Monthly Archives: February 2014

Coal Related News from Around the Nation

RPT-West Virginia senator pushes coal bill as counterweight to EPA

As the Obama administration readies rules to force all U.S. power plants to lower the rate at which they produce greenhouse gases, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a major coal state, is trying to steer a bill through the Senate that he said would hold off the Environmental Protection Agency.

The bill that Manchin, a Democrat, has co-sponsored with a fellow coal-state lawmaker, Kentucky Republican Representative Ed Whitfield, would severely weaken the federal Clean Air Act, environmental groups say.

Congressional sources expect the bill to be put up for a vote next week by the Republican-led House of Representatives, where it is likely to pass. But it faces an uphill battle in the Senate, which is led by Democrats.

Manchin said in an interview that despite a series of conversations with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the agency seems unwilling to bend on what he characterized as untenable standards that rely on technology that is not viable for capturing carbon emissions from power plants.

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PA Coal Alliance Says EPA Requirements Hurt the Poor

A Pennsylvania coal advocacy group is claiming that coal-fired power plants can’t meet federal emission requirements, and residents are paying the price.

According to Pennsylvania Coal Alliance CEO John Pippy, restrictions from the Environmental Protection Agency are causing the shut down of coal-fired power plants that he thinks are still needed as a short-term solution for electricity demands.

Many Pennsylvania coal power plants are being replaced by cleaner energy solutions such as natural gas. However, during recent cold snaps a lack of natural gas caused prices for that commodity to spike in turn sending electricity prices soaring.

“Natural gas has a priority to home heating, so when its very cold like it was the last couple weeks there wasn’t actually enough natural gas to cover some of the power plants and there were some significant issues,” said Pippy.

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Energy official: Electricity prices to soar 80 percent, thanks to EPA coal regulations

Regulations for new coal plants would increase electricity prices by as much as 80 percent, an Obama administration official told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the DEPArtment of Energy, told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight board that carbon capture and storage technology was still not ready for prime time.

“The precise number will vary, but for first generation we project $70 to $90 per ton [on the wholesale price of electricity],” Friedmann said. “For second generation, it will be more like a $40 to $50 per ton price. Second generation of demonstrations will begin in a few years, but won’t be until middle of the next decade that we will have lessons learned and cost savings.”

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