EPA climate change regulations proposed as a part of President Barack Obama’s climate change plans will soon be the focus of a vote on the Senate floor. Republican Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell is pushing for Democrats in “vulnerable states” to take a sand publicly on the controversial global warming guidelines ahead of midterms elections. Approximately 40 percent of the country’s electricity stems from coal-generated power plants. The coal industry provides more than a half-million jobs – primarily in rural areas.
The resolution which GOP lawmakers feel would protect coal plant jobs would likely be vetoed President Obama. Coal state politicians are pushing back against carbon dioxide limits imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency – EPA. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Representative Ed Whitfield are attempting to thwart the EPA’s proposed emissions limits for new power plants from taking effect. Manchin and Whitfield want the federal agency to be required to establish coal-fired power plant rules that include “commercially feasible” technologies.
In September the EPA announced a proposal to establish more stringent caps for new coal plants. The environmental agency plan meant that the coal power industry would most likely be forced to utilize expensive carbon-capture technology which requires the burying of the carbon underground. Opponents of the plan have argued that the carbon technology poses serious safety risks, is still in the development process, and not commercially available, and it way too expensive to be feasible. When a company’s manufacturing and operational costs increase, so do the products or services they provide to consumers.
Representative Ed Whitfield had this to say about the new coal plant mandates proposed by the EPA:
“EPA’s extreme regulations are threatening our nation’s energy future, our economy, and countless American jobs. These regulations are being done by a group of regulators without any public discussion or debate, and the purpose of this legislation is to ensure that we have a national discussion about the use of coal.”
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (Michigan Republican) authored legislation to combat the proposed EPA mandates. Manchin and Whitfield have uttered their support for Upton’s bill. The Michigan lawmaker noted in a release that the federal agency’s regulations “threaten the availability of affordable energy” sought after by American manufacturers. Increasing the cost of manufacturing due to yet more government regulations could spell doom for our struggling economy.
Representative Upton also had this to say about the future of the coal industry:
“This important legislation will ensure costly regulations do not raise energy prices and threaten this renaissance, and I look forward to moving the bill though the committee and to the floor.”
California Representative Henry Waxman supports the new carbon emissions proposal by the EPA. Waxman deemed Upton’s bill nothing more than “scientific lunacy.” The California politician believes allowing the status quo in the coal industry continues the “future of our children and grandchildren” is at risk.