More Power Plants Fall Victim to Administration's War on Coal

February 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC - Continuing a troubling recent trend of power plant closures, leading power producer GenOn announced today it would shutter 13 percent of its generating capacity by 2015 due to new environmental regulations. The company stated it would close eight coal-fired power plants located in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, "because forecasted returns on investments necessary to comply with environmental regulations are insufficient."
 
GenOn's announcement comes on the same day as the city of Chicago reached a deal with environmental groups agreeing to close two of the city's coal-fired plants -making good on a campaign promise by Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
 
These retirements demonstrate the real-life impacts of EPA's destructive regulations. Plant closures translate to lost jobs and higher electricity prices for American families. Coal-fired generation provides affordable power for communities and businesses, and studies show retirements pose a serious risk to electric reliability.
 
President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency continues to churn out major regulations, and America's power sector is struggling to keep up. The uncertainty is only growing as EPA refuses to properly account for the cost and consequences of new regulations like the Utility MACT rule, posing a serious threat to American jobs and affordable electricity.
 
In a hearing yesterday with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), expressed his frustration over EPA's overreaching anti-coal agenda, stating, "Let me be clear, I am all for reasonable EPA regulations to control emissions from coal-fired power plants as spelled out in the Clean Air Act. But what we have seen in the last few years goes well beyond what EPA is supposed to be doing, and constitutes an effort to force this nation away from coal by imposing an avalanche of regulations that are technologically and economically impossible to meet. These regulations will most certainly drive up electricity rates and cause massive unemployment."

In Case You Missed It

GenOn Will Shut Plants Through 2015 on Environmental Rules
Bloomberg
By Jim Polson - Feb 29, 2012

GenOn Energy Inc. (GEN), the third-largest U.S. independent power producer by market value, expects to shut about 13 percent of its generating capacity by May 2015 because of environmental regulations.

Shutdowns will begin in June at the units, which don't generate enough profit to cover the costs of complying with the rules, Houston-based GenOn said today in a statement. The plants, located at eight sites in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey, generate 3,140 megawatts in the wholesale market overseen by PJM Interconnection. Except for one unit, all of the plants burn coal, according to GenOn's website.

GenOn joins other power-plant owners, including FirstEnergy Corp. (FE) and American Electric Power Co., that have announced closures because of environmental rules. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency air-pollution rule to reduce power-plant emissions that cross state lines was halted by a federal court last year. Separate regulations to cut mercury pollution are scheduled to go into effect in 2015

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