The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jan. 28, 2022

Co-op opposes EPA regulations

CEO/General Manager George Carter of Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative says massive job loss, blackouts, and any chance of attracting manufacturing to the U.S., will be gone if the EPA shuts down more power plants. The EPA is seeking to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide coming from U.S. power plants in the name of combating climate change. These proposed rules add layers of regulatory bureaucracy even though U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have been declining and will continue to do so without EPA’s proposal.

“Our wholesale supplier, Buckeye Power, has already spent close to a billion dollars to make our coal plants some of the most efficient plants in the world,” CEO/President Darin Thorp said. “These costs have been borne by our members to insure affordable, reliable and clean energy but now … the EPA says that may not be good enough.”

Also according Buckeye Power, coal-fired power plants generate 40 percent of America’s electricity and shield the economy from spikes in energy demand, but new EPA regulations could change that.

“The EPA’s war on coal has troubling economic implications for every American and U.S. business,” Carter said. “As the new regulations take effect, Americans could see their electric bills increase monthly anywhere from $40 to $50.”

Coal power helps keep energy rates reliably low, Carter added, which gives U.S. manufacturers an edge over global competitors. In June, the National Association of Manufacturers said the EPA rule “could single-handedly eliminate this competitive advantage.”

If industry continues to leave the U.S., the EPA’s proposed plan will have the opposite effect. Emissions will increase as companies move to countries with lower labor costs, cheaper energy, and lax environmental policies. An additional unintended consequence will be more jobs lost in manufacturing.

“India and China have plans to build almost 1,000 coal plants between now and 2020,” Thorp added. “They are using coal because it is cheaper and more readily available than any other fossil fuel.”

On November 12, a landmark agreement was announced by President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China, which includes new targets for carbon emissions reductions by the United States and a first-ever commitment by China to stop its emissions from growing by 2030.

“It makes no sense, the U.S is being forced to cut back starting now and China can continue to grow until 2030,” Thorp says. “This will most definitely have a negative impact on our economy nationally and locally.”

“Coal also provides, directly and indirectly, hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country,” Carter said. “In Ohio, more than 22,000 jobs are tied to coal production and in Indiana more than 35,000 count on coal, including thousands of manufacturing jobs in factories powered by coal.

The proposed EPA plan will seriously threaten America’s electric reliability, unless the EPA backs down on its harsh regulations and coal-fueled power plants get a reprieve, blackouts are almost guaranteed, especially when it comes to harsh winters. The 2014 “polar vortex” the U.S. experienced earlier this year, close to 89 percent of the coal electricity capacity that is due to go offline was utilized as the backup to meet the winter demand.

Electric cooperatives are asking area residents to provide feedback to the EPA on the issue. The EPA is accepting public input until December 1 regarding the issue. Both electric cooperatives encourage residents to take a stand on the issue and visit Action.coop and TellEPA.com.  Not only do the websites contain valuable information, visitors also have the opportunity to send a comment to the EPA asking them to protect affordable electricity for all Americans.

–Paulding Putnam Electric Cooperative

POSTED: 11/17/14 at 6:52 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions