U.S. Congressman Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, fired back today at the announcement of stronger regulations against American coal-fired power plants.
"Today, the President will use his executive powers to create new standards and regulations for carbon emissions across the country," said Enyart. "President Obama will set a national limit on carbon emissions from coal plants, but will allow each state to determine how to cut those emissions. As Co-Chair of the Coal Caucus, I oppose this unnecessary regulatory attack on our coal plants."
"It is important that we strive to create a cleaner, safer environment for our children. This will help to reduce child asthma rates, while slowing down the deterioration of our environment. Coal emissions are lower today than ever before, and companies right here in Southern Illinois are working every day to ensure safe, clean, affordable power is delivered to your home without interruption.
"The EPA and President Obama must understand that coal continues to be the single largest source for America's electricity supply. The standards set to be unveiled today, an expected 30% cut, are impractical and unnecessary because the coal industry is already working toward improving emissions while maintaining reliable energy delivery.
"Instead of penalizing the coal industry, we must work to improve clean coal technology and bring costs down. As we do this, coal will become even more environmentally friendly. I've spoken to coal operators and industry leaders, and it's clear to me that the standards would make it virtually impossible to produce stable, reliable energy. With 40% of our electricity generated by coal, we can't turn the lights out on America.
"We have abundant coal resources in Southern Illinois that can help power our nation for decades to come. And in these uncertain economic times, we must ensure that our nation's energy supply is reliable and affordable as well as environmentally friendly. We simply cannot afford a massive spike in energy prices. Southern Illinois' fixed income families cannot afford an increase in heating and air conditioning bills.
"In recent years, our Southern Illinois coal industry has slowly rebounded through persistence and determination. The regulations announced today will halt that rebound and cause more uncertainty in coal mines and power plants in our region and beyond. Our local economies, and most importantly, our families simply cannot withstand the loss of good paying jobs in the region.
"I've been fighting for our Southern Illinois coal plants and mine workers since my first day in office. Today's announcement only reinforces my commitment and desire to continue that fight."
U.S. Congressman Bill Enyart serves as the Co-Chair of the Coal Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.