WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal EPA released its proposal Friday to cut carbon pollution from new power plants. Opponents quickly responded saying the proposed rules would make it almost impossible to build any future coal-fired plants.

The EPA called its plan a first milestone in President Barack Obama’s “Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards.”

Climate change is one of the most significant public health challenges of our time. By taking commonsense action to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, we can slow the effects of climate change and fulfill our obligation to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our children,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a news release “These standards will also spark the innovation we need to build the next generation of power plants, helping grow a more sustainable clean energy economy.”

The proposal limits new coal-fired power plants to 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. There’s also an option to average emissions over multiple years. Natural gas-fired power plants would face a limit of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. 

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AEP, parent company of Appalachian Power, recently completed the new Turk Power Plant in Arkansas and using the latest technology it will emit 1,800 of CO2 per megawatt hour.

Appalachian Power Company Director of Communications Jeri Matheney told MetroNews Friday the new proposal would in effect eliminate any new coal-fired plants.

“This rule effectively eliminates coal as an option for a new plant,” Matheney said.

A fellow subsidiary with Appalachian Power under American Electric Power, Southwestern Electric Power Company, just finished building the new Turk Power Plant in Arkansas. The company said it used the latest technology and the operation will emit 1,800 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, significantly more than the new standard of 1,100 per megawatt-hour.

The EPA said Friday it believes new coal-fired power plants can be constructed in the future. It predicts the cost for the carbon capture or carbon sequestration technology will eventually go down.

“We’re confident that coal plants of the future will be able to be built with this technology,” an EPA acting assistant administrator said in a conference call with reporters.

EPA said it’s nowhere near ready to talk about new emission guidelines for existing plans although a proposal is due out next summer.

The West Virginia Coal Association said in released statement the proposed rules “will hurt West Virginia jobs, our economy and may result in increased electric costs for consumers across this country.”

“If you can’t build new coal-fired power plants or expand the ones we have, EPA’s directly taking West Virginia coal jobs, ” the coal association continued. “What makes it worse is that the federal government has refused to determine the economic impact of these rules before they are promulgated! This negative attack is further magnified by efforts to reduce the fossil fuel and carbon control and sequestration budgets in the Department of Energy, which if anything, need to be maintained and increased!”

But the EPA said the rules will make sure new power plants are built with clean technology and investments in clean energy are already taking place. The EPA said the power plants of the future will use “cleaner energy technologies — such as efficient natural gas, advanced coal technology, nuclear power, and renewable energy like wind and solar.”

West Virginia First District Congressman David McKinley said Friday on MetroNews Talkline the EPA was getting ahead of itself.

“We just simply got to get the EPA under control,” McKinley said. “They got to just slow down and take a breather and look at what they’re doing to the economy.”

McKinley said the changes would ultimately mean higher utility bills.

U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller described the new plan as “tough requirements.” He said it would cause for a push “toward clean coal technologies that have great potential but are not yet deployed at full-scale, and are difficult to finance.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said Friday the new proposals prove the Obama administration is continuing its war against coal.

“Never before has the federal government forced an industry to do something that is technologically impossible. Forcing coal to meet the same emissions standards as gas when experts know that the required technology is not operational on a commercial scale makes absolutely no sense and will have devastating impacts to the coal industry and our economy,” Manchin said.

The senator also predicted jobs would be lost and electric prices would significantly increase.

Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito said the new rules show the Obama administration “doesn’t care about the hard working men and women who earn their living in the coal industry, doesn’t care about providing reliable and affordable energy to power the national economy for years to come, and doesn’t care about harming the very fabric of communities across our state.”

West Virginia Third District Congressman Nick Rahall called the EPA’s plan a scheme to prevent construction of coal plants.

I am dead-set against the EPA and their scheme to issue emissions standards that would make it next to impossible for new coal-fired power plants to be constructed. In mandating that new power plants utilize technology that is not even commercially available, let alone affordable, the Agency is preventing abundant American coal from meeting America’s future energy needs. The result of this wrong-headed policy would be higher energy bills for families and businesses, reduced power reliability and energy independence for our nation, and lost jobs for our coal miners,” Rahall said in a prepared statement.

The EPA has started a 60-day comment period on its proposal and will eventually have a public hearing.


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  • D.P.

    Conchop - where to start with a lemming such as yourself? You're an ULTRA LIBERAL DEM who blindly follows the party line. Are you remotely aware many in the scientific community are now questioning if there is scientific data to support "global warming." About 30 years ago, Time and Newsweek (both very liberal mags/rags) were stating the earth was on the verge of "global cooling." Wow, how liberal thinking has changed over the past 30 years!

    If our BYSTANDER/ENTERTAINER in Chief were to advise Americans that it is healthy to eat excrement for breakfast, YOU and your fellow ULTRA LIBERAL FLUNKIES would eat it THREE TIMES A DAY!!!!! Since BHO is so tremendously brilliant, whatever he says has to be correct, right?

  • Pete

    Time has come for the West Virginia miners to stop producing coal long enough to turn the lights out in Washington! That would get our Fearless Leaders attention!

  • Conchop

    You silly neocons are missing the big point: who wants to buy twice price coal when you can buy half price gas. There is also a carbon tax that is going to reduce the income tax and it will be the ultimate kiss of death for coal. Funny how its the major gas companies, like Exxon, Mobil, Shell that are sending their lobbyists out to advocate for this carbon tax - it has the net effect of having the taxpayers help get their freshly "fracked" gas fields on line. Funnier still is the fact that a lot of the same people own the gas companies and the coal companies.

    So what is your average West Virginian supposed to do? The EPA has these new carbon regulations and there's a carbon tax on the way. Are you gonna start another right wing anti - Obama smear campaign? Are you going to produce some more junk science that denies the effects of coal pollution and global warming? Something tells me a lot of you will, despite the fact that, according to the record, these tactics are failures.

    Coal is always going to be mined. There's just going to be a lot less of it. Seems logical that we Appalachians should be figuring out new ways to diversify and amp up our economy. Sustainability and ecologically friendly living will go a long way in transitioning away from a coal based economy. Seems like there is a new balance of power and money destined to come our way. Plan accordingly. Good LUCK ...

    • Scott

      It will never be diversified in WV because of roads and terrain but all the hard working people will be gone and the check drawers and likes will be left would say ghost town but they are plenty of those likes to keep that from being said.With out the tax base from coal even other industries in other parts of state won't be able to afford WV

  • D.P.

    Shelley and MoJoe are the ONLY two Senators (in this state) who will stand up to this clown we have as president! Natalie is like the majority of the Dems (including Rahall and Rocky) in WV and talks a good game. God forbid if she were elected as she would quickly and blindly follow the far left leadership in their pursuit of hastening the demise of coal.

    For those of you who supposedly are strongly in favor of coal: Were you not listening to BHO's speeches when he was initially campaining? He stated exactly what his intentions were and he's now following up on them. You idiots voted strictly along party lines and you've gotten exactly what you deserve!!! Sadly, it's at the expense of the rest of us!!!

  • leroy j gibbs

    Why do you think they have been drilling the hell out of our country. Gas is it! Coal is not! See the writing on the wall.and there is nothing we can do about it

  • grey4449

    Nick Joe Rahall voted to lower carbon emissions. Now he leads you to believe hes for COAL. People need to remember to vote Rahall out next election. He does what Obama wants plain and simple. VOTE RAHALL OUT.

  • CaptainQ

    Looks like this move by the EPA means the Obama Administration has just won the "War On Coal." It's checkmate. If Obama's EPA is making stricter standards for NEW electrical plants, it won't be too much longer until those same standards are applied to EXISTING coal fired power plants. If that happens, 'game over' for WV Coal as well as for consistant 24/7 electricity access in America.

    The Obama Administration clearly does NOT care about the negative consequences of their actions. On Hoppy's radio show today, it was discovered that the EPA readily admitted that efficient carbon sequestration technology won't exist for another ten years, yet they're applying these tougher standards on new coal fired power plants NOW. Reminds me of about a decade or so ago when the government in Washington required all new television sets to have V-chips installed in them, when the V-chip hadn't even been available for mass production yet!

    Bottom line, if these EPA rules are placed in force, coal is DONE in WV. The awful thing about it is that the current regime in Washington doesn't even want WV to export its coal to other nations who have no problem burning it, like China for instance. Let's see. Can't sell coal in America, can't sell it overseas. It's like I said before on this MB, if the Democrats and the Obama Administration have their way, it'll soon be illegal to even POSSESS a lump of coal let alone burn it.

    • Hop'sHip

      What will Santa give you for Christmas, Q? By the way, I think we will be burning coal for a lot of years in existing coal-fired plants. And you might check with China about their having no problems burning it. Even their population is losing tolerance with their inability to breathe.

      • CaptainQ

        C'mon Hop'ship. Do you really believe the Chinese Politburo CARES if millions of their own people are dying from polluted air? They don't even care about the air quality of their own capital city (Remember the 2008 Olympics?). As for threats of a Chinese rebellion, I don't think so. Two words, "Tiananmen Square," says it all. This regime has no problem with using lethal force on dissenters.

        As for what 'Santa' will bring me for Christmas, I will quote a famous line Bart Simpson uttered in the Simpson's Christmas Special: "There's only one fat man that delivers presents at my house and his name ain't Santa."

    • realitycheck

      yep, and natural gas, while great, won't employ the number of workers that coal does.... so get ready for some really high unemployment in this state (and, yes, i acknowledge that this state should have done more to diversify its economy years ago -- but it didn't) and a huge loss in tax revenue.

  • JasonMccallister

    I'm a Boone co native 5-7 years underground hard to pinpoint time laid off a lot and worked for contractors but anyway natural gas is the way the industry is heading to produce energy.Regardless of whose president or EPA rules the industry will go with the cheapest most profitable means for them of course necessary. This is capatalism at work but it amazes me when republicans lash out against this when they think it doesn't benefit them or they see a chance to blame the other party for change.


    ANYONE in WVa who votes for a democrat, thinking they are for the working people needs their head examined!!!!!

    • liberty4all

      None of this is about "the working people" as both parties quit being for the working people a long time ago. Besides, as long as China and India continue to build coal burning power plants at the rate they are, exports will continue to rise (as they did just last year) for years to come. Why else do you think the major coal companies recently gathered at the Greenbrier resort? Hardly the image of an industry under siege.

      The real concern is if the EPA begins issuing regulations which significantly adds to the cost of coal production so that American coal is effectively priced out of the world market. Then the coal industry will die.

      And anyone clinging to the dream of "clean coal" better wake up. I've seen how the dream ends and it's a nightmare. Any money being spent towards cleaner energy in the future is going to start with the energy sources which are already cleaner than coal and work to make them even cleaner.

    • wvrefugee

      COAL is DEAD!!

      • Shadow

        Seems to me I heard a similar phrase some time ago but it was in reference to GOD and he/she is still around.

        • Bigfish

          Nope. Still dead

        • Hop'sHip

          Coal is West Virginia; West Virginia is almost Heaven; ..... COAL IS GOD!

  • lee arthur

    Will the all mighty buck win out ?

  • cutty77

    Well this will not pass anyway. But yes the Time is Changing on Coal,and they need to move faster,and complain less. Like old Lee Iacocca said,Lead,Follow,or Get The Hell Out Of The Way.

    • realitycheck

      "this will not pass"? unless i'm mistaken, it doesn't need to obtain congressional approval.

      • cutty77

        I guess we will both will see.

  • Joe Cool

    I feel sorry for you. I really do.

  • Random

    It's a shame. These EPA leaders are so incoherent and so inept to our country's problems that they are too ignorant to even make an attempt to correct it. I feel sorry for them. I really do. It's a sad day to be an American.