#WarOnCoal Escalates: Over 200 Power Plants Expected to Close, Thousands of Jobs to Disappear

August 13, 2013

The administration’s war on coal and America’s abundant, reliable energy continues to gain momentum as the nation’s power sector faces an increasingly hostile regulatory environment. Reuters recently chronicled that more than 200 of the nation’s coal-fired power plants have announced plans to retire over the next decade in addition to the 138 units that have already shut down in the past five years. Estimates project this decline in coal-fired power generation could result in the loss of up to 100,000 megawatts of electricity across the country.

Coal is one of America’s most abundant and affordable sources of fuel and supports over 700,000 American jobs. It remains the country’s largest source of electricity, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the nation’s electric generation. But this critical power source, along with tens of thousands of jobs, is being threatened by costly regulations stemming from President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency. Despite a reduction in U.S. emissions over the past decade, the Obama administration has announced plans to impose expensive greenhouse gas regulations on new and existing power plants, in addition to a suite of costly new power rules already proposed or issued by EPA. These rules combined will drive up energy prices, send American jobs overseas, and have the potential to shut down America’s coal industry.

Both Republicans and Democrats have lamented the administration’s “war on coal.” In Sunday’s Washington Post, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) expressed, "You cannot describe this any differently than as a war on coal, and not just in West Virginia or the U.S. but on a global scale. … They’re using every tool they have to destroy the most abundant, reliable and affordable resource that we have.”

It is critical our nation’s leaders consider the consequences of regulatory actions on America’s economy and jobs. To help protect against further job losses and to ensure Americans continue to have access to affordable and reliable electricity, the House of Representatives recently approved the Energy Consumers Relief Act. This commonsense legislation, authored by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), places greater interagency checks and balances on the EPA to prevent implementation of regulations that threaten to destroy jobs and increase energy prices for American job creators and families. A strong and robust economy depends on affordable energy, which is why coal must continue to play an essential role in our nation’s energy mix. To learn more about H.R. 1582, the Energy Consumers Relief Act, click here.