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Group of Democratic senators encourage coal-friendly EPA rules

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Four Democratic senators have sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging the president’s administration to amend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new source performance standard (NSPS) regulations.

Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana requested Obama to urge the EPA to differentiate the standards based on fuel type and establish supercritical coal generation technology as the performance standard for new coal-based technology. The senators wrote in the letter, which was released Monday, that the proposed performance standards of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per MWh for new facilities would prevent the construction of new coal-fired power plants or upgrading existing facilities.

“Our nation can continue to use coal and continue to lower emissions at the same time,” the senators wrote. “Coal-based power generation projects are being developed across the country, using state-of-the-art technologies that are laying the foundation for revolutionary advancements in power plant efficiency and reduced CO2 levels. These advancements in technology are allowing us to modernize the existing coal-fueled fleet improving efficiency and reducing emissions, while continuing to produce low-cost electricity for homes, offices and factories.”

Adopting the proposed regulations would have the effect of preventing existing plants from making upgrades that would allow for more electricity generation with less fuels and fewer emissions, the senators wrote.

The Washington Post reported last week that the EPA is likely to miss the April 13 deadline to finalize the NSPS regulations, stating that individuals familiar with the matter said the delay might allow the agency to set a separate, more lenient standard for coal-fired power plants.

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