The Energy Information Administration says 19 states got more than half their electricity from coal-fired power plants in 2013. Colorado, which generated 64% of its electricity from coal, was one of them. The industry also provides coal miners in the Centennial State with about 2,000 jobs. That’s according to the Colorado Mining Association, which also says most of those earn average wages and benefits in excess of $115,000 annually. The sector altogether accounts for nearly 24,000 jobs in Colorado and pays close to $60 million annually in federal coal royalties, half of which go to support public schools. Now experts say the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules will significantly and adversely squeeze the industry and the communities that depend heavily on its revenue. In all, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce expects the new EPA rules to cost the U.S. economy $51 billion per year, an alarming figure that will be at the center of debate when the EPA hosts a two-day public hearing on the proposed policies tomorrow and Wednesday in Denver. Hearings will also be held in Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. Ironically, according to The Hill, the hearings in Atlanta will be moved from the Federal Building to a hotel, due to a large scale power outage. Laura Sheehan, a spokeswoman for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said in a statement, “this significant power outage is either cruel irony or a glimpse of a coming cruel reality if the Obama administration and the EPA are successful in their quest to end the use of affordable, reliable coal.” You can be part of a local group traveling to Denver to rally against the new rules, by calling 824-9282. Those that can’t make the trip to Denver, can attend a supporting rally in Craig at the Clarion, formerly the Holiday Inn. The rally will be held from noon to three Tuesday, and food will be served.
Experts Say EPA Rules will Cripple Local Economy
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