What the Good Coal Guys Can Teach the Dirty Coal Guys

BY ON June 1, 2011

The Wall Street Journal ran a surprising letter back in December, signed by nine CEOs of coal-powered electric plants, who said “We’re okay with the EPA’s new air-quality regulations.”

They knew the regs were coming; they’ve already invested in “modern air-pollution control technologies and cleaner and more efficient power plants.”  The letter addresses plants that will have to close because of the regulations: “The units retiring are generally small, old and inefficient. These retirements are long overdue. Contrary to the claims that the EPA’s agenda will have negative economic consequences, our companies’ experience complying with air quality regulations demonstrates that reulgations can yield important economic benefits, including job creation, while maintaining reliability.” Emphasis added. Can we shout it out?

In December, before the EPA fight heated up, this letter didn’t seem half as heroic as it does now. So, given that newspapers have a shelf life of a day, and the Internet a minute, it is worth plastering this letter in front of everyone all over again.

And the Good Coal Guys gave me an idea.

Why don’t the Dirty Coal Powered Plant Owners ask their brethren for help? After all, isn’t that what were taught to do when we didn’t get the homework? Or flunked the quiz?  Raise hands, and flag the teacher!

To all those Dirty-Coal-But-Aw-Shucks-What-Difference-Do-A-Bit-o-Poison-Make Fellers who neglected to take notes in Econ 101, who skipped Health (Pass/Fail), who didn’t pay attention during Morality and Justice 205, and who flunked Engineering 504: Get help. Fast.

Let the forward-thinking, strategically nimble, responsible, clean(er) coal-powered utilities clue you in. Let them show you how you can still make tons-o-money.

Frankly, the negligent, irresponsible, whining, attitude of Dirty Coal is harming the reputation of ALL coal-powered utilities. Coal is giving itself a big black eye. And in the long run, that’s not too smart, either.

TOPICS: Coal, Economics, Mercury Poisoning, Politics, Pollution

  • http://www.MotherTalkers.com Elisa

    Good on them! I do think it is important to recognize corporate responsibility and even work with responsible companies to help pass the legislation. Coalition-building is so important!

  • http://www.cypresscreekpowerstation.com./ Joey Williams

    The 5 APE plants that our closing are a result of this kind of stuff great article. Wow could the EPA leave companies alone for once. The administration while doing its job correctly is doing the exact opposite of what it promises. Jobs! Closing the plants means more people unemployed. The coal plants are providing reliable electric power sources and electric power to hundreds of people everyday across the country. Coal is our number 1 energy production in the US but we sell most of it to China when it be cheaper to just keep it here and use it ourselves. It costs us less that 5 cents to run a microwave for 1 hour off coal power but we’d rather send the coal to China for the money they offer. It doesn’t make since to close plants when your opening new ones like the surry coal plant in virginia. Anyways great article and sad to see Obama get his way again.

  • http://www.slowlovelife.com/ dominique browning

    Joey: Here’s another view on AEP plant closing announcement:

    American Electric Power today outlined its plan to retire a number of antiquated coal-burning power plants (in some cases older than 50 years). The company claims closing the plants is necessary in light of updated EPA clean air protections — new rules that will for the first time protect Americans from airborne mercury, arsenic, dioxin, acid gases, and deadly particulates from coal-burning power plants.

    The company’s plan highlights a simple fact that AEP failed to mention: closing plants is a business decision, plain and simple.

    EPA regulations do not require any power plants to shut down. Companies like AEP make the decision — either invest in common retrofits like scrubbers to clean up pollution, or close down old and poorly controlled plants and replace them with cleaner more efficient generation.

    Other companies have publicly announced that they are well-prepared to meet the updated clean air protections. Among them: Constellation Energy, Exelon, PSEG and NextEra. In short, the decision to close these old plants was AEP’s alone.

    The clean air protections AEP seeks to unravel would save 53,000 lives each year. By comparison, 56,000 students were enrolled this year at the Ohio State University – Columbus Campus.