A resolution which would have curbed the effects of EPA’s mercury emission ruling carried the hopes of the coal industry before being shot down by the Senate in a crucial vote on Wednesday.
WVCA president Bill Raney noted after the vote that West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller was among those who voted down the resolution.
"West Virginia's coal mining community is extremely disappointed in Senator Rockefeller’s vote yesterday in the US Senate against a resolution (SJR 37) that would have disapproved the EPA’s Utility MACT rule, the most expensive rule ever proposed by this agency,” he wrote in a statement on the WVCA website.
“We are even more disappointed by Senator Rockefeller’s speech on the floor of the Senate in which he questioned the coal industry's commitment to our people, their health and safety and the future of our state.
“I can tell you, with confidence, that there is nothing more important to our members than the safety of their employees, their long-term health and the wellness of their families.
“To suggest otherwise is absolutely disingenuous.”
Following his vote against the measure to stop the EPA ruling, Rockefeller said the resolution failed to realistically address the challenges coal faced now and in the future.
“I don’t support this resolution of disapproval because it does nothing to embrace coal’s potential,” Rockefeller said.
“Solving big challenges with American ingenuity is what we do.
“West Virginia knows energy and West Virginia doesn’t shrink from challenge.
“We have the chance here to not just grudgingly accept the future – but to boldly step into that future.”
Raney said West Virginia’s commitment to clean coal was a step forward for the industry but was being thwarted by the EPA’s heavy-handed pressure.
“The Utility MACT rule as drafted will essentially prevent the construction of new coal-fired generation into the future,” he said.
“West Virginians embrace a clean coal future and have a new coal-fired power plant that is one of the cleanest in the nation and emits a tiny fraction of the emissions of the previous generation of power plants.
“The current generation of new coal-fired power plants will meet the Utility MACT rule, however, the bar was set so high for plants into the future that the technology doesn’t exist to meet those standards.
“Senator Rockefeller knows this yet he has decided to ignore this fact.”