Biden Admin Announces New Climate Regs, Local Leaders React
May 14, 2023 - On Thursday, the Biden administration’s EPA announced a new climate rule that would require a vast majority of power plants that use fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, etc) to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 90% before 2040 or be shuttered. Several members of the West Virginia Legislature have reacted. Here are the replies so far:
I am not versed on the specifics of the plan. I just worry that there are efforts being made from our federal government to push our country faster away from coal and natural gas than we should be moving.
The needs of our current PJM grid underscore how important WV coal and natural gas are to our energy needs.
House of Delegates
This White House is just tone-deaf as it relates to our nation’s energy policy. California has regular black outs, Texas recently suffered through a black out that resulted in people dying, and the winter cold spell we experienced over the Christmas holiday brought our local electric grid to the precipice of collapse. Yet, President Biden and his extremist administration continue to propose regulations designed to shut down coal fired power plants. Numerous agencies, FERC, NERC, the grid operators MISO and PJM are calling attention to the fact that we are nearing a point where we won’t have enough generation online to power our nation. We are literally in an electricity emergency created by our own government.
It’s very disappointing that Biden’s EPA has taken an anti coal anti power plant position. Clearly, the Biden administration is determined to shut down power plants through any means possible. If the plan is implemented, it will result in a loss of many jobs for hard-working West Virginians.
Make no mistake, there is a war on fossil fuels in America and it’s led by President Biden’s EPA. The Biden Clean Power Plan is an all-out assault on the coal industry and our way of life here in West Virginia. This plan is straight from the far-left playbook and will cost West Virginia thousands of jobs.
The Biden Power Plan will shut down power plants, kill thousands of West Virginia jobs, and drive up electric bills. People in our communities are hurting and the Biden administration is sending a clear message: They don’t care about us. The plan is an illegal federal overreach, and I hope our Attorney General is successful in putting a stop to this craziness.
It is almost unimaginable that, in a period of unprecedented national inflation caused by his economic agenda, Biden and his administration want to increase energy bills for working-class West Virginians just to appease the far left. Less than a year ago, the Supreme Court struck down a similar Obama-era plan and yet Biden has illegally revived his efforts to devastate West Virginia’s economy. I strongly encourage the Administration to reconsider their reckless and misguided proposal.
What they can’t accomplish through legislation they’re once again trying to accomplish through regulation issued by unelected bureaucrats in a distant capitol. We’ve fought this battle before and we’ve won. We need to respond in the courts quickly because delay means loss of jobs, communities devastated, and higher electric bills as people are struggling to deal with inflation and balancing their checkbooks around the kitchen table.
The Biden Administration is working diligently to destroy the energy sector in our country. If that much wasn’t clear already, it is now with today’s announcement. President Biden’s radical climate policies are directly linked to the increase in costs and inflation that is harming West Virginia families. Under the Trump Administration, our nation was energy independent and freely produced our resources. We need to return to those policies.
Like Obama’s plan before in 2015, this plan illegally regulates fossil fuel power plants, and is a disastrous move on the part of the Biden administration. This renewed assault on the coal and natural gas industry must be stopped. The administration’s climate policies have led to brown-outs and black-outs across the country, and this heightened effort will only make matters worse. Just as before, I am sure West Virginia will lead the way in attacking this myopic policy decision in the Courts, and we will be victorious again. Coal and Natural Gas power production are vital to our nation’s national security. We must responsibly utilize the resources we have available to maintain or health and security as a nation while we explore new power generation opportunities. The Biden administration would do well to know when they’re whipped on an issue such as this, and stay on the porch while places like West Virginia keep the lights on in DC and America safe.
Delegate Mike Honaker (R-Greenbrier, 46)
I find the President’s plan to be punishing to our citizens, I find this plan to be bizarre, and it’s certainly more overburdening energy regulations that are incredibly short-sighted. It should be obvious to everyone by now that the Biden Administration is absolutely determined to kill jobs and kill energy independence for West Virginia, as well as the United States. I could say a lot more about jobs and the price of fuel for the American consumer, but in the larger picture, this will devastate our nation’s national defense – that should get our attention faster than anything right now. We just can’t sit idly by and let this happen.
Delegate Caleb Hanna (R-Nicholas, 48); candidate for WV Auditor
I’m adamantly opposed to the Biden Clean Power Plan. It clearly represents an overreach by the federal government the Supreme Court has already found unconstitutional. The plan will infringe on states’ rights to determine their own energy mix and will lead to increased energy costs for industry and working families alike. Biden’s plan will result in the destruction of good-paying jobs in the energy sector, not just in West Virginia but across the country in states that rely heavily on coal and other fossil fuels. If Joe Biden fails to reconsider these actions, it’s critical Congress step in and stop the administration’s disastrous Clean Power Plan.
Delegate Elliot Pritt (R-Fayette, 50)
President Biden’s new Clean Power Plan is going to decimate jobs in my district. America needs energy independence and that means we need to be utilizing an all-the-above approach–that means taking advantage of West Virginia’s vast coal reserves in conjunction with other forms of energy. Over 800 jobs in my district are provided directly by the WV Coal Industry. These are good paying jobs with benefits, and these men and women deserve to have their profession respected by the highest office holder in this nation.
Fayette County Coal statistics from WV Coal Association to put it in perspective: Fayette County has six operating coal mines, both surface and underground that directly employ 389 coal miners and account for $23,771,790 in direct wages. These mines produce both thermal (steam) coal and metallurgical coal. The thermal coal production is primarily used at in-state power plants while the met coal production is used at domestic steel makers and shipped around the world. Total coal production from Fayette County is 2.2 million tons
According to the West Virginia Geologic and Economic Survey, Fayette County has 1.8 billion tons of recoverable coal reserves.
The county received $441,688 in coal severance tax returns in 2021 (the most recent year that we have full tax data).
Using the WVU Bureau of Business & Economic Research, each coal mining job creates about 2.2 other jobs in the local and county economy, so the 389 direct mining jobs create another 855 jobs in the County. Assuming those additional jobs earn somewhere near the average annual wage / per-captia income reported for Fayette County of $44,146 annually, (which is less than ½ the average coal mining wage) those 855 coal related occupations account for another $37.7 million in wages annually.
Every operating coal mine in the entire county is in my delegate district. It is my responsibility to look after those people’s job and livelihoods.
Delegate Chris Pritt (R-Kanawha, 53); candidate for WV Secretary of State
This “plan” is yet another attack on West Virginia jobs. It’s always the middle class that bear the brunt of policies like this.
It’s also devastating to the American economy. Globalists do not hold others to the same standard as us. While China and others are pushing ahead with more coal fired power plants and more CO2 emissions, wealthy Washington insiders who can easily absorb increased costs smugly look down on us, the people of Appalachia who built post-War World 2 America.
The Biden “plan” is a disgrace that will destroy our economy and help the economy of China and others, countries who act adversely to our interests.
It is a disgraceful continuation of the war on coal(and now gas) that has been perpetrated by the far left EPA. I am confident that our state leaders will oppose its implantation with the full force of litigation, if necessary to the US Supreme Court.
It baffles me that the energy policy of the United States is to remove the most reliable baseload generation capacity we have.
The Texas power crises in 2021 killed hundreds of Americans and we were within a hair’s breadth of seeing the PJM grid collapsing on Christmas Eve, which would have led to hundreds or even thousands more Americans dying.
The push for electric vehicles is going to fatally overload an increasingly tenuous power grid. Having power on demand is the foundation of our economic and social structures. It strikes me as willfully malicious for the Biden administration to undermine reliable American power generation.
Delegate Chuck Horst (R-Berkeley, 95)
I am not familiar with the actual plan. However, I am very concerned about the Biden administration and beaurocrats adding more regulations to make fossil fuel energy more expensive, thereby making renewable energy more cost-effective.
I am not against renewable energy, but it needs to be market driven, not forced on the people.