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Policy: Environment & Energy

EPA banning new coal-fired power plants

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Beltway Confidential,EPA,Ashe Schow,Energy and Environment,Coal

An Environmental Protection Agency regulation that would mean the end of any new coal-fired power plants will be formally proposed next week, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The rule would require new coal plants to use expensive technology so new it has never been tested at full commercial scale. This, according to critics of the regulation, is another attack on the coal industry that has been the target for so many EPA policies since President Obama took office.

“The Obama administration has been waging a war on coal and Kentucky jobs ever since the president was elected,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. “If these reports are accurate, his latest proposal is not only an open war on coal jobs, but on all the residents, jobs, and businesses across the commonwealth that rely on this vital industry.”

Others affected by the coal industry have voiced their opposition to the regulation as well.

“It will put an end to affordable, reliable energy from coal in America,” said Lisa Miller of Clean Coal USA. “It means we’ll cede our competitive advantage in the global marketplace.”

Trade associations that rely on coal for jobs are also displeased with the administration.

“Unfortunately, stringent standards proposed by the administration on the construction of new coal power plants will work directly against [Obama’s goal of creating middle-class jobs], putting hundreds of thousands of coal industry as well as manufacturing, energy, transportation and infrastructure jobs at risk,” said Nancy Gravatt, senior vice president of communications at the National Mining Association.

“Many manufacturers will be hit twice by this regulation,” said Ross Eisenberg, vice president for energy policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “Manufacturers consume one-third of America’s energy, so this rule matters significantly to them.”

Eisenberg also suggested that industry insiders fear that coal is not the final stop for the EPA. After coal, they may move on to other sectors such as chemicals or cement.

And while the American Public Power Association won’t contend there is a war on coal, Vice President of Communications Nick Braden did say that the regulation “would not be smart policy in our view because current coal technology makes it much cleaner than it used to be.”

He also said APPA “is concerned that these developments will cause energy prices to increase considerably.”

There is no guarantee that the rule will ever be finalized, but judging from the outcry it has received, it will certainly be a long fight.

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Ashe Schow

Commentary Writer
The Washington Examiner