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NMA - National Mining Association

04/25/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/25/2024 05:23

NMA Slams Illegal, Irresponsible Powerplant Rules; With Zero Analysis of the Collective Impact on Grid Reliability, EPA Imposes Suite of Rules Targeting Coal

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Mining Association (NMA) today slammed the Biden administration's Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) suite of rules specifically designed to force the closure of well-operating coal plants - plants that are the primary source of generation in many states, and the source of grid-saving baseload power across the country - while conducting zero analysis of the collective impact of the rules on grid reliability.

"For the last three years, the administration has methodically developed and executed a comprehensive strategy to force the closure of well-operating coal plants," said Rich Nolan, NMA president and CEO. "It has refused to account for irrefutable evidence that electricity demand is soaring, disregarded validated reliability warnings from grid experts related to coal plant closures, and ignored the basic fact that there is no adequate replacement ready to replace the sorely needed, dispatchable generating capacity coal provides once it is shuttered. We've seen this unlawful regulatory playbook before, challenged it and the Supreme Court agreed with our take; we will do so again and expect the same outcome."

As outlined in the NMA's recent white paper, "The Grid Reliability Crisis Collides with Surging Power Demand," much of the U.S. grid is at risk with surging new electricity demand colliding with policy-driven power plant closures and mounting challenges to bring new resources and enabling infrastructure to the grid. While the EPA removed existing natural gas plants from the requirements under this rule, as the NMA's paper highlights, the gas system-from wellhead to power plant-has not been able to bridge reliability gaps during sharp renewable generation drops during extreme weather events due to gas delivery challenges and / or heating needs taking priority. By contrast, coal can be stored on-site and is not diverted for heating purposes.

Despite these realities, the EPA has never wavered in its plan or considered the cumulative impact of its plans, which include the Clean Power Plan 2.0, Mercury Air Toxics Standards (MATS), Steam Electric Power Generating Effluent Guidelines and Standards (ELGS), Ozone Transport rule, Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) legacy surface impoundment rule, particulate matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and expected Regional Haze state implementation plan disapprovals. In March 2022, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said, "The industry gets to take a look at this suite of rules all at once and say, 'Is it worth doubling down on investments in this current facility or operation, or should we look at the cost and say no… If some of these facilities decide that it's not worth investing in [control technologies] and you get an expedited retirement, that's the best tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions." Today he made good on that threat, despite the on-the-ground reality of soaring electricity demand with little replacement capacity coming online.

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