West Virginia’s congressional delegation was quick to respond to new EPA clean air regulations released Friday in connection with the construction of future coal and natural gas-fired power plants. Their complete statements are listed below.
U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller:
“I’ve always said that any clean coal policy must, at its core, have the interests of miners and their families in mind — and that new technology is the best and only way to secure their future.
“The EPA’s new carbon emission plan includes tough requirements for future coal-fired power plants and pushes us hard toward clean coal technologies that have great potential but are not yet deployed at full-scale, and are difficult to finance.
“These rules will only work if we act now to strengthen our investment in clean coal technology and to advance public-private partnerships more seriously than ever. We need everyone with a stake in clean coal to come together for these solutions to become a reality.
“This rule is undeniably a daunting challenge, but it’s also a call to action. West Virginia and America have overcome far greater technological obstacles than this one, and I refuse to believe we can’t do it again.”
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin:
“Today’s announcement of the EPA’s new source performance standard is direct evidence that this Administration is trying to hold the coal industry to impossible standards. 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.
“It is past time that this country establishes an all-of-the-above energy policy that uses every domestic resource available to us, and that includes coal. The facts are plain and simple: Coal provides the greatest share of electricity we use, generating around 40 percent of our power. The President’s own Department of Energy predicts that coal will continue to be a major source of electricity for at least the next 30 years. It’s just common sense to level the playing field and accept that coal is, and will be for the foreseeable future, a significant part of our energy mix.
“If these regulations go into effect, American jobs will be lost, electricity prices will soar, and economic uncertainty will grow. We need the federal government to work as a partner, not an adversary, and to invest in America’s energy future. I will continue to fight EPA overreach, just as I did as Governor, to protect the reliable, affordable energy and the good-paying jobs that coal-fired power plants provide in West Virginia and across this country.”
Third District Congressman Nick Rahall:
“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.
“This callous, ideologically driven Agency continues to be numb to the economic pain that their reckless regulations cause. Today’s rule is just the latest salvo in the EPA’s war on coal, a war I have unwaveringly soldiered against, and I will work tirelessly to prevent such an ill-conceived and illogical plan from moving forward. It is in this vein, that I am today introducing a Resolution to express Congress’ strong disapproval of this rule and I invite both Democrats and Republicans to join me in this initial effort.”
Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito:
“EPA’s action strikes at the core of West Virginia and is yet another sign that this Administration simply 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 families and businesses have already paid a heavy price due to EPA’s overbearing regulations. We must take into account the economic impact of government regulations on local communities, and we should not take an action that hinders our nation’s ability to compete globally.
“Last night I introduced the Ensure Reliable and Affordable American Energy Act. My bill would delay the implementation of these new EPA regulations until other countries comprising at least 80 percent of non-U.S. global carbon dioxide emissions enact regulations that are at least as stringent as EPA’s new standards.
“Blocking the use our domestic coal reserves while our global competitors use our coal to power their own economic growth means that America will be forced to compete globally with one arm tied behind our back. West Virginians know that an energy economy is a jobs economy and our state will unite to fight the Administration tooth and nail.”
First District Congressman David McKinley:
“The Obama Administration and EPA have imposed revised regulations on new coal-fired power plants that, simply put, cannot be achieved,” said Rep. McKinley. “The technology required by this rule is not commercially viable. Even the EPA has admitted this.”
“Despite that, the EPA is moving forward with a regulation that will eventually remove the largest source of America’s electricity,” added McKinley. “This will lead to higher electricity costs for millions and thousands of lost jobs.”
“At the same time his EPA is imposing these new standards, President Obama has slashed research money for clean coal technology in his budget,” said Rep. McKinley. “This continues to be another manifestation of this administration’s war on coal,” said Rep. McKinley.
“Regulations based on ideology and imposing standards on coal plants that they admit can’t be achieved is not fair,” added McKinley. “As a result of these extensive regulations, manufacturers will continue to locate elsewhere where energy costs are more affordable and dependable; and Americans can expect to pay more for their electric bills.”