WASHINGTON - Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has asked the administration to change an Environmental Protection Agency rule that would effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired plants in the United States.
The new source performance standard for new fossil fuel-based power plants would require new coal-fueled power plants to meet the same emissions standards as new gas-fired plants, Manchin, a Democrat, said.
"EPA's choice to hold coal and gas to the same emission standard is unprecedented under the Clean Air Act, and is yet another example of EPA over reach by the Obama administration," Manchin said. "Not only would this rule have a devastating effect on our coal production, this rule would endanger the reliability and sustainability of our electricity supply.
Manchin and Sens. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.; Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Mary Landrieu, D-La., wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to revise the rule and return to using different emission standards for gas and coal.
Implementation of the rule will prevent upgrades to improve efficiency to allow for more generation with less fuel and emissions, the letter said.
"I have said again and again that government needs to work as an ally, not as an adversary, when it comes to developing our nation's energy policy," Manchin said. "President Obama's EPA is departing from decades of clean air policy, attempting to force incredibly expensive and impossible to achieve standards on coal, with no benefit. After all, experts agree that emissions from all U.S. power plants have only a tiny impact on global emissions, and this already small share is shrinking every year, as China, India and others dramatically scale up their fossil fuel use."