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Guest column/President fighting war on coal

August 12, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

I write in response to Darrin Shank's letter "Economic facts speak for themselves" (Aug. 5) in which he falsely claims that President Barack Obama's policies have helped the coal and manufacturing industries in Ohio. Nothing could be further from the truth. During the past three and a half years, the president and his EPA have proposed costly new regulations that will force coal-fired power plants to close, which will eliminate jobs and cause electricity rates to skyrocket.

Two rules in particular, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology, will have devastating effects on economic development and job creation in Ohio. A study conducted by the National Economic Research Associates found that MACT and CSAPR combined will eliminate 1.4 million jobs nationally from 2013-2020, including 53,500 jobs in Ohio. It's unacceptable that the president and his EPA are willing to sacrifice thousands of good paying Ohio jobs when so many are struggling to make ends meet.

We have already started to see the impact of these new regulations right here in Ohio. Twenty-eight electric generating units in Ohio - nearly 6,500 megawatts of power - have announced plans to either retire or convert because of new EPA regulations. And recently, Murray Energy announced that its coal mine in Brilliant will close five years earlier than expected thanks to new EPA regulations. As a result, dozens of jobs will be lost while many more are at risk across the state.

Moreover, these regulations will have a devastating effect on Ohio's manufacturing sector. For decades, Ohio's manufacturing sector has relied on affordable electricity to remain competitive in the global market. The absence of coal from the state's energy mix will eliminate our competitive advantage, sending manufacturing jobs overseas to lower costs. NERA found that MACT and CSPAR will cause electricity prices to spike by nearly 13 percent in Ohio by 2016, further limiting disposable income available to Ohio families and increasing costs for Ohio businesses.

There is no doubt that the president's 'war on coal' will deliver a crushing blow to Ohio and the nation in the years ahead.

(Carey is president of the Ohio Coal Association.)

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