We are witnessing a variation of the Green New Deal playing out before us in our nations’ Capitol and U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito are working tirelessly to defend the energy industries that employ tens of thousands of West Virginians and support our state’s entire economy. 

The egregious amendments insisted by President Biden and Congressional Leaders Schumer and Pelosi with help from their supporting cast of Senator Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others in the ongoing Budget Reconciliation package debate are in reality “the Green New Deal”.  Their proposals feature a Clean Energy Standard which imposes an 80 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and a Clean Energy Payment Program (or utility buy-out plan) which rewards electric utilities for annual carbon reductions and penalizes them when they fall short, as well as endless and expansive incentives for wind and solar energy production.

“While the mining industry is under attack by a President committed to moving our country away from fossil fuels, world events and energy markets have combined to dictate an increased demand for coal and West Virginia is starting to see the benefits,” said WV Coal Association President Chris Hamilton in addressing the Joint Legislative Committee on Energy at an Oct. 12th meeting in Charleston.

“Coal supplies have tightened, inventories are low, and the price of natural gas has skyrocketed,” said Hamilton. “This has given coal an advantage over competing fuels.” Hamilton noted that coal production in West Virginia is 20 percent ahead of 2020 output and the industry expects to finish the year strong.

Charleston, W.Va. – Chris Hamilton, president and chief executive officer of the West Virginia Coal Association offers the following statement regarding the West Virginia Public Service Commission’s order approving AEP’s request to comply with federally mandated environmental requirements at the John Amos, Mountaineer and Mitchell coal-fired power plants:

“On behalf of West Virginia’s mining and coal-fired electric generation industries, we appreciate the West Virginia Public Service Commission’s thoughtful and pragmatic order approving AEP to continue operating the John Amos, Mountaineer and Mitchell power plants through, at least, 2040.

Keeping these coal plants operational is not only the cheapest option for ratepayers, doing so retains thousands of jobs at the power plants, maintains significant sources of state and local tax revenue, keeps the local communities around these facilities vibrant, and sustains the coal mines, miners and hundreds of associated vendors that supply these plants with fuel.

Compared to replacing the coal plants with other generation sources or buying power from the wholesale market, upgrading these three generation facilities is the least expensive option for West Virginia rate payers and is clearly in the best interest of our state and our citizens.”

For additional information, contact Chris Hamilton at (304) 342-4153.

CHARLESTON, WV – The Public Service Commission has approved Appalachian Power Company and Wheeling Power Company’s request to keep the Amos, Mountaineer, and Mitchell plants operational until at least 2040.

Today’s Order will not immediately affect the power bills of West Virginia customers.  The original Order in this case resulted in a rate increase that would add approximately $2.64 per month to the current bill of a residential customer who uses 1,000 kWh per month.  Any additional amount that results from today’s Order will require the companies a further proceeding to recover the costs of implementing the upgrades.

The Order points out that benefits of the plants’ continued operation to the state’s economy are considerable.  Direct employment at the plants; use of West Virginia coal; state, county and local taxes related to operating generation plants; and related employment in businesses supporting the plants and the coal industry cannot be discounted or overlooked.  The Commission also considered the reliability of fuel secure base load generation capacity in making its decision.

Today’s Order is the result of Virginia and Kentucky refusing to approve the Coal Combustion Residue and Effluent Limitation Guideline upgrades required for the plants’ continued operation.  The Commission determined that if those two states will not share the cost of the upgrades, they will not be permitted to use the capacity and energy produced by the plants.

For more information, go to the PSC website at www.psc.state.wv.us and refer to Case No. 20-1040-E-CN.

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — On this week’s episode on Inside West Virginia Politics, host Mark Curtis and guests discuss a variety of topics important to the Mountain State, including the possibility of extending three West Virginia coal-fired power plants until 2040, National Recovery Month, and the support of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.