CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is praising the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for what he calls its commitment to a “more comprehensive approach” to regulating new coal-fired power plants.
EPA proposed a new rule Dec. 6 to replace New Source Performance Standards created during the Obama administration. Morrisey calls the old rule “a disastrous regulation that was challenged by West Virginia and its coalition of more than 20 states.”
“Our office looks forward to closely reviewing EPA’s proposal and participating in the process going forward,” Morrisey said. “The EPA’s proposal, at first glance, represents a more comprehensive approach to rulemaking and regulation, a method our office hopes will take into greater account the effectiveness and financial feasibility of new technology.
“Any such regulation must balance the environmental and economic needs of our nation. The United States must continue to position itself as a leader in the energy sector, a leader that constantly looks for ways to increase innovation in clean coal technology as opposed to simply searching for ways to shut down one source for another.”
Morrisey’s office filed suit against the Obama-era regulation in November 2015, saying the EPA then exceeded its legal authority in finalizing emissions standards that would jeopardize West Virginia’s energy needs as well as good-paying coal jobs in the state and nationwide.
Morrisey called the Obama rule a gamble, saying it relied upon experimental technology that was expensive and unproven.
On Dec. 6, acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the proposal. It would allow new coal plants to emit up to 1,900 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour of electricity. The current allowance is 1,400 pounds.
“We are rescinding unfair burdens on American energy providers and leveling the playing field so that new energy technologies can be part of America’s future,” Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, said at a press conference.