CHARLESTON – A Senate Resolution introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) would nullify the EPA’s Utility MACT rule, finalized this past December. Under Congressional rules, if the resolution gains 30 pledges of support from the Senate, it must be placed on the Senate Calendar for vote. With a simple majority vote by the full Senate, the resolution would overturn the MACT rule.
We urge West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller to support the Inhofe Resolution. The EPA’s Utility MACT rule is the agency’s most expensive regulation ever for power plants. It imposes steep costs to the economy and endangers hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide, with many of them right here in West Virginia.
We have already seen announcements by electric utility companies of their decisions to close several coal-fired power plants in the region. If these closures are not stopped, it will mean not only the loss of electric generation jobs but also thousands of coal mining jobs in the area. It will also inevitably mean even higher costs for our electricity.
Nationwide, the rule also threatens the stability of the U.S. electricity grid by resulting in the closure of a predicted 68 coal-fired plants that provide baseload power to American homes and businesses.
As Senator Inhofe said following the MACT Rule’s finalization this past December, “… this rule isn’t about public health. It is a thinly veiled electricity tax that continues the Obama Administration’s war on affordable energy and is the latest in an unprecedented barrage of regulations that make up EPA’s job-killing regulatory agenda.”
"This rule is nothing more than another part of President Obama’s stated intent to end the use of coal for electricity generation,” said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. “Before he even took office, he pledged to bankrupt the coal industry. He said prices for electricity would skyrocket. Obama has kept his promise. Now it’s time for Senators, especially from coal-dependent states, to put their constituents' well-being ahead of party loyalty. We are calling on Senators Rockefeller and Manchin to stand up and make their voices heard. We urge them to support the Inhofe Resolution.
Many Midwestern states derive most of their electricity production from coal-fired power plants, with some states getting over 80 percent from coal. Compliance costs from the EPA's Utility MACT and Cross State Air Pollution rules are frequently cited as the reason for closing a significant number of coal-based power plants. The impact of these regulations is expected to cause double-digit increases in electricity prices.
“The EPA itself estimated the Utility MACT rule will cost about $10 billion a year,” Raney said. “Does anyone doubt these added costs will be passed on to consumers and businesses? This war on coal is not an attack against industry, it is an attack on hardworking Americans. With gasoline prices already stretching family budgets, the last thing middle, low and fixed income households need are skyrocketing electricity rates."
“A recent study by the Americans for Clean Coal Electricity found that energy costs for half of American households have almost doubled since 2001 taking 20 percent of their after tax income,” Raney added. “Lower-income Americans are hit harder and are least able to handle the additional economic burden from the EPA's new regulations.”