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EPA greehouse gas standards fail "all of the above" test

March 28, 2012
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[TRIANGLE, VA] United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“The UMWA is deeply concerned about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA's) proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for limiting greenhouse emissions from new coal-based generating units. We believe that the proposed standards would eliminate the construction of new advanced coal generation, which should be a cornerstone of the President's ‘all of the above’ energy policy.

“The proposed standards depart from more than 40 years of EPA regulation of fossil fuel emissions by lumping natural gas and coal plants into one category, subject to a single performance standard. All previous EPA regulations under the Clean Air Act have set separate performance standards for coal and natural gas, recognizing their inherent differences.

“Natural gas plants, which emit about one-half the carbon dioxide of coal, can meet EPA's proposed standard with no add-on emission controls. Coal plants, however, could meet the standard only if they employ expensive carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

“EPA knows very well that CCS technology has not been commercially demonstrated.  But the rule it proposed yesterday would require the potential builders of new coal plants to commit to CCS at the time of their permit applications, despite the associated costs and uncertainties.  In practice, it would not be possible to finance a new coal plant to meet the proposed EPA standards.

"The UMWA was an early proponent of legislation designed to accelerate the commercial demonstration of CCS technologies. Congress, however, has thus far failed to provide the basis for the commercial demonstration and deployment of CCS. We intend to work with Congress and EPA to provide a workable basis for the future deployment of CCS that does not hinder the nation's ability to use its most abundant fossil fuel resource."

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