Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

May 30, 2014

Rahall speaks out against new EPA rules

WASHINGTON — With President Barack Obama expected to announce potentially crippling restrictions next week on coal-fired power plants, area lawmakers are once again speaking out in opposition to the looming federal rules.

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., spoke on the House floor Thursday in opposition to the new rules, which, according to Rahall, would set caps on carbon emissions from existing power plants.

“On Monday the EPA is expected to unleash what is essentially a federal cap-and-trade proposal aimed at our nation’s existing coal-fired power plants,” Rahall said. “I will oppose this rule as it will adversely affect coal miners and coal mining communities throughout West Virginia and the nation. At stake is our economy and the livelihoods of our coal miners, our steelworkers, electrical workers, those who keep our freight trains running, and families and businesses that rely on affordable energy from coal.”

Rahall said he and other lawmakers serving coal-producing states will look at “any and all options” to block the proposed rules.

U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., addressed the issue in his weekly newsletter and said the new EPA rules will cause electric rates to rise for residents in Virginia’s 9th Congressional District and the nation while negatively impacting the coal industry, its jobs, the region’s economy and the nation’s access to reliable and affordable energy.

“The war on coal is a war on our jobs, our energy and our way of life,” Griffith said.

Obama blames coal and other fossil fuels on climate change.

Although exact details of the new Environmental Protection Agency rules won’t be released until Monday, critics say the new rules will increase electricity costs for most Americans, costs jobs and negatively impact the national economy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and other business groups, also oppose the new rules arguing that the reductions in emissions will be too small and the consequences on the national economy will be too great, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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