massive scrubber modules on all three units, increasing efficiency and reducing sulfur-dioxide emissions by 98 percent.

The company’s initial estimate is that about 380 plant employees and generation-related positions will be impacted by the need to shutter the plants in the face of onerous regulations.

It’s not just these two plants in Pennsylvania and it won’t just be those 380 American workers. Already, 294 coal unit closures across 33 states have been announced as a result of EPA policies.

For more information about these Coal Unit Shutdowns, check out our most recent research document.


It’s About Jobs

The coal-based electricity industry supports 760,000 jobs in the U.S. and enacting a new energy policy that puts these jobs at risk could have harmful and lasting consequences for our economy and our families.

It would be easy to see this as a partisan issue, to assume that Republicans are lining up to oppose the administration’s efforts and Democrats are standing behind the plan, but that’s not the case.

Last week, Senator Jay Rockefeller(D-WV) expressed his concerns about possible regulations:

I’m deeply concerned that, in it’s current form, there’s not enough emphasis in the President’s plan on the people who are the backbone of our economy and the fabric of our nation.” (Sen. Jay Rockefeller, “Rockefeller Releases Statement On President’s Climate Change Speech,” Press Release, 6/25/13)

Sen. Rockefeller isn’t the only leader concerned that a misguided plan could be damaging to the coal workers who power our economy.

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) also pointed out the potential impact regulations could have on our communities:

We must reduce our carbon usage wisely through regulations that properly phase in new requirements over time and don’t unduly impact communities that rely on coal production.” (Sen. Tim Kaine, “Kaine Statement on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan”, Press Release, 6/25/13)

The wrong policies could have serious impact on American jobs. Risking the 760,000 coal jobs isn’t something we take lightly. As Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said:

It is just so irresponsible. We’re looking for an all-in energy policy that basically secures our nation, makes us less dependent on foreign oil or foreign energy. And we can do that, but we’ve got to use everything we have, in balance with the environment and economy. That’s all we ever said. … They’re declaring war truly on jobs, on American jobs.” (Fox News’ ” Special Report,” 6/25/13)

We need an all-in approach, we need to keep energy reliable and affordable, and we need to protect the jobs of hardworking Americans.


EPA’s Climate Plan Must Consider Impact on Workers and Consumers

In the wake of President Obama’s major climate plan speech last week, Americans everywhere have been wondering what the real cost of his energy agenda will be.

Virginia Attorney General and Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Cuccinelli hit the nail squarely on the head when he said:

“What it really is when it comes to the people, it’s a war on the poor.  That’s what it is.”

Cuccinelli continued: “The loss of opportunity and job creation affects the poorest parts of America and the poorest parts of Virginia the most.

Coinciding with Cuccinelli’s honest assessment of the Administration’s forthcoming policies was a study by from the Heritage Foundation describing the economic impact of the proposed plan.

According to Heritage the President’s plan could result in:

  • Employment falls by more than 500,000 jobs;
  • Manufacturing loses over 280,000 jobs;
  • A family of four’s annual income drops more than $1,000 per year, and its total income drops by $16,500 over the period of analysis;
  • Aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) decreases by $1.47 trillion;
  • Electricity prices rise by 20 percent;
  • Coal-mining jobs drop 43 percent; and
  • Natural gas prices rise 42 percent.

This isn’t just about numbers, regulations, or damaging policy agendas, it’s about real people.   Yesterday on Fox News Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke with two West Virginia coal industry workers about the impact the President’s plan would have on their jobs and their families.

The coal-fueled electricity industry has demonstrated its commitment to the environment by investing more than $100 billion, so far, to produce cleaner electricity, and the industry will invest another $100 billion to reduce its environmental footprint even further over the next 15 years. This is new plan is clearly about the putting politics over good policy, elevating the president’s environmental activist friends before American families and the economy.