Coal Tattoo

Will EPA’s carbon rules really be so bad?

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Gina McCarthy

It’s not surprising to see that the folks over at West Virginia Metro News are parroting the talking points from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trying to make the greenhouse gas emissions rules the Obama administration is going to announce next week sound like the end of the world.

But if you read the story in today’s New York Times, headlined President Said to Be Planning to Use Executive Authority on Carbon Rule, you sure get a different idea of what major businesses that would be affected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have to say about what’s coming from the administration. For example:

Despite the fierce Republican opposition, a number of officials at electric utilities say they welcome cap-and-trade programs because they offer an affordable and flexible way to comply with the new regulation. “By trading on carbon credits, we’ll be able to achieve significantly more cuts at a lower cost,” said Anthony J. Alexander, president and chief executive of FirstEnergy, an electric utility with power plants in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey. “The broader the options, the better off we’re going to be.”

And then there’s this:

John McManus, vice president of environmental services at American Electric Power, which has coal-fired power plants in 11 states, agreed. “We view cap and trade as having a lot of benefits,” he said. “There’s important design considerations that would have to be factored in, to consider each state’s circumstances. But we think it’s definitely worth looking at. It could keep the cost down. It would allow us to keep coal units running for a more extended period. There are a lot of advantages.”

It’s worth remembering that AEP supported the “cap-and-trade” bill that passed the House, but died in the Senate. And the United Mine Workers of America, while never officially endorsing that legislation, did say that the bill  would ensure that the “future of coal will be intact.”