UMWA’s Roberts comments on EPA’s new Carbon Pollution Standards


APRIL 25, 2024


UMWA’s comments on EPA’s new Carbon Pollution Standards

[TRANGLE, V.A.] Commenting on the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new carbon emission standards for coal-fired power plants, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“We are analyzing the potential impact of this rule on our membership and will have more to say after that analysis is completed. At first glance, however, this rule looks to set the funeral date for thermal coal mining in America for 2032 – just seven and a half years away – along with the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are directly and indirectly associated with it.

“EPA says that coal-fired power plants can continue to operate until 2039 if they co-fire with 40 percent natural gas. I do not think any will do so, due to technical and legal constraints, including the cost and availability of natural gas.

“I also have deep concerns regarding the technical feasibility of implementing fully commercial Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology by the deadline of 2032, especially given the exceedingly slow pace of the administration’s implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s funding for the construction of coal-fired CCS demonstration plants. CCS technology is simply not for prime time.

“As an organization dedicated to safeguarding the livelihoods of our members, our aim has always been and will always be ensuring that they have jobs and financial security. We recognize the importance of reducing carbon emissions. However, it is crucial to ensure that any proposed solutions are both practical and achievable within the given timeframe.

“During this entire process, we have long said that any effort to eliminate coal jobs must be matched with similar efforts to create jobs in the same communities. That is simply not happening. Despite many promises, the pace of bringing new high-quality manufacturing and production jobs to the coalfields has been glacial. I am not aware of a single dislocated coal miner who has been hired as a result of legislation or other initiatives put in place over the last several years.

“Rushing the closure of coal-fired power plants will both jeopardize the reliability of the nation’s power grid and threaten the livelihoods of our members. This frankly does not fulfill the administration’s promises to coalfield communities. We will continue to seek ways to keep our members, their families, and their communities whole.”