Monthly Archives: March 2014

Coal Related News from Around the Nation

Coal Must Be a Part of the Nation’s Future

There is a battle going on in our nation right now over the future of energy, and West Virginia is at the center of this debate. We are the nation’s third largest energy producer and second largest producer of coal. Yet, there is an effort by some to not only limit how we use and burn coal for energy, but also how we extract it.

In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency retroactively vetoed a mining permit issued to a Southern West Virginia mine four years earlier. The company, Mingo Logan Coal Co., a subsidiary of Arch Coal, sued the EPA over the veto, and the legal battle has been going on ever since, with Mingo Logan, as well as many other parties, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter. On March 24, the Court decided to not hear the case, and remanded it to the district court.

The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office has been and will continue to be intimately involved in Mingo Logan Coal Co. v. Environmental Protection Agency. We will do everything in our power to fight for West Virginia jobs and the rule of law.

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EPA’s coal regs: all pain, no gain for Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s economy has been on the upswing, but Washington’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations could change all that. The Environmental Protection Agency’s prospective crackdown on new and existing power plants will drive up energy prices across the nation, but the proposed regulations will hit Badger State families and businesses particularly hard.

The latest surge in the agency’s “war on coal,” EPA’s proposed limits on carbon dioxide emissions would essentially block construction of new coal-fired power plants and force existing ones into early retirement. New plant emissions, for example, would be capped at 1,000 pounds of CO2 equivalent per megawatt hour. Talk about Mission Impossible! The newest, most efficient coal power plant emits 1,700 pounds per megawatt hour.

In the real world, the war on coal is a war on affordable, reliable energy. It’s especially problematic for Wisconsinites, who rely heavily on coal for their electricity (more than 60% vs. the national average of 40%).

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Quinn: Don’t worry about EPA power plant regulations?

It was good to see that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy traveled last week from the nation’s capital to visit an energy capital.

They spoke truth to power, posing good questions that voiced the skepticism of North Dakotans about EPA’s regulations and the concerns of most Americans about the regulatory impact on the economy and employment. McCarthy tried to dispel their doubts about the impact her agency will have on the nation’s power plants and their ability to provide affordable electricity. But it doesn’t appear her “don’t worry, we’re flexible” message won many converts among the delegation.

That’s understandable.

People can have honest differences about climate change and what should be done about it. But there should be little dispute about the impact of EPA’s policies to regulate carbon dioxide from power plants.

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J. Winston Porter: We need to keep coal in our energy mix

President Obama spoke of his “all of the above” energy strategy during the recent State of the Union address, but his actions tell a very different story.

Coal, America’s most abundant fuel and the workhorse of our electricity supply, is being kicked aside. The president is pushing the to make it virtually impossible to build new coal plants in the United States.

The EPA has proposed very stringent rules limiting the amount of carbon dioxide that a new coal plant can release. These rules would force new plants to be equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology that, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t yet exist.

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Harsh Winter Reveals Necessity Of Coal

For the past three months, millions of Americans on the East Coast have endured constant freezing temperatures, regular deluges of snow, and expensive heating and electric bills. Pulling out all the stops to keep the East Coast’s lights on, utilities and grid operators employed every source of power they could to stave off dangerous brown outs.

Unfortunately, many of the coal-fired power plants that kept the East Coast running are being forced to shutter their doors due to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. In early January, around 75 percent of Southern Company’s coal power plants scheduled to retire were called upon to generate electricity. The Tennessee Valley Authority set new records for electricity demand at the same time that nearly 20 of its coal-fired generating facilities are scheduled for retirement.

With 300 units and 44,295 megawatts of coal-fired electricity going offline due to EPA policies, case studies and anecdotes abound about the vacuum that will be left in their absence. Prohibitive EPA regulations banning new coal power plants from being constructed mean that this void will be filled with natural gas electricity. Although the shale revolution has brought previously unthinkable amounts of natural gas to market, the recent cold snap illustrates how depending on one energy source is precarious policy.

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