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Coal Advocate Warns EPA Mandate Would Kill Future Coal-Fired Power Plants
Posted on: 02/05/2014
By  Mike Cullums
A coal advocate says stricter regulations from the federal government are threatening the way we get our electricity and how much it will cost.  
Hal Quinn, President of the National Mining Association, tells WMOA News that Ohio's electric rates - although they've gone up in recent years - remain lower than the national average, thanks to coal. He says Ohio’s rates are much less than states that don’t have a diverse energy supply, such as Connecticut…
“We only have one or two coal plants left (in Ohio) and most of the power is coming from natural gas, which has been reasonably priced, but with this cold weather the prices have swung wildly.”  
Quinn is urging the federal Environmental Protection Agency to back off on its regulations in favor of what he calls a reasonable policy. He says the recent regulations are forcing the premature closure of coal-fired power plants, with as many as 40 shutting down nationwide by 2016...  
“The president and CEO of American Electric Power just announced that these plants that are slated to close - right now because of the cold they’re running at 90 percent. So if we ‘run this drill’ again in 2016 it’s going to be a totally different story without those coal plants.”  
Among those in the process of closing is AEP’s Muskingum River Plant in Waterford Township.  
Quinn explains what the National Mining Association’s biggest concern with the EPA is right now…
“These rules that they’re proposing for new coal-fired power plants would basically ban the newest and most advanced coal technology that’s commercially available, and would require unproven technology to build a new coal plant. So we wouldn’t be able to replace these older plants we’re retiring with higher technology, lower emission plants.”
He says if the EPA moves forward, existing plants could be shut down at an even higher rate. Natural gas fired plants would likely fill the void, but Quinn cautions that would cause substantial upward pressure on natural gas prices, as well as electric rates.
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