A Message from the ACC CEO
Games of Chance Janet Gellici, CAE, Chief Executive Officer, American Coal Council
he theme of this issue of American Coal – Coal is Our “Rock” – brought to mind a childhood game: Paper-Rock-Scissors. Two or more players hold up a clenched fist and on the count of three extend their hand with either a paper, rock or scissors gesture. Paper denoted by an open hand, rock by a clenched fist and scissors with a two-fingered “V.” The winner of the round is the player whose choice of a gesture beats out the other players’ choices – paper wraps (beats) rock, rock blunts (beats) scissors and scissors cut (beat) paper. Coal, our rock, seems to be getting wrapped up in a lot of paper these days. Our industry is facing an unprecedented and overwhelming number of legislative, regulatory and judicial initiatives. The list includes: • Coal Mine Permitting – EPA and Senate efforts to curtail “mountaintop mining” through the Clean Water Act and other means, effectively placing a moratorium on new coal mines and potentially reducing coal production nationwide by 10-70%.
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• Utility Water Discharge – EPA’s initiative to establish new guidelines that are likely to result in tighter standards and higher costs for power plant operations, including coal ash handling. • Coal Ash Regulations – Pending EPA rulemakings could reclassify coal ash as a hazardous waste under Subtitle C of RCRA, jeopardizing the $6.4-$11.4 economic value of beneficially utilizing coal combustion products which was identified in the ACC’s recent CCP Economic Assessment study. • EPA Multi-Pollutant Regulations – New CAIR guidelines and CAMR regulations (HAPs MACT) will extend and impose stricter regulations on criteria emissions. • EPA Smog Regulations – New rules to lower the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone (NAAQS) are expected this summer. • EPA GHG Rulemaking – A final rulemaking and enforcement of EPA’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding and “Tailoring Rule” are pending. • SEC Guidance – The Security & Exchange Commission’s Interpretive Release effectively imposes new corporate disclosure requirements pertaining to business implications of global warming. • Power Plant Permitting – EPA appears to be taking an increased role in power plant permitting, recently overriding and reversing two state-approved permits on various counts. Paper will likely continue to dominate the game given that public nuisance injunctions are now condoned for operations that supposedly contribute to global warming and private lawsuits can now
be initiated for damages resulting from global warming impacts. But efforts are underway to cut through the morass of paper initiatives, • Numerous resolutions and bills have been introduced in the Senate and the House to block EPA from regulating GHG under the Clean Air Act. • A Congressional Coal Caucus has been formed in the House. • Congressional delegates are objecting to the usurpation of states’ rights on coal mine and power plant permitting, as well as coal ash management. • EPA has been forced to delay its pending coal ash hazardous waste designation because of intensive OMB and Congressional examination of the proposed rulemaking. • Climategate has gained some traction, as various organizations and states sue EPA to re-examine its endangerment finding in light of questionable scientific data and practices. The scissor-wielders certainly have their work cut out for them; the “rocks” among us need to be careful not to blunt their efforts. Paper-Rock-Scissors is primarily a game of chance, involving little strategy or skill. Perhaps the main message to take away from the articles in this issue is that our nation’s energy and national security should not be left to chance. Without a long-range plan, without understanding the consequences and cumulative impacts of our choices, without a coordinated, cooperative effort there’s a chance we’ll end up in a stalemate. What frustrates me most playing PaperRock-Scissors is the outcome when, with three players in the game, one shows paper, another rock, another scissors – nobody wins. u