Electric Co-ops Worried about Coal’s Future

They call the EPA’s carbon reduction standards an “all-but-one” energy policy.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will soon issue new proposed carbon pollution standards for future power plants, reflecting new information and public comments on the Agency’s 2012 proposal. Electric co-ops are not optimistic about what the EPA took from this information.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power last week, reporting on the EPA’s intentions for the coming year.

“For existing plants, we are engaged in outreach to a broad group of stakeholders with expertise who can inform the development of proposed standards, regulations, or guidelines, which we expect to issue in June of 2014,” she said. “These guidelines will provide guidance to States, which have the primary role in developing and implementing plans to address carbon pollution from existing plants. This framework will allow us to capitalize on state leadership and innovation while also accounting for regional diversity and providing the necessary flexibility.”

Jo Ann Emerson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), released the following statement in response to McCarthy’s testimony:

“NRECA and its member co-ops are disappointed to learn that the Administration has abandoned its “all-of- the-above” energy strategy and embraced an “all-but-one” approach that restricts the future use of coal to generate affordable electricity. The anticipated regulations are reported to require any new coal-burning facility to capture and store carbon dioxide, a prohibitively expensive technology that is not commercially viable.

“NRECA urges the Administration to reconsider this proposal and focus on working with co-ops as we continue to reduce power plant emissions, increase efficiency and develop affordable new technologies.”

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