Charleston, WV (August 3, 2015) – While the Obama Administration will formally adopt its Clean Power Plan today, West Virginia is already experiencing its impact via the decimation of coal and power generation industry employment, representatives with the West Virginia Coal Forum announced today.
Joel Watts, administrator for the West Virginia Coal Forum – a group representing both mine labor and management across the state – said, “This new rule, coupled with other recent emission-related regulations promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has forced the closure or planned closure of hundreds of power plants across the country. As coal-fired power plants close, the need for West Virginia coal to power them – and the thousands of miners who produce it – goes away.”
Watts said the impact of these rules are already having an impact in West Virginia. Three power plants have closed (First Energy’s Rivesville, Albright and Willow Island Plants) and three more (AEP’s Phillip Sporn, Kammer and Kanawha River Plants) are in the process of closing. The net result is the loss of 3,500-4000 direct mining jobs and potentially as many as 20,000 mining-dependent jobs.
Chris Hamilton, co-chairman of the WV Coal Forum, said, ”Based on a preliminary economic analysis, the related decrease in coal production will result in the loss of approximately 175,000 direct mining, utility and railroad jobs and a total of 600,000 jobs from the American economy.”
“Additionally, coal consumption for electric generation could decrease by 13% or by 120 million tons by 2020 and by 46%, or 430 million tons, by 2030 in order to meet these new, onerous standards.”
Fred Tucker, co-chairman of the WV Coal Forum representing working miners across the state, said, “It is our hope that Governor Tomblin will reject this regulatory scheme and do all he can to preserve the 20,000 mining jobs in West Virginia and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that exist because of the industry.”