For Immediate Release: August 24, 2016
Legislature’s Action Keeps West Virginia Coal Miners Working
CHARLESTON – Earlier this year, the West Virginia Legislature passed a bill that allowed utility companies to fast-track recovery of costs for upgrades to existing power plants if the upgrades help keep West Virginia coal miners working.
The bill is already doing what was intended.
FirstEnergy subsidiaries Mon Power and Potomac Edison recently submitted a request to the Public Service Commission of West Virginia (PSC) to recover costs for environmental control projects that support the long-term operation of Harrison and Fort Martin Power Stations.
The upgrades are part of FirstEnergy’s investments in emissions control at Harrison and Fort Martin that allow the plants to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations. These investments will allow the plants to continue generating low-emitting and affordable electricity, providing well-paying jobs, and contributing significant tax income to surrounding communities.
West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney today offered his thanks to the members of the Legislature for their foresight in passing the legislation.
“West Virginia’s coal industry has suffered a great deal under the Obama Administration over the past eight years,” Raney said. “There are 11,000 coal miners not working today who should be. We have to do whatever we can here in West Virginia to help our electric companies meet the demands imposed on them by a radicalized federal regulatory system. The leaders of the Legislature realize this and are working hard to find ways to keep West Virginians working. First Energy’s investment in upgrades to their power plants likely wouldn’t have happened and the facilities would simply have been closed had it not been for what the Legislature did earlier this year. We thank them for their efforts to protect West Virginia jobs.”
The Modernization and Improvement Plan (MIP) will help Harrison and Fort Martin achieve ongoing compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) and Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) II requirements.
To meet these requirements, 18 projects are planned or underway, including improving electro-static precipitators, installing technology to control mercury and other emissions, improving existing flue gas desulfurization equipment, enhancing continuous emission monitoring, tuning boilers, and improving controls and the selective catalytic reduction system.
If approved, the project will cost an estimated $6.9 million.