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Bipartisan Group of Indiana Delegation Asks Obama to Reject Proposed EPA Carbon Dioxide Standards

WASHINGTON, DC – A bipartisan group of the Indiana Congressional delegation today sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to reject the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plans to issue greenhouse gas performance standards for new fossil fuel-based electric generating sources. This proposal would have detrimental effects on the Indiana energy industry and any Hoosier that pays an electric bill.

In the letter, the members write, “This proposed rule unnecessarily discriminates against coal as part of our country’s energy portfolio and will dramatically increase the cost of electricity from coal-fired plants. This is the same electricity that Hoosiers have found more reliable and affordable than most of the country and that job creators consider a critical part of our state’s attractive business environment. Families and businesses cannot afford increased energy costs as our nation’s economy continues to struggle.”

The members added, “We respectfully request you to reject the current proposal and instead urge the EPA to amend the proposed rule to exercise the option available to the agency for differentiating standards based on fuel type and subcategories and not discriminate against coal as a source for generation.”

The full text of the letter follows:

The Honorable Barack Obama
The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to express our continued concern about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plans to issue greenhouse gas new source performance standards for new fossil fuel-based electric generating sources.  The proposed performance standards would require new coal-fired power plants to meet the same requirements as new gas-fired power plants – an unprecedented standard under the Clean Air Act.  This blanket standard will discourage the upgrade of existing sources and effectively prevent the construction of new coal-fired plants.  This could prevent the intended goal of the rule while simultaneously doing much to harm our economy and threaten the reliability of our electricity supply. 

This proposed rule unnecessarily discriminates against coal as part of our country’s energy portfolio and will dramatically increase the cost of electricity from coal-fired plants.  This is the same electricity that Hoosiers have found more reliable and affordable than most of the country and that job creators consider a critical part of our state’s attractive business environment.  Families and businesses cannot afford increased energy costs as our nation’s economy continues to struggle.  And our nation cannot afford to implement policies that effectively mandate the use of more expensive or less reliable fuels for electricity generation, leaving us behind nations such as China and India who are taking advantage of low-cost coal to meet their energy needs. 

Additionally, Indiana is annually among the top ten coal producing states in the nation averaging 32,000,000 to 35,000,000 tons each year. Not only is coal a vital energy source for all Hoosiers, but the mining industry supports more than 2,500 Hoosier jobs and contributes more than $750 million to our economy. The reserve base for the entire Illinois Basin, which includes Indiana coal, is over 130 billion tons or 25 percent of total demonstrated coal reserves in the United States – and is enough to meet entire U.S. coal demands for over 100 years.

Our nation can continue to utilize coal while lowering emissions.  New technologies for coal-based power generation are laying the foundation for advancements in power plant efficiency, bringing us closer to a future where near-zero emissions from coal are a reality.  These technologies allow us to modernize our existing coal fleet, improve efficiency, and produce low-cost power for customers. However, as proposed, the EPA rule will effectively prohibit the construction of new plants and eliminate an opportunity to provide economic stimulus to our nation’s manufacturing and construction sectors. 

We respectfully request you to reject the current proposal and instead urge the EPA to amend the proposed rule to exercise the option available to the agency for differentiating standards based on fuel type and subcategories and not discriminate against coal as a source for generation.  Such an amendment is essential to create new jobs and strengthen the economy.

Sincerely,

Dan Coats                                                                             
United States Senator

Joe Donnelly                                                                             
United States Senator

Marlin Stutzman
Member of Congress

Larry Bucshon
Member of Congress

Todd Rokita
Member of Congress

Todd Young
Member of Congress

Susan W. Brooks
Member of Congress

Jackie Walorski    
Member of Congress              

Luke Messer
Member of Congress              

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