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Pennsylvania Coal Alliance CEO: don’t rush to comply with EPA’s CPP

World Coal,

Pennsylvania Coal Alliance CEO John Pippy has indicated that decisions regarding Pennsylvania’s energy landscape should be appropriately left to the Commonwealth’s state and local officials and not federal agencies using regulations to force policy decisions at the state level.

Pippy is specifically referring to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP), which is currently on hold following the US Supreme Court’s February stay on the regulation.

“These regulations have become less about setting achievable industry goals and more about forcing federal oversight into areas which state primacy has previously presided,” Pippy wrote in an op ed earlier this year.

Currently, the stay on the CPP is in effect until legal challenges have been determined. At the same time, the decision halts the timeline on state plan submissions, which initially were due this September. Pippy has cautioned legislators on early compliance with CPP, pointing out that developing a compliance plan to meet the stricter carbon emissions standard will be costly.

“This is not just retrofitting existing plants with available technologies, but taking offline existing power-producing plants, replacing them with less reliable and more costly new sources and building out the transmission infrastructure statewide,” Pippy said.

As one of the nation’s top energy-producing states with a lot to lose by rushing compliance, Pippy said that Pennsylvania should prudently apply for and take advantage of the two-year extension being offered.

Furthermore, given Pennsylvania’s current fiscal status, Pippy said there are serious concerns regarding the resources that would be wasted attempting to develop a compliance plan, at the expense of the taxpayers, for a rule that may significantly be altered or thrown out entirely by the federal courts.

He added that the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance — on behalf of the Commonwealth’s energy economy, the men and women whose jobs are supported by the coal industry and every state resident and business that relies on affordable electricity — has urged the Gov. Tom Wolf's Administration to cease all processes for compliance plan development until the final legality of the CPP is determined.

“Unfortunately, comments from the Wolf Administration that the rule is still 'in effect' demonstrate either an utter lack of understanding of the legal significance of a stay, or a complete disregard for the ruling of United States Supreme Court,” Pippy said.

“If the CPP is found to be unlawful, Pennsylvania will be left with strict, federally enforceable guidelines for its energy policy, crippling the economy beyond competitive repair and disadvantaging it to other states that waited and weighed the cost of compliance,” Pippy concluded.

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