At a press conference today, a group of Virginia legislators released a letter signed by 85 members of the Virginia General Assembly to President Obama expressing their opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulations, known as New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), to limit carbon emissions at new coal-fired power plants. The letter was sent to the President as part of the EPA’s public comment period for the proposed NSPS regulations. The EPA’s public comment period is open until March 10, 2014. Comments can be submitted to the EPA through the Count on Coal website (www.countoncoal.org/comment) or through the EPA’s website.
“With this letter, we are sending a strong message to President Obama and the EPA: these regulations are reckless and irresponsible, and they will hurt our economy,” said Delegate Terry Kilgore. “They will cost us jobs, and they will dangerously jeopardize our nation’s energy supply,” Kilgore continued. “These regulations are a threat to America’s most abundant energy resource, and they are a threat to Virginia’s economy, especially for the coal mining regions of Southwest Virginia that we represent,” Kilgore concluded.
“We think it is important that President Obama understands how important the coal industry is to Virginia’s economy and how harmful these proposed regulations will be for Virginia if they are put in place,” said Senator Phil Puckett. “More than 45,000 Virginians work in the coal industry, and their livelihood is at stake,” Puckett continued. “They deserve to have their voices heard.” Legislators were joined at the press conference by Virginia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Barry DuVal, Virginia Coal & Energy Alliance (VCEA) Chairman Robert Litton, and several members of the VCEA Board of Directors and staff.
“Affordable, reliable electricity is a key ingredient to creating a business climate that attracts manufacturers and other major employers to Virginia,” said Barry DuVal. “Taking coal out of our energy mix will increase the cost of doing business in Virginia and will make it much harder for us to attract and keep employers in our state,” DuVal continued. “When our current fleet of coal plants comes offline in the coming years, if we can’t build new coal plants we are going to have a very difficult time filling that huge gap in our electricity supply,” DuVal concluded.
“Coal is the backbone of Southwest Virginia’s economy, and we’re fighting to stop these EPA regulations because they are a threat to the survival of our industry and our region,” said Robert Litton. “These regulations not only threaten the jobs of thousands of hardworking people in Southwest Virginia, they also threaten the survival of local governments across our region,” Litton continued. “Our coal-producing counties depend on coal taxes for as much as 25 percent of their annual budgets – money we use to fund our public schools, roads and other vital public infrastructure. Our region simply can’t survive without a thriving coal industry,” Litton concluded.