WASHINGTON — “Energy policy needs to ensure all Americans have affordable and reliable electricity to meet everyday challenges and to help build a strong foundation of economic success. Regardless of where you stand politically, this plan fails to meet that threshold.”
Washington, D.C. – New analysis from NERA Economic Consulting shows the Environmental Protection Agency’s power plan comes with a hefty price tag that could approach $300 billion and raise electricity prices in each of the 47 states subject to the new regulation. Despite these enormous costs, the rule does nothing to prevent global climate change.
“This analysis makes it abundantly clear the president’s power plan will result in higher electricity prices and delivers a sharp wake-up call to states and consumers,” said Mike Duncan, ACCCE president and CEO. “Common sense tells us that with 27 states seeking judicial action to stop this plan from being implemented there is reason enough for EPA to take this rule off the table. Sadly, however, common sense isn’t prevailing and as result Americans’ economic well-being and livelihoods are at risk.”
Despite the fact that the president’s plan will have virtually no effect on climate change, NERA’s analysis shows that all of the Lower 48 states will see electricity price increases because of the rule. Consumers in 40 states could see double-digit electricity price increases, and 28 states could face electricity price spikes greater than 20 percent. The annual cost of at least $30 billion per year for the plan is three times greater than the cost of EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics rule, which the U.S. Supreme Court criticized by saying, “It is not rational … to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in … benefits.”
“Energy policy needs to ensure all Americans have affordable and reliable electricity to meet everyday challenges and to help build a strong foundation of economic success. Regardless of where you stand politically, this plan fails to meet that threshold,” Duncan said.
CHARLESTON — Why is it important for you to be at the OSM hearing in Charleston on September 17th? Here’s why… 8,609 direct mining jobs lost in just the past three and a half years — 35 PERCENT of our mining workforce!
Add to that 48,414 indirect and support jobs and that means the state has lost 56,483 total jobs in just the past four years.
Let those numbers sink in if you don’t think the coal industry matters to you.
Be at the Charleston Civic Center at 5 PM September 17th!
BRIDGEPORT — “The Legislature made substantive and impactful progress in the 2015 legislative session and work has begun in earnest on our 2016 agenda,” said Senate President and Lieutenant Governor Bill Cole in his opening remarks during BIC’s fourth regional business forum Thursday at the Bridgeport Conference Center in Bridgeport, WV. Nearly 60 business and policy leaders from north central West Virginia and across the state participated.
“The legal reforms passed during the last session are starting to bear fruit,” Cole said.
He referenced that a major insurance company doing business in the state has informed him that they will be announcing a rate reduction on auto insurance by nearly 6 percent in the near future. “That is just one tangible example of your legislature getting results.”
“We’re going to continue to move the needle for West Virginia and we’re going to do it in a big way in 2016,” Cole stated. “We’re going to take on the hard issues, many of which may have been taboo in the past, but which will make us competitive and bring us in line with other states.” Cole cited Right To Work and Prevailing Wage as policy initiatives the legislature will be considering.
“We’ve got to make changes now,” Cole said. “West Virginia is one of the only states in the country to see a population decrease and we’ve got to reverse that trend. To do that, we need to double down on the things that are working and stop doing the things keeping us at the top of the “bad” lists.
Cole noted his appreciation for BIC’s role in promoting the policies, as well as the political candidates, that West Virginia needs to move the state forward.
Chris Hamilton, Chairman of BIC, framed the challenges facing West Virginia and BIC’s role in spearheading positive change.
“It is all of our duty here today to support those tackling the hard issues and to elect candidates that will continue this trend into the future,” Hamilton stated.
The event featured a variety of speakers, covering various issues.
Eugenie Taylor with the WV Chamber of Commerce outlined the need for passing public charter school legislation. “For those with resources in West Virginia, they have the option of sending their children to private schools which they may feel provide their children with the support they need to thrive,” Taylor said. “However, for the majority of West Virginians without such means, they have no alternative to public schools.”
“This is in no way an effort to replace public schools,” Taylor said. “It is, however, one more tool that can help move West Virginia forward.” Echoing WVU President Gordon Gee’s comments during the WV Chamber’s recent Business Summit, Taylor said, “West Virginia doesn’t have time for incrementalism. We need all the tools in the toolbox to be available to us now.”
Taylor said the Chamber is working to build a coalition of public charter school supporters and encouraged those in attendance to contact her should they like to participate.
Senate Education Chairman Dave Sypolt outlined the challenges he and his committee face in working to improve West Virginia’s education system. “The West Virginia code includes more than 700 pages dealing with education,” Sypolt said. “My goal is to review and simplify the code to create a more student-centered education system.”
Brian Hoylman, Executive Director of the Associated Builders & Contracts, presented on the movement to enact a Workforce Freedom – or Right To Work – law in West Virginia. “An employee shouldn’t be forced to pay dues to a union as a condition of their employment.”
Hoylman cited a MetroNews poll announced on Labor Day which found that 60 percent of West Virginia voters would support a Right To Work law. “Interestingly,” Hoylman noted, “only 30 percent of those polled were republicans, which shows the broad based support this initiative has.”
Delegates Amy Summers and Terry Waxman outlined their desire to improve West Virginia’s healthcare and welfare systems and to implement solutions addressing substance abuse.
Corky DeMarco, President of the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association, provided an overview on the immense natural gas resources under the ground in our region. “West Virginia and our region will overtake Saudi Arabia in terms of oil and gas production when it’s all said and done,” DeMarco stated. “We need the legislature to take steps to assure production continues and that we maximize the downstream opportunities available for economic growth.”
Chris Hamilton outlined the challenges facing West Virginia’s coal industry and the ongoing impact of President Obama’s war on coal. “We’ve lost approximately 6,000 mining jobs in West Virginia over the past several years and a quarter of our production. While that is devastating to working families and our economy, we hope that the trend has begun to level off. Coal will continue to provide a significant portion of America’s electricity into the future.”
Delegate Paul Espinosa, Kathy Wagner, President of the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce, and Barbara DeMary, Executive Director of the Region 6 Workforce Investment Board, outlined the economic development challenges and opportunities facing north central West Virginia and the region.
“The two greatest challenges facing north central West Virginia right now are 1) retaining the businesses we have here today, and 2) finding workers for jobs both now and in the future,” said Wagner.
DeMary informed the group that there are a lot of people unemployed and in need of training in the region. She outlined a federal program that will incent food stamp beneficiaries in the Monongalia, Harrison and Marion County region to begin job training programs or lose their food stamp benefits.
The next BIC regional forum will take place in Vienna on Oct. 8.
The federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) will hold a public hearing in Charleston on Thursday, September 17, 2015 on what they’re calling the Stream Protection Rule (SPR), which is actually the Stream Buffer Zone Rule and is a complete “rewrite” of the federal surface mining act to the detriment of the mining industry and landowners across the country. This hearing will be held at the Charleston Civic Center, beginning at 5:00 p.m. The actual hearing will not begin until 6:00 p.m., but we need to have plenty of miners, suppliers, their families and supporters there early to insure we get signed up to speak before others. Prior to the Charleston hearing, there will be hearings (noted below) in Pittsburgh and Big Stone Gap, VA, which also need strong industry participation. The earlier hearings in Denver and Lexington, KY have been successful with good industry presence and involvement.
We’re already hurting badly enough, without them “piling on” with more over-reaching regulations. And, these really over-reach as they will make it virtually impossible to get a new mining permit, renew the ones we currently have or continue operations in any sense. WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please RESERVE THE DATE and plan to be in Charleston on the 17th to help us protect our jobs from this latest attack by Obama’s War on Coal!
Thursday, September 17, 2015
City: Charleston, WV
Location: Charleston Civic Center
200 Civic Center Dr., Charleston 25301
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
If you can’t make it to the Charleston event, here are the dates and sites for the other hearings in our region.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
City: Pittsburgh, PA
Location: Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh
500 Mansfield Ave., Pittsburgh 15205
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
City: Big Stone Gap, VA
Location: Mountain Empire Community College
3441 Mt. Empire Rd., Big Stone Gap 24219
Time: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
HUNTINGTON — Natural Resource Partners, L.P. (NRP) presented the 9th Annual Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce Energy & Natural Resources Symposium at the St. Mary’s Center for Education Oct. 12 in Huntington. American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) President Robert M. “Mike” Duncan was the featured speaker at the event, which focused on a serious threat to future of the coal industry – the EPA’s GHG regulations.
Nearly 100 people attended the meeting to discuss what NRP COO Nick Carter says is an attack by the government to put coal companies out of business. It took place at the St. Mary’s Center for Education in Huntington.
It’s clear that battle lines have been drawn, and the war between the coal industry and clean air legislation is burning.
“We are under attack,” Duncan said. “The fact that we need better regulations to produce new coal plants in the country. Also we need to preserve the existing coal plants but that coal has a future in the country.”
John Lyons, assistant secretary for climate policy for the Energy and Environment Cabinet and Paul Bailey, vice president for federal affairs and policy for ACCCE were also featured speakers.