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Policy: Environment & Energy

Senators already planning action against new EPA coal regulation

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

A group of senators led by North Dakota Democrat Heidi Heitkamp plans to introduce legislation to counter the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest proposed coal regulation.

“Whether or not this regulation becomes final, I have already started to work with other senators on a legislative solution that stops pushing coal to the wayside, and instead seeks ways for coal to remain the valuable source of energy that it currently is,” Heitkamp said Friday, the same day the EPA released the new rule.

The EPA’s proposed New Source Performance Standards would require new coal-fired power plants to use costly and unproven carbon capture technology and would in the name of combating global warming effectively prevent construction of any new coal-fired power plants.

Coal-fired power plants produce about 40 percent of the country's electricity.

Heitkamp's office would not name the other lawmakers, but several other senators have already voiced opposition to the new EPA rule.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., an outspoken critic of what he calls the Obama administration's “war on coal,” also denounced the EPA proposal, saying that “if these regulations go into effect, American jobs will be lost, electricity prices will soar, and economic uncertainty will grow.”

Many Republicans also oppose the proposed rule. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., described it as “another attempt by the president to fulfill his long-term commitment to shut down our nation’s coal mines.”

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said the proposed rule “goes too far too fast, effectively making it cost-prohibitive to build modern, coal-fired generating facilities.”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, who defends the new rule as needed to fight global warming, has been unable to demonstrate that existing EPA regulations have produced any results in that regard.

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