Carbon emissions not just a US issue: Roberts

BACKLASH continues from last week’s announcement by the US Environmental Protection Agency proposing stiff regulations for new coal-fired power facilities, with United Mine Workers of America president Cecil Roberts calling the move “devastating to our economy”.
Carbon emissions not just a US issue: Roberts Carbon emissions not just a US issue: Roberts Carbon emissions not just a US issue: Roberts Carbon emissions not just a US issue: Roberts Carbon emissions not just a US issue: Roberts

UMWA president Cecil Roberts

Donna Schmidt

In a Tuesday interview on MetroNews TalkLine in West Virginia, Roberts said regulation of carbon emissions from coal plants was not isolated to America and the EPA was overstepping its authority with its proposed rules.

He noted the carbon capture and sequestration technology that was needed to meet the outlines was not yet commercially available, which will result in the halt of plant developments.

“What I want to do about that is change this rule, obviously,” Roberts said.

“You cannot, in my opinion, regulate greenhouse gases at the EPA.

“Greenhouse gases are in the world [and] you have to eliminate greenhouse gases throughout the world – you can’t just regulate them through the EPA of the United States.”

With coal now the world’s fastest growing energy source, the UMWA exec said the EPA had basically decided it was going to control what went into the atmosphere worldwide.

“It doesn't work, for one thing and the second thing, it is just devastating for our economy,” he said.

Roberts responded to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson’s claim that there were no current limits to the level of carbon pollution that could go into the environment and that economic and health threats would grow, by saying making the proposal a law would kill the US coal industry.

“The Navy SEALs shot Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington,” he said.

The EPA’s proposal is now in a 60-day public comment period.

Should the outlines become final, emissions would be limited to 1000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of power produced.

Only new coal-fired facilities will be affected as existing plants are already being modified to meet other EPA mandates for emissions and they will not be part of the planned standard.

Additionally, power facilities with building permits in place, or with plans to commence construction within a year of the effective date of any resulting regulations will also be exempt, along with non-continental US territories and Hawaii.

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