Regions Southwest Virginia

Alpha president criticizes EPA regulations

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The president of Bristol-based Alpha Natural Resources told a congressional subcommittee Monday that new environmental regulations curbing the use of coal to generate electricity will hurt the U.S. economy.

“While there is no question that our industry is being detrimentally impacted, I would respectfully assert that this is not just a war on coal. What we are experiencing is a war on affordable electricity, a significant building block of American prosperity, and it will be American consumers, small businesses and an already struggling domestic manufacturing sector that will pay the price in the years ahead,” said Paul Vining, testifying before the congressional panel in Abingdon.

Vining was among several speakers at the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power field hearing examining the effects of the Environmental Protection Agency’s New Source Performance Standards for greenhouse gas emissions. The standards would set carbon dioxide limits for new coal-fired power plans. Emissions could not exceed 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity produced. Some industry observers say that the benchmark is impossible to attain without costly equipment to capture carbon emissions.

Coal accounts for about 40 percent of the power generation in Virginia.

Alpha Natural Resources, one the nation’s largest coal producers, operates 150 active mines and 40 coal preparation plants in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
More than 300 people attended the hearing, held at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.

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