In a weekend opinion piece in the Billings Gazette, Deti said the state of the US coal industry was not due to just a drop in consumption, competition with natural gas or unseasonable weather.
“The avalanche of burdensome regulations and their impact cannot be understated,” he said.
Deti pointed to “unattainable goals” the US Environmental Protection Agency had set with one single purpose: to eliminate the use of coal as a competitive power generation source.
The regimen it has put out, he added, had precluded new coal-fired plant construction and outlines for existing facilities that could put them out of business.
“By eliminating the coal industry’s largest customer, the utilities, you certainly cripple the coal industry,” Deti said.
“Under the guise of public health, the EPA has cooked the books and relied on shoddy science and scare tactics to demonize coal use.”
He said the EPA’s primary goal was to shift the focus to heavily subsidized green technologies.
“Regretfully, the facts do not support this decision to kill America’s most abundant, reliable and affordable source of power,” he said.
Deti also took on Obama’s plan for emissions reductions, pointing to claims from the EPA and environmentalists that coal emissions were killing Americans.
“The actual facts tell another story,” he said. “According to the EPA’s own data, emissions from coal-fired plants, including mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and particulates, have decreased by 87% in the past 40 years.
“Here is what is important: this decrease in emissions happened while coal usage in America has nearly tripled. Oh, and Americans are also living longer.”
Emissions reductions and consumption increases the US had realized was attributable, Deti said, to a sound regulatory policy based on “real science” and technological innovation.
“Coal use and a clean environment can and do co-exist together,” he said.
“We cannot rely on gas and nuclear alone to meet our ever-growing energy needs, and renewables are simply incapable of doing so. Coal should and must remain a cornerstone in any energy strategy aiming to meet this goal.”
Wyoming is the top coal-producing state in the United States.