By U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall
EPA proposal illogical, ill-conceived dud
I am dead set against the proposed new regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would effectively prevent the construction of new coal-fired power plants.
It is just the latest salvo in the EPA’s war on coal, a war I have unwaveringly soldiered against, and I will work tirelessly to prevent such an ill-conceived and illogical plan from moving forward.
In mandating that new power plants utilize technology that is not even commercially available, let alone affordable, the Agency is preventing abundant American coal from meeting America’s future energy needs. The result of this wrong-headed policy would be higher energy bills for families and businesses, reduced power reliability and energy independence for our nation, and lost jobs for our coal miners.
This callous, ideologically driven EPA continues to be numb to the economic pain that its reckless regulations cause. Making coal less marketable, harms the economy of coal-mining regions, threatens the jobs and livelihoods of our miners, and takes away revenues needed by coal-mining communities to fund schools and roads and water lines. Without future coal-fired power, America’s energy security is threatened and so is our ability to compete in the global economy.
That is why I am fighting hard against the EPA’s unfair and short-sighted treatment of coal mining in West Virginia.
I am the author of a resolution expressing Congress’ strong disapproval of this most recent rule that would be harmful to the economy and America’s energy security. I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 2127, a bill that would prevent the EPA from finalizing any regulation imposing a cap on carbon dioxide emissions from new coal-fired plants until such time as new emissions capture and storage technologies are widely available.
The one thing coal proponents and anti-coal groups should agree upon is the need to find better, more efficient, cleaner ways to burn coal.
I strongly support research and development initiatives aimed at improving the use of coal, and, believing that the U.S. ought to lead that effort and help shape worldwide energy advances, I have fought for more funding at the Federal level to underwrite development of such cutting-edge technologies.
Worldwide consumption of coal is expected to increase among China, India and other foreign competitor nations in the coming decades. And my hope is that the United States takes this opportunity to use good old American knowhow and plow it into research and development that will help us use coal more cleanly and efficiently.
We should be leading the rest of the world. We should be developing those cutting-edge technologies that can revolutionize the use of coal. Doing so would create American jobs and help to reduce our trade deficit.
Instead, the most recent EPA rule will do nothing to help the private-sector develop clean coal technologies and ensure that those technologies are widely available. Nor does it address resulting increases in emissions from foreign sources. It only imposes unilateral emissions caps that would stifle U.S. growth, contribute to trade disadvantages, undermine America’s international competitiveness, and contribute to loss of American jobs.
This rule is a complete and total dud. I am vehemently opposed to it. Joining forces with Republicans and Democrats, I will fight it tooth and nail.
The future of coal is a serious issue to me. Some things are more important than party politics and, in my book, the jobs of our coal miners and affordable energy for our families and businesses are among of them.
Coal must not become a partisan issue. These days in Washington, every issue that gets labeled as Republican or Democratic is doomed to gridlock. We can’t let that happen to coal.
We need to work together to protect the future of coal, our coal miners, and their families.
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) represents West Virginia’s 3rd District