Rahall Hits Back at EPA’s Efforts to Cripple Coal Fired Power Plants

Washington, DC - Striking another blow in the fight to protect coal jobs and defend affordable power for West Virginia families, U.S. Representative Nick Rahall, D-WV, today joined his colleague from Kentucky Rep. Ed Whitfield in introducing legislation to block EPA from imposing stifling new greenhouse gas restrictions on coal-fired power plants.


“The EPA asserts that groundbreaking cleaner coal technology can be magically wished into existence by its proposed regulations. Instead, the agency is regulating coal out of existence and making coal-fired power plants disappear; that has to end,” Rahall said. “It is mystifying that an agency that claims to be led by science can write regulations requiring the use of unproven, unavailable technology.  This bill punches back against that regulatory hocus pocus.”


In September of last year, the EPA proposed, new, greenhouse gas standards for future power plants that would require such new coal-burning plants to incorporate highly expensive, emissions-reducing technologies that have yet to be proven or fully deployed. The agency is also currently in the process of developing greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction regulations, expected to be announced in June, that are aimed at the Nation’s fleet of existing coal-fired power plants.


Rahall explained that the new bill – the Senate companion of which is sponsored by West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin – would prevent the EPA from issuing proposed new GHG emissions for power plants unless certain stringent requirements are met.  For example, the EPA could not put out new regulations unless and until emissions-reducing technologies are proven and broadly available to the power industry.  Further, such regulations would have to take into account differences between fossil fuel types to help ensure the viability of the full menu of domestic fuel choices.  


The bill also requires the EPA to submit reports to Congress on the economic impact of proposed greenhouse regulation and it repeals EPA’s prior proposed rules to establish GHG standards for new power plants.


“America’s quest for greater energy independence requires that we find ways to make the best use of all domestic energy resources.  But the course set by these EPA regulations is forcing utilities to abandon American coal.  This bill I am cosponsoring blocks that ill-considered, narrowly conceived path to help secure coal’s rightful and continuing place as a vital American fuel choice,” Rahall concluded.