AEP would shutter 5 coal plants to meet EPA rules

June 9, 2011 by Ken Ward Jr.

This announcement just out from American Electric Power, in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules to reduce hazardous air pollutant emissions from power plants:

Based on the regulations as proposed, AEP’s compliance plan would retire nearly 6,000 megawatts (MW) of coal-fueled power generation; upgrade or install new advanced emissions reduction equipment on another 10,100 MW; refuel 1,070 MW of coal generation as 932 MW of natural gas capacity; and build 1,220 MW of natural gas-fueled generation. The cost of AEP’s compliance plan could range from $6 billion to $8 billion in capital investment through the end of the decade.

Specifically, the AEP release says:

— AEP’s current plan for compliance with the rules as proposed includes permanently retiring the following coal-fueled power plants:

— Glen Lyn Plant, Glen Lyn, Va. – 335 MW (retired by Dec. 31, 2014);

— Kammer Plant, Moundsville, W.Va. – 630 MW (retired by Dec. 31, 2014) (pictured above)

— Kanawha River Plant, Glasgow, W.Va. – 400 MW (retired by Dec. 31, 2014);

— Phillip Sporn Plant, New Haven, W.Va. – 1,050 MW (450 MW expected to retire in 2011, 600 MW retired by Dec. 31, 2014); and

— Picway Plant, Lockbourne, Ohio – 100 MW (retired by Dec. 31, 2014).

Now, much of this isn’t really news … AEP had previously announced plans to retire about 5,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation over the next five years (see here and here).

AEP added today, though, that:

Although some jobs would be created from the installation of emissions reduction equipment, AEP expects a net loss of approximately 600 power plant jobs with annual wages totaling approximately $40 million as a result of compliance with the proposed EPA rules.

But here’s what is really interesting … AEP Chairman Michael Morris in the company’s press release criticizes the EPA plans and the resulting changes to his company’s power mix:

We support regulations that achieve long-term environmental benefits while protecting customers, the economy and the reliability of the electric grid, but the cumulative impacts of the EPA’s current regulatory path have been vastly underestimated, particularly in Midwest states dependent on coal to fuel their economies. We have worked for months to develop a compliance plan that will mitigate the impact of these rules for our customers and preserve jobs, but because of the unrealistic compliance timelines in the EPA proposals, we will have to prematurely shut down nearly 25 percent of our current coal-fueled generating capacity, cut hundreds of good power plant jobs, and invest billions of dollars in capital to retire, retrofit and replace coal-fueled power plants. The sudden increase in electricity rates and impacts on state economies will be significant at a time when people and states are still struggling.

But, check out AEP’s 2011 Corporate Accountability Report, where the company brags about how it will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions:

AEP expects to reduce GHG emissions by an additional 10 percent by 2020 from 2010 levels. In 2010, AEP emitted 134 million metric tons of GHGs from its plants. This will result in a total reduction of approximately 25 percent from 2003 levels, the first year of our CCX commitment.

We will, however, achieve additional GHG reductions as we retire older, less efficient coal units and replace them with new natural gas and/or renewable generation, where supported. Under the EPA’s proposed Transport, Coal Combustion Residuals and Hazardous Air Pollutant rules, AEP may be forced to retire a significant amount of older coal-fired generation in the next several years. The industry as a whole may retire between 50 gigawatts and 100 gigawatts. Some of that generation most likely will be replaced with natural gas plants, which emit about half the carbon dioxide of coal combustion plants.

Oddly enough, today’s news release contained no mention of climate change, or the potential greenhouse gas emissions that might be reduced by these coal plant retirements.

And remember, as we’ve written on this blog before:

EPA believes its proposal will provide $59 billion a year in benefits and save 17,000 lives, while costing just $10.9 billion a year — and creating 31,000 short-term construction jobs and 9,000 long-term utility jobs.

It’s also interesting to contrast the tone of the AEP news release to that of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s announcement in April about its plans to retire 2,700 megawatts of coal-fired units:

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced plans Thursday to retire 18 older coal-fired generation units at three power plants as part of the federal utility’s vision of being one of the nation’s leading providers of low-cost and cleaner energy by 2020.

President and CEO Tom Kilgore told the TVA board of directors, meeting in Chattanooga, that replacing older and less-economical generation with cleaner sources also is in alignment with recommendations in the utility’s Integrated Resource Plan as well as the utility’s vision for cleaner air.

47 Responses to “AEP would shutter 5 coal plants to meet EPA rules”

  1. tetercreek says:

    The vision of the Clean Air Act of 1970 was that these plants would be retired and replaced with new, more efficient and less polluting generating plants over the next 25 or 30 years. IF that plan had been followed, we would now have newer, better plants producing cheaper electricity (nor efficiently with new designs and technology) and less pollution. The law’s specific intention was that the electric companies NOT be allowed to just tinker with the old plants and add on pollution controls. They were supposed to be allowed to only do routine maintenance and repairs, but not extensive modifications to prolong the life of the plants. However political pressure got them permission to do what the law did not want. This current public relations campaign about how they could “save jobs” if they were just allowed to add on some pollution controls is part of that tired old story. It is how we are stuck now with inefficient, expensive wasteful generating plants that require more coal than necessary be mined, transported, burned and its ash disposed of. If they had just done the right thing all along, there would be no big crisis, it would have been done gradually at far less expense, and we would be healthier with more money in our pockets instead of in the electric company’s bank accounts.

  2. Paul Thomas says:

    “Oddly enough, today’s news release contained no mention of climate change, or the potential greenhouse gas emissions that might be reduced by these coal plant retirements.”

    +++++++++++++
    Think maybe that’s because it has been proven to be a hoax? or maybe that we are in coal country, where “global warming” or “climate change” or whatever it is being called now, takes a back seat to putting mashed potatos on the table?
    Mr. Ward, you should remove your snide attitude towards AEPs release. The entire world knows the USA is in trouble and no one believes the EPA or the government – except for card carrying liberals.

  3. Danny says:

    According to the numbers cited, jobs at these plants pay an average of 67,000 dollars per year.

  4. Ryan says:

    Regardless of AEP’s communication flaws within their media relations/press releases – the bottom line is that EPA regulations will close three of West Virginia’s power plants and costs hundreds of good paying jobs …

    Not to mention the utility rake hikes that will take place to offset the billions of dollars they’ll spend to make other facilities compliant.

  5. Thomas Rodd says:

    It would be interesting to see what kind of “pushback” the American industrial and energy sectors gave to the utter transformation of national energy and industrial incentives and policies that came about as a result of World War II. Was it the sort of foot-dragging and whining that AEP is evidencing? I hope not.

    If American government, business, and utilities were to truly embrace the project of moving to a low-emissions economy, we could put MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of people to work doing the transformation.

    Of course, the rich people who are now cleaning up on their high-carbon-emissions investments would take a hit. And make no mistake, when it comes to US policy, it is exactly those rich people who are funding the propaganda war of climate change “skepticism” that is every day making the conditions of future human beings more and more grim.

    But their days are numbered. Yes, we can!

  6. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    Paul Thomas,

    I like mashed potatoes as much as the next guy … but I’d be interested to see you post maybe 3 links to any peer-reviewed scientific articles to back up you believe that global warming is a hoax.

    Ken.

  7. Watcher says:

    Maybe the coal river mountain wind farm project can help save us. Let’s see, it takes 6,000 acres with 2,400 to 2,800 turbines to produce 1,000 megawatts at peak wind or about 25% of the time . Do the math.

  8. James 57 says:

    What Mr. Ward fails to mention is the estimated increase in electric rates for consumer and industrial customers. After lll, guess WHO gets to pay for this ?

    In fact, Mr. Ward has omitted this statement:

    “We are deeply concerned about the impact of the proposed regulations on our customers and local economies. Communities that have depended on these plants to provide good jobs and support local services will face significant reductions in payroll and property taxes in a very short period of time. The economic impact will extend far beyond direct employment at power plants as thousands of ancillary jobs are supported by every coal-fueled generating unit. Businesses that have benefited from reasonably priced coal-fueled power will face the impact of electricity price increases ranging from 10 percent to more than 35 percent just for compliance with these environmental rules at a time when they are still trying to recover from the economic downturn,” Morris said.

    I would say you can kiss any energy intensive industry goodbye including steel production, aluminum production, and chemicals. Do you think our competitors, the Chinese, Malaysians, Koreans, Russians, etc are stupid enough to destroy their industry with economically devastating regulations ?

    The AARP was in front of the PSC recently crying about the latest AEP rate increase. They, rightfully so, pointed at fixed income folks that could not afford their energy (electric) bills. How will they fare with another 10 to 35% rate increase Mr. Ward ?

    Unfortunately, the EPA has turned into a self directed arm of the environmental left with Barrack Obama at the helm.

    It will be interesting to see if Jay Rockefeller steps up to the plate for West Virginia or continues to vote with the Democratic leadership.

    Elections have consequences folks, and this is a glaring example.

  9. Tom Hoffman says:

    Ken:
    The real issue in your blog as it relates to the climate debate is not whether or not global warming is real or a hoax. Assume for the moment that it is real. Then the question becomes whether or not the shutting down of a few gigawatts of coal fired capacity in Ohio and West Virginia will have ANY impact on a global climatic trend. I think the science clearly indicates it will not.

    You might argue that AEP’s response to the new regulations will impact other pollutants in a meaningful way, but it will have no impact on global climate; particularly when you reflect on the recent International Energy Agency forecast of robust energy demand growth around the rest of the world — much of which will be met with fossil fuels.

    On the other hand, it is hard to deny that economic impact on local economies when industrial facilities shut down. Seems like the Ohio Valley has plenty of first-hand experience with that over the years — much of it driven by changes in US clean air requirements.

  10. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    Tom,

    It’s important to remember here — these plants listed in the AEP release today were all already slated to be retired, starting in 2017, with all of them being shut down by 2020.

    Ken.

  11. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    Also Tom,

    Anybody who tries to argue that global warming is a “hoax” … well, I pretty much stop listening to what they say after that. That argument simply isn’t credible.

    Ken.

  12. Thomas Rodd says:

    I wonder if people in 1941 complained that converting a few luxury auto plants to building tanks was not going to stop the Axis armies. Changes have to start somewhere, and the stakes are that high.

    In fact, it is absolutely clear, we need to over several decades close or add CCS to all of our high-carbon emitting power plants. Even natural gas is a bridge fuel.

    This “it won’t make any difference” argument is now the preferred fall-back position of folks who will never admit there is a severe need for change — because, it also seems clear, those folks, in general, fear they will lose money when change comes.

    It’s an understandable fear, and they are entitled to express an opinion, just like folks who don’t “believe in” evolution. But for people in the reality-based community, the only real and fairly debatable question is how fast can we afford to change without bringing on a severe recession and depression.

    And the WWII example suggests that we can do tremendously fast retooling of an industrial and energy economy, and actually create jobs and prosperity.

    Let’s go!

  13. bluecanary says:

    tetercreek hit the nail on the head. The coal-fired utility industry had DECADES to prepare for this, but instead they dragged their feet, cut corners, found loopholes and bought politicians so they could keep polluting the air and making people sick to make more profits. And now that they actually have to comply with regulations that they could have been ready for years ago, they’re throwing a tantrum about it. They’re like a kid who knew his book report was due for a month, puts it off until the night before and starts complaining that his teacher is just so mean and unreasonable.

    As for the rate increase, I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but coal-fired power has been costing more for quite some time now. And while climate change is a real and pressing issue, can’t we all agree that the human lives that will be saved by these new regulations are pretty important as well?

  14. rhmooney3 says:

    These coal-fired power plants cannot keep going forever — most are beyond they planned operational periods.

    Wall Street is doing better than before. No one screemed about those jobs being lost.

    Keep in mind that there are many attorney positions being created by all of this…and political lobbying.

    P.S. AEP is not going to lose money — its profits will continue to rise.

  15. Scott_T says:

    “Do you think our competitors, the Chinese, Malaysians, Koreans, Russians, etc are stupid enough to destroy their industry with economically devastating regulations ?”

    No they wont at the cost of lives and people’s health from now and future generations to come.

  16. PJD says:

    Scott,

    So you consider China, Malasia, or the fallen-into-third-world-status Russia (and you forgot India) to be our economic competetors?

    The countries US is or hould be competing with for what really matters – a decent living standard, are the EU, Japan, and increasingly, Korea. Many or most of these countries have environmental regulations that are somewhat stricter than those in the US.

  17. Thomas Rodd says:

    James 57, Tom Hoffman, Ryan, and Scott_T, let’s proceed from the basics:

    Do you think the world needs to change quickly (in decades) away from high-carbon-emitting energy, in order to avoid the worst consequences of global warming?

    Yes, or no?

    If you say no, then I understand what you choose to “believe,” but there’s really nothing more to say. As Ken suggests, you are simply wrong.

    If you say yes, then we have something (actually a lot) to talk about. And reasonable minds have many different perspectives and ideas; including how to best prevent depression, economic meltdown, etc.

    What are some of yours?

  18. James 57 says:

    Mr Ward

    You asked for 3 peer reviewed studies showing there is no man made global warming.

    How about 900 peer reviewed reports disputing AGW

    http://www.populartechnology.net/2009/10/peer-reviewed-papers-supporting.html

    All listed with links and peer review credits.

  19. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    James 57,

    I’ve seen that site before … and I’ve looked through some of those studies — though not nearly all 9,000…. The ones I have looked at, though, do not challenge the basic notion that the buildup of greenhouse gases is making the world warmer, that those gases are caused by human beings, and that the changes in climate that result will be problematic for humans. What they do is pick around the edges, question the extent to which one model or another is accurate, or the exact speed with which certain impacts might occur.

    They’re hardly proof of much of anything to challenge the bottom line of reports like this one:

    http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2011/05/12/new-national-academy-study-outlines-pressing-need-for-substantial-action-on-global-warming/

    “Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems. Each additional ton of greenhouse gases emitted commits us to further change and greater risks. In the judgment of the Committee on America’s Climate Choices, the environmental, economic, and humanitarian risks of climate change indicate a pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare to adapt to its impacts.”

    I’m willing to let you guys have a comment or two, but we’re simply beyond these silly arguments on Coal Tattoo … we try to stick with actual science and not waste time on this denying stuff.

    Ken.

  20. James 57 says:

    So Scott_T, if our competitors do not destroy their low cost energy and we do, what happens to the folks that loose their jobs when the industries are forced to relocate overseas ? The Ravenswood aluminum plant has already closed due to union and energy costs. Do you think it will ever re-open faced with 10 – 35% energy cost increases ? AEP is shooting the Muskingam River Plant in the head. That plant has a metals reduction plant right besdie it. The plant is there to use the low cost energy that is produced there, primarily running the electric furnaces at night when consumer demand is low. With that plant gone, their energy cost, which is their highest expenditure, will skyrocket and they will be unable to compete on the global market. There is a nice small town there, called Beverly, Ohio. Everyone there works at either the power plant or the metals plant. Why don;t you go tell them that they are sacrificing their families, homes and security for a “greater cause”

    Wouldn’t you see that as a health treat when they have no health insurance, no means of support and there is severe civil unrest and social upheaval ?

    Folks, the ugly truth is that the US is bankrupt, $ 15 trillion in actual debt and around $ 65 trillion in unfunded liabilities. The Government is not going to be in a position to feed the unemployed masses with foodstamps, energy assistance (to pay for that expensive electricity), welfare suplement payments, etc.

    When folks go hungry, which is coming with the EPA helping it along, these environmental issues will seem small in comparison.

    Just my opinion.

  21. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    James 57,

    If you really want to discuss … pick any 3 of those studies, write a comment that explains their findings, and we can go back and forth on them a bit.

    Ken.

  22. James 57 says:

    Mr Ward.

    I disagree. Many of the peer reviewed studies in the list actually challenge the premise that the slight increase in atmospheric CO2 due to industrial output has ANY link to AWG. Many make peer reviewed arguments that CO2 plays a small or no role in the natural warming – cooling cycles of our planet.

    The issue is that tens of thousands of peoples lives are going to be destroyed, populations displaced and pain and suffering rampant within the industries that are being attacked by the EPA trying to fix something that may not be broken.

    The EPA is operating on possible false premise, will not look at the contrary data nor take into account the economic and human impacts.

    It was a dark day for America when the Supreme Court ruled that CO2 was a pollutant. However, there is a light on the horizon, I suspect the Republican house and Republican Senate and President (November 2012) will reign in the EPA and legislation will be written to abolish the EPA and replace it with a balanced industry – science based agency that weighs the tactical and strategic economics of implementations. This will have to be done as the US fades into a second world economy with massive debts and no means to pay it back.

    Sorry for the rambling and thank you Mr. Ward for the opportunity to dissent.

  23. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    We’ve got some new folks joining the comments section on this thread, and I welcome that … but PLEASE, read the comments policy. Coal Tattoo, unlike other sites you may visit, is not a free-for-all. If you can’t comply with the rules below, your comments will not be published … Ken.

    http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/comment-policy/

    1. Be respectful of others, especially those your disagree with — this includes other readers and commenters , public officials, and even coal industry executives.

    2. No name calling.

    3. Come to this comment section with an open mind, and try to learn about other people, not just spout off your own opinion.

    4. Please provide links or citations to published material to back up your views, when appropriate.

    5. Keep the cheer-leading comments to a minimum.

    Please use an e-mail address that is working and that you check frequently. Your e-mail address will not be published, but I might need to contact you off-list with a question about your comment.

  24. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    James 57,
    Like I said — pick any 3 or them, summarize what you think they mean, and we’ll discuss. Ken.

  25. Casey says:

    James57 states an important aspect of the release and that is that electrical rates will increase upwards of 35%. This is no small matter to industries trying to compete globally and to fixed income seniors trying to stay cool in the heat.

    Something else that is important is the matter of reliability that is discussed. This country has been very fortunate with reliable electricity and the government time line will jeopardize this.

  26. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    Casey,

    AEP’s spokeswoman actually cited a figure of rate increases of 10 to 15 percent in West Virginia when I spoke with her this morning.

    Ken.

  27. Thomas Rodd says:

    James_57 — good comments!

    “There is a nice small town there, called Beverly, Ohio. Everyone there works at either the power plant or the metals plant. Why don’t you go tell them that they are sacrificing their families, homes and security for a ‘greater cause.'”

    These people are important. So, to give another example, are the hundreds of thousands of people who have left Detroit. But we didn’t change industrial or transportation policy to protect those people, that I noticed.

    I give this example to suggest that it is not a fair argument to point out communities who will suffer as a result of change, and then say change should not happen.

    What is useful is to insist that along with change there must be money and support to help ordinary people adapt to the changes we MUST make. A simple tax on carbon emissions would produce enough revenue — including plenty to help people in Beverly, Ohio.

    How big of a tax the national and world economy can handle without a depression cannot be known in advance, which is why it has to be flexible, established by national legislation and ultimately in connection with international treaties. No nation is going to get a free ride, we can be sure.

    By the way, James_57, perhaps the US debt problem is more of an excuse than a real obstacle. If the high-rolling beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts had been paying their fair share all along, our debt problem would be much more manageable.

    We’ll get that fixed — so the folks in Beverly won’t have to suffer unfairly!

    Let’s go!

  28. dangerousdaneerfan says:

    Mr. Ward,

    My father help build the Kammer plant in the late 50’s. It was built to supply electricity for the Ormet alumimum plant located across the river from New Martinsville. 35 years ago, a new stack was constructed. My dad would be very sadden by this news. He worked construction projects all up and down the Ohio River. His final job was the Pleasants Power Station south of St. Marys. Which, btw, is the last new power plant to be built along the Ohio River. Oh well Mr Ward, it is only another 200 jobs that will be gone. Like the 220 jobs that will be no more when Bayer stops making MIC. Last one out of WV please turn out the lights.

  29. coalfire says:

    Ken, I thought you were a journalist? Most journalists I know(including myself) try to keep a non-biased opinion. I have kept silent long enough. I have been keeping track of your responses and you seem to hold the Pro-Coal people to a higher standard and call them out when you allow the anti-coal, anti MTR people to have their way. I enjoy your site but, I think your swaying away from journalism and falling into the pushing agendas just like many lobyists that I know.

  30. Power Plant Supplier says:

    Coalfire: I couldn’t agree more.

    Ward posts “Anybody who tries to argue that global warming is a “hoax” … well, I pretty much stop listening to what they say after that. That argument simply isn’t credible.”

    Typical environmentalist. What about your “Rule #3. Come to this comment section with an open mind, and try to learn about other people, not just spout off your own opinion.”

    One way street I guess.

  31. Paul Thomas says:

    Ken,

    I need not post any links. I see others have already done so.

    What we are discussing is the ‘religion’ chosen by a section of our society. There is no arguing with the Muslim Extremist that there is no Allah or 72 virgins – it is a basic premise of their existence. Without said belief, they would have no purpose – no direction. Without the man made climate change theory, many of your ilk, including the “peers” you wish to “review” the articles, would not have money in their grants and no purpose in life.

    The truth is, the earth cycles and man’s industrial age is but a blip on the history of the earth.

    We used to joke that the government would tax the weather if they could…now they do… but i digress…

    I agree with Ken 57. Regardless of whether or not you believe in man made climate change, is now the time to address it? Yes, that old Ford in my driveway is a gas guzzler and has a busted catalytic converter, but, with my household in debt for 80% of our GDP, maxed out credit cards, and unfunded liability of 61 trillion for our kids education, can i really afford to buy a prius right now? The answer to that is an emphatic, NO!!

  32. Moderate says:

    Several things get lost in all of this. A few include:

    1) The new CATR (Clean Air Transport Rule), proposed Utility MACT, new NAQAA’s, etc., essentially preclude an existing utility provider with an extensive coal-fired fleet (which is about 50% of our nations current energy supply) from being able to build new coal fired units that are substantially cleaner than a unit built 40-50 years ago that is now at the end of its engineering life cycle. This is unfortunate and one can argue whether it is an intended or unintended consequence of this particular EPA and administration.

    2) I don’t want to debate what the CAA intended, but it did NOT at that time envision the elimination of the use of coal as one of the nation’s primary energy sources. If anyone believes that, then they either weren’t around at the time or don’t know understand what the intentions were.

    3) As a followup to 1) above, these new rules also essentially negate the ability of a utility to retro-fit a number of its coal-fired units to comply with the quadre of new EPA rules. Some coal-fired units are designed such that they are not easily able to be modified to meet all of these requirements, or able to be retroffited to use an alternative fuel sources such as biomass or gas. So, coupled with 1) above, the consequence (intended or unintended) is that many existing coal fired units have to be retired while at the same time substantially cleaner coal-fired units aren’t being allowed to be built and thus our nation’s utility grid system becomes much more marginal and susceptible to outages, blackouts and unreliability due to the lack of reliable baseload generation. Thus, the reason why so many need more time to comply with all of these rules. This particular EPA’s zeal to change the world in a few years to fit their ideology – regardless your perspective on human health matters – is inflexible and is hurting and will continue to hurt our econmony. I say that while at the same time saying that our nation’s air, water and land is cleaner than at any time during the past nearly 100 years.

    I think that most of us want continue progress toward human health and environmental protection. I think most of us recognize the need to transition to new energy sources as they become economically viable and in light of the understanding that our natural resources are finite. In so doing however, I also think that most can appreciate a reasoned timeframe to get there while minimizing job loss and cost. It is this later point that this current EPA verbally admits and testifies to that it does not consider loss of jobs and is so driven by their purist legal doctrine that they are blind to the realities of most Americans in this regard. Thus the rising national backlash toward this particular EPA. All they have to do is be reasonable and they simply refuse to do so. They have been waiting for this opportunity for several years and I can personally attest that they are not going to deter from objective regardless of the consequences. I appreciate the passion to a degree, but it is short-sighted as well and could ultimately result in a backlash that sets us back rather than moves us forward.

  33. Mike4352 says:

    coalfire says:
    June 9, 2011 at 11:34 pm
    Ken, I thought you were a journalist? Most journalists I know(including myself) try to keep a non-biased opinion. I have kept silent long enough. I have been keeping track of your responses and you seem to hold the Pro-Coal people to a higher standard and call them out when you allow the anti-coal, anti MTR people to have their way. I enjoy your site but, I think your swaying away from journalism and falling into the pushing agendas just like many lobyists that I know.

    *********************************

    I’ve siad this for a long time. No attempt to see both sides of an issue, no attempt what so ever. What ever the coal people say is inherently wrong and an attempt to lie and mislead, and the anti-coal folks get a free pass even when they are misleading and twisting things to their own devices.

  34. Paul Thomas says:

    oops, sorry. I meant:

    “I agree with James57….”

    Happy Friday!!

  35. Thomas Rodd says:

    coalfire — one shouldn’t fall into the erroneous “false balance” position.

    For example, there is no reason for journalists to say, “science says that life evolved over billions of years on earth; but, on the other hand, there are those who believe that life started several thousand years ago in the Garden of Eden, or that we are living on the back of a turtle.”

    In other words, unless they are writing about religion, etc., it’s not unreasonable for journalists to limit their reporting, etc., to the reality-based world.

    Just as evolution is not a hoax, but an acknowledged fact, the same is true about human-emissions-caused global/warming climate change. Of course there are differences about how fast it is occurring, about how dangerous it is, and about what we should do about it. It is fair to say that the more we learn, the worse it looks.

    Ken is one hundred percent right as a journalist and moderator to “call out” folks whose comments are basically based on their choice to to “disbelieve” something that is very well established — simply because the clear implications of the painful truth threaten their economic interests.

  36. Jim Sconyers says:

    Elsewhere in the Gazette: all those lost jobs? Many will be from retirement, others will be reassigned elsewhere in AEP. And we all note that these plants were already slated for shutdown. Saving lives and health while getting rid of these half-century old and older dinosaurs – it’s high time.

  37. Paul Thomas says:

    Ken Ward Jr. says:
    June 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm
    Also Tom,

    Anybody who tries to argue that global warming is a “hoax” … well, I pretty much stop listening to what they say after that. That argument simply isn’t credible.

    Ken.
    +++++++++++++++++
    somewhat telling of your pre-determined perspective, is it not?

  38. Ralphieboy says:

    Coalfire, you couldn’t be more wrong about Ken. I think you could safely say that I am on the anit-MTR (notice I didn’t say anti-coal) side and have been set straight by Ken on more than one occasion. Once, when I suggested that a former Massey CEO should be in jail instead of retiring rich, I even got a stinging personal email from Ken that severely chastised my comments.
    Ken is absolutley right to ignore arguments that present global climate change as a “hoax.” The science is very clear on that subject and we have to start somewhere. I don’t like to see anyone lose a job, but the catastrophes we are facing if we can’t reverse global warming should scare everyone. The NIMBY attitude and sticking our heads in the sand and hoping it will all go away are recipes for disasters that will make losing a job pale in comparison.

  39. Casey says:

    Rough calculations. Even if electrical rates increase by upwards of 15% and not 35%, a 15% increase in rates from 25% of the coal generation being replaced, would equate to about a 62% in increase in the cost for this 25% replacement generation. In other words the increase would be 62% if all of the generation was replaced.

  40. Moderate says:

    Thomas,

    Your statement below:

    “Just as evolution is not a hoax, but an acknowledged fact, the same is true about human-emissions-caused global/warming climate change.”

    If you are equating evolution with climate change as an analogy of supporting your assertion that climate change is fact, I would submit that you are not helping your argument. I am far more inclined to agree with the possibility of anthropogenic climate change than I am macroevolution. Macroevolution is a hoax. Microevolution, another matter.

    “Thomas Rodd says:
    June 10, 2011 at 8:58 am
    coalfire — one shouldn’t fall into the erroneous “false balance” position.

    In other words, unless they are writing about religion, etc., it’s not unreasonable for journalists to limit their reporting, etc., to the reality-based world.

    Just as evolution is not a hoax, but an acknowledged fact, the same is true about human-emissions-caused global/warming climate change. Of course there are differences about how fast it is occurring, about how dangerous it is, and about what we should do about it. It is fair to say that the more we learn, the worse it looks. “

  41. Thomas Rodd says:

    moderate, i’m certainly not going to tempt fate by engaging on evolution!

    This has been a great exchange of views!

  42. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    Just a reminder … please resist the temptation to go off topic … this is COAL Tattoo, not EVOLUTION Tattoo or or whatever else floats your boat.

  43. dangerousdaneerfan says:

    OK Ken, how do you account for this factoid? Of West Virginia’s $285 MILLION state surplus, 85% is based on coal severence tax revenues. Even with 48 other states having to lay off teachers and state employees because of budget shortfalls, WV has had the luxury of not laying off a single teacher or state employee (I am a state employee FTR). It is very clear that WV CANNOT live without coal. We have lost enough jobs in this state over the years due to our 80+ year rule of the legislature by Democrats. Obama’s EPA, if left unchecked, will kill off what is left and just about bankrupt West Virginia.

  44. rodney says:

    Mary annr hitt said in the paper its time to replace these dirty and dangerous energy sources with clean , safe and reliable forms of production that will create thousands of jobs and revitalize local communities. ok tell me how you plan on doing that , it real easy to make a statement like that but do you know how to do it. if you say windmills then you have people saying we are killing the bats. replacing the plants would make your elec. bill skyrocket. so nexy time you say something like what you said in the paper just tell us how you plan on doing it..

  45. Ken Ward Jr. says:

    dangerousdaneerfan,

    sorry I didn’t respond quickly enough for you — posting essentially the same comment in more than one thread won’t get you a quicker response, when your comments come in at 10 p.m. on a Friday night and about the same time on a Saturday night. my apologies for that.

    I would say that your analysis of the budget picture in West Virginia neglects to account for the fact that — overall — coal is a negative for the West Virginia State Government Budget … see the report by Downstream Strategies here:

    http://blogs.wvgazette.com/coaltattoo/2010/06/22/must-read-report-coal-industry-costs-w-va-state-budget-97-5-million-a-year-more-than-it-generates/

    Thanks, and again, my apologies for not responding sooner.

    Ken.

  46. Wow could the EPA leave companies alone for once. The administration while doing its job correctly is doing the exact opposite of what it promises. Jobs! Closing the plants means more people unemployed. The coal plants are providing reliable electric power sources and electric power to hundreds of people everyday across the country. Coal is our number 1 energy production in the US but we sell most of it to China when it be cheaper to just keep it here and use it ourselves. It costs us less that 5 cents to run a microwave for 1 hour off coal power but we’d rather send the coal to China for the money they offer. It doesn’t make since to close plants when your opening new ones like the surry coal plant in virginia. Anyways great article and sad to see Obama get his way again.

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