Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

May 6, 2014

Power plant rules: EPA must delay ruling

— — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is correct in asking the federal Environmental Protection Agency to delay its plans to establish new carbon dioxide emission regulations for existing power plants.

Morrisey forwarded a letter to the EPA last week arguing that the decision should be postponed because it is being based on flawed rules targeting new power plants. And once again, Morrisey is correctly calling upon EPA officials, including administrator Gina McCarthy, to travel to West Virginia to hear firsthand from those families and business leaders who will be directly impacted by the proposed regulations.

McCarthy has ignored repeated invitations to date to visit the region from lawmakers representing both southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. Morrisey, the Republican attorney general serving West Virginia, also has repeatedly asked McCarthy to visit the Mountain State.

“If permitted to become law, these regulations will have serious consequences for anyone who pays an electric bill and will have a negative impact on the economies of West Virginia and other coal-producing states,” Morrisey correctly notes.

The EPA’s first attempt at creating new source performance standards — or NSPS — had to be withdrawn after the comment process revealed numerous defects. Morrisey says the current version also suffers from multiple, well-documented problems, and has been heavily criticized by job-creators and bipartisan leaders across the nation.

“Our office is deeply concerned that the EPA has already shared with the White House its proposal for regulating existing power plants when obvious legal problems leave the proposal for new plants in so much doubt,” Morrisey adds.  “Driven by the ideology that ‘big government knows best,’ the EPA seems intent on pushing these job-killing regulations regardless of the real concerns voiced by our citizens, job-creators, and elected leaders from both parties.”

In the letter to McCarthy, Morrisey also outlines concerns with the current proposed regulations for new power plants. The letter points out that the proposal heavily relies on government-funded projects employing carbon capture and storage, or CCS, even though the EPA cannot identify even one coal-burning power plant currently using CCS on a commercial scale. The letter also states that this reliance is a violation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a law that expressly forbids the EPA from setting performance standards based on technology that is funded by government subsidies.

Morrisey is correct. McCarthy should postpone this decision until all questions are answered.

And she should also visit the coalfields of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia before making a decision. That is the only fair thing to do.

 

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