March 15, 2023 - The National Mining Association (NMA) today issued the following statement on the cumulative effect of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) suite of regulations designed to force the closure of well-operating coal plants.
“With each rule that targets well-operating coal plants – the very same plants that are called on to keep the lights on when renewables or natural gas are unavailable and consumer demand soars – our electricity grid becomes increasingly vulnerable to crippling supply shortfalls. We’ve seen more near misses in the last two years than ever before, and the EPA’s response is to force the closure of even more capacity before any replacement solutions are identified, permitted, built or operational.
“Whether it is the transport rule, new effluent limitations guidelines or other rules expected this spring, the EPA is acting on its longstanding threat to make it impossible for utilities to make decisions based on the merits of what keeps the lights on, forcing those utilities to make decisions solely based on the EPA’s agenda, an agenda formed absent consideration of America’s energy reality. As a result, Americans and American businesses will continue to pay increasingly more for electricity that is less and less reliable. Even worse, the EPA is unilaterally making these decisions for the states – more than 18 of which use coal as their most common source of electricity generation.
“The nation’s grid regulators and operators have repeatedly warned EPA that its regulatory plans pose an ominous threat to reliability, and the EPA’s response is to paper over the problem with meaningless memorandums of understanding. Intermittent renewable power additions will require a massive expansion of transmission infrastructure and energy storage — an effort that will take years to complete — in order to fill the gulf left by coal plant retirements. In fact, in 2022, as many as 40 planned coal plant retirements were postponed or scrapped largely due to acute grid reliability challenges where utilities and grid operators have made it clear closing plants would be reckless.
“The U.S. coal fleet continues to play an outsized role in providing dispatchable fuel diversity, fuel security and ramping up power supply during periods of surging demand when other sources of power cannot. EPA’s willful disregard of the repercussions of its decisions on Americans and on our energy future is plainly irresponsible.”