Power plant plan further clouds coal's future

By Adam Beam

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, June 3 2014 8:42 a.m. MDT

Updated: Tuesday, June 3 2014 8:42 a.m. MDT

Here in Floyd County 20 years ago, more than 150 coal mines were active. Now there are fewer than five, according to R.D. "Doc" Marshall, the county judge-executive. Total coal production in the state has fallen nearly 40 percent since 2000.

Another coal-dependent state, West Virginia, would need to drop its emissions by 19.8 percent, letting the state produce the fifth highest rate nationally in 2030.

Two companies running major West Virginia power plants, American Electric Power and FirstEnergy, said it's too early to determine impacts.

Politicians and industry groups, meanwhile, painted a grim picture.

Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said no coal plants in the state would currently meet the 2030 mark. His environmental secretary said the technology isn't there is for coal plants to make those strides either. The EPA has given states a range of options from boosting efficiency to investing in more renewable energy to help states get there.

But not everyone thinks cleaning up coal is a bad thing, even in coal country. More than 180 miles away in Louisville, Kentucky's most populous city, Kathy Little can see the smokestacks of an aging coal-burning power plant from her front porch.

Little, who lost her job last year at a company that sells heavy equipment to coal mines, said she was encouraged by the new rules.

"What are they going to be left with if they don't curb carbon dioxide now?" she said. "If you care about your little ones then that's what you need to think about, and not so much the here and now."

Cappiello reported from Washington. Dylan Lovan in Louisville, Kentucky, Charles D. Wilson in Indianapolis, and Jonathan Mattise in Charleston, West Virginia, contributed to this report.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS