October 16, 2017

Proposal to roll back Clean Power Plan is long overdue | The State Journal

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt announced a proposed rule to roll back the Clean Power Plan. This announcement is long overdue and welcomes good news for West Virginia. This reversal demonstrates the Trump Administration’s willingness to work with West Virginia, instead of against us, to prevent EPA overreach and utilize state-driven policies.

I am very proud of the critical role West Virginians play in powering our nation. West Virginia is the second largest coal-producing state and a net exporter of electricity. But achieving true energy independence requires a comprehensive plan that utilizes all of our domestic resources – coal, natural gas, biomass, nuclear, wind, hydro and solar. That’s why this decision from the EPA is promising news for our state’s future.

West Virginia has an abundance of natural resources, and throughout our history, we have used these resources, particularly coal, to build and defend the nation. Coal continues to be one of our nation’s primary sources of electricity, and that will not change any time soon. According to Department of Energy projections, the U.S. will continue to depend on coal for decades to come.

As we look forward, it’s important that we continue to take steps toward a more secure cleaner energy future that ensures a role for coal-fired power. Coal-fired generation is capable of providing 24/7 reliable resilient electricity, and it offers predictability through essential reliability services like voltage support, frequency services and months of on-site fuel resources. Therefore, it is important that our nation’s energy policy reflect the ability of coal-fired power plants to bounce back after an extreme weather event or other disruption.

Additionally, I continue to believe that we must invest in research and development (R&D) for advanced coal technologies and carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS). That’s why I included provisions in the energy bill to enhance fossil energy R&D efforts at the Department of Energy, and I co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to incentivize the commercialization of CCUS technology.

I believe these are constructive ways to work to secure a long-term role for coal in our nation’s energy future and to allow West Virginia to continue to produce the energy that our nation relies on. I look forward to working with the administration on these efforts and more to help West Virginians get back on their feet.

Since the Clean Power Plan’s adoption, I have worked tirelessly to prevent the rule from further devastating West Virginia’s economy. In 2015, I introduced a bill to stop the Obama Administration from imposing its anti-coal regulation on new coal-fired plants. These regulations forced coal-fired plants to meet emissions standards which could not be achieved, even with the most advanced technology. Additionally, I introduced The Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act (ARENA), to help rein in the Clean Power Plan while also ensuring reliable and affordable energy, putting jobs and our economy first, and curbing federal overreach. During the Obama Administration, I fought the misguided policies that attacked coal and our hard-working coal miners.

The implementation of the Clean Power Plan has put the U.S. at a tremendous economic disadvantage in the global economy and waged war on West Virginians way of life. Moving forward, we can focus on leading the way in the development of clean coal technology. American ingenuity should be harnessed right now — not restrained — to ensure our future at home and to be a leader for the world.

I look forward to working with President Trump, his Administration and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Congress to put partisanship aside and set our nation on a course to secure our energy future.