Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest coal regulations are “devoid of common sense” and would take America “way off course from a future of abundant, affordable, clean energy.”
Manchin, testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power in support of his bill to rein in the EPA's regulatory enthusiasm, said the EPA should support an “all-of-the-above” energy plan, like President Obama has promised.
“We need a diverse energy portfolio — a true ‘all-of-the-above’ mix of natural gas, nuclear, renewables, oil and coal,” Manchin said. “Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency has chosen a regulatory path devoid of common sense that will take us way off course from a future of abundant, affordable, clean energy.”
The bipartisan Whitfield-Manchin draft bill was introduced in the Senate by Manchin and in the House by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., in late October. The draft bill, which has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, would block the EPA's proposed New Source Performance Standards -- the rule that would essentially ban new coal-fired power plants from being built.
The NSPS requires coal plants to use expensive carbon capture and storage technology to limit greenhouse gas emissions, but the technology has never been demonstrated on a commercial scale.
“The EPA is holding the coal industry to impossible standards,” Manchin said of the EPA rule. “And for the first time ever, the federal government is trying to force an industry to do something that is technologically impossible to achieve — at least, right now.”
Laura Sheehan, senior vice president of communications at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, agreed.
“EPA’s New Source Performance Standards will not spur investment in innovation of carbon capture and storage as the agency has claimed, but rather will halt the technology’s further development — ensuring no new coal plant will ever be built in this country,” Sheehan said.
“There has been no ‘adequate demonstration’ of [carbon capture] on any commercial scale, yet members of this administration, including EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Department of Energy head Ernest Moniz, continue to falsely claim that the technology is ready,” Sheehan continued.
“If EPA’s New Source Performance Standards are enacted as they stand today, the U.S. will fall to the back of the line as a leader in developing this promising technology, while other nations eagerly steal our spot in what is expected to be a nearly trillion dollar industry.”
It is unclear when the bill will come up for a vote.