WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Mining Association (NMA) today applauded President Trump’s executive order on the costly Clean Power Plan (CPP) and the Department of the Interior moratorium on federal coal leasing.
The order begins the process to unwind the CPP, the Obama administration’s signature climate change regulation that was stayed by the Supreme Court one year ago. Lifting the federal coal moratorium would remove the cloud over future investments in a coal region responsible for 40 percent of the U.S. coal supply.
“The clean power plan and the moratorium served the interests of political activists, not the American people,” said Hal Quinn, NMA president and CEO. “The president’s actions today help to restore common sense priorities and the important balance between costs and benefits that have been missing from federal regulatory policies.”
Quinn called the CPP “an unlawful attempt to radically transform the nation’s power grid, destroying valuable energy assets and leaving our economy more vulnerable to rising power prices—all for no discernible environmental benefit.”
EIA recently found that unplugging the CPP would preserve 240 million tons of annual coal production (EIA AEO 2017), saving 27,700 high-wage mining jobs and an additional 99,849 jobs throughout the supply chain, according to NMA estimates.
“The moratorium on federal coal leasing was entirely without merit and rested on politically contrived reasoning,” Quinn added. The moratorium was never about a fair return to the taxpayer, and all about capitulating to the demands of the “keep-it-in-the-ground’ movement. By every metric, the federal coal leasing program is highly profitable to taxpayers with annual leasing revenues in 2015 double the amount received 12 years ago.
BACKGROUND ON OBAMA ERA RULES
Clean Power Plan
The CPP is an Obama Administration policy regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. If implemented, the rule would transform the mix of electricity generation in nearly every state in the nation. In addition to the National Mining Association, 26 states, the utility industry, electric cooperatives; labor groups and industry associations including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers challenged the rule.
Due to the extraordinary nature of the case and the threat of immediate economic harm posed by the rule, the Supreme Court issued a stay on Feb. 9, 2016, suspending any obligation by the states to implement the rule before litigation is completed. The Supreme Court has never issued a stay of a government regulation before a lower court has heard the merits of the case.
All Pain and No Gain
The CPP would be extremely costly while providing no significant environmental benefits. The Energy Information Administration recently forecast the CPP would force 39,319 Megawatts of coal generating capacity into retirement (EIA AEO 2017) sending coal production down by 28 percent.
The CPP would harm the wider economy, including households and businesses. After implementation, the typical annual household electricity bills in 2020 would be more than a third higher than they were in 2012, or an estimated $680 per family. More than 40 states would face double-digit increases in the cost of wholesale electricity, with the CPP increasing wholesale electricity prices by $214 billion. The construction of replacement generating capacity would cost an additional $64 billion. To view state-by-state impacts of the CPP, visit: http://www.countoncoal.org/costly-power-plan/.
The Federal Coal Leasing Moratorium
The Obama leasing moratorium represented an abrupt about face from the Department of Interior’s earlier rejection of the unfounded claims advanced by special interests that sought to deny the public the twin benefits of a source of low-cost electricity and revenues derived from coal mining. A report prepared by Norwest Corporation revealed that the Secretary of the Interior uncritically accepted incomplete and manipulated data from several advocacy organizations to suggest that federal coal producers pay below market royalties and fees. In fact, the report shows that federal coal producers are paying above-market royalty rates as well as bonus bids and other fees that are rarely, if ever, charged on private coal leases.