Coal advocacy group the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity responded to Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe's support for the latest Environmental Protection Agency coal regulations by saying he has "let down" his state.

Laura Sheehan, senior vice president of communications for ACCCE, released a statement condemning McAuliffe’s support and saying the EPA’s New Source Performance Standards would hurt coal and the Virginia economy.

“Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe today let down coal communities, families and energy workers across the state when he announced his support of EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas regulations for new power,” Sheehan said.

The proposed EPA regulations would make building a new coal plant nearly impossible and require implementing expensive and unproven technology.

“Under EPA’s new proposed standard of 1,100 [pounds per megawatt hour] of CO2, even state-of-the-art coal-fueled power plants like the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center in Virginia City, Virginia, could not be built in the future,” Sheehan said.

“In a recent letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va., strongly urged EPA to ‘ensure that the standards you set are achievable for modern coal facilities like Virginia City,’ ” Sheehan said. “Unfortunately, EPA’s new proposed standards do not meet that threshold, which Terry McAuliffe is now on record as supporting.”

Kaine said that while he supports addressing global warming, the current EPA proposal “effectively shuts down coal, potentially resulting in modern facilities being decommissioned with decades of use left.”

The Energy Center in Virginia City provides 600 megawatts of power to 150,000 homes in the area, and generates $258 million for the local economy, according to ACCCE. It is one of the cleanest coal plants in the country.

“Voters should ask themselves why Terry McAuliffe is already making bad decisions when it comes to Virginia’s energy future,” Sheehan said.

The current government shutdown has delayed the comment period for the EPA's New Source rule, giving the coal industry a slight breather.