ST. LOUIS, July 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) today called for withdrawal of the proposed carbon rule for existing power plants and greater deployment of technology as the long-term solution to improve emissions, during testimony at a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing in Washington, D.C. Peabody is also offering testimony in Denver.
"Using coal for electricity enables people to live longer and better and drives the lowest U.S. electricity costs for any major fuel," said Fredrick D. Palmer, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for Peabody Energy, at the Washington, D.C. hearing. "This proposal would endanger human health and welfare by making electricity – one of life's necessities – scarce and expensive."
"The real endangerment finding is the harm the Administration's rule will have on Americans – particularly the poor, the working class, the elderly, minorities, small businesses, manufacturing, those grappling with health care or healthy food costs, and a fledgling economy that should be growing jobs at far faster rates," Palmer said.
Access to clean, affordable energy is essential at a time when a record 115 million Americans qualify for energy assistance and 48 million Americans live in poverty.
"We are opposed to any proposal that would punish electricity consumers, harm America's poor and have no material benefit under climate theory. The EPA's proposal is also questionable from a legal standpoint and faces enormous opposition from Congress, states, business, industry, labor and others."
Among the issues outlined in Peabody's testimony:
- EPA lauds California as an energy model, yet California has exacerbated energy inequality and turned away business based on high renewable mandates and energy taxes. California power prices are 40% higher than the U.S. average, businesses are exiting at a 3:1 ratio, and 700,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000.
- EPA's proposal is symbolic at best and would have no significant emissions benefit under climate theory. Even an entire shut down of America's coal fleet – which is not proposed – would result in a 1/20th of one degree temperature change.
- The proposal is outside the bounds of law and, if finalized, is likely to be heavily litigated.
Widespread opposition is evident by actions in the U.S. House of Representatives, opposition in the U.S. Senate and state legislative actions.
- In mid-July, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill prohibiting EPA from using funds for carbon standards.
- In March, the U.S. House passed Whitfield-Manchin to repeal the proposed new source rule and stop related rule actions without Congressional approval.
- Forty-one Republican Senators have asked EPA to withdraw the rule, and seven Democratic Senators have written the president about new plant standards.
- Over 20 states passed legislation or resolutions stating greenhouse gas emissions can only be regulated on a plant-by-plant basis "inside the fence."
- Citizen and business groups are aligning in opposition, led by the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, a business coalition representing 80% of the U.S. economy.
"Everyone deserves access to low-cost electricity, and everyone seeks emission improvements," said Palmer. "Technology, not caps and taxes, is the key to long-term improvement in carbon emissions."
Peabody proposes a better path that calls for investing in efficiency improvements; deploying advanced supercritical coal plants and supporting greater research and development toward next generation technologies, including carbon capture and storage. U.S. coal used for electricity has tripled since 1970 as key emissions rates have declined 90 percent, Palmer said. "Greater deployment of advanced technologies will continue this progress," Palmer said.
"More and more nations are pushing back against harmful carbon policies," Palmer said.
Australia's Prime Minister called the former carbon tax a "useless, destructive tax, which damaged jobs, hurt families' cost of living and didn't actually help the environment." Japan has stepped up support for coal-fueled power plants both domestically and overseas, and Europe's renewable strategy is being pared back as the continent is threatened by Russia's energy security challenge.
"We must reject the Administration's harmful carbon proposal and put in place a technology path for long-term improvement in carbon emissions. This is a far better path for a clean, secure energy future," Palmer said.
To read the full testimony click here.
Peabody Energy is the world's largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in sustainable mining, energy access and clean coal solutions. For further information, visit PeabodyEnergy.com and AdvancedEnergyforLife.com.
SOURCE Peabody Energy