Wyoming governor blasts EPA's coal plant proposal

EPA

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Gov. Matt Mead of Wyoming, the nation's leading coal-producing state, is calling on the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a proposal to require new coal-fired power plants to employ carbon-capture technology.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy proposed last fall to require new coal-fired power plants to employ carbon capture and sequestration technology, a process that involves intercepting emissions at the smokestack and storing them underground. Friday was the last day for comments on the rule, which could go into effect next year.

Mead wrote to McCarthy on Friday, the last day for comments on the proposal, saying the EPA's proposed emissions standards for new coal-fired plants are a threat to Wyoming's economy. He said the state produces about 40 percent of the nation's coal while its coal industry employs nearly 7,000 people with a $560 million payroll.

"Numerous air regulations have been proposed and promulgated to eliminate use of the United States' leading source of low-cost, reliable energy - coal," Mead wrote to McCarthy. "This proposal is yet one more example. The proposed regulation will adversely impact Wyoming's economy as the leading coal supplier to the United States. It lacks sound reasoning, technological justification and will not provide regulatory certainty."

Mead stated the EPA is misrepresenting the viability of the carbon-capture technology, which he said has not been integrated and proved for use at a commercial-scale coal power plant. The state has mounted a series of lawsuits under Mead's tenure against recent EPA air quality rules and regulations.

In testimony to a Senate committee earlier this year, McCarthy defended the carbon-capture requirement.

"We looked at the data available. We looked at the technologies," McCarthy told the Senate Environment Committee in January. "We made a determination that (carbon capture and storage technology) was the best system for emission reductions for coal facilities moving forward, because it was technically feasible and it would lead to significant emission reductions."

An attempt to reach an EPA spokesman for reaction to Mead's comments was not immediately successful on Friday.

Wyoming has seen its coal production dwindle in recent years as the national demand for coal has fallen. Coal-plant construction has stopped nationwide as a result of cheap natural gas and the Obama administration's continuing focus on tougher standards to cut emissions it blames for contributing to global warming.

Wyoming's coal production dropped from more than 430 million tons in 2011 to 385 million tons last year, according to a recent state report. Wyoming didn't see any successful federal coal lease sales last year. One scheduled sale received no bids, and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management rejected the highest bid it received for another sale, saying it was below market value.

Casting about for new markets, Mead has traveled to Asia and Australia in recent months to explore the prospect of exporting coal from Wyoming's Powder River Basin to Asian markets. That idea faces opposition from many in the Northwest who don't relish the prospect of a steady stream of coal trains rumbling through on their way to deep-water coastal ports.

Travis Deti, assistant director of the Wyoming Mining Association, on Friday applauded Mead's stand against the EPA proposal.

"We're very concerned that they're relying on technology that is not yet viable or proven," Deti said of the EPA. "And we certainly believe that it is a part of a bigger agenda and plan to eliminate coal as an electric source all together."

Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy director with the environmental group WildEarth Guardians in Denver, said Friday that Mead's opposition to federal efforts to cut pollution from coal plants has become entirely predictable. The group has challenged federal coal leasing practices in the Powder River Basin.

"Given his comments, the subtext is (Mead) just doesn't want carbon regulation, and that's just not going to fly," Nichols said. "Sorry, Gov. Mead, but America wants carbon regulation and if Wyoming doesn't like it, that's unfortunate."

2014 Articles

Harvard Law School professor pays Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional

12/31/2014

Laurence H. Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard University and former mentor to Barack Obama, said in an article last week that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional.

3 SKorea workers die at nuke plant construction site

12/30/2014

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Three South Korean workers died Friday after apparently inhaling toxic gas at a construction site for a nuclear plant being built by South Korea's monopoly nuclear power company, which has come un...

UMaine in business of certifying turbine blades

12/30/2014

ORONO, Maine (AP) — The University of Maine has tested its largest wind turbine blade to date. UMaine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center completed static strength testing this month of a 184-foot-long wind turbine...

Mergers, EPA carbon plan generated much attention during 2014

12/29/2014

Mergers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan, cheap natural gas and the polar vortex were among the most noteworthy generation stories of 2014.

Developer opens Ohio review for 800-MW, gas-fired project

12/29/2014

Clean Energy Future-Lordstown LLC plans an 800-MW, gas-fired power project, and on Dec. 24 applied with the Ohio Power Siting Board for certain routine waivers it needs before filing a full siting application for this proj...

New England utility exec named to Vermont PSB

12/29/2014

A woman who worked for Vermont's Department of Public Service for 17 years is going to become the next member of the utility-regulating Public Service Board. The appointment of Sarah Hofmann was announced Monday by Gov. Pe...

Brown picks aide to lead troubled California utility board

12/29/2014

Gov. Jerry Brown named a former adviser on Tuesday to be the next head of California's troubled utilities commission, replacing a regulatory chief accused of back-channel dealings with utilities. Michael Picker, a former a...

Washington state carbon emissions dropped in 2011

12/29/2014

Greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state dropped by about 4.6 percent between 2010 and 2011, led by reductions in emissions from the electricity sector, according to the latest figures released by the state. The latest...

Group wants state regulators recused from PNM case

12/29/2014

State regulators in less than two weeks are to begin deliberating a proposal that calls for shutting down part of an aging coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico that serves more than 2 million customers in the ...

Vermont Yankee plant prepares to shut down

12/29/2014

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant is getting ready to shut down. Its owner, Entergy Corp., says it is closing the plant for economic reasons. The plant in Vernon is expected to disconnect from the regional power grid Monday.

PSEG Solar to acquire Maryland solar project from juwi

12/23/2014

PSEG Solar Source will acquire a 12.9-MW solar energy facility near Waldorf, Maryland from juwi solar (JSI). The PSEG Waldorf Solar Energy Center will increase the capacity of PSEG Solar Source's portfolio to 123-MW.

PG&E discloses more emails with state regulators

12/23/2014

California's largest power utility released a dozen more emails Monday that it said showed improper back-channel discussions between the utility and top state regulators.

Indianapolis airport solar farm expansion completed

12/23/2014

Contractors have finished bringing online dozens of acres of solar panels at Indianapolis International Airport, solidifying its status as the home of the nation's largest airport-based solar farm.

French power company to pay $772M in bribery case

12/23/2014

A French power and transportation company has agreed to pay $772 million to resolve allegations that it bribed high-ranking foreign government officials for lucrative projects, the Justice Department said Monday.

Nebraska nuclear plant back online after short outage

12/23/2014

The Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant is back online less than a week after its main generator unexpectedly shut down as a precaution.

Ameren Missouri plans $135M in energy efficiency

12/23/2014

Missouri's largest electric company said Monday that it plans to invest $135 million in energy efficiency programs for customers over a three-year period.

TEPCO completes nuclear fuel assemblies removal from Fukushima 4

12/22/2014

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it has safely removed the fuel assemblies from the most damaged nuclear reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

B&W Vølund to build waste-to-energy power plant in Scotland

12/22/2014

In a consortium with Interserve, Babcock & Wilcox Co.’s (B&W, NYSE:BWC) subsidiary, Babcock & Wilcox Vølund A/S (B&W Vølund), will engineer, procure and construct (EPC) a waste-to-energy (WTE) power plant f...

SKorea holds N-plant drills against cyber threats

12/22/2014

South Korea's monopoly nuclear power company said it began drills Monday against possible cyberattacks after online threats of attack against its plants.

PSC approves solar power project

12/22/2014

The Public Service Commission has approved solar power project planned by Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric in Mercer County.

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

Whitepapers

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Leveraging the Power of Information in the Energy Industry

Information Governance is about more than compliance. It’s about using your information to drive ...

Reduce Engineering Project Complexity

Engineering document management presents unique and complex challenges. A solution based in Enter...

Revolutionizing Asset Management in the Electric Power Industry

With the arrival of the Industrial Internet of Things, data is growing and becoming more accessib...