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Monday, July 6, 2015
Morgan Griffith on Electric Power Plants
From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith, R-VA-9:
Supreme Court Slaps
EPA – Did They Learn Anything?
As you may
recall, last week the Supreme Court found that the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) must consider costs of regulations of
the Clean Air Act before deciding to adopt
Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rules requiring power plants to cut
emissions of mercury, etc.
I am of the belief this ruling
stands for principles under the Clean Air Act which,
if the EPA has learned anything, means the EPA at the very least
ought to delay the Clean Power Plan until they are able to do an
extensive cost-benefit analysis. Perhaps such an analysis would
be best conducted by an outside group not controlled by ivory-tower
In her February 8, 2012 opening statement before
my colleagues and I on the Energy and Power Subcommittee, then-EPA
Assistant Administrator (now Administrator) Gina McCarthy testified,
“The analysis projects that, as a result of MATS, plant operators
will choose to retire less than one half of one percent (4.7
gigawatts (GW)) of the more than 1,000 GW that make up the nation’s
electric generating capacity.”
But in February 2014, the
U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA, an agency that collects,
analyzes, and disseminates energy information) projected 60 GW would
retire by 2020, and attributed 90% of that to MATS. Thus, EIA
found that the actual effect of the MATS rule was about 54 GW
As was reported last week in the inside-the-beltway
news publication POLITICO, “For utility giant
American Electric Power and others in the power sector, the [Supreme
Court] judgment on the mercury rule that started to take effect in
April comes too late to save the dozens of plants that already
closed, or are slated to in the next several months.”
not bringing them back,’ Nick Akins, AEP’s CEO, president and
chairman told POLITICO. ‘Once that ball gets
rolling, it’s not going to change.’”
Sadly, AEP’s Glen
Lyn plant in Giles County will remain closed. Additionally, in
part because of EPA regulations, one of the three electric generation
units at Appalachian Power’s Clinch River plant in Russell County
will be closed forever. The other two units were converted to
natural gas. Because natural gas does not burn as hot as coal,
those two units will produce about half the power the plant was
producing before the MATS rule.
We won’t get those jobs
back, nor will we have the electricity once provided by these
facilities, which were important especially at peak periods.
the EPA has not learned its lesson and goes forward with the Clean
Power Plan without a proper review, they will shut down more
facilities like Glen Lyn and Clinch River.
The EPA should
delay its final rule until it can properly conduct or has conducted a
legitimate cost-benefit analysis of the Clean Power Plan. The
Supreme Court’s ruling last week underscores this: the EPA needs to
do its job, which does not include merely making regulations to
eliminate coal without looking at the costs to American manufacturing
jobs and American businesses and families who pay electric bills.
Editorial comment: Agreed. "Amens" from the choir. Still, EPA or no EPA, the supply of minable coal is finite and shrinking. This web site would like to see more news of True Green alternatives being studied and implemented, preferably by groups that include a few coal miners or former miners. This web site is not talking about "fracking." This web site is talking about improvements in garbage-burning technology, and/or harnessing natural energy, including human energy. No technology will ever be perfect, but this web site would like to see Virginia take the lead in developing technology that might at least be sustainable, after the coal and the gas and the oil are gone.