WASHINGTON, D.C. – The president and chief executive officer of the National Mining Association is part of the chorus calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw the proposed Clean Power Act — the regulations designed to reduce carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.

“They’re trying to change the way we generate electricity here and push us from the lowest costs options, being coal, to the higher cost and more intermittent sources, such as solar and wind, and give them an additional boost,” Hal Quinn said.

Gina McCarthy, the EPA’s administrator, took questions from members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works about the proposals on Capitol Hill last week.

“EPA’s proposed Clean Power plan will cut hundreds of millions of tons of carbon pollution and hundreds of thousands of tons of other harmful air pollutants from existing power plants,” McCarthy said.

As proposed, each state would be given specific goals for cutting carbon pollution based on every mega-watt hour of electricity generated and will be able to develop their own plans for meeting those goals. In West Virginia, for example, where coal usage is high, EPA officials have said the goal reduction rate may fall below a national target average of 30 percent.

But Quinn dismissed such variations as “a complex web of implausible assumptions.”

He said, currently, meeting the marks is not technically possible. “And they know that,” he said. “This is not really a rule that just focuses on natural gas or coal power plants. What they’re doing is they’re reaching deep into the electricity generation system and trying to completely overhaul it.”

Such large-scale changes, he argued, could drive up energy bills by between 24 percent and 55 percent.

A recent study from the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Rhodium Group confirmed the EPA’s proposed regulations would cut demand for electricity from coal, while creating increased demand for natural gas.

According to that study, states where coal production is the central part of the economy would take a hard hit because of the rule, while there would be an economic trade-off in states that produce both coal and natural gas and booms in areas where natural gas is king.

“I think you’re going to see a lot more governors joining people, like Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and others, to say to EPA, ‘We’ve looked at this plan and, even if we wanted to do it, we just can’t do it as a practical matter, technical matter, as a structural matter, as a legal matter,’” Quinn said.

His organization, the National Mining Association, is a lobbying group that works on behalf of the coal industry.

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Comments

  • rick

    Other States have already bought into the technology to comply with the new rulings. The EPA is in charge of protecting the citizens from the polluters. Like it or not, coals will be diminishing in the future well below the usual boom and bust production. Just like kerosene replaced whale oil and coal replaced kerosene new technology will someday replace coal. If WV continues to put all it's economic eggs in one basket (coal) then what will be left after the coal barons are gone. Anybody been to McDowell Co lately...that is what the entire southern part of the State will look like. It is easy to blame the EPA or this Administration but it comes down to simple economics.

  • Hop'sHip

    EPA to industry lobbyist: No.

  • Mason County Contrarian

    What this country needs is a lobbyist for Joe Middle Class.

  • Fred

    Thank goodness for the EPA. We cant rely on our corrupt politicians to protect our health and the environment, they are more than ready to sell out to any lobbyist who arrives with a bag of cash.

  • Joe

    After working to destroy the health and safety of miners, now they're going after all of us the NMA doesn't care how many die as long as they can make the most evil owners richer

    • Wirerowe

      Over the last 30 years regulators and industry have spent billions to lower the pollutants that impact our health by 67%. Co2 emissions do not impact our health. The proposed regulations will have minimal impact on the world's Co 2 emissions but will disrupt in major way how we generate electricity in this country and raise the cost of electricity and decrease the reliability of our electric system by mandating unreliable intermittent sources.

    • Owner

      By evil owners, do you mean people like us that work for a living and have IRAs, Mutual Funds, and 401(k)s for retirement that have coal common stocks in their portfolio? In that case, Im a bad dude...I own coal and oil.

      • The bookman

        Of course not. That would mean Joe actually has considered the issue beyond the surface title of the story. Unless you are living off the grid, you really are owners of the coal fueled electricity generation industry. It's always easy to paint singular individuals of heavy industry as the bad evil guys in a Marvel Comic strip. We all benefit from, and suffer the consequences of industrial development. There is a trade off. Government must regulate industry in a way that balances the benefits and the consequences of developing the resource. The law requires that such regulation must be technologically and economically feasible. We shall see if the law matters to our Federal Government, excluding the Executive Branch. We all know it matters not to them.