Posts filed under Latest

The Morning Consult: Ignoring the Economic Benefits of Coal-Based Electricity, President Obama Once Again Chooses Politics over Practicality

This column originally appeared in The Morning Consult.

In the wake of the midterm elections and looking ahead at two years of a lame duck presidency, President Obama is working harder than ever to advance his highly politicized climate agenda, even if it means ignoring the wills of Congress and the American people.

Backed by a small faction of environmentalist elites, the president is determined to pursue his political interests by whatever means necessary. In the last two weeks, that has meant making a questionable climate “deal” with China at the expense of Americans and our economy.

The president’s so-called “deal” with China will put America squarely on the losing end of the arrangement, as U.S. states struggle to meet unrealistic carbon reduction goals by 2025 while China operates as usual until 2030, when they are supposedly going to level-off their emissions. Of course the whole deal is non-binding, and skeptics aren’t sure China will honor their commitment.

One such doubter is the National Bureau of Asian Research which predicts China will continue to prioritize its economic growth over environmental policy and will resist any measure considered “restrictive” to its “conventional growth model,” which involves the use of affordable and reliable coal-fueled electricity.

The National Bureau of Asian Research raises a good point as China has experienced rapid economic development through the use of abundant and affordable coal deposits. The use of coal is bringing electrification to millions of its citizens for the first time as well as supporting its expanding manufacturing sector.

Like China, much of the world will rely on coal-based electricity to lift their citizens out of poverty and grow their economies. While these countries set their sights on a path towards economic growth and development, America will chart a different course – one plagued by lost jobs, soaring energy costs and a weakened manufacturing base.


Americans from Coast to Coast #ThankAMiner

America’s Power recently launched #ThankAMiner, a new initiative that showcases the many reasons Americans are thankful for our nation’s coal miners. We profiled the program in a blog post last week, and since then, we’ve received a flood of submissions from supporters sharing why they #ThankAMiner.

Here are just a few of the messages we’ve received so far:

“I #ThankAMiner – they work very hard each day to allow us to have electricity, heat, and air conditioning. Their job supports many communities, small businesses and millions of ancillary jobs. Our country needs coal… Thank you for what you do!” – Justin T., West Virginia

“The coal industry is…the backbone of America.” – Bob B., Iowa

“For all your hard work, I was able to work in a coal-fired power plant for 36 years. Your commitment to provide us with quality coal allowed [me] to buy a home and put my children through college. THANKS!” – Sue R., Michigan

“Today, I urge you to join me and #ThankAMiner for putting in the long hours and doing the hard work of providing affordable and reliable electricity to the people of Eastern and Southeastern Ohio, and across the United States.” – Congressman Bill Johnson, Ohio

“Thank you to each and every man and woman who goes into the pits or works the strip mines for the hard work you do so that I can enjoy having electricity. I know there are other ways to provide this but none that are as inexpensive as coal.” – Phyllis G., Kentucky

“I thank you and your families for all the days and nights of hard work to bring the coal from the ground so that we can have affordable energy to be able to power our homes and workplaces.” – Carol M., Alabama

“I thank Power River Basin & America’s miners for providing affordable electricity.” Martha A., Wyoming

“Coal miners are tough and hard workers. They put forth every effort to make sure conditions are safe and secure to extract a product that continues to provide necessary energy to keep America and the world working. You are not recognized and thanked enough.” – Dawn R., Pennsylvania

Add your voice to the movement before National Miners Day on Saturday, December 6. Visit ThankAMiner.org to submit your photo and written message sharing why you want to #ThankAMiner.


Thank a Coal Miner this Holiday Season

All too often, we forget where the electricity that powers our lives first begins. For reliable, coal-based electricity, the process of power generation starts in America’s coal mines.

Saturday, December 6 is National Miners Day, and America’s Power is excited to announce a new initiative that showcases the reasons we’re thankful for the hard-working men and women who provide affordable, reliable electricity from coal to communities across the United States. We encourage you to take part in our #ThankAMiner initiative and tell us why you value our nation’s coal miners, just like America’s Power Nationwide Series driver Regan Smith did. As Regan told us, “I am thankful for America’s miners – they work hard each and every day so that we can all keep the lights on.”

ThankAMiner-RSmithD2

Why are you thankful for America’s coal miners? To participate and add your voice to #ThankAMiner, visit www.ThankAMiner.org today.

 


President Obama’s Questionable Climate Deal and Its Impact on the American Economy

Last week, President Obama announced a non-binding agreement with China to reduce carbon emissions, taking yet another action that puts America’s energy and economic future at risk. The so-called “deal” requires deep cuts in America’s carbon emissions by 2025, yet allows China to operate unfettered until 2030, at which time carbon emissions would supposedly level off.

Abundant, reliable, low-cost electricity is the driving force behind a healthy and growing economy. America has experienced this throughout its history, as affordable electricity, largely provided by coal-based generation, fueled widespread economic development. From Silicon Valley’s data centers in the West to the recent manufacturing resurgence in America’s Heartland, low-cost coal power has been a mainstay of support for growing jobs and the economy here at home. Coal currently provides 40 percent of our nation’s electricity and misguided attempts to limit its use only stands to harm millions of consumers and businesses.

On the other hand, China’s economy continues to grow, as the country increasingly looks to coal to provide the affordable power needed to fuel jobs and economic development. With coal powering its future, think of the country’s enormous growth potential between now and 2030 – and then consider the enormous setback America’s economy will face as a result of President Obama’s overzealous activism.

What happens if China violates the agreement with the United States? Well, nothing really. It’s a non-binding agreement after all. But long before 2030 (when we see whether China stayed committed), the United States economy will already have suffered as President Obama and his EPA move full steam ahead with costly regulations that will upend our commercial model for years to come.

Sadly, the president’s climate “deal” with China is yet another example of the administration putting its climate crusade ahead of the American families and businesses that depend on reliable, low-cost electricity. President Obama is leading Americans down a treacherous path, while allowing China to grow and develop for the next decade and beyond. Americans are truly on the losing end of this climate arrangement.

Visit www.KeepAmericasPowerOn.org by December 1 to send a comment to the EPA opposing costly carbon regulations.


Industry Spotlight: Leading the Way in Veteran Employment

This Veterans Day, we were reminded of the incredible sacrifices the men and women in our armed forces have made to keep America safe. After serving their country, many service members seek to transition into the workforce and find fulfilling, quality employment.

The coal, electricity and transportation industries have a long history of hiring veterans. From mining in West Virginia, to hauling coal on America’s railways in the Powder River Basin, to constructing a cutting-edge power facility in Mississippi, these industries have committed to welcoming veterans into their companies and working to leverage the invaluable skills they bring to the table to power America’s energy and economy.

On the heels of Veterans Day, we’re highlighting two of our member companies who lead employers across every industry in military employment: CSX and Southern Company. While each of our members has a history of strong veterans hiring, we’re highlighting two that have recently received well-deserved accolades for their efforts.

CSX

Nearly one-in-five employees of CSX is a veteran, a statistic that is far more than a number for the company. In the words of CEO Michael Ward, CSX is “proud to create an environment that attracts, develops and retains the best and brightest talent – including those with the invaluable experience of serving our country.”

These hard-working men and women apply the leadership and technical skills they learned while in the armed forces to a career with one of the nation’s leading railroad companies. CSX was recently named to DiversityInc’s “Top 10 Companies for Veterans” list for the second consecutive year, as well as G.I. Jobs’ “Top 100 Military Friendly Employers” list.

Southern Company

Just this week, Southern Company was named the highest-ranked utility on the “Top 100 Military Friendly Employers” listing by G.I. Jobs. For eight years running, Southern Company has been named to this list because of its commitment to hiring veterans and supporting organizations like Troops to Energy Jobs.

Ten percent of Southern Company’s workforce is comprised of skilled veterans. What’s more, 20 percent of the new hires at the Kemper County Energy Facility, one of the world’s cleanest and most innovative coal-fueled power plants, have prior military experience. On veteran hiring, president and CEO of Southern Company Services Mark S. Lantrip recently said “these heroes are a natural fit for our company because they bring the characteristics of dedication, commitment to safety, teamwork and excellence in all they do, which align with the utility industry and our company culture.”

Both CSX and Southern Company are consistently recognized for their leadership in military recruitment and on-the-job training because of their sincere, proven commitment to recruiting and retaining veterans. We admire their leadership. But most importantly, we salute every man and woman who has served in America’s armed forces, and we thank them for their service.

 


The Morning Consult: America’s Consumers Will Pay the Price for EPA’s Carbon Regulations

This column originally appeared in The Morning Consult.

The evidence continues to mount against the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, a set of costly and overreaching regulations designed to curtail the use of coal-based electricity here at home. New data confirms that EPA’s proposed rule on existing power plants will force higher energy costs on American consumers and businesses while providing no real global environmental benefit.

A recently released study by NERA Economic Consulting reveals that EPA’s proposal is the most costly environmental regulation ever imposed on the electric power sector. Under the plan, compliance costs could range from $366 billion to $479 billion, with annual costs averaging $41 billion or more, and consumers would be forced to spend $560 billion on ways to cut electricity use. NERA’s analysis also projects double-digit electricity rate increases in 43 states as a result of the plan, with 14 states potentially facing peak-year electricity rate increases exceeding 20 percent. Higher electricity costs will affect all aspects of our economic system, from manufacturing costs to the transportation of goods to the operating expenses of businesses. These increased prices on goods and services will be inflicted on American consumers, impacting households’ budgets and creating a ripple effect throughout the entire economy. Business owners will be forced to choose between paying higher energy bills and creating new jobs, finding themselves less and less competitive here at home and in the global marketplace.

EPA is making its best attempt to control how our country’s electricity is produced, and all of us will suffer as a result. Thanks to previous regulations from EPA – most notably the Mercury Air Toxic Standards rule – more than 350 coal-fueled power plants are set to retire or be converted by 2015. EPA’s Clean Power Plan will only exacerbate this already dangerous situation. According to NERA, coal retirements are projected to increase by at least 45,000 megawatts of power – a number greater than the entire power supply of New England. Since EPA’s proposed regulations essentially ban the construction of new coal-fired plants under section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act, the reduced supply of coal-fired electricity will severely impact the reliability of our electric grid. The strain on our electric grid was readily apparent during last year’s Polar Vortex, when coal-fired plants set for retirement were working at full capacity to meet demand other fuels could not provide.

Across the country, state legislators have expressed opposition to EPA’s approach to setting carbon standards for existing coal-fired power plants. To date, 31 legislative bodies, governors and attorneys general have stood up to the EPA’s overreach through legislation, resolutions or letters directly sent to the administration.

Despite the wide-reaching and detrimental impacts this proposal will have on our economy, job market and electric grid, EPA is determined to continue its regulatory crusade against the coal industry. Sadly, it’s American consumers who will be left footing the bill.


Dale Earnhardt Jr. & America’s Power Have a Message for You: Get Out and Vote

I’m pleased to announce that America’s Power and our longtime partner, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., have joined forces on a new initiative to encourage voter participation in this November’s midterm elections.

Dale Jr. is not only a NASCAR driver – he’s a business owner who understands how policy decisions made in Washington, D.C. and state capitals across the country stand to impact consumers and our broader economy. As Dale Jr. tells us in his new video, “protecting low-cost energy from coal isn’t a partisan issue, and everyone stands to lose if regulations are imposed that increase energy costs for families and businesses.”

Do you know where your candidates stand on important energy issues? Our country’s future is at a critical juncture, and we must elect strong advocates for affordable, reliable electricity powered by coal to keep our energy costs low and our economy on the right track.

America’s energy future is in your hands. Make sure you get out and vote on or before November 4.

 


New Data Confirms Consumers and Businesses Will Bear the Burden of EPA’s Costly Proposed Carbon Regulations

A new study by NERA Economic Consulting exposes the truth about EPA’s proposed carbon regulations for America’s power plants: the price tag of the plan is unlike anything we’ve seen before and American consumers and businesses will be stuck with the tab.

NERA’s analysis confirms the economic costs of EPA’s plan are staggering, and include:

  • Compliance costs totaling $366 billion or more
  • Annual costs for consumers of $41 billion or more
  • Double-digit electricity price increases in 43 states
  • Peak year electricity price increases exceeding 20 percent in 14 states

These costs are especially concerning when compared to other rules imposed by EPA. As proposed, EPA’s carbon regulations will far outpace the costs of compliance for all EPA rules for power plants in 2010 ($7 billion) and the annual cost of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule ($10 billion), which is already responsible for the planned shutdown of a significant portion of the U.S. coal fleet. EPA’s proposal will rapidly increase coal retirements, shuttering 45,000 megawatts or more of coal-based electricity—more than the entire electricity supply of New England. With most of these retirements projected to occur within the next five years, EPA is sending us down a dangerous path towards weakened electric reliability and power outages during critical times.

Despite these significant costs and threats to reliability, EPA’s proposal would have a meaningless effect on global climate change:  atmospheric CO2 concentrations would be reduced by less than one-half of a percent, equating to reductions in global average temperature of less than 2/100th of a degree, and sea level rise would be reduced by 1/100th of an inch—equal to the thickness of three sheets of paper.

Our fears of economic downturn, weakened electric reliability and rising electricity costs for American families and businesses will become an everyday reality if EPA imposes these dangerous and overreaching regulations. Join us and tell EPA that its “all pain, no gain” regulatory agenda must stop. Submit a comment at www.KeepAmericasPowerOn.org today.