The Times West Virginian

Business

September 27, 2013

‘Coal Caucus’ to oppose new emission limits

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Tom Marino and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers have formed a “Coal Caucus” to oppose new strict federal emission limits on coal plants in Pennsylvania and other states.

Marino, who represents the 10th congressional district in northeast Pennsylvania, said President Obama is waging a war on coal that’s creating economic hardship in coal-producing states.

“The Obama Administration’s proposed rule to cap carbon emissions from new power plants is just another line of attack to make certain energy sources – sources like coal and fossil fuels – so expensive that the producers themselves go bankrupt,” said Marino.

More than a dozen state lawmakers from both major political parties joined the congressman in railing against the new federal regulations, with Republicans blaming Democrats and Democrats focusing their concern on Washington.

Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming County, was named chairman of the Coal Caucus. Along with Obama, he added Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat, to the list of villains.

Yaw said 12 attorneys general from other states signed a letter arguing that the new EPA carbon dioxide air quality standards overstepped the agency’s authority.

“By doing nothing,” he said, “the attorney general in Pennsylvania has made Pennsylvania an unwitting participant in the war on coal.”

Joe Peters, a spokesman for Kane, said she had not been approached by other attorneys general about a position paper on the EPA rule. But, Peters added, Kane is now monitoring the situation.

More than 40,000 people currently work in the coal industry in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance. Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America, said tougher clean air standards approved during President George H.W. Bush’s administration during the early 1990s resulted in the loss of 20,000 to 25,000 jobs in two years.

Smith said China and other emerging industrial nations are expanding their use of coal at a time the United States is restricting fossil fuels to generate electricity, causing the export of jobs.

“We’re leading with our chin instead of our brain,” said Smith. “The fact is people around the world don’t view coal as the fuel of the past; they are accelerating their use.”

Democratic state lawmakers who joined the Coal Caucus freely criticized the EPA’s new rules capping the amount of carbon dioxide coal-burning power plants can emit, but shied away from taking aim at Kane.

“I can’t speak for the attorney general,” said Sen. John Wozniak, D-Cambria County.

Wozniak said the EPA needs to soften its position, calling the rules, “unnecessarily harsh.”

Earlier this summer, FirstEnergy announced plans to shut down two coal plants in Fayette and Washington counties because of the cost of adding pollution controls to meet the federal standards. The plants generate enough energy to power tens of thousands of homes and business, and employ 380 people.

Pennsylvania has 39 coal-fired power plants. They produce 55 per cent of the state’s energy needs, state officials said. Utility companies are replacing coal with natural gas plants, which now produce only five percent of the state’s energy, as they adjust to new clear air standards.

Natural gas gains are particularly strong in the area in and around the Marcellus shale region in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Three coal-fired power plants – in Shamokin Dam (Snyder County), New Castle (Lawrence County) and Monaca (Beaver County) — are in the process of converting from coal to natural gas power, government records show.

In addition, the Department of Environmental Protection has received air-quality plans for seven new natural gas plants. Four other natural gas power plant projects have been announced, but company officials have not submitted required paperwork yet, according to the records.

The Sunbury Generation facility in Shamokin Dam is one of the oldest coal-fired plants in the country. Now the company that owns it is working to convert the plant to natural gas by 2015. That means the plant will continue to operate, albeit with fewer workers.

Federal environmental studies have identified fossil-fuel power plants as the leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the country, with coal producing more carbon dioxide than any other fuel.

EPA officials contend the only way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide spewing into the air.

1
Text Only
Business
  • Statewide online directory lets you track local goods

    A new online tool is providing a detailed look into West Virginia’s local food system.
    The West Virginia Food Mapper, a statewide interactive mapping application, was officially finalized and launched in February through a partnership among several entities. Those partners include Downstream Strategies, the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition and its Meat Processing Working Group, and the West Virginia GIS (Geographic Information Systems) Technical Center.

    April 13, 2014

  • Chancelors reopens at new site after devastating fire

    Nothing, not event a devastating fire, can keep Chancelors down.
    At the beginning of March, this family-owned auction business and store opened at its new location beside Premier Body Works, a mile and a half past the Barrackville Covered Bridge.

    April 13, 2014

  • Despite coal decline, West Virginia remains strong in exporting

    Companies throughout West Virginia are bringing new dollars into the economy by exporting.
    The governor’s office recently reported that the state’s exports in 2013 totaled $8.4 billion. This is the third-highest amount of exports that West Virginia has seen in its history.

    April 6, 2014

  • Mannington B&B Wireless offers affordable service

    B&B Wireless is now offering affordable cellphone services to the Mannington area.
    Owner Brad Weaver recently opened this store, which is an nTelos Wireless exclusive retail provider, at 122 Market St. in Mannington. The new business is located beside Hero’s Corner Cafe and shares a building with Fancy Nancy’s Gift Shop.

    April 6, 2014

  • NASA IV&V, TMC play key role in launch of satellite

    A modeling and simulation product developed by the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Facility and TMC Technologies, both in Fairmont, recently played a key role in launching a satellite off the ground.
    Brandon Bailey is the lab manager of the Jon McBride Software Testing and Research (JSTAR) Laboratory at NASA IV&V.

    March 30, 2014

  • Quality of life focus at White Hall Hearing Care

    White Hall Hearing Care encourages people to do their ears a favor and visit an audiologist.
    Owner Barb Litton Cox, a nationally certified state licensed audiologist, opened her office on March 4 at the White Hall Professional Complex, located at 177 Middletown Road.

    March 30, 2014

  • Small Business Resource Summit and Entrepreneurs Café set Tuesday

    Main Street Fairmont is helping small businesses find opportunities to grow.
    The Small Business Resource Summit and Entrepreneurs Café are scheduled for this Tuesday at Veterans Square, located at 320 Adams St. in downtown Fairmont.

    March 23, 2014

  • Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham opens doors

    The team of the new Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham is glad to be in Fairmont.
    The hotel, located at 20 Southland Drive next to the Middletown Mall, officially opened its doors on Friday, March 21. That afternoon, the management team and staff welcomed members of the public to tour the new facility and enjoy lunch during an open house.

    March 23, 2014

  • Scammers will ‘go after anyone, regardless of age, gender or income’

    West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urges consumers to protect themselves against scams related to online purchases.
    A Fairmont woman, who prefered not to be interviewed for this story, recently became the victim of one of these scams and lost a considerable amount of money as a result.

    March 16, 2014

  • Service focus at ERA Signature Properties

    The new owners of ERA Signature Properties are ready to provide excellent customer service to clients from start to finish.
    On Jan. 1, Realtors and owners Brian and Mikaelah Seifrit officially took over the business that Jo-Helen and Ed Williams led for many years.

    March 16, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Business
House Ads