Posts filed under In the States

Coal Doesn’t Only Fuel Electricity – Coal Fuels Jobs & Local Economies Across the U.S.

Based on what we’ve seen, it is clear that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking to create a “one-size-fits-all” solution to greenhouse gas regulations. Last September, EPA proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) that place a de facto ban on new coal-fueled power plants. EPA gave no flexibility to states on the rule, prompting a lawsuit from Nebraska and widespread ire from other coal-dependent states. Their outrage stems from the fact that the coal industry fuels thousands of jobs, our affordable electricity, and power plants that invest in their communities. Coal supports more than 800,000 jobs across the country, and the more than 500 power plants in the U.S. sustain communities wherever they are located.

Dozens of states across the U.S. use a large percentage of coal-based power to generate their electricity. In 2013, EIA reported that 31 states generated at least one quarter of their electricity from coal, and 17 of those states generated at least half of their electricity from coal—an increase over 2012. The states that rely on coal are not all from one area, either. The top 10 states for coal-based generation including West Virginia, Missouri, Wyoming, Ohio and New Mexico have diverse economies and are scattered across the U.S. One thing they all have in common is that their electricity rates run below the national average.

Mining, transportation, and power generation employ thousands of Americans. West Virginia employed more than 22,000 miners in 2012. While it may not be surprising that a state like West Virginia is home to many coal miners, what you might not know that mining employs more than 7,000 workers in Wyoming and more than 5,000 in Alabama. According to a recent study in Nebraska, coal power generation and transportation supported 22,844 jobs in the state.

States also offer us great examples of the newest power plant technologies that are lauded on the global stage. If NSPS is enacted, local communities will miss out on new, cutting-edge power plants and the economic growth spurred by their construction.

Arkansas’ John W. Turk Plant has been operating as one of the cleanest, most efficient coal-based power plants in the US. This 600 megawatt “ultra-supercritical” plant uses less coal and produces fewer emissions while still providing affordable base load power to the local grid.

In Mississippi, the Kemper County Energy Facility has brought economic development to the local community through jobs, commerce and tax revenue. When it is complete, this plant will be the cleanest coal-based power plant in America.

States across America are picking up on the fact that the national energy policy put forth by EPA has failed to take into account their specific circumstances. Unfortunately, innovative plants like Kemper County and Turk will be a thing of the past. Other communities will be unable to construct power plants that create job opportunities, economic growth and tax revenue. Jobs will be slashed and states with high levels of coal-generation will be vulnerable to high prices and less reliability.

To support the economic growth and job opportunities coal provides to local communities, visit www.EPARegsCostJobs.com today.


The People “Behind the Plug”

America’s coal industry employs hundreds of thousands of workers in the United States. If you were to trace your electricity all the way from your electrical socket back to the mines that extract the coal, you would encounter a diverse group of skilled workers and learn some interesting facts along the way.

For instance, in 2012, the average U.S. coal miner was 44 years old and earned more than $80,000 annually. This is far higher than the average annual wage across the country. Also of interest, coal miners receive specialized training that allows them to do their jobs well and to do them safely.

Coal is mined in 25 states and is responsible for more than 800,000 jobs right here at home. Around one-third of these jobs are directly tied to coal mining, while two-thirds represent indirect jobs. When a mine shuts down, it unleashes a domino effect of lost jobs, lost hours and lost wages for all those workers who support our electricity generation—from start to finish.

Kentucky alone saw a 40 percent drop in coal-based employment between July 2011 and July 2013. Additional jobs were lost in the second half of last year. Bill Bissett, Kentucky Coal Council president, recently told us that in Eastern Kentucky, seven thousand direct mining jobs have been lost. Yet, as staggering as this figure may sound, it fails to include the thousands of other jobs that are in jeopardy—not only indirectly tied to mine operation and power generation, but also from businesses that depend on affordable power from coal.

These skilled, well-paying, American jobs are vanishing before our eyes due to President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) overzealous actions to regulate carbon emissions, irrespective of the real-world costs. .

A recent report by the Nebraska Public Power District concluded that coal transportation and power generation, contribute $1.4 billion in labor income and more than 22,800 jobs in Nebraska. It’s hard to fathom how President Obama and his EPA can claim that their rules won’t uproot American jobs or cause economic harm when we know firsthand that the opposite is true.

It is readily apparent that the EPA and environmental groups continuously ignore the collateral damage of their climate agenda. Help us protect American jobs, America’s economy and America’s energy future today by filing a comment with the EPA.


Real People, Real Stories

Communities across America – from New Hampshire to Arizona, Alaska to Florida – all depend on low-cost coal for electricity. Energy is not a regional issue, nor is it a partisan issue; it is everyone’s issue. American families and businesses alike depend on affordable electricity to power their daily lives.

Throughout the years, America’s Power has had the chance to meet real Americans in real communities across the country who have shared their stories with us. Sitting down at their kitchen tables, walking through their communities and visiting their businesses, we’ve witnessed firsthand how policy made in Washington, D.C. impacts these men and women. We’ve spoken with a wide array of stakeholders, including parents, small business owners, manufacturers, corporate leaders, community leaders, and more.

These are real people telling their personal stories. They aren’t glamorous or staged; they are honest and candid. As the fight to protect affordable energy from coal against onerous regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues, it seems President Obama, EPA Administrator McCarthy and others in the administration have no interest in hearing the perspectives of those they represent—and those who will bear the greatest burden of their policymaking.

Since Washington won’t visit these communities, we’re sharing their important stories in our “Real People, Real Stories” video series.

 

 

Stand with these Americans by voicing your opposition to EPA policies that jeopardize affordable, dependable electricity from coal.


Coal Has Kept Kentucky Warm This Winter

Our own CEO and president, Mike Duncan, is a proud, lifelong Kentuckian. As the grandson of a coal miner, Mike’s ties to coal are deep. But as an active community member and business owner in his hometown of Inez, KY, Mike has also seen firsthand how Kentucky’s economy has been impacted by regulations that threaten the future of coal generation.

Mike recently wrote about how rising energy costs are devastating Kentucky’s families in a piece for the Richmond Register.

While Mike focuses on his own home state of Kentucky, communities across the country are experiencing a similar plight—facing daunting energy costs and the threat of lost jobs and economic activity.

Check out the op-ed here.

 


Businesses Need Affordable Energy

Yesterday it was announced that Big Rivers Electric Corp plans to idle two of their coal-fired power plants in Kentucky.

The news isn’t all bad though, as Marty Littrel, a spokesman for Big Rivers pointed out:

“This is a temporary thing. We have some of the lowest-cost power in the country and have made proposals to sell electricity to several other companies.”

Big Rivers produces power at some of the most affordable rates in the country. On average, its rate is 4.6 cents per kilowatt hour, well below the national industrial average of 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour.

Affordable energy is what coal provides, and it’s exactly what American businesses need. From large manufacturers to small business owners, affordable, reliable power from coal drives our economy.

What American businesses don’t need is an activist administration that is pursuing harmful regulations that will make it impossible to build future, clean coal-fueled power plants. Failure to ensure long-term, use of one of our most abundant fuel sources, will all but guarantee not only higher energy costs but also less reliable energy than what is currently provided by coal.

That’s why we need your help. We need you to tell this administration that you need the affordable power coal provides.

Sign our letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy


Help Us Promote Coal Jobs and Coal Communities

When it comes to the coal industry, our member companies as well as state and regional coal associations are doing some of the most important work promoting coal jobs and coal communities.

The job of promoting coal as an affordable, reliable and vital piece of our energy future is as important today as it’s ever been.

Earlier this week, after a four month delay, the EPA finally added their propose New Source Performance Standards to the Federal Register, taking the next step in finalizing a set of unachievable standards in an unattainable timeframe.

Even with widespread outcry about the problematic nature of NSPS from experts, including those on EPA’s own payroll, the draft posted this week is nearly identical to the draft released in September of last year.

“One must wonder what EPA was doing for the four months it took to post its NSPS to the Federal Register, since the rule remains just as destructive and ill-conceived as it was in September,” said ACCCE President and CEO Mike Duncan.

Mike continued to say: “Contrary to claims made by EPA and other Administration officials, NSPS is just another step in President Obama’s dangerous climate change campaign that’s putting America’s energy future in jeopardy.”

What’s so troubling about this dangerous path forward is how hard these proposed rules will hit our coal communities.

Earlier this week, Bill Bissett, the President of the Kentucky Coal Association, spoke to a local Chamber of Commerce about the importance of coal for Kentuckians.

He noted that more than 90 percent of Kentucky’s electricity is generated by coal, and because of that, Kentucky has one of the lowest electricity rates in the country.

If the EPA has its way, states like Kentucky that count on could see more coal jobs disappear and face much higher energy costs.

That’s why we’re shining a spotlight on the Kentucky Coal Association and the work they do to ensure that the people of Kentucky have reliable and affordable energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can’t win this fight without you.  Along with our member companies and other coal associations, we need your support to tell the EPA that Americans count on coal.

Please take a moment to sign our letter to EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to let her know you want to protect American energy jobs from overreaching ill-conceived policies.

Add you name to our letter. Help all of us protect coal jobs and coal communities.


This is what the Sierra Club is Celebrating

Job losses, economic uncertainty and higher energy costs for families and businesses are the real impacts of the plant closures that the Sierra Club continues to celebrate.

This week, Sierra Club officials touted their success in the planned closures of one-third of coal-fueled plants over the next 10 years.

The Sierra Club isn’t alone in their efforts. Recently proposed regulations from the EPA abandon the “all-of-the-above” energy approach our country needs, in favor of a politically motivated push to drive coal out of our energy mix.

The sad fact is Americans are paying the prices while they gleefully pat themselves on the back for destroying jobs, towns and communities throughout our great country.

One state bracing for the impact of these harmful impacts is Indiana.  More than 29,000 Hoosiers go to work each day at a job related to producing energy from coal and EPA’s proposed regulations are a direct threat to their way of life.

These aren’t just facts and figures or numbers without names. CoalBlog.org recently published a letter from Shad Montgomery, a Safety Director at Sunrise Coal who spoke at the EPA’s Chicago listening session.

Shad is part of a long tradition of coal miners: his grandfather and great-grandfather mined coal that helped to power Indiana.  He’s not just concerned about his fellow miners and their jobs, he’s worried about his mother and people like her across the country.

Shad’s mother is one of 190,000 people in Indiana who are 60 years and older living at-or-below the poverty line.   She suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and spends the beginning of each month figuring out how she will cover her expenses. People like Shad’s mother, 29 percent of them in fact, struggle with the same decision each month – do they buy food, pay for the medications or pay their electric bill so they can stay warm and keep the lights on.

We can’t allow groups like the Sierra Club to gamble with people’s lives and well-being. We have to find a sensible path forward that ensures people can keep their jobs and have reliable, affordable energy.

We invite you to speak out for miners like Shad Montgomery, and their families.  Sign our letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and tell her that you support coal communities.


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.