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Policy: Environment & Energy

States increase pressure on EPA, Obama to end war on coal

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Beltway Confidential,Barack Obama,West Virginia,EPA,Ashe Schow,Energy and Environment,Coal

Lawmakers from 16 southern states have drafted a resolution supporting the coal industry in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's perceived “war on coal.”

Members of the Southern States Energy Board approved the resolution, which aims to get the attention of the EPA and the Obama administration.

The resolution is in response the EPA’s New Source Performance Standards, which would make building new coal-fired power plants nearly impossible.

"There's not technology that will allow new coal-fired power plants to meet the standards that the EPA is trying to pass and put in place," Democratic Mississippi State Rep. Rocky Adkins said.

Adkins is the current vice-chairman of the SSEB.

Another Democrat, West Virginia State Rep. Brent Boggs, also supported the resolution, saying that southern states can't give up in fighting the EPA's regulations.

“I think we need to stay in the game, keep hammering, keep pounding,” Boggs said. “The most dangerous thing we can do right now is to let our guard down, throw up our hands and give up.”

In 2015, Democratic West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, an ardent supporter of the coal industry, will take over leadership of the group and has vowed to continue fighting damaging regulations.

“I have and will always stand up for our coal industry,” Tomblin said. “From the more than 24,000 coal industry employees and their families, to the thousands more employed by support industries, West Virginians rely on the energy sector to provide food, clothing and shelter.”

Tomblin said he would continue to support any efforts to promote coal.

“I will always fight for coal and our families,” Tomblin said. “We should be working together as a nation toward energy independence and creating jobs — not harming them.”

The Supreme Court last week agreed to hear arguments in a case in which the regulations are challenged.

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