CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Coal Association is speaking out about the dangers of the EPA’s proposed Source Performance Standard Greenhouse Gas rule. Bill Raney, the president of the group, invited state lawmakers, heads of agencies and others involved in the coal industry to a meeting Friday, the last day to submit comments to the EPA on the rule.

Raney said it’s important the people understand the potential hazards if the proposed rule becomes actual regulation.

“No state has more at stake in this than West Virginia,” according to Raney.

The rule calls for strict standards when it comes to building new coal-fired plants in the U.S.

“The (EPA) has set technological standards for new power plants in these rules that are absolutely impossible to achieve,” explained Raney.

Raney said not only is the technology required by the EPA to build a new coal-fired plant currently not available, it would be cost prohibitive if it were.

Raney said take a drive in coal country these days and folks will see how devastating current EPA regulations have been to community after community. Right now, he said, it’s the miners and spin-off businesses that are hurting. He stressed if the proposed rules become regulation, everyone in West Virginia will feel the pinch.

He used a winter event back in January to make his point.

“During the polar vortex….(the electric companies) came very, very close to a grid failure. There’s three plants we have here in West Virginia that (the EPA) is going to close next year that were operating during that vortex at 89 percent capacity,” said Raney. “They’re not going to be here in 2015. So I don’t know what (the EPA) is going to do. They have not addressed that. The EPA says they don’t have to be concerned with that.”

Raney said it’s possible during extreme weather, winter and summer, that West Virginians could be left without power, similar to the derecho, if the EPA gets its way.

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  • Jethro

    Raney is spewing out propaganda and fear mongering like a Freedom Industries storage tank.
    One can hear the desperation in his voice on paid ads during Talkline.
    A friend of coal but not of the coal miner.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      Not long ago I posted on another article the need for the coal industry to P.R. themselves in the same manner as the gas industry. Here is the old dude to which I alluded. Raney can't pitch his product in the same effective way as the gas industry blonde. Raney comes across as does the coal business and their owners--staid, stoic, grumpy and unable or unwilling to adapt to changes or to accept challenges.

      Competition is the essence of the free market. Someone will provide, in an acceptable way, the electricity the nation needs and they will do it in a way to attract investors. No one in this country ever passes up a way to make a buck, and it has nothing to do with Raney's so-called prospect of "grid failure". It has everything to do with innovation.

      It is time for the coal owners to phase out the mules and parakeets, face the music, and find (or create) the technology to fuel their industry in a responsible and acceptable manner. It can be done without holding coal miner jobs hostage.

      • The bookman

        I understand your position, and I think you are on to something. The coal industry needs to focus on the real reasons coal is necessary in our national energy picture. Using a prettier face to do that would make sense, sad as that is to say.

        The picture of coal's demise in the perspective of lost jobs for miners may be accurate, but not a reason to counter the perception of coal as destroying the Earth. No one is entitled to continue working in an industry that has lost its relevance. They need to do more than wave some flags and put some license plates on their SUVs.

        Take some time to really explain the shortages in generation that will result with the implementation of this anti coal agenda at the EPA. It takes more than some well placed billboards stating "Coal Keeps The Lights On." Coal is relevant, but they are losing the argument.

        • Mason County Contrarian

          Mr. Bookman: I am sure you have seen those gas industry spots. They are well done sixty-second spots and present the positive side of the latest drilling techniques, etc. Using slick animation, graphics, and able spokesperson the gas industry has seized the moment and is taking advantage of the opportunity to give voice to what it considers the future of energy production in our country. Rather than presenting the case for coal in understandable terms, the industry relies upon the notion of "war" that they are frankly losing at the public level. All coal seems to have is a lecturing, terse, angry old man with glasses propped on top of his forehead who cannot decide whether or not he wants to grow a moustache. As sincere as he may be, he cannot compete with the gas industry spokesperson and their brief but effective spots on national television. I may be wrong but I don't believe it is too much of a stretch to classify it as a P.R. trainwreck.

          To save the industry, it is up to coal to respond with innovation rather than depend upon abstract rhetoric.

          • The bookman


            I don't watch TV. I get my news primarily from websites I have bookmarked, radio that I catch while in my car, and periodicals of which I subscribe. So I've never seen the spots you reference. The NG industry has done a good job marketing itself, but their purpose is different than you describe. They are on the front end of a rising industry that requires landowner support. Coal is on the back end of its existence and just trying to stay afloat against a government driven agenda to end it sooner rather than later.

            I don't think people in general care whether coal or gas fuels their electricity when they flip the switch. For those that do care about such things, I doubt they prefer either, but view NG as the lesser of two evils. When coal is dead, that will only promote NG forward as enemy #1.

            The truth is that we currently have no replacement infrastructure for coal's base load. There is no spin or PR that can refute that statement. That needs to be coal's message, not that the EPA is killing the industry. If people know that power shortfalls that create discomfort in their modern lives are at stake, they may sit up and start yelling that they actually are "A Friend of Coal."

  • I'm honest at least

    I fear the power companies are not fighting this because they see that with the new EPA guidelines they can make more money. Supply and demand will dictate the cost much like gasoline.

    • ViennaGuy

      Electric rates, at least in West Virginia, are regulated. Gasoline prices are not. I fail to see how this will enable the power companies to boost their profit margins in West Virginia.

      I think the power companies aren't fighting it because if they do, they'll be pilloried in the press by liberals and the environmentalist crowd as wanting dirtier air, dirtier water, dead kids, dead seniors, and whatever other negatives the greenie-weenies can throw out(regardless of any truth therein).

  • Pickle Barrel

    3 plants closing in 2015 running at 89% capacity during the Polar Vortex. If that doesn't put fear in the minds of the sheeple, they're not thinking.

    Yeah, we hate coal…except when it heats your homes when its -10F outside. All you envirokooks do us a favor and turn off 90% of your power NOW…Walk the walk as well as talk the talk, you hypocrites.

  • Big Deal

    “The (EPA) has set technological standards for new power plants in these rules that are absolutely impossible to achieve,” explained Raney.

    This is when FDR would have stood up out of his wheelchair and told Mr. Raney "don't tell me it's impossible!"

    I can't believe that our best and brightest minds, our innovators and inventors, our scholars and dreamers, cannot come up with a way to extract coal, a most valuable resource, from the earth, without removing the mountain tops, without putting miners lives in danger, without polluting our streams and waterways, and also finding a way to process and burn it without polluting the air that we breathe!

    This is America! We put a man on the moon (I think)! I will lay down this challenge to opposing sidelines...will the government and private sector come together and pull their resources and meet this challenge?

    Big Deal for President in '16!

  • hillbilly

    All we have to do... is shut down Mount Storm power plant. Most of that power goes toward DC / Northern VA. Instant government blackout....See how long it takes Obama to stop EPA, at least temporarily....

  • Thomas Collins

    During the polar Vortex cold spell, we had several potential problems, a large coal plant off line in PA, the Beaver Vally Nuke plant down, and frozen Gas pipelines. Thank the lord we had wind and solar to help make up for their faults!

  • Hillboy

    It would have been interesting to hear what Jeff Herholdt and Fred Durham had to say. We pretty much know what Bill Raney is going to say. Did Bill Raney invite others to the meeting and then do all the talking?

    The headline indicates that DEP is a "coal interest." Oh well, might as well make explicit what we already knew.

  • RHytonen

    These days the term "cost prohibitive" REALLY means "Less Profitable." (than ginormously, Mega-normously so.)

    "Give up whatever profits we demand or we'll withhold your electric power - you know, like the OTHER GOD did."

    Does anyone YET see why some things
    -like energy for instance- should not be dependent on greed (i.e. private profit?)

    • ViennaGuy

      Private enterprise has been generating electricity in the US since 1882. If private enterprise generating electricity is so terrible, how did we ever make it as far as we have?

      If government power generation is the solution to our problems, then why hasn't the Department of Energy generated one single watt of electrical power for the public grid in its 37 years of existence?

      • The bookman

        Rhytonin isn't espousing the benefits of having the government run our energy infrastructure. He has posted here numerous times and is anti fossil fuel in any form. As left wing extreme as they get. Government already is heavily involved in our electrical generation and distribution industry, a perfect example of public private partnering. Government heavily regulates the extraction, and profits from such extraction, and regulates the cost of service to rate payers. As public utilities, these providers exist in a quasi monopoly and need that government oversight to ensure the public isn't harmed by the lack of competitive pressures on price.

    • John of Wayne

      Oh, yeah....let the government run it. They do so well with everything else.

  • Friend of the EPA

    I'm looking forward to some of those blackouts so I can get some sleep. Over the decades my neighborhood has transitioned from residential to retail. Nearly all of the dozens of businesses which surround me never turn off their lights, even at night when they are closed. Car dealers are the worst offenders. I would hate to think how much of our environment and personal health has been sacrificed in order to generate electricity that was completely wasted.

  • ViennaGuy

    - “They’re not going to be here in 2015. So I don’t know what (the EPA) is going to do. They have not addressed that. The EPA says they don’t have to be concerned with that.” -

    And the EPA will not be concerned with it, both now and in the future. The EPA does not care if there's a lack of electrical power when people need it most. The only thing the EPA cares about is that its rules are followed; compliance costs and negative effects on people are irrelevant to the EPA.

    I hope that if blackouts do occur, the utility companies will be man enough to stand up and say that they couldn't meet demand because of EPA regulations.

    • The bookman