Wednesday, October 28, 2015

UMWA president says W.Va. should build nation's first power plants that run on coal and natural gas

United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts told audience members at a conference on Tuesday that West Virginia "should become the first to build new power plants that run on coal and natural gas, keeping coal-mining viable in a state hit by changing market conditions," Valerie Volcovici reports for Reuters. While Roberts stressed that UMWA is fighting Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan rules, he said West Virginia should prepare to comply with the rules if legal challenges fail.

The Clean Power Plan says that "any power plant built in the future can emit no more than 1,400 lbs of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour. The most efficient coal plant in operation in the U.S. currently runs at over 1,800 lbs/MWh," Volcovici writes. "Under the union's proposal, building new plants that run on coal and less carbon-intensive natural gas with technology to partially capture carbon emissions can give coal a lifeline."

Roberts said, "I propose we embark on a program of building next-generation power plants here in West Virginia, co-fired by coal and natural gas that will meet whatever EPA emissions limits for new sources may survive after the litigation process is concluded. We clearly have the reserves of both coal and gas; we have the manpower to get the fuels and the expertise needed to build and operate these new generation plants." (Read more)

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