UMWA Opposes Proposed EPA Carbon Rule


AUGUST 3, 2023


UMWA Opposes Proposed EPA Carbon Rule

[TRIANGLE, VA.] The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) yesterday filed comments with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing the agency’s proposed carbon emission guidelines for coal-fired power plants. UMWA also is filing comments jointly with four other energy unions in opposition to EPA’s latest attempt to rewrite the 2015 Clean Power Plan decisively rejected by the Supreme Court in June 2022.

“There they go again,” said UMWA International President Cecil Roberts, “offering a proposal to even more rapidly shut down America’s most reliable generating fleet in favor of heavily subsidized and intermittent wind and solar energy sources. This proposal basically eliminates all but a few coal plants by 2035 while betting that sufficient amounts of renewable energy would be built to offset the loss of reliable baseload power to America’s energy grid.”

UMWA’s objects particularly to EPA’s choice of arbitrary retirement dates – 2032, 2035, and 2040 – as the basis for “subcategorizing” coal-generating plants. Under this proposal, plant owners must opt-in to one of the retirement subcategories, with control requirements increasing sharply with later retirement dates.

Plants planning to operate after 2040 would have to retrofit unproven carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology by 2030, even though states will not receive full regulatory approvals for their plans until 2026 or later. DOE is just now authorizing $2.5 billion for a limited number of CCS demonstration projects for coal-fired generation. The success of these projects will not be known for years, making the arbitrary 2030 deadline for installing commercial-grade CCS physically impossible to meet.

            EPA’s data show that the coal fleet would be largely eliminated by 2035, along with thousands of the associated jobs in coal mining, generation plant, and pollution control operation and maintenance, rail transportation, and support services. “We have seen and heard lots of promises for years about ‘no one being left behind,’ but the truth is that promises are not jobs,” Roberts said. “We cannot and we will not stand by and allow our members’ jobs to be wiped out, with no real prospects for anything to replace all of those jobs and sustain their families.”