UMWA statement on Charleston hearings regarding repeal of Clean Power Plan


NOVEMBER 27, 2017

UMWA statement on Charleston hearings regarding repeal of Clean Power Plan

[CHARLESTON, W.VA.] United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

            “The UMWA applauds the action by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin the process of withdrawing the Clean Power Plan (CPP). We have opposed this regulation since the day it was finalized. The UMWA was one of the first organizations to file suit in 2015 against the CPP, and was also one of the organizations to successfully appeal to the Supreme Court to stay implementation of the plan. Our testimony tomorrow supporting its repeal should come as no surprise to anyone.

            “We opposed the CPP because it was illegal and overstepped the boundaries Congress gave EPA under the Clean Air Act. But it was also clear to us that the primary effect the CPP would have was not a dramatic reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions, but instead it would virtually eliminate U.S. coal production within a decade and devastate employment in the coal industry where our members work. Again, no one should be surprised by our opposition to that.

            “The UMWA agrees that steps need to be taken to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. We have never argued the science regarding climate change. But this rule was not the right way to go about it. If completely effective, it would have reduced global greenhouse gas emissions by about one percent. Yet it would have wiped out hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs in mining, utilities, transportation and the industries that support them – as well as devastating already hard-hit communities throughout Appalachia and other coal-producing areas of America.

            “We continue to advocate for greenhouse gas reductions by increasing efficiency at existing power plants, including revising the New Source Review standards that are crippling utilities’ ability to install the newest technology to generate electricity while reducing fuel use. This recommendation will be part of our comments to the EPA tomorrow.

“We further believe that the only way humankind will actually be successful in reducing carbon emissions without destroying the world’s economy is to rapidly develop commercial-grade carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. Emerging third-world nations have made it clear that they intend to use coal to power their economies, and more than 1,600 coal-fired plants are either being built now or will be within the next 10 years.

“Like it or not, coal-fired electricity generation will be a major part of the world’s future. Emissions from those plants will far outpace any reductions the United States alone may be able to accomplish. The only true hope for reducing global emissions now and into that future is CCS and other similar technology. That is where all our energy and attention should be focused.”