“The link between affordable energy and economic growth is important to the people in Alabama,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “Alabama’s coal mining industry employs more than 4,500 workers and supports other industries that provide ancillary services to the mining industry. The new EPA plan will hurt the Alabama economy and force us to comply with Washington mandates that could result in higher electricity bills for Alabama families and business owners.”
The EPA recently released the Clean Power Plan, which seeks to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants. The plan would limit carbon emissions by 30% from existing power plants by 2030. Coal is the most reliable and lowest cost source of electricity in Alabama. Governor Bentley also believes the EPA has exceeded its authority in issuing these new regulations.
In February of 2014, Governor Bentley sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on behalf of the Southern States Energy Board expressing concerns with the new regulations. Governor Bentley currently serves as chairman of the Southern States Energy Board and, in the letter, said some regions of the country will be more dramatically impacted than others. The letter further states that the economies of coal and natural gas have helped develop a critical manufacturing and industrial base leading to an improved quality of life not only for residents of the South.
During Tuesday’s testimony, Galliher will outline the Governor’s concerns with the Clean Power Plan. The EPA regulations could have a devastating effect on the coal mining industry in Alabama and could eliminate over half of the 4,500 jobs provided by the coal industry in the state. In the future, the elimination of coal as a fuel for new electric generation would have far reaching implications for electricity prices, the economy and job creation in Alabama and other states.