New Analysis Underscores Power Plan’s Costly Consequences

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.

West Virginia-led coalition of states joins North Dakota in new source rule challenge

By Annalee Grant
West Virginia’s attorney general is once again leading a coalition of states against the U.S. EPA’s carbon agenda — this time against the Clean Power Plan’s companion, the carbon emissions rule for new power plants.
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Nov. 3 released an unofficial version of his petition for review of the EPA’s new source rule, which will be submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. While he provided few details of his challenge, Morrisey pledged to show that the rule exceeds the EPA’s statutory authority and is otherwise arbitrary and capricious. Those seeking to challenge an agency action must indicate their intent to do so within 60 days of a rule’s publication in the Federal Register, although they do not have to lay out their arguments in that filing.
The Clean Power Plan establishes statewide carbon dioxide emissions standards for existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units, with the goal of cutting CO2 emissions 32% as measured from a 2005 baseline by 2030. The new source rule sets similar emissions standards for new fossil-fired generation, but also includes a carbon capture and sequestration requirement for any new coal facilities that may be built in the future.
North Dakota was the first state to challenge the new source rule, and legal experts have predicted it could be the key to bringing down the Clean Power Plan. Under the relevant Clean Air Act provisions, the EPA must regulate new sources of emissions before it can regulate existing sources of emissions, and so a successful challenge of the new source rule could effectively halt the existing source rule.
Joining West Virginia in the challenge are attorneys general for the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, as well as the Arizona Corporation Commission, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.


Coal Commodity Region/Fuel Avg. BTU SO2 Price Price/mmBTU
Central Appalachia 12,500 1.2 $48.65 $1.95
Northern Appalachia 13,000 3 $51.95 $2.00
 Illinois Basin 11,800 5 $34.35 $1.46
Powder River Basin   8,800 0.8 $11.55 $0.66
Uinta Basin 11,700 0.8 $39.70 $1.70
Natural Gas (Henry Hub)       n/a 0.01 n/a $2.70


CHARLESTON – Coal production in the United States Terry 2increased this week.
Production in the United States was up by 438,000 tons (2.5%) to finish the week at 17.80 million compared to last week’s total of 17.37 million tons. Meanwhile, production for the week is off by 1.76 tons (4.6%) from the 19.59 million tons produced the same week in 2014.

Cumulative production for the year-to-date remains sharply down as of September 19th, coming in at 656.61 million tons compared to 715.69 million tons last year – a decline of 59.08 million tons or 8.3% – a slight narrowing of the gap. Production for the previous 52 weeks also continues lower from last year– finishing at 937.03 million tons compared to 981.43 million tons for the same period ending in 2014 (-4.5%) – a slight widening of the gap over the longer period.
Meanwhile, the number of coal rail car loadings remains sharply down from last year, finishing the week at 103,244 cars loaded, off 9.3% from same week in 2014.  Coal loadings also continued their decline year-to-date – off 9.1% from the same period in 2014.
Coal exports were not updated this week.
Electric output was up 3.5% compared to the same week in 2014, with 71.33 MWH of electricity produced compared to 74.68 MWH produced for the same period last year.
Domestic steel output, however, was down from the previous week.
According to numbers from the American Iron and Steel Institute, domestic raw steel production was up 0.7% from the previous week, coming in at 1.71 million tons compared to 1.69 million tons last week, with a capacity utilization factor of 71.4%.  However, steel production remains down sharply from the same week last year, when 1.88 million tons were produced at a capacity utilization rate of 78.1%. Steel production continues its slide year-to-date – down 8.0% to 64.36 million tons produced compared to 69.99 million tons for the same period last year.
In terms of regional coal production, all three major basins reported modest gains for the week ending September 19th compared to the previous week, but all continue sharply lower compared to the same week in 2014.
The Appalachian Basin finished at 4.57 million tons, up from 4.44 million tons last week (2.9%). Interior Basin production also finished slightly up at 3.46 million tons compared to 3.35 million tons last week (2.3%). Western production finished the week higher at 9.78 million tons from 9.57 million tons last week (2.1%).  However, production remains sharply below the same week in 2014. The Appalachian Basin is off by 11% from the same week last year. The Interior Basin is off 8.5% from 2014. And Western production is off 7.9% from the same period in 2014.
All three basins also continue to report significant declines in production year-to-date, with Appalachia down 11.9%, the Interior Basin off 7.4% and the Western Basin down 6.9%.
Looking at the previous 52 weeks, all three basins continue lower for the period ending September 19th, with the Appalachian Basin down 8.7%, the Interior Basin down 2.9% and the Western Region down 3.0%. Production in the Interior Basin fell to 178.17 million tons from 183.50 million tons for the same period in 2014. Appalachian production fell for the period to 244.12 million tons from 267.29 million tons. Meanwhile, Western production is down to 514.74 million tons from 530.64 million tons in 2014.
According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training, coal production in the state now stands at 66.87 million tons through September 17th. Of that total, 53.60 million tons was mined by underground operations and 13.27 million tons was produced by surface mining. A total of 113 mines are now reporting production through July 2015.
According to WVOMHST, coal mining employment in West Virginia fell slightly to 15,036 total miners, with 12,202 working underground and 2,834 working on surface operations. The office does not report data for contract miners or preparation plant workers on a weekly basis.
According to EIA, West Virginia coal production for the week totaled 1.92 million tons compared to 1.89 million tons for the previous week (1.5%).  Meanwhile, West Virginia production is off by 11.1% from the same week in 2014.
Production was up in both the northern and southern coalfields of West Virginia compared to last week, by 1.3% and 2.6% respectively. However, production is off in both areas year-to-date, by 0.6% and 17.2% respectively.
Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending September 19th was sharply up compared to the previous week but remains down from the same period in 2014. Kentucky production for the week was reported at 1.30 million tons, up from 1.24 million tons last week but down from the 1.52 million tons for the same week in 2014. The eastern and western regions of Kentucky also increased week-over-week, but remain sharply lower from the same time in 2014.  Eastern Kentucky reported 637,000 tons produced for the week, up from 598,000 tons the previous week and off from 746,000 tons for the same week last year. Western Kentucky reported 666,000 tons of production, up from 645,000 tons the previous week and off from 775,000 tons in 2014. Year to date, production in Kentucky is off by 15.5%. Meanwhile production in the state is off by 12.4% for the previous 52 weeks, with western Kentucky reporting a 10.6% decline and eastern Kentucky operations reporting a decline of 14.2% year-over-year.
Wyoming coal production was up for the week, coming in at 7.12 million tons, compared to 6.98 million tons the previous week, but down from the 7.70 million tons produced for the same week in 2014 – a decline of 7.8%. For the previous 52 weeks, Wyoming production is down 2.2%. Illinois production also finished slightly up at 1.18 million tons compared to 1.16 million tons last week. Illinois production is up by 10.9% for the previous 52 weeks.

Indiana production came in at 669,000 compared to 659,000 tons last week and 751,000 tons for the same week in 2014. Indiana production is down by 6.5% over the previous 52 weeks. Pennsylvania production for the week was also slightly up, coming in at 1.09 million tons versus 1.07 million tons for the previous week and 1.18 million tons for the same week in 2014. Production in the Keystone State continued its slide, down 8.9 percent year-to-date and 3.8% for the previous 52 weeks.
Ohio production also ticked slightly higher – at 362,000 tons compared to 345,000 tons the previous week and 416,000 for the same week a year ago. Ohio coal production is off 16.0% year-to-date and down 13.8% for the previous 52 weeks, compared to the same period ending in 2014. Virginia production increased slightly this week – to 240,000 tons compared to 234,000 tons for last week and 285,000 for the same week in 2014. Virginia production year-to-date is off by 16.0% and down for the previous 52 weeks by 15.1%.
Coal prices on the spot market were mixed this week. Central Appalachian coal rose 5 cents a tons to $48.65 per ton or $1.95 per mmBtu. Northern Appalachian coal also added 5 cents, coming in at $51.95 per ton or $2.00 per mmBtu. Illinois Basin coal closed unchanged at $34.35 per ton or $1.46 per mmBtu, while Powder River Basin coal held at $11.55 per ton or $0.66 per mmBtu, and Uinta Basin coal prices were firm at $39.70 per ton or $1.70 per mmBtu.
Meanwhile, on the NYMEX Coal Futures board, Central Appalachian coal held at $42.50 per ton while Western Rail fell to $10.86 per short ton from $10.95 a week ago and Eastern Rail coal is down to $43.53 per short ton from $43.78 the previous week.
Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub fell 1 cent to finish the week at $2.69 per mmBtu. Natural gas producers once again reported a significant increase in their stored reserves – up 73 billion cubic feet compared to the previous week, for a total of 3.33 trillion cubic feet in storage. This week’s working natural gas rotary rig count shows gas producers continuing to take rigs out of service. The number of working rigs is down by four from last week to 838 working rigs. And the count remains down by 1,093 rigs from a year ago – a decline of 57%. This number includes rigs working in both oil and gas plays.


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.

Congressman Evan Jenkins is Special Guest for June Edition of The Coal Seam Television Show.

CHARLESTON — The Coal Seam television show is in its seventh season on the West Virginia Library Television Network. The show continues to be the source for news about the Mountain State’s coal industry. Congressman Evan Jenkins joined host Chris Hamilton for an exclusive interview for the June 2015 show. The show has an audience of 577,000 West Virginians. Below is a link to the show on Youtube.

War on Coal Pain Continues: Region to feel brunt of CSX layoffs

10700756_926235410737765_5408157025333664825_oFROM THE HERALD-DISPATCH
Jul. 17, 2015 @ 07:02 AM
HUNTINGTON – Citing continued weakness in its coal markets, CSX announced a 1 percent reduction in its workforce for the third quarter of 2015 with a majority of the 600 employees being cut from its Huntington division.

“CSX aims to match workforce needs with general business demand, and therefore CSX is furloughing some contract employees,” said Kaitlyn Barrett, from CSX’s corporate communications office. “Most of the furloughed employees operate trains, either as locomotive engineers or conductors.” CSX’s Huntington Division spans Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio.

“Furloughed employees are assigned priority status for job openings elsewhere at CSX in areas where traffic volumes are higher,” Barrett said.

The Associated Press has reported the furloughs will be through a combination of layoffs and attrition.
Coal volume is expected to drop 15 percent as export demand remains weak and U.S. utilities have large coal stockpiles on hand, according to the Associated Press. Drilling for natural gas and crude oil has slowed because of the current low prices.

CSX Chairman and CEO Michael Ward told the Associated Press he thinks the railroad did a good job improving what it could control as it dealt with challenging energy markets.

“We had good efficiency, we had good pricing and good service improvements during the quarter, so we were happy with the path,” Ward said.

CSX operates more than 21,000 miles of track in 23 Eastern states and two Canadian provinces.

Follow reporter Brandon Roberts on Twitter @brobertsHD.

RADIO INTERVIEW: WV Coal Association President Discusses Supreme Court’s MATS Rule

Listen to WV Coal Association President Bill Raney, who was on WVOW’s “What’s Your Opinion” discussing the Supreme Court’s decision on the EPA’s MATS Rule.

Cutting the EPA: Correct Approach by Jenkins

CHARLESTON — U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va. announced last week that he has been able to cut $1.2 billion in funding from the EPA as part of a proposed 2016 Appropriations bill. Jenkins said the EPA funding targeted for elimination was being used to wage the Obama administration’s ongoing war on coal.

The measure cleared the subcommittee last Wednesday. The bill also seeks to block the implementation of new rules on coal-fired power plants and seeks to prevent the EPA from implementing a controversial new water rule that would designate puddles and ponds as “navigable water,” Jenkins said.

As promised, Jenkins said he and other members of the Appropriations subcommittee went through the EPA’s budget with a “fine tooth comb” and found millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars that are being used to wage a war on the coalfields of southern West Virginia and neighboring Southwest Virginia.

Jenkins says the measure will move to the full House Appropriations Committee for approval next week, and then to the full U.S. House of Representatives. A similar companion bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito.

Jenkins says he is cautiously optimistic that there are enough votes for the Appropriations bill to pass the Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives. So are we. This is an opportunity for the new Republican majority in both the House and the U.S. Senate to live up to a critical campaign promise, and to make a significance difference in helping parts of the country that are suffering as a result of a six-year-old war on coal led by President Obama.