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EPA proposes clean air standards

Joe P. Asher Staff Writer

September 25, 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new clean air standards that will likely impact the coal industry.


According to an EPA press release, the proposal calls for new coal-fired power plants to meet a standard of 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour.


“These proposed standards will ensure that new power plants are built with available clean technology to limit carbon pollution, a requirement that is in line with investments in clean energy technologies that are already being made in the power industry,” reads the release. “Additionally, these standards provide flexibility by allowing sources to phase in the use of some of these technologies, and they ensure that the power plants of the future use cleaner energy technologies — such as efficient natural gas, advanced coal technology, nuclear power, and renewable energy like wind and solar.”


National Federation of Independent Business State Director Tom Underwood says these regulations are bad for Kentucky’s coal industry.


“They are saying that there is technology that can make coal still be viable,” said Underwood. “The fact is the cost of that equipment is so high it’s just going to make coal untenable for use in utility operations.”


Underwood said the current administration’s opposition to coal is making it impossible for Kentucky coal vendors “to keep coal moving.”


“The fact is if utility companies cannot economically burn coal because of what these regulations do, they have no reason to buy coal,” said Underwood. “When no one’s there to buy coal, there’s no reason to mine it. We’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of layoffs, which is a result of these regulations and the war on coal.”


According to the EPA’s website, the proposed standards are designed to protect public health and address climate change while ensuring reliable, affordable and clean power.


“For the people of Kentucky, there are a couple of different aspects to this,” said Underwood. “The biggest competitive advantage that Kentucky has for business is our cheap electric rates. Our coal industry has done that for us and that’s what attracts businesses to Kentucky. The other thing is we’re going to decimate the economy of western and eastern Kentucky with what’s happening to the coal industry. The most important thing is that coal is a plentiful natural resource here in the United States. It’s an American fuel, and we need to be using coal as part of our energy formula.”


The EPA’s website states the EPA will be taking public comments on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the national register.


Comments on the proposed standard should be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0495.


To submit comments go to www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Comments may be sent by e-mail to a-and-r-Docket@epa.gov.


Comments may be faxed to 202-566-9744. or send them by mail at Air and Radiation Docket and Information Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20460.


Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, jasher@civitasmedia.com