HARRISBURG, Pa., May 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Coal Alliance submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency today in response to proposed emission standards affecting new coal-fired power plants, asserting that the standards would result in severe economic consequences and that the technology required has not been proven to reduce carbon emissions.
The filing said that the coal industry supports more than 100,000 jobs directly in the coal industry and more than 2.1 million jobs in related industries and contributes nearly $250 billion to the U.S. economy.
The Alliance noted that coal is the leading source of domestic electricity generation nationally and in Pennsylvania, where it accounts for roughly 40 percent of the state's annual electricity output. This reliance on coal as an energy source provides residents with access to affordable and reliable electricity.
The Alliance pointed out that the EPA's proposed regulations are unachievable with current technology. The standards would require coal-fired power plants to adopt carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, the effectiveness of which has not yet been substantially proven. Consequently, the proposed standards do not comply with statutory requirements.
Additionally, CCS technology is much more costly than the technology presently in use, and it would increase wholesale electricity prices by 70 to 80 percent according to a DOE deputy assistant secretary. This technology introduces several significant environmental and liability risks that outweigh the benefits of reduced carbon emissions that could be achievable with CCS, the Alliance said, adding that the proposed standards exceed the EPA's authority under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act (CAA).
"The EPA's standards require power plants to operate at emission levels that are just not attainable with the technology that is available to us," said Alliance CEO John Pippy. "They would force the nation to essentially abandon its most reliable and affordable energy source. As a result, this policy will harm the economy by eliminating family-sustaining jobs and causing electricity prices to increase substantially."
The Alliance strongly urged the EPA to consider the negative effects of its proposed regulations. Instead, the Alliance suggests that the EPA should work with energy stakeholders to develop achievable standards that will benefit the environment without harming the economy.
"Just like regulators worked with the automobile industry to develop stricter mileage standards in cars, the EPA should work with energy stakeholders to come to a more collaborative solution that protects jobs and the environment," Pippy said.
The Alliance encouraged Pennsylvania residents to submit comments to the EPA, urging it to withdraw the proposed regulations. To do so, visit www.pacoalalliance.com/act. Comments must be filed by Friday, May 9.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Coal Alliance