ACCCE on Initial Review of 111(d): EPA Carbon Emissions Rule Misses the Mark

Monday, June 2, 2014

Washington, D.C. – The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) blasted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) following initial review of today’s proposed rule on greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.  The costly rule, seen by many as the principal tenet of President Obama’s misguided pursuit of a climate legacy, will spur devastating economic impacts including job losses and energy costs.


“If these rules are allowed to go into effect, the administration for all intents and purposes is creating America’s next energy crisis,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE.  “As we predicted, the administration chose political expediency over practical reality as it unveiled energy standards devoid of commonsense and flexibility.  These guidelines represent a complete disregard for our country’s most vital fuel sources, like American coal, which provides nearly 40 percent of America’s power, reliably and affordably.” 


Filed under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, today’s rule is the first-ever set of guidelines proposed by the EPA to states as they create their own carbon emissions protocols for existing power units.  In the months leading up to the rule’s release, the EPA claimed the standards would allow power plants the adequate time and flexibility needed to meet requirements.


EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, speaking at IHS’s CERAWeek conference in March, said that conventional fuels like coal and natural gas “are going to continue to play a critical role in a diverse U.S. energy mix” and promised that the rule “will not change that” but instead recognize this reality.


Yet, as ACCCE has long cautioned, the proposed rule imposes stringent and potentially unattainable standards on state-based power grids that will leave millions of Americans with higher electric bills and at increased risk for rolling blackouts.


“Sadly, EPA’s proposed regulations put America’s low- and middle-income families most at risk of paying disproportionately more for energy. Those same families have seen their income dwindle by 22 percent over the last decade while their energy bills have increased by 27 percent,” Duncan said. “More so, the rule threatens the energy reliability and economic promise we enjoy today. Only by recognizing the importance of an energy portfolio rich in fuel source diversity will we preserve America’s access to stable and affordable power.”


Coal continues to be the country’s leading fuel source for electricity generation in the U.S. And thanks to the industry’s investment of $118 billion, so far, major emissions from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by nearly 90 percent.  The industry plans to invest another $27 billion through 2016 to further deploy clean coal technology and reduce emissions.