How many times have you watched a sporting event and been convinced the referees officiating the game made calls unfairly favoring one team over another? Just as referees are supposed to call games objectively and without bias, government should stay out of the business of picking winners and losers.
In its final carbon rule, however, the Environmental Protection Agency did just that when it imposed on 22 states more stringent emission reduction requirements than originally proposed.
All of these states – except Rhode Island which has no coal-fired electricity generation – rely on coal to maintain affordable electricity prices. The collective average retail electricity price for the 21 coal-reliant “biggest loser” states was 12 percent below the national average in 2014. In contrast, Rhode Island’s electricity price was 49 percent above the national average.
EPA’s picking and choosing amounts to a big loss for consumers in all states forced to reduce CO2 emissions, but it hits the “biggest loser” states especially hard. Rising energy costs and declining family incomes are already straining the budgets of America’s lower- and middle-income families. Households with pre-tax annual incomes below $50,000, representing 48 percent of the nation’s households, already spend 17 percent of their after-tax income on energy costs. Many of these families are forced to make tough choices when their energy bill arrives each month. EPA’s carbon rule makes those decisions that much more difficult.
EPA’s pursuit of its illegal plan follows a dangerous trend of government agencies picking winners and losers in the energy marketplace. No matter where you live, this amounts to the makings of something much worse than just a bad call. When government is allowed to pick and choose, we all lose.
In an article from yesterday’s Power Magazine, the magazine states that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that coal generation will gain in 2013 due to the rising price of natural gas.
According to the article: “The increasing cost of natural gas relative to coal is expected to increase coal’s share of total generation from 37.4% in 2012 to 39.9% in 2013, according to the EIA April release of its Short-Term Energy Outlook.
Though that would leave coal’s percentage below its 42.3% share in 2011, it indicates that gas may not be on an inevitable path to overtake a significantly greater share of the generation pie.”
Just today, a dedication ceremony was held for the John W. Turk Plant in Arkansas. The 600-megawatt coal-fueled plant began commercial operations in December 2012 and is one of the cleanest, most efficient coal-fueled plants in the United States, and the first of its kind in operation in the United States.
EIA figures also show that coal consumption will increase both domestically and internationally to meet rising electricity demand during the next several decades, providing the U.S. and other countries with indigenous energy resources.
As Americans, we are fortunate to have unique access to one of the most reliable and efficient forms of energy generation – coal. Across the country, in 48 states to be exact, coal is used to keep our homes warm, our lights on and our power running.
As a form of energy generation, there is no denying that coal is one of the most reliable options we have. In fact, in 2011, coal was responsible for 42 percent of the overall power generation of our energy portfolio – surpassing the power generated by natural gas and nuclear energy combined.
With so much coal located within our borders – 272 billion tons – this reliable form of energy is here to stay for years to come.
This election, jobs have been a major issue. Jobs created, jobs lost, and most importantly jobs needed to get the economy back on track. The coal-based electricity industry alone provides over half a million American jobs, and 1 in 5 rail jobs depend on coal. These numbers would continue to grow if not for the EPA’s aggressive war on coal. Sign our petition and tell candidates to support American jobs.
This week alone, companies have taken a major hit from EPA’s overbearing regulations, forcing more mines to close and putting hundreds out of work.
This is not only unnecessary, but extremely troubling during these though economic times. Families, communities, and the nation’s economy depend on these jobs. So why does the EPA continue with its goal to undermine the industry, and more importantly, why has the current administration allowed this trend to continue?
Vote with coal this election! Sign up to tell the candidates that Coal = Jobs.
U.S. employment losses average between 544,000 a year – 887,000 a year. Peak year employment losses are 700,000 to 2.2 million.
Compliance costs for electric utilities will total between $198 billion – $220 billion, and average $15.0 billion – $16.7 billion/year.
Families will lose between $200 a household to over $500.
These are conservative estimates. The EPA’s regulatory agenda is killing jobs and harming our economy. With billions in costs, hundreds of thousand or even millions of jobs lost, and additional household expenses, the path forward is clear: Stop these destructive regulations. By keeping electricity prices low for business and families, coal helps to fuel the job creation that we need to get our country back on track.
The War on Coal continues. As President Obama and Mitt Romney are campaigning, the EPA continues to wage a war on the affordable, reliable electricity that America needs. In their campaigns, both candidates have put their focus on the swing state of Ohio, home to dozens of companies and thousands of employees who work to power the country using coal-based electricity.
We took to Ohio to ask people what they thought about the EPA’s actions, and what should be done about it. In our polling, we found that Ohioans were almost monolithic in their opinion.
Coal is America’s most abundant natural resource. In fact, our country has more than two centuries of coal within our borders.
To put that in perspective, check out the graphic below. The amount of energy in America’s recoverable coal reserves is roughly equal to that of the world’s known oil reserves. That’s a lot of coal in our country.
Not only is coal abundant, but it’s a proven energy source that’s affordable. Coal consistently provides low energy prices to small business owners and families across the country. More importantly, coal provides hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs.
Coal: abundant and affordable. It’s as simple as that.
Myth 1: We have to choose between coal and a clean energy future.
Two days ago, we released a study showing that the 60 million households earning less than $50,000 a year now devote more than 20 percent of their family budget toward energy costs, nearly double what they spent just ten years ago.
But some who want America to stop using coal, one of our most abundant and affordable sources of energy, are trying to push the myth that we have to choose between coal and a clean energy future. But here are the facts when it comes to our investments and results of clean coal technologies:
Our Investment: Coal-fueled power plants have already invested almost $100 billion to significantly reduce emissions without new EPA rules, and will invest $125 billion through 2015 to reduce emissions.
Our Results: In the last 40 years, investments have lead to (1) reduced emissions of three major air pollutants (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter) by nearly 90 percent per unit of electricity generated, (2) mercury emissions being reduced by more than 60 percent, and (3) hydrogen chloride emissions being reduced by nearly 90 percent by 2015.
Our Energy: These reductions in emissions come while nearly tripling the use of coal for electricity in that same time period, with population up 48 percent and GDP up 209 percent.
Myth 2: EPA regulations can save and create jobs.
Others who want America to move “beyond coal” are pushing the myth that utilities and other industries can retain all of the employees of the coal plants and other business they are shutting down as a result of new EPA regulations. But here are the facts on jobs and those EPA regulations:
Job Loss vs. Gains: When looking at how EPA regulations affect employment, it’s important to look at the cumulative effects of those rules. When NERA conducted the analysis of four proposed EPA regulations back in September, they took into account sectors that would gain jobs or lose jobs: “[S]ectors that would gain jobs account for about 55,000 added jobs per year on average, and sectors that would lose jobs account for about 238,000 fewer jobs per year on average.”
Total Net Jobs Lost: In total, these proposed rules would lead to a net employment loss of 1.65 million jobs from 2012 to 2020.
Mike Duncan is the president and CEO for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the use of coal...
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Laura Sheehan Senior Vice President
Laura Sheehan is a seasoned public affairs expert with more than a 20-year track record in policy communications, media relations, crisis and issues management, community and...
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Julia Treanor Senior Director
Julia Treanor is a strategic communications and public affairs professional with nearly 10 years of experience in digital strategy, issue advocacy, political communications, media ...
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China Riddle Communications Coordinator
China Riddle is a Communications Coordinator at ACCCE. Growing up in the heart of coal country, China understands the important role coal-based power plays in America’s energy and economic future. Read Full Biography +
Jade Davis Senior Director
State Affairs and Outreach
Jade Davis is the Senior Director of State Affairs and Outreach at ACCCE. In his current role, Jade works with ACCCE’s regional and communications staff and government affairs staff ...
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