WASHINGTON, Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Coal's affordability and reliability as an energy source, coupled with American emission reduction technology, could give the U.S. a significant competitive edge over other countries, the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance told a congressional committee today.
Instead, Alliance CEO John Pippy said, regulators are squandering an opportunity by proposing emission standards that cannot be met with current technology, with the likely result of shutting down half of the country's coal-fired power plants.
Pippy's comments were made in testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), which is examining the effects of the Environmental Protection Agency's regulatory actions on jobs and local communities particularly reliant upon the coal.
"America's global leadership in emission reduction technology gives us a huge competitive advantage, and we should capitalize on that," Pippy said. "Instead, we are unilaterally taking a domestic energy source out of the energy mix, at the cost of jobs, higher electricity prices and a less reliable grid, for something that won't even have significant environmental benefits.
"A better solution would be to work collaboratively with energy stakeholders and encourage the development of newer emission reduction technology that will preserve our competitive advantage over developing countries such as India and China, and which will ultimately lead to greater environmental benefits globally."
Pippy was objecting to proposed federal carbon emission standards, which the Obama administration has said it will attempt to impose without input from Congress. He said the initiative could shut down approximately 225 U.S. coal-fired power plants, eliminating thousands of family-sustaining jobs.
The economic impact would be particularly devastating to Pennsylvania, where coal production represents a $7 billion annual contribution to the state's economy, and supports nearly 42,000 direct and indirect jobs, he said.
Pippy noted that India and China are burning coal at significantly higher levels than the U.S. He said both have been increasing their reliance on coal and will continue to do so.
"These proposed regulations amount to unilateral economic disarmament," he said. "In essence, we're proposing to voluntarily tie one hand behind our back as we compete with these emerging giants in the global economic arena."
He noted that federal regulators have collaborated with the American auto industry over the years to improve fuel efficiency standards, and that collaboration helped preserve the auto industry, even through the recent economic recession.
"That's what we should do here," Pippy said. "We can't afford the consequences of shutting down an industry that contributes to our economy on this level, and whose emerging technologies can help address environmental needs on a much more globally comprehensive scale."
Founded in 2012, the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance is an initiative of Pennsylvania's bituminous coal mining operators, their employees and industry suppliers to educate the public and policymakers about the coal industry in Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.pacoalalliance.com.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Coal Alliance