White House apparently ready to unveil greenhouse gas plan

With word spreading that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may issue new technology standards for greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn said in a March 27 statement that such a proposal would be a bad idea.

“EPA’s proposal for controlling greenhouse gas emissions from about half the nation’s electric power supply is a poorly disguised cap-and-tax scheme that represents energy and economic policy at its worst,” said Quinn, whose organization represents major U.S. coal producers. “Higher utility bills and fewer jobs are the only certain outcomes from this reckless attempt to override Congress’s repeated refusal to enact punitive caps on carbon dioxide emissions.”

Quinn said that requiring coal-based power plants to meet an emissions standard based on natural gas technology is “overtly calculated” to destroy a major part of U.S. electricity supply. Volatile natural gas prices will, once again, expose millions of households to higher utility bills, threaten hundreds of thousands of workers with unemployment and weaken both the competitiveness of basic industries and the reliability of the electricity grid, he added.

“This proposal is the latest convoy in EPA’s regulatory train wreck that is rolling across America, crushing jobs and arresting our economic recovery at every stop,” said Quinn. “It is not an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy; it does not create jobs; and it does not make it easier for Americans to pay their mortgages. Instead, the proposed New Source Performance Standards would deliberately push America to abandon coal, its most abundant and reliable energy source in favor of costlier fuels—even though Congress has repeatedly rejected this policy. NMA urges Congress to assert its authority over an agency that disregards the public need for affordable electricity and ignores the overwhelming costs of its regulations.”

The Associated Press reported March 26 that the Obama administration will press ahead on March 27 with a proposal on greenhouse gas controls, ignoring protests from Republicans who have said the regulation will raise electricity prices and kill off coal. The proposal, which was outlined to AP by administration officials, does go easier on coal-fired power than it could have, the AP report said.

The Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, had issued no statement on the prospective EPA proposal as of the morning of March 27.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.