Last month, a group of West Virginia leaders, including Governor Tomblin and Senator Manchin, had a much-ballyhooed meeting at the White House with the EPA’s new administrator Gina McCarthy.

The members of the delegation got a chance to speak their minds about what they believe is a “war on coal” by the EPA.  By all accounts, McCarthy was attentive, taking notes and asking questions.

That was quite a shift from McCarthy’s predecessor, Lisa Jackson, who couldn’t be bothered with complaints from coal country.  But as it turns out, the difference between the two is in style, but not substance.

Within a few days the EPA will release its new rules on power plant emissions and, according to the Wall Street Journal, coal takes it on the chin. The Journal quotes a person familiar with the proposed regulations as saying the new limits will ban new coal-fired power plants.

The agency plans to accomplish its goal by setting carbon emission levels so low that coal power plants would have to install expensive and unproven carbon-capture technology to meet the standards.

“If reports are true, the EPA is set to issue a rule that will completely halt the development of new coal-fueled plants by requiring they meet unachievable carbon standards,” said Mike Duncan, President of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

And this is just part of that plan, according to Scott Segal, an attorney for the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council.

“The bottom line is, the EPA is taking a very, very aggressive approach,” Segal said on Metronews Talkline Thursday.  “It’s sort of the tip of the spear for the Administration’s general plans to address carbon emissions.”

Next year, the EPA will release its new rules for existing power plants.  There’s no reason to believe those rules will be any less hostile to coal, which still fuels 39 percent of the electricity generated in this country.

These EPA actions will wreck West Virginia’s economy, which depends heavily on the coal industry for good jobs and tax revenue.  Yes, coal will still be exported to countries that value economic growth over environmental zealotry, but if the EPA succeeds, the domestic market will eventually dry up.

None of this is surprising. The Obama Administration and its EPA have consistently pushed for the elimination of coal as an energy source to satisfy its climate change agenda.

Administration officials have frequently let their true intent slip at candid moments, only to then return to the falsity that they favor an “all of the above” strategy when it comes to energy.

Perhaps we were better off when the caustic Jackson was in charge.  At least then the hostility toward coal was evident.  With McCarthy, West Virginia and the rest of coal country still gets the shaft. The only difference is it includes a congenial trip to the White House and the jotting of notes.

 

 

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Comments

  • Bill Maher

    Hey WV lets go Mountaineers! Also coal industry dying gotta really figure out contingency plan. Catch an all new episode of Real Time with Bill Maher tonight at 10pm on HBO.

    • CaptainQ

      Not me buddy. I will be watching Fox News. People your living in a world with pin heads like Bill Maher here. Stay in the real world where Mike Huckabee tells it like it is.

      • Shadow

        Sorry he is not our President! One of the best shows on TV today.

        • CaptainQ

          Which one Huckabee or Maher?

          • Shadow

            Maher is an escapee from an Insane Asylum. I didn't know he was on TV. I guess we should notify the authorities about his whereabouts.

  • wvu999

    Coal is dying because the world is changing. Change or be left behind

    • Shadow

      Is this the change that Obummer has been talking about? Whatever that is! I know, bankruptcy, third world status, minimum medical support, etc.

  • CaptianQ

    Blah blah blah looks like the main stream media is at it again. Blah blah blah I'm so smart.

    • CaptainQ

      Now THAT'S the way to be a good internet troll! Way to go, "CaptianQ"!

      Attack, say nothing, and be consistant.

      NOW you're getting it!

      Your previous efforts as "Tired of CaptainQ" were pretty lame. This one is much better!

      Keep working at it! You make me laugh!

      • CaptainQ

        It's people like you Internet trolls you make me laugh really hard. I am gonna see what on Fox News now.

  • FungoJoe

    Hoppy,
    The next step in the War On Coal will be to prohibit any exportation of coal out of the US to the countries that will use it. In a war, you have to make tough decisions. In a war you need good leadership. Here in WV we have no good leadership available to us. Absolutely none. Earl Ray, Rockefeller, and Rahall have sold out WV and West Virginians. Rockefeller has paid his very small price with his self-imposed retirement. ERT is done as governor. Rahall won't get re-elected after a long and undistinguished career as a Democratic hack politician.
    It is the same Obama EPA under McCarthy. The substance is the same, but the style might be different. She just gives you a kiss after being screwed. That's the only difference.

  • Hillboy

    acid mine drainage
    acid rain
    increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide
    mountaintop removal/valley fills
    floods from failed slurry ponds
    fugitive dust
    surface subsidence from longwall mining
    mercury emissions from coal power plants

    I'm willing to agree with Hoppy that the EPA is waging a war on coal if he is willing to admit that the coal industry is waging war on the environment.

    • David

      Excellent points, Hillboy, though I doubt you'll get any admission from Hoppy - or from any others who vehemently advocate the right of the coal industry to profit and exist without limit or restriction.

    • DonaldH

      Hillboy, I'm pretty much pro coal but not as much as I was last week before I traveled through Welch and Mullens--- Coal Companies are their own worse enemy..

  • Joe

    As I recall my comment in Hop's Commentary the day after the meeting, I wrote that instead of being congenial with the new EPA head after her assurances of listening and finding compromise, that Gov. Tomlin should have leaned across the table and said, "Don't piss down the back of my leg and tell me it's raining". Everyone knew what the EPA would do.

    Donald - thanks for your advice from the AEP official. This weekend will begin my project to acquire and install a "whole home" power generator.

    Joe

    • FungoJoe

      Joe,
      Look into a natural gas powered generator instead of a gasoline one. I am very impressed with the one my neighbor installed after the derecho last year. It will kick on automatically when the power goes out. I am thinking of investing in one soon before winter.
      They can be pricey, but what peace of mind it will bring. They range from about $3,000 to $10,000 and up. Of course that depends on the size you get and the size of the home they will power up.

      • Shadow

        A NG powered generator may solve the problem of solar cells when night comes or it rains.

        • Joe

          Fungo / Shadow:

          Thanks for the advice and comments as I get started. I'll keep the group posted at various points.

          • DonaldH

            Please do, Joe.. and good luck this weekend with your project--

            My weekend will be working on my generator and cutting firewood.

    • DonaldH

      Don't mention it Joe.

      State Electric has decent deals on both a 20kand 7k LP or NG generator with a switch box right now. Their store in Lewisburg has them both in stock.

  • Harvey

    If my memory serves me correctly, carbon capture and sequestration has been touted for several years by proponents of continued thermal coal usage as a viable alternative in the paradigm of "clean coal technology." Dr. Peng at WVU seems to have said as much in an op-ed in the Charleston Gazette. Now it seems the requirement to implement this technology with all deliberate speed is too great a burden to be born by the industry.

    If no new coal power plants are on the design stage right now, and none will be until the price of natural gas as an international commodity increases significantly, there is time for development of carbon capture technology making it more affordable for future planning. When the inevitable increase in the price of natural gas occurs and raises that energy source to the future level of coal including the social cost of carbon capture, new thermal coal plants using the most current and environmentally sound technology will be planned and built. That is how the market works, right?

    The alternative is to pursue a status quo where market conditions dictate a race to the bottom. Under those circumstances Central Appalachian thermal coal could be depleted at a faster rate. Shareholders could become richer faster and our people can be abandoned for other energy sources much sooner. It seems like a pretty clear choice.

    • Wowbagger

      Dr. Peng's areas of specialization are ground control and longwall mining not carbon capture. Contrary to the common wisdom a Phd is a specialist's degree and doesn't make one a universal expert.

      The real issues with carbon capture are controlling the liquid CO2 in high pressure reservoirs after capture for geologically long periods of time and, of course whether it is even necessary given the fact that the computer modeler's climate models haven't proved predictive for over ten years at this point. Looking at the geologic record there have been both ice ages and warm periods while atmospheric CO2 has been much greater than it is today. This fact has been pretty much ignored.

  • JimmyTwoTimes

    Bim is right. The # of coal industry jobs in WV is not nearly what is was. The fact of the matter is our country is moving away from coal to other sources of energy such as natural gas. The decline in coal is because of the market, not politics. Environmentalists have been railing against coal forever. Coal will still be here for a long time, but it's market share will continue to slowly decline. Not because of some "War on Coal", but due to other sources of energy and the fact that the cost effectiveness of those other sources continues to come down. China is the largest producer and user of solar energy if that tells you something. C'MON MAN!!

    • Shadow

      Solar is going to need a great improvement in efficiency and reduction in cost of the solar cell to become significant. Then comes the weather and darkness and back to the candle and hand fan.

    • FungoJoe

      Jimmy 2X,
      Don't you think that enviromental over-regulations effect the price of coal on the open market?? C'MON MAN !!!!

    • wirerowe

      While it is true that the Marselius boom has had had some impact on market shifts in elecrtic power generation the long term impacts of the War on Coal are just as significant and probably more significant.The EPa will make it impossible to build another coal fired power plant, they have driven up the cost of mining and burning coal, they have prematurely shuttered 10% of the coal fired power plants in the country. All of this has a chilling effect on investment in coal. He is completely wrong about global warming and carbon. It is a sham seeking to be a hoax.But he really doesn't care because his legacy is in shambles and he will try to hang his hat on cutting carbon.

    • DonaldH

      China should be the largest consumer of solar energy,,, They have to do something with all the solar panels Obama and Solyndra paid them to build..

  • thornton

    The important point regarding someone "taking notes" in a meeting is that one never reads those notes taken.

    As this president sees more and more difficulty with implementing his views to change America, his ego will force him ever more strongly to concentrate on those elements of change still supported by his faithful and agenda-driven sycophants....all independent of the reality of the situation or who and what gets harmed.

  • Wowbagger

    Obama is simply living up to one of his campaign promises.

    BTW: Carbon sequestration is inherently hazardous unless you actually use the CO2 for some industrial application as the accidental release of large quantities of CO2 can prove very dangerous to public safety. Pumping CO2 away from population centers adds a lot to the cost. Most carbon sequestration proposals are just political hocus pocus to provide cover for politicos.

  • CaptainQ

    Hoppy, did we truly expect anything less from a new Obama appointee to the EPA?

    I know there are many out there who deny that there is a 'War on Coal', but this impending action looks like more evidence that such a war exists. Whether the Obama Administration is truly sincere in their desire for cleaner air and water or it has a real vendetta against the Mountain State, one thing's for certain. As long as the Democrats are in power in the White House, the WV coal industry will needlessly suffer.

    THAT fact cannot be denied.

    The real question that remains to be answered is this: can American continue to increase its production of electrical energy WITHOUT the use of coal? I fear the answer to THAT question is NO and in the distant future, this nation will find this fact out, the HARD way.

    • Bim

      With the Marcellus and Utica shale finds and not even to include the rest of the country, we have enough natural gas to produce electrical energy almost indefinitely. The costs of production will be at a rate that coal will not be able to be in the running without EPA controls. By 2020 we will be totally energy independent and selling NG to foreign countries. Just like the demise of the steel industry, coal is going that route. Different reasons or same reasons doesn't really matter, it just that things change.

      • CaptainQ

        You're forgetting one thing, Bim. Currently, the vast majority of power plants are NOT fitted to burn natural gas. they still burn coal. Refitting them to use natural gas will take two things: time and MONEY. Money the utility companies do NOT want to spend and money if they are forced to spend, they will pass those costs to consumers (all of us). This is what the Obama Administration does not and WILL not understand. You just can't simply 'wave a magic wand' and turn all coal burning power plants into natural gas burning ones. This takes time and money, PERIOD. Crippling the coal industry BEFORE these changes are made WILL results in power shortages nationwide. That's the bottom line.

        • ConservativeRealist

          Good points CaptainQ. Bim also seems to forget that, in order to burn natural gas, you have to get it to the plant - via a pipeline. OOPS!!! Getting a permit to build a pipeline out of the EPA and FERC is just about as hard as getting a strip mine permit - just ask the folks in Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota.

          • Bim

            Have you not read about the 500 million dollar pipeline from WV to gulf coast already in process of land acquisitions to be completed in about 10 years. The pipeline coming down from North Dakota is on line for completion as well. It is changing, slowly but surely.

        • DonaldH

          Capt, , I thought about this very thing today,, Certainly it would be cheaper to re-fit power plants to burn NG instead of fitting all with scrubbers and all the latest technology and equipment cost with capturing CO2.

          Something tells me this Natural Gas BOON "aint" really as robust as some are claiming...

      • Shadow

        Coal exports are up and the World is in recession. Coal has the established infrastructure that is not currently available for CNG. Coal will be around for a long time, longer than Obummeer and his EPA.

      • ConservativeRealist

        Hey Bim, have you noticed that more workers have been killed or injuried in the Marcellus boom in the past year than in the coal industry? Have you also noticed that much of the Marcellus boom has been under the guises of coal mineral rights leases? Oh, and have you seen that some of the Marcellus boom has been from sister or parent companies of coal companies?

        • Bim

          It's like a coal miner friend of mine told me, "I go to work everyday thinking I might die" so does a friend of mine in the NG business as stands of live explosives doing his job. No one ever said working in natural resouces is easy. Timbering has the highest death rate/accident rate than any other occupation.

      • Wowbagger

        The coal industry is much more labor intensive than the capital intensive oil and gas industry, where drilling, completion, and pipeline development is the front loaded, labor intensive part of development. This is followed by long periods of occasional visits by a well tender, a few other workers, and occasional well work.

        Bottom line: Coal, even mountain top removal, generates more direct and indirect jobs than oil and gas.

        Central Appalachia is on the far side of the peak of the Hubbert curve (translation: production will never be as great as it once was and is declining), but a gradual change, say over 20 or 30 years in the employment is preferable to an abrupt, disruptive change.

      • Mark

        Bim, another thing you are forgetting about natural gas; it may be cheap now, but a few short years ago it was selling for $13-14 per mcf. If coal is eliminated the demand for gas will skyrocket leading to much higher prices and higher energy costs. We need a combination of coal and gas in the future.

        • kensgirl

          Now don't you go throwin' them-there economic realities out at the "gub'mint knows best!" folks, Mark! They cain't understand the truth, let alone handle it!

      • CaptainQ

        No Bim, the Marcellius and Utica shale operations will NOT be an indefinite supply of natural gas. Those wells will produce at peak levels for only the first three years of operation, then the production levels drop off dramatically. In the long run, natural gas may not be the answer to the nation's electric power generation problems. However, there's at least a 75 year supply of known coal reserves in the USA.

        I like those odds better than 'betting' on natural gas.

        • Bim

          That is definitely not correct. The NG supply is the USA is 100 years or referred to as limitless for our USA consumption. The Marcellus gas alone is enough for almost 20 years. This wet gas can be used for everything from heating homes/factories/power station to making butane for your grill. WV probably has enough for 3 years by itself.

      • Mueller

        The costs of production will be at a rate that coal will not be able to be in the running without EPA controls.

        You know the EPA doesn't do it's own research, right? It funds research to get the results they want. In many cases they take actual state funded results and arbitrarily plug in their own numbers.
        With EPA controls the coal industry will die. just like Obama intended.
        The government is not here to help you. the government is here to control you through regulations.

        Bim.
        What is coal used for besides heat?
        There will always be a need for coal.

    • Sherky

      Captain Q So true, but Obama wants to push his own agenda of windmills and solar panels that he and his wife own stock in. Also WV coal is capable of taking the place of big oil. Obama
      doesn't want that.

    • working man husband and father

      From what I have seen the marcellus shale drilling process is no safer for the enviroment and looks as bad if not worse than the coal mining process

  • MyView

    Obama, Rockefellar, Rahall WAR ON COAL continues

  • Bim

    Many jobs in WV are no longer associated with coal. Those not in the coal related business are tired of our state's mountains being raped by coal operators by tearing down mountains, polluting streams and killing wildlife. Fly over southern WV and look at the nasty landscape if you haven't done so. All of this is to use coal that when burnt destroys the rest of the environment. We are a minority in WV but some of us love our state for its beauty not for its strip mining. Natural gas is the future and WV better get going in that direction.

    • DonaldH

      Bim, your assertion that "MANY" jobs in WV are no longer "associated" with coal is just a dream....

      • Bim

        You need to do a little research. Did you know that out of the top 30 employers only 3 are coal companies? Have you seen the growth in north central WV with the FBI, natural gas companies and tourism related businesses? Have you been to the eastern panhandle? Parkersburg? Maybe you are correct for the southern part of the state but in many areas WV is alive and thriving.

        • Shadow

          The only area that you mentioned that was not related to government spending was natural gas.

          • Bim

            You think the FBI jobs are not important and crucial to our country's security. The thousands of people that work there don't pay taxes, buy goods, contribute to communities. The merchants that own the stores, services centers of various kinds, car dealers, new and used, housing sales and rentals etc. Your comment on govt spending is like saying the military is a waste of money...

          • Shadow

            All Government personel are all paid by taxes. Government contributes nothing to the economy, they make nothing. Not to say that they are not required like the Military. As to the FBI, they have become similar to the Cheka beginning at Ruby Ridge.

      • Lemonhead

        I was to led to believe ( via a WAJR broadcast) that Wal-Mart is among the top 5 employers in WV, and may even be #1.

        • DonaldH

          But Wal-Marts #1,2,3 customers are directly or indirectly dependent on the coal industry... Be them a barber, nurse or used car salesman.. Bim knows this...

          When the chemical industry left the Kanawha Valley-- Car salesman lost their jobs as did carpenters, carpet-layers, mechanics, store clerks, etc., and the population of Charleston decreased on average 2 people a day for 10 straight years... Why do you think Mayor Nanny Jones had to dream up the inventive name for a head-tax and call it "user-fee" anyone working in Charleston..

    • ConservativeRealist

      BIM, you are way out of touch with reality and obviously reading from skewed statistics. Most of the State's jobs - from public sector workers, to healthcare, to legal practices, to educational programs, to the service industry are directly dependent on coal. I would agree that as a primary employment driver, coal related jobs have slipped. But when you look at the job of the mechanic who works on trucks or coal related equipment and the retailer who sells clothes to people who work in the coal industry and their families, the impact of the EPA's "war on coal" will be devastating to West Virginia's economy. I would be willing to be that I could attach coal to you or your wife's employment without going out past the third order.

      • Bim

        When and where I grew up in southern WV you are spot on with you comment about coal and in the southern coal communities of today. But in the areas that I live and work and travel in the panhandles, northcentral wv, Parkersburg and ski country, coal is NOT a majority player and the top employer comments fits right in with the WorkForce report released this week. You look at the stores, gas stations, mechanic shops, trucks on the road, car dealers, doctor offices to name a few, you see working men in natural gas trucks/vans stopping, getting blood tests, buy food for lunches, renting every house in the areas, none of this is coal related. You use to see coal trucks now it is water trucks, sand trucks, drilling equipment, etc. I talked to more retired coal miners by far than ones actually working. You can attach natural gas and other types of employment but coal in not in the running in my area.

        • Mark

          That is all well and good, but keep this in mind; after the EPA has destroyed coal they are going after natural gas next. Then I guess the tree huggers will rely on rainbows and lollipops to power their homes.

          • realitycheck

            Spot on. Fracking is next. Only a matter of time. I suppose the candle industry will come back in full force.... until the tree huggers find something wrong with it.

        • DonaldH

          Bim, the economic soundness of the "pan-handles" isn't enough and WILL never be enough to carry the state--

    • Crashing Down

      Bim,
      I flew over Southern WV this past weekend. All I saw was lush green mountains, dotted with a few freckles of economic activity. Did not look at all the way you liberal pukes want to describe it. You liberal pukes say it looks like the surface of the moon when you fly over. When in reality, it looks much like a rain forest. Something you and the liberals are not very good with: REALITY.

      • Wowbagger

        Mountaintop removal only occurs where there is an aggregate coal thickness great enough to turn a profit. The coals must also be of acceptible quality. This doesn't happen everywhere!

      • Sherky

        Crashing Down, Thank you for being honest. Everyone else is wearing their how can I make money off this hat. Like we don't know that the tree huggers are being paid very well, while their followers are just blinded to that fact.

    • Old man

      If you told the truth you grew up depended on coal so sad you can't see what all coal domes must be too damn dumb and blind

    • Wardawg

      Bim - do you understand how the economy works? Below you said that 3 of the top 30 jobs are in coal companies. That is incredibly high - not low as you seem to think.

      That is the DIRECT effect. But you said: "Many jobs in WV are no longer associated with coal."

      When 10 percent of employment is directly in one primary industry that means secondary and tertiary jobs ("associated" ones) are going to make up about 40-60% of the employment base (the 20 % variance depends on other primary industries - I would lean high based on the physical location WV would make other industry dubious). I guess 30% could be "many" in your book. But I doubt you get it.

      If all jobs in a primary industry disappeared you are looking at massive dislocation across a huge swath of an economy.

      I have nothing to do with WV by the way. But your failure to understand basic econ did catch my eye.

  • DonaldH

    I was with an AEP official just yesterday and was told to buy a home generator that can run my entire house.

  • Pragmatic

    Hoppy,

    Totally expected, no one should be surprised. The problem on the table lies at the feet of most of our lawmakers who can only pontificate and strut never taking the time to look at the facts. Our bunch sets the standard of complete uselessness. What is worse is the lack of memory by all and the no demand for accountability complements of a disinterested and uniformed public and media. May I remind you of Joe Manchin’s successful thrust to pass WV legislation, known as HB 103, WV’s “cap and trade” bill.
    Has everyone forgot that John Raese signaled the fall out of that bill? Does anyone remember Joe’s suck up to Obama? Here is a link for reminders.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzt2VLWpFVQ

    Does anyone know that Tomblyn voted for HB 103 as a Senator? Has anyone in high places looked at the science of Climate Change? The evidence increases daily that it is a fraud and that CO2 is a cooling gas, not the so called ill stated warming gas. Has anyone connected the dots showing that all of the predictions used by the Government are falling apart and that there has been no warming (actually cooling) for the past 16 years? Next week is a Hearing on Climate Change – let’s see how our bunch performs? In life you get what you pay for – sometimes the product exceeds, sometimes it does not. Guess what we got?