Posts filed under What They’re Saying

Congress Takes Up Battle Against Carbon Rule

Both chambers of Congress are working fervently this week to strike down the president’s power plan, which mandates draconian carbon emission reductions rates on new and existing power plants. Even though President Obama is bypassing Congress and attempting to force states to follow suit, elected officials are underscoring an inescapable fact: the power plan is opposed by the majority of members of the Senate and the House and faces significant legal obstacles.

Here’s a look at what some members of Congress who are fighting to overturn this rule – both Republican and Democrat –  are saying:

Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power, is leading the charge against EPA’s illegal regulation and frequently describes the agency as the “rogue political arm of the White House.”

Whitfield goes on to say, “their broad assertion of regulatory authority in these rules goes far beyond what is authorized by the Clean Air Act. These resolutions serve to halt EPA’s unauthorized actions and ultimately are about protecting ratepayers across the country from increased electricity prices, reliability threats, and job [loss].”

North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp is also making sure the power plan doesn’t go unchallenged. She says the Senate’s resolution of disapproval is part of Congress’s “efforts to push back against EPA’s final rule for existing power plants — a rule that is totally unworkable as written for North Dakota’s utilities and regulators without causing severe reliability issues and massive rate increases.”

West Virginia Senator Shelly Moore Capito drives home the reality that the power plan will cause financial devastation for households across the nation, saying “our most vulnerable will bear the burden.”

Capito continues to explain that fighting the power plan is necessary because it unfairly “help[s] some states and really hurt[s] others…it target[s] states like West Virginia and North Dakota, where we produce some of the most affordable and reliable energy.”

The strong opposition demonstrated by a majority of Congressional members speaks volumes about the president’s deeply flawed regulations. The laudable actions of these elected officials will serve as a reminder that the policies of our nation should be crafted by those sent to Washington on behalf of the American people – not through executive fiat. Congress is indeed taking up the battle against President Obama’s illegal power plan and will continue to reassert its Constitutional authority as America’s lawmaking body.

Diverse Groups Urge Attorneys General to Fight Carbon Rule

Demand is growing for states to take up the fight against the Environmental Protection Agency’s radical and unlawful carbon plan. The latest voices to call on state attorneys general to add their names to a lawsuit to stop the so-called Clean Power Plan from being implemented represent a diverse array of stakeholders including Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Independent Women’s Forum, the Hispanic Leadership Fund and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

This coalition sent a joint letter to state attorneys general across the nation asking them to not only join their 20 plus peers who are already taking legal action but also to take resistance a step further by refusing to begin implementation plans before all legal challenges are resolved.

The joint letter clearly lays out the numerous arguments against states falling into line with EPA’s mandate:

  • “States should not be forced to cede power over their own electrical systems to the federal government, especially when the carbon rule’s legality remains in question.”
  • “Legal scholars overwhelmingly agree that the carbon rule is not just void of statutory authority and illegal under the Clean Air Act, but that the rule is also in violation of the U.S. Constitution.”
  • “Obama’s carbon rule amounts to a federal takeover of the electricity system and is a direct affront to state sovereignty, setting a dangerous precedent for state and federal relations going forward.”

The attorneys general already fighting the rule know two things. One, the rule is harmful to the citizens of their states; and, two, it violates the law. Those factors should be reason enough for every state’s attorney general to oppose the carbon regulation. The erosion of states’ rights is only further justification for them to take a stand against this egregious misuse of executive power. As the coalition letter says, “States should work to uphold their sovereignty and to protect the well being of their citizens and businesses from this onerous and unlawful regulation.”

Only by working together can states defeat the Obama Administration’s unlawful and costly takeover of the electricity system. The attorneys general who are undecided on this issue should heed our and the coalition’s call to action and join their colleagues in fighting for their states’ sovereignty and the well being of their citizens.

What Does Coal Mean To You?

Continuing with our Share Your Story initiative, I wanted to highlight some recent posts from our supporters on Facebook. We love learning about what coal means to you and your family. Your voice matters, so if you have a story to tell, send us a note or a short video. We look forward to hearing from you!


On why coal is important:

“My dad was a coal miner all of his adult life. We were raised on coal money plus our garden. We never had a lot, but we never went hungry.”

“Coal means my lights are on. Coal means my furnace can run. Coal means I can surf the web.”

“It supports our family. I’m very proud of my husband and brother who work very hard in the coal industry. I hope and pray that they’ll have those good jobs for a long time to come.”

“Cheap power= low power bills for me…. keep burning it….”

“Coal provides electricity for my home and provides jobs for countless people.”


On EPA regulations:

“And in my opinion, it keeps every other business open when the coal mines go down… other companies and all mom-and-pop shops will close. This is a fact. It won’t just affect the coal miners.”

“This affects far more than coal miners – it affects all the support companies, construction equipment, railroads, power plants and all of their support industries, and all of the users of electric power which includes every company and person in the USA .”


And my favorite, in response to our recent story encouraging supporters to visit us at Chicagoland Speedway:

“I can’t come, I’m busy running a coal fired power plant. Please everybody, support coal. It’s the hope of an affordable tomorrow!”


From Their Point of View

Most of the time, we receive a lot of spam in our general mailbox from solicitors. But every so often, we get a heartfelt email from a concerned citizen, showing support of our cause and for the coal industry. I wanted to share some excerpts with you to help those who may not be as aware how much these proposed EPA regulations will affect these communities.


“I sign and support coal jobs for many reasons. My husband was a coal miner for 22 years and my father-in-law was a miner for almost 40 years, and a lot of other people I know are miners. Another reason is to help the miners to fight Obama ending coal jobs…. The more we fight, the longer it takes for him to fulfill his agenda. I hate what Obama is doing to OUR country. I love my country and support the hard working people, coal jobs, and most of all Our Troops.”

“Coal mining is all we have to make a living and pay our bills– also food, everyone has to eat, what are we supposed to do? …[We] need coal for lights to stay on and keep warm in the winter. It will kill these states and everyone will be on welfare.”

“My husband and son, both work at a coal plant, along with a lot of good friends here in PA. Why does the government have to get involved and try and take these jobs away from the American people? Also, we have coal heat in our house and garage, which is much warmer than any other resource of heat! Coal has been around for a very long time, keep it that way!”


There are many more comments like those above from affected coal miners, truckers, family members and consumers who fear the skyrocketing electricity bills that are headed their way. To protect affordable electricity, use our comment tool before May 9 and send a comment to the EPA at:

Please continue sharing your stories with us! We enjoy hearing from you.

What They’re Saying: Reliability and Energy Prices

This week, we’ve seen a number of developments making energy news, and a major theme is emerging that’s shaping the conversation about the future of energy policy in the U.S.

The selection of a new chair for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, statements by energy industry experts and elected officials and an administration official telling Congress that new EPA regulations could raise electricity prices by as much as 80 percent have people talking about the reliability of our grid and energy costs.

It was announced yesterday that Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has been selected to chair the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  Her selection is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate, and her elevation to this position is good news for energy producers and consumers alike.

Senator Landrieu announced she will pursue an agenda that will be “inclusive, bipartisan and focused on the job creation that America needs and wants,.” She has a proven record of fighting back against EPA overreach in order to protect affordable reliable fossil fuels and works across the aisle, seeking commonsense solutions to use our most abundant resources, like coal, more efficiently and cleanly.

A leader like Senator Landrieu will be instrumental in shaping policies that keep energy prices affordable for our families and our businesses.

Unfortunately, Senator Landrieu’s commonsense approach isn’t the only thing shaping the future of energy policy.  The EPA and the Obama Administration are still pursuing new regulations that could cause an enormous price increase for energy consumers across the country.

Dr. Julio Friedmann, the deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the Department of Energy, told members of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations yesterday that EPA’s plan to require Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology for all new coal plants could raise wholesale electricity costs by as much as 80 percent.

Dr. Friedmann’s statements confirm what we’ve long known to be true: CCS is still a developing technology.  It’s not yet a commercially viable option, and requiring new coal plants to install CCS will lead to higher energy prices for businesses and families.

As new regulations make it more costly to operate coal-fueled power plants, the continued retirement of these energy sources is likely to increase the probability of rising electricity prices and supply disruptions.

With the record low temperatures we experienced this January, we’ve seen an increased demand for energy.  What we learned last month is that without the power generated by coal, electric reliability is called into question. Additionally the price of other energy sources, like natural gas, can spike when people need it the most.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) highlighted the need to keep our energy mix diverse in response to this year’s extreme weather:

“Our reliance on installed, dispatchable power generation during extreme weather serves as a shining example of why diversity of baseload capacity is necessary to secure grid reliability. “

When we needed it the most, Americans turned to the power generated by coal to keep our lights on and our homes warm.  But with coal plants continuing to retire, what will happen when those units are no longer available?

In her comments on protecting the energy sources on which we rely, Sen. Murkowski expressed how tenuous our current policy direction is:

“What happens when that capacity is gone?  Maybe we won’t have cold periods like we’re seeing next year [and] we’ll be OK.  But what kind of policy is that?  A hope and a prayer, that’s not how we need to be operating here.”

We cannot afford this administration’s overreliance on a more narrow fuel source portfolio that excludes coal.

We can’t stand by as government agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) deals with the issue of reliability by allowing PJM to offer power prices that exceed the market cap of $1,000 per megawatt hour.

Actions like those undertaken by FERC set a dangerous precedent that places the burden of increased electricity costs on ratepayers, rather than prompting a critical examination of the energy and environmental policies coming from the White House.

Politically motivated agendas should not be undermining America’s access to affordable, reliable energy at the expense of family budgets and businesses’ bottom lines.




The Coal Wire: CCS Technology In Action, Globally And Locally


June has been a great month
for carbon capture and sequestration technologies, as news reports tout
coal-fired power plants boasting technology that is reducing emissions by more
than 90 percent. In the past two weeks, we’ve talked about clean coal technology
developments from New Jersey to Wyoming, from Louisiana to Illinois, and even in India and Australia.


The coal-based electricity sector
is partnering with the federal government to bring new, cost-effective
technologies to the marketplace that is safely capturing and storing carbon
dioxide. In this edition of The Coal Wire, the fruits of those investments
domestically and internationally are highlighted:

Efficiency News
– IEA Points To Progress On CCS Proposals (6/17):

“Significant progress’ has been made towards the commercialisation of carbon
capture and storage (CCS), according to a new report being presented to G8
leaders at the June Summit in Canada.”  The report from the International
Energy Agency, “the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) and the Global
CCS Institute says that the goal set two years ago in Hokkaido, Japan of
launching 20 large-scale CCS demonstration projects by 2010 will require
industry and governments to work together and accelerate their efforts. … 
Currently, 80 large scale projects are at various stages of development around
the world, with five already operational and one is starting construction.”

News PM
–  DOE Researchers Test Coalbed Methane Sequestration At
Alabama Site (6/16):
“Researchers led by the Energy Department are testing the
potential to sequester carbon dioxide while enhancing natural gas production at
a site in Alabama.”  The Tuscaloosa County coalbed methane well will be
field tested to evaluate the “capability of mature coalbed methane reservoirs
to store CO2, DOE said.”  Earlier this week, researchers “began injections
of CO2 into an existing coalbed methane well.  Four new wells are being
used to monitor reservoir pressure, gas composition, water quality and the CO2 plume.” 
This “test will inject 240 tons of CO2 into the formation over a 45- to 60-day

– Total Has CCS Success (6/16):
“A French oil company is testing carbon capture and sequestration
(CCS) in the southwest region of the country with positive results.” 
Major oil producer, Total, “converted a part of a methane plant into a CO2
capture demonstration project,” in which the “captured gas is pumped about 17
miles away where it is injected underground into a depleted natural gas
reservoir.  The project was declared successful after five months — the
2,000 tons of carbon dioxide sequestered so far have stayed put.” 
Climatewire adds, “Over the next five years, Total plans to sequester 120,000
tons of carbon at the site and monitor its ability to contain the gas.”

Associated Press – Air Products Awarded $253 Million In
DOE Funding Toward CCS Project (6/17):
Air Products & Chemicals Inc. announced
“Wednesday that it was awarded $253 million in funding from the Energy
Department to complete a carbon dioxide capture project in Port Arthur,
Texas.”  The funding, “from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,
will be used for final engineering, design, construction and operation of the
project through September of 2015,” according to the company, and “represents
two-thirds of the roughly $384 million project.  Air Products said it will
design, construct and operate a state of the art system to capture carbon
dioxide from its two steam methane reforms within the Valero Refinery in Port
Arthur.  The recovered and purified carbon dioxide would then be used in
enhanced oil recovery.”

The Hindu – Scientists Planning To Store CO2 Deep
Underground (6/17):
a novel way to fight global warming, scientists are trying how they could
remove excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store the gas deep under
the sea bed where it can cause no trouble. Researchers at the University of
Iceland are studying the possibility of sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2)
in basalt, a common extrusive volcanic rock that makes up most of the world’s
oceanic crust.”

The Coal Wire: April 1, 2010

Coal wire President Barack Obama, Seattle Times (McClatchy) (4/1): "’This is not a decision that I've made lightly,’ Obama said at Maryland's Andrews Air Force Base, near the capital. He also discussed administration policies to make automobiles more fuel efficient and to develop ‘clean coal’ and alternative-energy supplies.”

President Barack Obama, Inter Press Service (3/31): “‘But we have to do more. We need to make continued investments in clean coal technologies and advanced biofuels,’ said Obama at Andrew Airforce Base in Maryland.”

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), Culpeper Star-Exponent (4/1): “Webb further supported ‘a holistic approach’ to American energy needs going forward, saying all options should be on the table, including conservation, renewable energy, domestic drilling, clean coal and nuclear power.”

Green Inc., New York Times (3/31): “The
World Bank is calling on its members to back a contentious $3.75
billion loan request from Eskom, South Africa’s state run electricity
supplier, to finance initiatives that would shore-up the country’s
struggling power sector. [S]outh Africa’s finance minister, Pravin
Gordhan, has also argued for the loan in an article in The Washington
Post. 'To sustain the growth rates we need to create jobs,' Mr. Gordhan
wrote, 'we have no choice but to build new generating capacity —
relying on what, for now, remains our most abundant and affordable
energy source: coal.'"

Point Pleasant Register (3/30): “In anticipation of new carbon dioxide regulations and to address global climate change issues, AEP is now developing strategies and technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The current CCS validation project captures carbon dioxide from the flue gas and pumps it 1.5 miles underground in deep geological formations—trapped by layers of caprock—for permanent storage. [A]ccording to AEP representatives, the next step is to take the CCS technology to the commercial scale. [T]o help do this as well as explain the project to the public, AEP Mountaineer has had several groups tour the facility, including organizations from as far away as Japan.”

India Business Standard (4/2): “In a meeting with a US delegation, led by American Senator Christopher Bond here, Jaiswal said use of clean coal technologies was essential in view of the growing demand for coal in India due to addition in power-generation capacity. ‘Issues relating to energy security were discussed in the meeting… it was further mentioned that Coal India Ltd had issued a global expression of interest for strategic partnerships through formation of joint ventures for opening greenfield projects and equity infusion with relatively long-term offtake agreements,’ an official statement said.”

The Coal Wire: March 29, 2010

The Coal WireRep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), The News and Sentinel (3/29): "What's to stop the EPA from going after more permits that have already been issued and are fully operational? This action disregards the expertise of both the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) and puts all of West Virginia miners at risk of losing their jobs."

The Financial Times (3/29): "Even with all the investments in solar, wind and biomass, China will still get nearly two-thirds of its energy from coal in two decades time. As a result, for many observers, it is cleaner coal technologies – rather than renewables – that could provide the biggest benefits in terms of limiting the growth in emissions."