Wednesday, September 17, 2014

House Environmental Committee Hears Comments On EPA Clean Power Climate Plan

John Pippy, CEO, Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, addressed the obstacles facing the coal industry and the impact the CPP could have in Pennsylvania.  He said the CPP represents one of the biggest obstacles to continued coal use that the industry has confronted in decades.
He said under the proposed plan, the final emissions goal is 1,052 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour (lbs/mWh), noting that Pennsylvania’s average emission rate goal (2020-2029) is 1,179 lbs/mWh.
Pippy said, “To achieve the final goal, Pennsylvania would have to reduce carbon emissions by 32 percent over 2013 levels. If one uses 2005 as the baseline year, which the EPA uses occasionally when it spins the national objective of the rule… Pennsylvania’s emissions reduction, by 2030, would amount to 44 percent.”
In closing Pippy commended the Committee and the full House for its overwhelming support for House Bill 2354 (Snyder-D-Fayette), which requires the state legislature to approve a state’s compliance plan before it is submitted to the EPA.
Stu Bresler, VP Market Operations, PJM, said it will be conducting a study on the reliability of the grid and other information pertinent to the CPP and will finish the study prior to the October. Bresler said PJM is offering itself as a resource as the state begins to grapple the CPP but reiterated that the implementing authority lies with the states.
Jake Smeltz, Electric Power Generation Association, walked the committee the committee through an overview of the problems facing electrical generators as an entire entity.
Smeltz then said that 94 percent of the “anticipated new generation” would be derived from natural gas, while zero percent of the anticipated new generation would be derived from coal.
Smeltz said it is difficult for electrical generators to do what the EPA expects of the “inside the fence” because the technology to operate “inside the fence” is not currently available. Smeltz said the main concern should be when the state passes legislation that “distorts” the wholesale market, because abrupt changes are accompanied with unintended consequences and then flexibility can become severely limited.
Christina Simeone, Director, PennFuture Energy Center, gave an overview of the CPP and explained that the key to compliance was in the four “building blocks.” She said the EPA’s goals for Pennsylvania are reasonable and are based on a “Best System of Emissions Reductions,” which was developed and based on commercially available technologies.
Simeone said using the 2012 baseline in the proposal, the state is already halfway to achieving the set goals and opined they can be achieved by continuing the rules, regulations and existing policies Pennsylvania has.
Kevin Sunday, Manager, Government Affairs, Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, discussed how businesses, industries and economies will be unable to survive without affordable, reliable, stable and diverse sources of energy.  He said the Clean Energy Plan threatens the state’s biggest competitive advantage.
Phil Smith, Director of Governmental Affairs, United Mine Workers of America, AFL-CIO, discussed the impact the CPP will have on Pennsylvania coal and jobs and the miners and their families.
Jeff McNelly, Executive Director, ARIPPA, discussed Pennsylvania’s legacy to the environment, and the successes of ARIPPA over the past 25 years. McNelly discussed the impact of emissions on energy, and highlighted the necessary steps to remain in operation and viable.
Additional comments were submitted to the Committee by: Department of Environmental Protection, American Lung Association and FTI Consulting, Inc.
Rep. Ron Miller (R-York) serves as Majority Chair and Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) serves as Minority Chair.

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