Letter to President Barack Obama - Protect Coal Plants From Overreaching EPA Regulations


By:  Joe Manchin III Mary Landrieu Heidi Heitkamp Joe Donnelly, Sr.
Date: March 18, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) sent a letter to the White House last Thursday urging that the Administration amend the proposed EPA new source performance standard (NSPS) regulations. As drafted, EPA's regulations for new fossil fuel-based power plants would effectively ban any new coal-fired plants from being built in the U.S. The proposed regulation would require new coal-fueled power plants to meet the same emissions standards as new gas-fired plants.

"EPA's choice to hold coal and gas to the same emission standard is unprecedented under the Clean Air Act, and is yet another example of EPA overreach by the Obama Administration," Senator Manchin said. "Not only would this rule have a devastating effect on our coal production, this rule would endanger the reliability and sustainability of our electricity supply."

"This unprecedented proposal from the Obama Administration would put the future of Indiana coal and the low-cost, reliable energy that our manufacturers depend on in doubt. As our economic recovery continues, it is absolutely critical that the President understands the impact of such a decision and the price this regulation would ask Hoosiers to pay. I urge the EPA to reconsider," Senator Donnelly said.

"This plan by the EPA would thwart efforts to build new, more efficient, cleaner burning, coal-fueled American power plants and modernize current facilities. We need to encourage, not discourage, innovation in the coal industry and the development of American energy, which provides good-paying jobs and helps us lessen our dependence on foreign fuel," Senator Heitkamp said.

"I believe it is vital that we maintain a diverse mix of energy sources," Senator Landrieu said. "The pursuit of this "all of the above' energy strategy is the best way to move our country forward, and as part of this, I support the responsible use of resources like coal. The EPA's proposal unfairly targets the coal industry and I strongly urge them to amend this overreach."

The Senators wrote a letter to the White House urging them to revise the EPA's rule and return to using different emission standards for gas and coal, a system that has worked for decades.

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

We write to express our continued concern about the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plans to issue greenhouse gas (GHG) new source performance standard (NSPS) regulations for new fossil fuel-based electric generating sources. EPA's proposed performance standards for new units will require new coal-fueled power plants to meet the same standards as the new gas-fired plants. Such a requirement is unprecedented under the Clean Air Act and will have the unfortunate effect of preventing the construction of new coal plants or the upgrading of existing sources. Such a consequence could actually block potential GHG emissions reductions, endanger our electricity supply, and harm our economy. We urge you to consider an alternative approach.

Our nation can continue to use coal and continue to lower emissions at the same time. Coal-based power generation projects are being developed across the country, using state-of-the-art technologies that are laying the foundation for revolutionary advancements in power plant efficiency and reduced CO2 levels. These advancements in technology are allowing us to modernize the existing coal-fueled fleet improving efficiency and reducing emissions, while continuing to produce low-cost electricity for homes, offices and factories.

If the proposed NSPS are adopted, the will have the effect of preventing existing sources from making upgrades that will improve efficiency, allowing for more electricity generation with less fuel and fewer emissions. Further, the proposed EPA rule will effectively ban new state-of-the-art plants from being built. Opportunities to reduce GHG emissions and provide economic stimulus to America's manufacturing and construction sectors will be lost.

Therefore, we respectfully request that you urge EPA to amend the proposed rule to exercise the option available to the agency for differentiating standards based on fuel type and to establish supercritical coal generation technology as the performance standard for new coal-based electricity. Such an amendment will reduce GHG emissions, while also creating new jobs, and strengthening the economy.

Thank you for your leadership

Best regards,

Joe Manchin III Mary Landrieu

Joe Donnelly Heidi Heitkamp

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