House of Representatives Should Stand Up for Coal
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The war on coal has claimed many casualties.
For example, a Billings, Montana, coal-fired power plant will be mothballed in 2015 when new EPA regulations go into effect. There's no word if 35-full time employees there will lose their jobs. Add this to the list of power plants in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, and elsewhere that have already or will shut down.
A few days before this news, coal mining company Alpha Natural Resources announced that it would shut down eight coal mines in West Virginia, Virginia, and Pennsylvania and lay off 1,200 workers. Chief Executive Officer Kevin Crutchfield said part of the reason is “a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal.”
No kidding. This unfriendly environment would become even more unfriendly under a proposed EPA greenhouse gas rule that targets coal-fired plants and Utility MACT, the “Blackout Rule” that would impose billions of dollars in additional compliance costs and threaten
s the reliability of the electrical grid.
Attempting to eliminate coal reduces American energy diversity and security. A true “All-of-the-Above” energy strategy has to include this abundant resource. The good news is that there’s an effort in the House of Representatives to fight back and protect coal use.
The U.S. Chamber sent a key vote letter to House of Representatives members urging them to support the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act. As it reads in the letter, this legislation would:
Prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from using the Clean Air Act to impose a cap and trade program for greenhouse gases, and would repeal numerous existing greenhouse gas regulations. If a cap and trade program were to be imposed, Congress should make this sensitive policy decision.
Put the brakes on the Utility MACT rule. EPA, itself, estimates that the Utility MACT rule would cost $10.9 billion annually.
In addition, the legislation would block the “Stream Protection Rule,” a controversial regulation under development by the Department of the Interior that is intended to regulate mining in or near streams. Ross Eisenberg at the National Association of Manufacturers writes that the rule “is expected to cause a 20-30 percent drop in coal production in the Eastern United States and a 50 percent drop in underground mines nationwide, putting at risk more than 20,000 coal mining and related jobs.”
The House of Representatives has an opportunity to stand up for American jobs and increased energy security.