Posts filed under In the States

West Virginia Law Will Give State More Control Over EPA Regulations

I applaud Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia for signing House Bill 2004 which requires that any Clean Power Plan state implementation plan be approved by the state’s legislature before it is submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency.  This law will ensure West Virginia’s elected officials have a say in the regulations that ultimately impact their state’s families and businesses.

Governor Tomblin signed H.B. 2004 after it passed overwhelmingly through both chambers of the West Virginia State Legislature. Legislation like H.B. 2004, as well as similar actions by other state legislatures, underscores broad opposition across the country to EPA’s overzealous and illegal proposal.

By taking a commonsense approach to energy policy, these leaders are helping to secure America’s energy and economic future.

 


Spotlight on States: Coal Fuels Colorado

Stakeholders gathered yesterday in Denver, Colorado to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan at the first of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s three regional conferences. At the event, FERC heard from regulators and industry experts about the impact EPA’s CPP will have on electric reliability and our broader energy infrastructure.

It’s no surprise FERC selected Denver for its first conference location. The state of Colorado is rich in energy resources and is particularly abundant in coal, which provides 64 percent of Colorado’s electricity. Beyond producing nearly two-thirds of the state’s power, the coal industry contributes greatly to local economies.

coal jobs

Direct and indirect employment generated by coal mining in Colorado accounts for more than 21,000 jobs. According to Gary Horvath, the chief economist of a recent study about coal’s impact on the Northwest region of the state, these jobs are significant because they are “primary jobs,” where at least half of the industry’s production is sold outside of the community. This allows greater wealth to be absorbed by Colorado coal communities, in part through higher than average wages which boost local businesses and economies.

By providing high-paying employment opportunities to thousands of families in Colorado, coal is powering better lives throughout the Centennial state. To stay updated on how coal fuels states across America, visit www.AmericasPower.org/Get-Involved.


Spotlight on States: Coal Fuels Wisconsin

When it comes to the future of America’s manufacturing industry, the importance of an affordable, reliable energy supply cannot be overstated. Low-cost and predictable electricity rates help manufacturers maintain existing jobs, create new ones and ultimately remain competitive in a global economy.

This is especially true in Wisconsin, where the manufacturing sector makes up 16.3 percent of the state’s workforce. In fact, Wisconsin is second in the nation in manufacturing jobs, ranking only behind Indiana. To power their factories and machinery, manufacturers use nearly one-third of Wisconsin’s electricity, which is made significantly more affordable through the use of coal. With such a vibrant industrial economy in place, it’s no surprise Wisconsin receives 62 percent of its electricity from coal.

Don Wisconsin SYS Macro

Because of its dependence on coal-based electricity, the manufacturing industry in Wisconsin would be significantly affected by the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon regulations. Under the plan, the state could see electricity rate increases of 17 percent. Wisconsin manufacturers and businesses will be forced to bear these additional costs, which would have a lasting impact on wages and employment. According to a recent study, EPA regulations would eliminate more than 20,000 manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin by the year 2023.

Recognizing the long-term negative effects on Wisconsin’s energy and economic future, state officials are speaking out against EPA. In addition to signing a letter of opposition to the agency, Governor Scott Walker recently announced he and Attorney General Brad Schimel are preparing a lawsuit to challenge the regulations. And in his State of the State address, Governor Walker called on the federal government to work with states like Wisconsin to find reasonable energy policies that are “both environmentally and economically sustainable.”

We couldn’t agree more.

 


Spotlight on States: Coal Fuels Nebraska

Last November, America’s Power launched a state-focused blog series to explore the critical role coal-based electricity plays in communities across America. We continue the series today by spotlighting Nebraska, a state that receives 72 percent of its electricity from coal.

From a small specialty food store to the state’s largest manufacturer, businesses of all sizes depend on low electricity rates from coal to keep energy costs low. Coal is also the most transported commodity in Nebraska, supporting thousands of freight rail jobs throughout the state. In fact, Union Pacific Railroad has called Omaha home since 1862, and its main line through central Nebraska is America’s busiest rail freight corridor.

AmericasPower_SYS_Train

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon regulations take direct aim at these industries, jobs and Nebraska’s broader use of coal-fired electricity. As Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer noted last year, “EPA’s anti-coal agenda will cost Nebraskans valuable jobs, increase electricity prices for middle class families, and jeopardize access to affordable, reliable energy.” According to recent analysis, the Cornhusker state could face peak year electricity rate increases of 19 percent under EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Nebraska’s state officials have been vocal opponents of the agency’s regulatory overreach: in 2013, the state’s Attorney General signed a white paper opposing EPA’s approach, and last year, Nebraska joined 12 other states in litigation challenging EPA’s proposal. Opposition to the agency’s carbon plan continues to grow, and recently sworn-in Governor Pete Ricketts vowed to “stand up to excessive regulation forced on [Nebraska] by Washington.”

Learn how you can help protect affordable electricity in Nebraska and in your state: sign up for America’s Power Army to receive alerts on activities and events throughout the year.   

 


Governors Stand Up for Smart Energy Policy

Governors throughout the country marked the beginning of their terms last week by speaking out against the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon regulations. In State of the State addresses from Indiana to Wyoming, governors promised to stand up for affordable, reliable electricity from coal.

Read a few that caught our eye—and left us encouraged that state leaders will fight to protect their constituents from the skyrocketing energy costs and weakened electric reliability that would result from EPA’s regulations.

Governor Matt Mead (R-WY): “Coal is critical to Wyoming, and we must assure its future. Beyond that, coal is critical to this country’s future. And in my lifetime, I’ve never seen an onslaught against a single industry, a single commodity, like the Obama administration’s anti-coal agenda. The EPA has had a green light to go after the coal industry, and six years later coal is still targeted by federal regulators.”

Governor Mike Pence (R-IN): “Because low-cost energy is vital to our economy, we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy, including energy efficiency. But know this, Indiana is a pro-coal state, and we must continue to oppose the overreaching schemes of the EPA…”

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D-WV): “I know times are tough, but let me be clear, I will never stop fighting against federal regulations that harm our state’s energy industry and devastate our miners, their families and our communities. Last month, we filed comments related to the EPA’s carbon pollution emission guidelines and urged the EPA to reconsider its proposed plan. Federal bureaucrats must understand the impact these new rules will have on families and communities here and across the country. We must work together to develop reasonable, achievable goals that balance the environmental protection we all support with the economic growth we must maintain.”

Governor Scott Walker (R-WI): “I am working with our new Attorney General to prepare a lawsuit challenging the newly proposed federal energy regulations.  These proposals could have a devastating impact on Wisconsin because we are so heavily dependent on manufacturing. According to recent reports, we could lose tens of thousands of jobs in our region, and ratepayers could see an increase of up to 29 percent.  We will fight to protect Wisconsin’s hard-working families. Instead of fighting with states like Wisconsin, the federal government should work with us to find reasonable alternatives.  We can be both environmentally and economically sustainable.”

As more governors deliver their State of the State addresses in the coming weeks, we expect the chorus of opposition to EPA’s plan to grow even louder. In the meantime, visit KeepAmericasPowerOn.org to learn more about how coal-based power keeps energy costs low and the lights on across the country.


Opposition to EPA’s Proposed Rule Piles Up… What is Your State Saying?

Concerns regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon regulations on existing power plants poured in ahead of the December 1 comment deadline. States from Alabama to Wyoming made their voices heard on the many concerns with EPA’s overreaching plan. In addition to higher electricity rates, weakened grid reliability and negligible environmental benefits, comments from state leaders emphasized the legal flaws associated with the plan and stressed the fact that EPA lacks the authority to do what it has proposed.

See what your state leaders have to say about EPA’s costly proposed regulations and learn more about the specific consequences your state could face.

Alabama

  • “If the United States is to offer a high-cost, low-impact, symbolic [carbon] reduction program to spark similar actions world-wide, Congress is the appropriate body to do so.” Submitted by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management

Alaska

  • “EPA does not possess the authority to promulgate this Proposed Rule under the Clean Air Act (CAA).” Submitted by the State of Alaska

Arkansas

  • “The Agencies urge changes in the Proposed Rule to avoid unreasonable and inequitable results that may include disruptions to electric service and significant cost impacts in Arkansas and in neighboring states.” Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Arkansas Public Service Commission

Georgia

  • “The CPP has the potential to put Georgia at a competitive disadvantage relative to other southeastern states.” Submitted by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Idaho

  • “…Idaho believes that the EPA lacks the legal jurisdiction to regulate carbon emissions in the overly broad fashion it is proposing.” Submitted by Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter

Indiana

  • “The proposed rules are ill-conceived and poorly constructed. They exceed the legal authority granted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Clean Air Act. They seek to fundamentally restructure how our electricity grid functions while making our electricity less reliable. They will contribute to higher electricity prices at a time when our economy can least afford it. They will drive investment to other countries instead of creating jobs here at home. In short, the proposed rules will hurt Indiana and the rest of the country.” Submitted by Governor Mike Pence

Kentucky

  • “It is a widely held belief that this rule could initiate unintended consequences and jeopardize price stability and power reliability.” Submitted by Governor Steve Beshear

Louisiana

  • “[The proposed rule] jeopardizes the reliability of the electrical grid, unfairly imposes vastly different requirements on states, overestimates purported health benefits, attempts to supplant the sovereign authority of Louisiana by establishing a de facto renewable portfolio standard, and contains numerous other deficiencies.” Submitted by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality

Mississippi

  • “EPA’s proposed final [emissions] goal for Mississippi… is overly aggressive and unachievable.” Submitted by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality

Montana

  • “I feel strongly that this administration has not done enough to advance clean coal technologies… If this administration is serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is time that it becomes equally serious about making investments in cleaner coal technology.” Submitted by Governor Steve Bullock

Nebraska

  • “EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan does not afford the flexibility for Nebraska to comply as advocated by EPA.” Submitted by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

Nevada

  • “The Clean Power Plan threatens the long-standing authority that states have over energy and resource planning.” Submitted by the State of Nevada.

North Carolina

  • “NCDENR believes EPA’s proposed rule … is legally and technically flawed… In defining a specific rate for each state and then mandating each state meet that predetermined rate, EPA runs counter to the U.S. Constitution.” Submitted by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources

North Dakota

  • “If finalized EPA’s Proposed Rule would substantially increase rates North Dakota consumers pay for their electricity, and could significantly impact the reliability of the electrical services they receive . . . the Commission believes that the Proposed Rule is flawed and should not be finalized.” Submitted by the North Dakota Public Service Commission

Ohio

  • “Some of the organizations that have actual responsibility for maintaining grid stability and reliability have warned of ‘cascading outages’ and ‘voltage collapse’ if this plan is implemented as proposed…” Submitted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

Oklahoma

  • “For numerous reasons, it is the position of the ODEQ that EPA’s Proposed Rule is fundamentally flawed and unworkable.” Submitted by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality

Pennsylvania

  • “Proposed state-specific emission reduction targets for affected [power plants] and the use of ‘outside-the-fence’ measures to establish and achieve the targets are a major concern.” Submitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Tennessee

  • EPA has set mandatory emissions reductions “with no analysis by EPA as to whether that actually makes sense or is economically reasonable for each state.” Submitted by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Texas

  • “EPA’s attempt to control the nation’s electricity markets through the adoption of Rule 111(d) is an unlawful intrusion into areas it has neither the authority nor the expertise to regulate.”  Submitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Utah

  • “As you may know, coal is the dominant source of generating electricity in Utah… Any transition away from this historically low-cost electricity source will have economic repercussions not just for the communities of those employed in the industry but throughout the state in the form of higher electricity prices.” Submitted by Governor Gary R. Herbert and Lieutenant Governor Spencer J. Cox

West Virginia

  • “With the finesse of a bull in a china shop, EPA intends to assert itself broadly into new regulatory arenas that impact all areas of the nation’s economy.” Submitted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection

Wisconsin

  • “[W]e are very concerned the costs of EPA’s proposal will threaten our most reliable energy source and damage our ability to provide affordable energy to our citizens and manufacturing-based economy.” Submitted by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin

Wyoming

  • “WDEQ’s review finds that the Proposed Rule is fundamentally flawed and should be withdrawn principally because EPA lacks statutory authority to proceed with this rulemaking.” Submitted by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

Spotlight on States: Coal Fuels Kentucky

Last month, America’s Power started a new state-focused series on Behind the Plug exploring the critical role coal-based electricity plays in communities across the country. After kicking things off in the Hoosier State of Indiana, we’re dedicating today’s post to Kentucky, a state whose economy and infrastructure are intimately related to coal.

Kentucky’s economy is a shining example of the success that comes from using affordable, reliable power from coal. Kentuckians receive 92 percent of their electricity supply from coal. So not only do consumers pay less to keep their lights on, but businesses of all sizes are also able to power their operations with electricity rates lower than the national average. From bourbon production to aluminum manufacturing, Kentucky’s key industries benefit from low-cost energy, and in turn create jobs and contribute to local and statewide economic growth.

As Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, noted, “We have one of the lowest [electricity rates per kilowatt] hours in the nation, which is why we have manufacturing, we have aluminum smelting, we have a lot of heavy industry that’s dependent on this electricity.”

The state’s coal industry also accounts for a sizeable share of overall employment, providing more than 86,000 direct and indirect jobs. Kentucky has a rich history of coal mining, supporting generations of families with good-paying, skilled jobs. Current regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, however, will leave Kentucky businesses and the coal industry, in particular, struggling to survive.

EPA’s proposed regulations on new and existing power plants will limit Kentucky’s fuel source portfolio, leading to less coal use and in turn, higher electricity costs. According to analysis released in October by NERA Economic Consulting, EPA’s proposed regulations could result in peak-year electricity rate increases of 17 percent throughout the state. In addition, national costs to comply with the proposed standards could total $366 billion, or more, in today’s dollars.

Having already experienced the detrimental economic effects of other EPA regulations that target coal use, the state legislature unanimously passed a law earlier this year asserting the state’s authority to create common-sense standards that will put Kentucky’s interests first.

 


Spotlight on States: Coal Fuels Indiana

America’s Power has traveled the country visiting communities that rely on coal-based power. Today on Behind the Plug, we’re launching a state-focused series to highlight how important the coal industry is from coast to coast.

Indiana is a fitting place to start. In this Midwest state, coal fuels local economies, quality jobs and affordable energy for homes and businesses alike.

Hard-working Indiana coal miners have provided electricity to American consumers for decades. Today, direct and indirect employment tied to Indiana’s coal production industry accounts for nearly 29,000 jobs and 36.7 million short tons of coal. With 84 percent of Indiana’s electricity currently generated by coal, the state enjoys electricity rates that are 14 percent lower than the national average.

This low-cost electricity allows business sectors like manufacturing to grow and thrive. Indiana is among the nation’s top manufacturing centers, with a higher percentage of workers employed in the sector than any other state. In fact, manufacturing employs more than 490,000 Hoosiers and generates $84.2 billion in economic output.

Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon regulations for Indiana’s power plants stand to jeopardize the state’s hard-fought economic growth and progress. Recent analysis by NERA Economic Consulting reveals that EPA’s carbon regulations will result in sustained negative economic consequences for the entire state. By forcing Indiana to cut one-fifth of its carbon emissions under an unreasonable timeline, EPA’s proposal will fundamentally alter the way the state produces electricity, threatening job losses across industries and causing peak-year electricity rate increases of 15 percent.

The impacts stemming from EPA’s plan will spell disaster for Indiana’s workforce and local economy. Stand up for Indiana’s future and visit www.KeepAmericasPowerOn.org before December 1 to file a comment with EPA.