September 15, 2014

Manchin Alarmed by New Report on Rising Coal Plant Retirements

GAO reports that 13 percent of the nation’s coal-fired plants will close in response to EPA’s proposed rule

Washington, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) expressed concern after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an updated report on the projected number of retiring coal–fired plants in response to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for carbon dioxide emissions. According to the report, approximately 13 percent of coal-fueled generating capacity has either been retired since 2012 or is planned for retirement by 2025, which surpasses the previous estimates in 2012. The report found that West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky represented 38 percent of planned closures.

“The number of coal-fired plants that are being forced to shut down is alarming, and I truly believe we are setting ourselves up for a major electric stability crisis in this country,” Senator Manchin said. “The GAO report verifies the dangerous impact the EPA’s proposed rules are having on our electrical grid and our economy, and it should be an eye-opener not just for West Virginians, but for hard working individuals and families across America who depend on coal for reliable and affordable energy, especially during the harsh winters when the grid is pushed to capacity. This report should also clearly demonstrate that it is time for the Department of Energy to accelerate available grants and loan guarantees for advanced fossil fuel projects. I will do everything in my power to continue pushing all relevant federal agencies to live up to their responsibilities to ensure the reliability of our national electricity system.

“It is long past time that these agencies recognize that we will rely on fossil fuels for decades to come, and rather than simply forcing plants to close, we need to figure out how to help them run more efficiently. If we don’t, prices will soar and the grid will fail.”

The GAO report reveals that the Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has responded inadequately regarding the potential electric reliability impacts of regulations proposed by the EPA. It reports that in the last two years, only “initial steps” have been taken to establish interagency interactions.

To review the full report released by the GAO, please click here.