Exposing the Truth: New Video Compares Consumers’ Energy Costs to White House’s

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 9:39 am, June 22, 2015

ACCCE released a new video last week comparing energy costs of Americans to those of the White House. This latest digital installment from America’s Power exposes a troubling reality: as “the people’s house” operates on over-the-top living expenses, everyday Americans are grappling with rising energy costs and declining incomes. Consequently, many of these households are left making tough choices between necessities including food, housing and medical assistance.

Recent updated analysis confirms nearly half of American households on average have an annual income of less than $23,000 after taxes. This translates to roughly $1,900 per month to cover all living expenses. Throw regulations like the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon rule in to the mix, and these struggling families will face even more trouble.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

We hope our new video motivates the administration to focus less on lavish state dinners and rounds of golf, and more time pursuing energy policy that alleviates the hardships American families living paycheck to paycheck face. It’s the right thing to do.

Get involved in protecting low-cost electricity from coal by signing up for the America’s Power Army and learn more about how energy costs impact American families budgets here.


Growing Up With Coal: Celebrating Fathers in the Coal Industry

Posted by China Riddle at 12:58 pm, June 19, 2015

On Father’s Day weekend, millions of Americans are reminded of the special role dads, grandads and even great-grandads play in their lives. America’s fathers deserve this celebratory time, as their contributions help shape their families, communities and country. In the case of my family, our lives were shaped by the hard-working hands of coal miners.

When looking back on my younger years, I can’t remember a time when the men in my life wore ties to work. Instead, I grew up thinking steel-toed boots, mining uniforms, helmets and battery lights were common workplace attire. This was because my father, his father and my mother’s father were all men of the coal mines. Our family’s mining tradition is something I take great pride in because it’s allowed me to spend my life immersed in the coal industry.

For me, “Take Your Child to Work Day” meant rides in mining buggies and peering into the deep tunnels my father considered to be his ‘office.’ The “office souvenirs” he gave me weren’t desk paperweights, but often small fossils he found hidden in lumps of coal.

My father Steve (standing, second from left) and his father Bruce (kneeling, first from left) worked together as miners for Reedy Coal Company.

My father Steve (standing, second from left) and his father Bruce (kneeling, first from left) worked together as miners for Reedy Coal Company.

Marveling at mining carts and fossils filled my childhood, but as an adult I still find myself admiring my father and others in the coal industry. This Father’s Day, I could not be more thankful for the coal workers in my life, and I know hundreds of thousands of other Americans feel the same as I do.

From miners in Kentucky, to rail workers in Nebraska, to power plant employees in Arkansas, the coal industry provides opportunities for fathers and grandfathers across the country. Let’s make sure these hard-working men know they’re loved and appreciated this Father’s Day.


FERC Official Warns EPA’s Power Grab Could Undermine States’ Rights

Posted by Julia Treanor at 10:20 am, June 11, 2015

An official at the federal regulatory body in charge of monitoring America’s electric grid is once again calling attention to the serious cost, reliability and legal issues surrounding the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon regulations.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Tony Clark voiced new concerns about EPA’s proposal at the Western Conference of Public Service Commissioners, where he addressed regulators from many of the states that will be most severely impacted by the plan.

As E&E reported last week, Commissioner Clark warned EPA’s proposal could “fundamentally change everything about how utilities are regulated.”

Emphasizing the flawed legal foundation of the regulations, he characterized EPA’s plan as a federal power grab, saying “What EPA is asking states to do, depending on how states choose to write their [state implementation plans], is to give EPA authority over things that it on its own in the Clean Air Act does not have authority to claim jurisdiction over.”

FERC quote blockCommissioner Clark went on to caution that if EPA’s proposal moves forward in its current state, it will put EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in charge of state energy policy, giving Washington “so much authority over the decisions that have traditionally been made by state public utility commissions, legislators and governors.”

We’ve already heard from many of those state public utility commissions, legislators and governors who share Commissioner Clark’s sentiments. As both state and federal officials recognize the growing threat EPA’s power grab poses to our nation’s energy security, it is time to put an end to these proposed regulations once and for all.

 


An Education: Meeting America’s Power

Posted by Emma Battle at 11:09 am, June 09, 2015

As the 2015 Communications Intern at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, I’m learning right alongside the thousands of people across the country the organization fights for every day. Though I didn’t grow up around coal, I’m passionate about protecting American businesses and families. The coal industry is too often misrepresented in the media and mistreated in Washington. Just like you, I’m determined to hear the stories and fight the fight on behalf of the 700,000 men and women who provide us with reliable energy from coal.

I grew up a military brat and lived in Maryland, Georgia, Hawaii and Texas before moving to the Virginia suburbs outside of Washington, D.C. In each place, I observed and appreciated the resourcefulness and work ethic of everyday Americans. After 9/11, I watched young soldiers bravely stand guard at our nation’s military bases and government facilities. When I moved to San Antonio, I was astounded at construction workers who repaired our city’s roads in sweltering temperatures of over 100 degrees. Now that I live near West Virginia, it amazes me every day to think of and read about the hard work and determination of that state’s thousands of coal miners. The Mountain State is one of many that receives a vast amount of its electricity from coal and the people who harvest that energy must not be forgotten.

Since both of my parents were lawyers for the military, I heard many stories growing up of how the Air Force works tirelessly to comply with the Clean Air Act, a vast and broad piece of legislation associated with the Environmental Protection Agency. My mother knew the ins and outs of that law impressively and could share with me the sometimes harmful ways in which it inconvenienced military members and slowed progress. Today, America faces new EPA regulations that would unfairly burden families and businesses.

I’ve seen throughout my life the danger that is posed when government agencies overregulate the private sector. Our nation was built on the success of privately-owned industries that were allowed to flourish and grow. I’m not a coal miner’s daughter, but I believe the people of the coal industry represent the strength of American ingenuity.


Kentucky Gubernatorial Candidates Vow to Fight EPA Overreach

Posted by China Riddle at 4:38 pm, June 04, 2015

The political scene in my home state of Kentucky has been quite interesting since early 2014. Barely half a year has passed since Senator Mitch McConnell cinched a reelection victory and became Senate Majority Leader. Now another heated election is underway, this time for the position of Kentucky’s governor. Beyond enduring a tough race, candidates in the gubernatorial election have one significant thing in common – a staunch opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon regulations.

The resistance displayed by this year’s gubernatorial candidates is especially important, as it is state officials who will be mandated by EPA to craft a plan to comply with the regulations. In Kentucky, allowing EPA’s regulations to take effect would be disastrous to both our economic and energy future. Kentucky generates 93 percent of its electricity from coal and receives nearly 70,000 direct and indirect jobs from the coal industry. For political candidates in Kentucky, fighting EPA’s seriously flawed plan is not a Democratic or Republican issue, but a matter of the state’s energy stability and economic security.

Before the primary, every major gubernatorial candidate either “promised or suggested they would not follow through” with a state implementation plan. The eventual party nominees, Republican Matt Bevin and Democrat (and current Attorney General) Jack Conway, have both made it known Kentucky will not stand idly by while EPA tries to impose the rule.

When asked about carbon regulations, Matt Bevin said he would direct his administration to “resist EPA and their draconian regulatory agenda.” Attorney General Conway echoed this sentiment, saying he viewed EPA’s overreach as illegal and would work to “prevent further damage to [Kentucky’s] economy from overzealous regulation.” In fact, Conway has already taken action against the agency, joining 14 other states in a lawsuit against EPA’s plan.

With both major gubernatorial candidates vowing to oppose EPA’s harmful carbon regulations, and Leader McConnell rallying governors across the nation to reject the Obama Administration’s climate crusade, Kentucky is leading the fight for states to shape their own energy futures. I am proud to see my home elect this approach to energy policy and hope other states will do the same.


The Morning Consult: EPA & NRDC Resorting to Smoke and Mirrors Antics

Posted by Laura Sheehan at 1:56 pm, June 02, 2015

This column originally appeared in The Morning Consult on May 28, 2015.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon regulations have been at the center of widespread opposition since their release last year. Even in the face of criticism from elected officials, energy experts, regulators and scores of concerned citizens, the Obama Administration has vowed to ensure its environmental agenda is implemented at any cost. As a result, EPA is now scrambling to build public support before the rule is finalized this summer, calling on friends and allies to come to its aid – and, according to a recent New York Times article, using social media campaigns to build perceived support for its plans.

In coordination with the EPA, environmental groups have been staunch and vocal defenders of its proposal. Some have even argued the measure doesn’t go far enough, demonstrating the alarming degree of radicalism within the ranks of the environmental elite.

The Natural Resources Defense Council recently attempted to broaden support by releasing a study with questionable claims that casts EPA’s plan in an emphatically positive light.  This comes as no surprise considering NRDC has an intimate connection to EPA’s carbon regulations and maintains a cozy relationship with the agency.

One of the report’s most egregious and tiresome points is that EPA’s proposal will lower electricity bills for U.S. consumers. Even EPA admits electricity prices will increase under its rule, a fact that is further validated by research from NERA Economic Consulting. NERA’s analysis found that 43 states will experience double-digit electricity price increases under EPA’s plan, with 14 states facing peak-year price increases of 20 percent or more. To reduce electricity bills and energy use, consumers will have to spend upwards of $560 billion. So people will have to pay more to use less energy.

Like many environmental groups, NRDC claims to be a champion of the disenfranchised. But we know that low-income Americans will face a disproportionate burden of electricity cost increases under EPA’s proposal. By ignoring these truths and claiming in its report that landlords will help the poor, they do serious injustice to 23 million low-income families in 31 states who bring home less than $1,300 after-tax a month and already spend 22 percent on energy costs they can barely afford.

It is the very underserved people NRDC claims to be helping — impoverished families, children, the elderly and other vulnerable constituencies — who will suffer the most as a result of EPA policy.

Another claim made in NRDC’s report is that EPA’s carbon regulations will help prevent health problems caused by air pollution, especially in low-income communities. These claims are patently false and have been debunked repeatedly, as carbon dioxide emissions have nothing to do with pollution or public health. EPA already stringently regulates the environmental causes of these ailments, ozone and particulate matter, which NRDC erroneously commingled in its discussion of public health.

The erroneous claims in the report keep piling up as NRDC goes onto suggest EPA’s plan won’t harm electric reliability. They argue renewable resources will supplant low-cost, dependable fossil fuels under the plan that will actually result in “a better electricity grid with reliability that is second to none.” This is laughable as leading utility experts and grid operators across the country have invalidated this claim repeatedly, as low-cost, reliable fuel sources like coal are absolutely indispensable to generating electricity.

The report likewise fails to pass the sniff test in its assertion that EPA regulations are not to blame for coal plant retirements. Of the 72,000 MW of coal plant retirements and announced retirements since 2010, EPA policies have been the primary factor cited for 61,000 MW, or 85 percent, of this capacity. This is equal to almost the entire generating capacity of Ohio. Even EPA’s own analysis attributes 49,000 MW of these retirements to its carbon regulations—nearly twice the entire electricity supply of Virginia. Without fossil fuels, America’s grid will be pushed to the edge, leaving families and businesses susceptible to blackouts, brownouts and rationing.

Finally, NRDC is in the dark about the proposal’s effect on climate change, arguing that the shift to clean energy will “prevent the worst impacts of climate change.” It appears, contrary to their fear-inducing talking points, EPA and its allies are well aware the agency’s proposal is only being pursued under the guise of climate change. In fact, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy even admitted before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, “The great thing about this [EPA Power Plan] proposal is that it really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control.” Research confirmed this and proved EPA’s carbon regulations will have no meaningful effect on climate change at all, reducing atmospheric CO2 concentration by less than one-half of a percent, lowering global average temperature by 2/100th of a degree and reducing sea level rise by 1/100th of an inch—equal to the thickness of three sheets of paper.

EPA’s last-ditch effort to muster support for its proposed carbon regulations has only illuminated how problematic and costly the plan really is, as evidenced by NRDC’s flawed report. Unfortunately, EPA and its allies have chosen to ignore reality and, in turn, ignore the investments being made by the coal industry to reduce emissions and foster clean energy innovation. As this administration forges ahead with its dangerous agenda, it is ultimately American consumers who will pay the price if EPA’s carbon regulations are left unchecked.

 


EPA’s Bad Deal for America

Posted by Emma Battle at 4:28 pm, May 28, 2015

Last week, a new study by the federal government’s own independent Energy Information Administration (EIA) concluded what industry and analysts have been saying about EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan: electricity prices and bills will increase under the plan.  EIA finds, contrary to EPA’s assertions, the proposal to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants will cause both electricity prices – and how much you pay each month for electricity (your total bill) – to increase, starting in 2020, and continuing through 2040.  Other studies corroborate this finding. In fact, a study by NERA Economic Consulting found that, on average, electricity prices will be higher by 10 percent or more each year in 43 states.

In addition, EIA says the plan will cost jobs.  That’s right, the federal government says EPA’s plan will cause people to lose their jobs.  EIA projects that over the years 2020 through 2029 there will be 2.9 million fewer American jobs due to the plan.

While EIA didn’t study the electric reliability threats that could result from EPA’s plan, other groups like the North American Electric Reliability Corporation which is charged with ensuring grid reliability, have expressed serious concerns that the reliability of America’s electric power system is in jeopardy if the plan is implemented.  Another similar regional group, the Southwest Power Pool, has gone so far as to state that EPA’s proposal could result in “cascading outages and voltage collapse.”

Other independent studies point out the cumulative costs and other impacts of the flawed proposal.  NERA concluded the plan would cost a total of $366 billion to $479 billion over 15 years.  Additionally, NERA says the proposal will cause consumers to spend $560 billion on measures like double-pane windows and new air conditioning systems to use less electricity.   Another study shows that 59 million American households must make do on an average take-home pay of less than $1,900 per month, and that increased energy costs – like those resulting from the plan – hurt these lower- and middle-income households.

So this plan must be good for the environment, right?   Especially if we are being asked to pay higher prices for less reliable electricity?  The sad truth is no. Even if you believe EPA’s and the U.N.’s climate models, the plan will have virtually no effect on climate change.  In fact, under the plan global average temperature will be reduced by less than 0.02 degree Fahrenheit and global sea level rise will be reduced by less than the thickness of three sheets of paper.

All in all, the EIA analysis and other studies show EPA’s proposed plan is a bad deal for America that only gets worse as more is learned.


Guest Blog: Kelley Earnhardt Miller on Small Businesses and Affordable Electricity

Posted by Kelley Earnhardt Miller at 1:42 pm, May 27, 2015

As the co-owner of a small business, I know firsthand the wonderful and important role small businesses play in communities across our nation. Small businesses drive our local economies, fuel innovation and provide opportunities where they may otherwise not exist, creating two out of three new jobs in the U.S. every year.

The economic health of our communities depends on the success of our small businesses. We have seen that here in Mooresville, N.C., where JR Motorsports has proudly called our home for years. In order for a small business to succeed, it’s important they be allowed to flourish, not held back by rising costs. When the costs of doing business increase, small business owners are forced to make sacrifices to keep their operations afloat.

Electricity is one of the most critical components of a modern business, powering everything from a garage full of machinery to the heat and air conditioning that keep us warm in the winters and cool in the summers. Small business owners rely on low-cost, predictable electricity rates to balance budgets and invest in future growth.

The team at JR Motorsports knows that rising electricity rates affect our bottom line. The last thing my brother Dale Jr. and I want to worry about is choosing between hiring a new team member and keeping the lights on. We’re glad that North Carolina’s electricity rates are nearly 11 percent lower than the national average, due in part to our state’s use of coal.

I’m grateful for an abundant energy resource that can reliably power not just my business, but small businesses across the U.S. I’ll be back with a guest blog post in June, but until then be sure to learn more about affordable, reliable coal-based power, and keep watching the JR Motorsports team each race weekend.