The Times West Virginian

Local News

September 21, 2013

Killing coal?: Standard ‘not commercially available’

FAIRMONT — During congressional hearings this week, U.S. Rep. David McKinley said that he heard some startling information about carbon dioxide emissions.

Each year since 2007, the United Nations has produced an International Panel on Climate Change Report to discuss issues about how carbon emissions affect the climate. McKinley said that within this year’s report, there could be some hope for the future of a fossil energy-based economy.

McKinley, R-W.Va., said that part of the report concludes that worldwide, if you account for every source of carbon dioxide, from burning forests to volcanoes to coal-fired power generation to automobiles and even down to even human breath, 800 billion tons are emitted into the atmosphere.

“If in America every coal-fired power house, every coal-fired boiler, all coal-fired generation in America were to stop, we would only impact the total CO2 emissions around the globe by two-tenths of 1 percent,” McKinley said.

McKinley said that could be good news for coal-producing states like West Virginia, if only the Barack Obama administration

would support the use of coal as part of the national energy plan and fund clean-coal technology research.

With the announcement Friday that in order to combat climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency would start to limit carbon dioxide emissions for new coal-fired power plants immediately and existing plants by June of 2014, that hope seems dismal.

“We’re fighting against something, we’re putting our economy at risk, we’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars per year for two-tenths of 1 percent? I’m just not comfortable with what science is backing up the necessity of spending all of this money,” McKinley said.

The new standards in place set by the EPA would only allow for power plants using carbon capture and sequestration systems (CCS) to be constructed, based on the allowed amount of emissions.

By design, the CCS process collects carbon dioxide from flue gas streams at power plants that burn coal to generate electricity, pumping it 1.5 miles underground and into a reservoir.

While many speculate there will be lawsuits filed over this latest EPA regulation, McKinley says congressional leaders are already looking into the issue.

“We are going through it with a fine-tooth comb for any weaknesses and what tools do we have here in Congress to push back. What they are doing is very similar to before. It sets up a standard for new coal-fired power houses that is not commercially available. (CCS) working in laboratories in small settings, but to do it on a commercial level, the only one in America is down in Mississippi ... it’s a relatively small power house, but it received nearly $300 million in federal grants to make it work.

“I don’t think that’s what we’re going to do for every coal-fired power house, give them $300 million in federal grants. This process has to work with conventional financing and not grants from the federal government.

“There’s still not a commercially viable project that has been developed using this. Therefore, absent a grant, you’re not going to see coal-fired power houses go online now due to regulations once they go into effect.”

In 2009, American Electric Power was given stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a carbon capture and sequestering system (CCS) at its Mountaineer power plant in New Haven. AEP was to be one of three companies in the country charged with expanding CCS technology on a commercial scale and developing a working model for the rest of the nation and world to follow. But by 2011, the company announced the end of the project, citing uncertainty about the nation’s future climate policy and a weak economy.

When asked whether he believes the DOE would approve funding for research and technology to help make CCS more commercially viable or even prove that it could work on a large scale,

McKinley said that when the Obama administration cut funding for the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown by 41 percent, it was a message that there was no interest in funding clean-coal technology research.

“This should not be a surprise that this is happening,” McKinley said, based on statements that Obama made earlier this winter. “But it is causing uncertainty in America.”

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., issued a statement on the EPA’s new source performance standards, saying that the measure will lose American jobs and cause utility costs to soar.

“Today’s announcement of the EPA’s new source performance standard is direct evidence that this administration is trying to hold the coal industry to impossible standards. Never before has the federal government forced an industry to do something that is technologically impossible,” Manchin said.

“It is past time that this country establishes an all-of-the-above energy policy that uses every domestic resource available to us, and that includes coal.”

Manchin said such regulations would also increase economic uncertainty in a nation still coming out of recession.

“We need the federal government to work as a partner, not an adversary, and to invest in America’s energy future,” the senator said. “I will continue to fight EPA overreach, just as I did as governor, to protect the reliable, affordable energy and the good-paying jobs that coal-fired power plants provide in West Virginia and across this country.”

Email Misty Poe at mpoe@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @MistyPoeTWV.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • erin autism 1.jpg East Dale student, loyal to twin brother, promotes autism awareness

    Erin Pride, 12, is a sixth-grader at East Dale Elementary School.
    She likes to play basketball, is a Girl Scout and just started learning the clarinet for school band.
    This Christmas, she received a rubber band bracelet loom. Rubber brand bracelets are very popular, and she started making bracelets and trading them at school.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tuesday deadline for voter registration

    The deadline for new voters to register before the May 13 primary is fast approaching.
    Residents have until 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday to go to a government office, such as the county clerk’s office or the DMV, and fill out a voter registration card.

    April 19, 2014

  • Swimming Challenge available for children with autism

    The Corridor Chapter of the Autism Society of West Virginia (AS-WV) and the YMCA of Clarksburg will be sponsoring the second annual Swimming Challenge for children affected by autism.
    The swimming challenge gives children with autism the opportunity to attend swimming lessons and work on their swimming skills one-on-one.

    April 19, 2014

  • CASA Superhero 5K set for April 26

    The second annual CASA Superhero 5K will be held April 26 in Fairmont.
    The event is at East Marion (Wave Pool) Park and is an annual fundraiser for CASA programs in Harrison, Marion, Monongalia and Preston counties.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041814 Fishing 2.jpg Fun, prizes mark annual event at Curtisville Lake

    An annual family fishing event begins at 9:30 a.m. today.
    The Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources are having the annual Family Fishing Day. The event will take place today at Curtisville Lake, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. and prizes being given away at 10:30 a.m.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police: Shooting of boy accidental

    A boy remains in critical condition after being shot more than a week ago, and police officials are now saying the incident was accidental in nature.
    On Wednesday, April 9, at 7:52 p.m., police were dispatched to a Fairmont residence after an 11-year-old boy sustained a gunshot wound inside the home.

    April 18, 2014

  • FGH oncology to benefit from cleanup

    Proceeds from this year’s town cleanup and recycling in White Hall will go toward comforting local cancer patients.
    During Monday’s council meeting, recorder Charlie Mason said the town will hold its annual cleanup from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 3, at Fabric and Foam in White Hall. He said only White Hall residents may bring their garbage to throw away, but any Marion County resident may bring metal (excluding computers, televisions and tires) to recycle.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pleasant Valley approves phase two of cemetery project

    Pleasant Valley City Council approved phase two of a project to fence in Samuel Linn Cemetery in Benton’s Ferry at the council meeting Tuesday.
    The cemetery was started in 1852, with the death of Samuel Linn.

    April 18, 2014

  • UPDATE: Police say 11-year-old shot in 'accidental discharge of a firearm'

    A boy remains in critical condition after being shot more than a week ago, and police officials are now saying the incident was accidental in nature.

    April 17, 2014

  • Attorney General - CB.jpg Morrisey wants to work with all to ‘help transform West Virginia’

    State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey wants to work with citizens to “help transform West Virginia.”
    Morrisey was the guest speaker for the Marion County Chamber of Commerce’s “Lunch and Learn” event Wednesday at the Mon Power headquarters, located in the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont. His trip to the Friendly City followed a town hall meeting in Harrison County Tuesday night.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads