Consumer Group, Organizations, Elected Officials and Regulators Voice Concern on EPA “Clean Power Plan”

EPA protest

The American economy is literally energized by one of the world’s most complex and efficient machines – the nation’s electrical grid and its associated power plants.  Since Edison and the 1880’s, this interconnected grid has operated best through close-to-the-customer oversight at the state level.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking to federalize our nation’s energy policy through the burdensome “Clean Power Plan”.

The undersigned group of citizens, elected officials and regulators say again to U.S. EPA that their extremely burdensome regulation without due consideration of customers should be cause for concern.

Last summer in response to the draft “Clean Power Plan”, hundreds of leaders with diverse backgrounds across the nation came together to tell U.S. EPA that the “Plan” should:

  1. Consider customer costs;
  2. Preserve fuel options;
  3. Maintain electric grid reliability and;
  4. Respect states-rights and their unique circumstances.

To the first point, the U.S. Supreme Court recently reprimanded U.S. EPA for not including consumer costs in their evaluation of other regulations.  It appears EPA didn’t get the message.  

Consumers across the country call for a retooling of the “Plan” that gives credit for the significant emissions reductions America has already accomplished, provides realistic timelines for compliance, thoughtfully considers impacts on consumers, and pays deference to states’ authority to make energy decisions in the ultimate interest of consumers and ratepayers.

To avoid production and planning uncertainty related to our nation’s vital energy infrastructure, EPA should reconsider its “Plan” in light of all the ongoing court proceedings and the legitimate concerns raised by bipartisan policymakers, non-partisan regulators, and the consumers they serve.  Jobs, reliability and consumers of energy across the nation depend on this relief.

Alaska Senator Cathy Giessel
Atlanta Metro Chamber
Al Henley, (retired) President of Alabama AFL-CIO
Consumer Energy Alliance
Georgia Public Service Commission, Chairman Chuck Eaton
Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols
Georgia Rep. Chuck Martin
Georgia Agribusiness Council
Georgia Chamber of Commerce
IBEW Local Union 111
IBEW Local Union 5
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Manufacture Alabama
North Dakota Rep. Bob Skarphol
Ohio Rep. Mike Dovilla
Mayor Ray Beck, Craig, CO
Operating Engineers Local 66
Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE)
Pennsylvania Senator Pat Stefano
Pennsylvania Camera Bartolotta
Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Kortz
Pennsylvania Coal Alliance
Utah Rep. Steve Handy
Wyoming Sen. Drew Perkins

Energy Foundation attempting to hijack Alabama’s energy policy, again

The San Francisco based Energy Foundation is once again attempting to hijack Alabama’s energy policy. Two years ago, this liberal West Coast organization funded the “War on Coal” fought at the Alabama Public Service Commission by their environmental extremist partners,the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), Alabama Environmental Council (AEC), and GASP. After their radical energy agenda was defeated in Alabama in 2013, the Energy Foundation decided to double down and pour a record amount money into their front groups.

Recently, a group that received $440,000 from the Energy Foundation in 2014, the “Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis,” released a misleading report claiming that utility customers are left out of the decision making process at the Alabama Public Service Commission. Their assertion could not be further from the truth. We choose our representatives on the PSC at the ballot box, which makes our commissioners accountable to the citizens they serve. Last year, Alabama voters made their voice heard when they went to the polls and soundly defeated the PSC candidate who supported giving environmental groups more power at the commission.


The report, ironically titled “Left in the Dark,” argues that environmental groups should be able to influence the development of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which outlines the mix of coal, nuclear, natural gas, and renewables that will be used to generate power over the next two decades. In other states where the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) have the level of access to the IRP process they are seeking here in Alabama, they use it to demand the shuttering of coal-fired power plants and insist they be replaced by costly renewable power sources. If these groups have their way, Alabama families and businesses will be “left in the dark” by a more expensive and less reliable energy future.

The Energy Foundation funds a well-organized national network of environmental groups that are working at the state and local levels to support and advance President Obama’s energy polices. Allowing these radical groups to influence our energy policy would be tantamount to handing the keys to the Alabama PSC over to President Obama himself.

Over the last twelve months, the Energy Foundation has poured a record amount of money into the environmental groups fighting against reliable and affordable energy in Alabama.  The breakdown below shows how much each group received in 2014.

Southern Alliance for Clean Energy $990,000
Southern Environmental Law Center $545,000
Alabama Environmental Council $60,000
Alabama Rivers Alliance $65,000
Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis $440,000

EPA’s new ozone regulations will have a devastating impact on the nation’s economy

New ozone regulations recently announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are on the horizon and, once implemented, will have a devastating impact on the manufacturing industry, energy, and the nation’s economy, especially in the State of Alabama. The EPA is slated to issue final ozone standards by October 1, 2015.

Under the Clean Air Act (CAA), the EPA is tasked with setting National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for six different pollutants considered harmful to the nation’s public health, with ozone being one of those pollutants. Different from the protective layer of ozone found in the stratosphere, ground-level ozone (or “bad” ozone) is formed when emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) react with sunlight to form smog and migrate to ground-level.[i] NOx and VOCs originate from burning fossil fuels, industrial facilities, automobiles, and other related sources.[ii]

The current NAAQS standard for ground-level ozone is 75 parts per billion (ppb), which was set by the EPA in 2008. Today, almost half of the United States population lives in a state or area that has not met the current ozone standard, also known as a “nonattainment” area. Typically, severe financial and economic penalties exist for nonattainment areas under CAA, including loss of highway funding. Instead of allowing these states to catch up to the 2008 standard, the EPA is now targeting power plants and factories in its plan to tighten the standards even further, to a range of 65-70 ppb, making them even more burdensome and unattainable for states. Further, the new and more stringent regulation is slated to be an expensive one, especially for the manufacturing industry.

A NERA Economic Consulting study assessing the new regulation’s potential impact projected an overall annual cost of $26 billion, an annual reduction in U.S. GDP by $270 billion, and a loss of approximately 609,000 jobs annually. The report goes further to point out a number of inaccuracies in the EPA’s regulatory impact analysis meant to support its decision, and it highlights the EPA’s failure to demonstrate that the benefits of additional ozone regulations trump the costs involved.

The regulatory burden will no doubt be a heavy one. In 2011, even President Obama acknowledged the burden this new regulation could potentially have on the manufacturing industry, in addition to the cost of millions of jobs, when he asked the EPA to withdraw this same rule. The National Association of Manufacturers predicts that the new ozone regulation will be “the most expensive regulation” ever issued by the U.S. Government.[iii] As it continues to raise its profile in top-notch manufacturing job recruits, the impact of the new regulations on both manufacturing and the energy industry will hit the state of Alabama especially hard. While Alabama’s energy sites are currently in compliance with federal ozone standards, that status will change once the new ozone standards are implemented. The state’s energy supplies would be affected when production of fossil fuels will have to be reduced in order to ensure compliance with the new standards.

While EPA’s new ozone regulation will dramatically reduce the amount of ozone allowed in the air, it will have a similarly dramatic effect on the economy, with no clear benefits for improving the air quality any more than has already been done over the past several years. With the removal of political accountability due to the EPA’s careful timing of its announcement, and no clear justification of the new standards from a health and scientific standpoint, it is clear that these regulations largely serve as a direct aim towards power plants and the manufacturing industry. This roundabout attack on energy by the EPA could lead the eventual closing of coal-fired power plants. As a result, the eventual increase in electricity prices and economic damage for families and the industrial sector will prove more harmful to everyone than the pollution the EPA is claiming to eradicate.

Where Will You Be When the Lights Go Out?

The EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan would raise utility prices and threaten the grid’s reliability.

Power outage

By Kevin Cramer
Source: WSJ 
Dec. 10, 2014

Pushback against the Obama administration’s complex Clean Power Plan—which would reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 30% in 2030 from 2005 levels—has mostly focused on its staggering cost. NERA Economic Consulting, for instance, estimates the plan will increase the nationwide average price of electricity 12% to 17% over 15 years. But a pair of recent reports present an even more ominous picture. Not only will electricity cost more, Americans might not be able to get it when they most need it.

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), a regulatory authority that monitors the U.S. and Canadian power systems, released a study on Nov. 12 concluding that the long-term reliability of the U.S. grid in some areas is already at risk. Because of rapid shifts to renewable and natural-gas generation, combined with closures of coal-fueled power plants due to existing Environmental Protection Agency regulations, “reserve margins” in the Midwest, New York and Texas have reached dangerously low levels—meaning an increased likelihood of brownouts and blackouts in the coldest weeks of winter and the hottest days of summer.

This analysis of the grid’s long-term reliability left out the potential impact of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, which would force even more coal-fueled power plants to close. A separate NERC report, released one week earlier on Nov. 5, pointed out that the plan’s compliance deadlines for reducing carbon emissions were not realistic when considering how long it takes to build new gas pipelines and electricity transmission lines necessary for new and existing renewable and natural-gas plants to serve customers previously served by coal plants.

More precisely, NERC pointed out that the EPA’s estimates for continuous 1.5% energy efficiency gains each year are unsubstantiated, specifically stating, “this sustainability is not supported by any peer-reviewed or technical studies of energy efficiency potential.” This creates an incentive to close even more coal-fueled power plants to meet carbon-dioxide reduction requirements not actually attained by energy efficiency, posing even greater risks to the availability of electricity throughout the U.S.

These warnings are worth paying attention to. NERC is not a special-interest group. It is a nonprofit, nonpartisan body of experts in the engineering and operation of power grids. They are the architects of the miracle we take for granted every time we flip a switch and electricity instantaneously appears from generating sources hundreds of miles away.

EPA personnel are environmental regulators, not electrical engineers, and have no experience in or knowledge of the construction and operation of power grids. But it is inexcusable that the agency failed to heed the advice of those who do have such expertise. The administration’s Clean Power Plan will remake an enormous sector of the U.S. economy, affecting almost every industry and every consumer. It is irresponsible in the extreme that this plan has been put forth without due consideration of the risk it poses to the reliability of the nation’s electricity supply.

Billions of dollars and decades of time have been invested in building an electricity infrastructure that undeniably works. Yet the EPA would replace it with expensive and uncertain measures to accomplish reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions that won’t even move the needle on climate change globally. The consequences could be catastrophic if the transition results in blackouts and brownouts during extreme weather conditions or other emergencies when electricity is needed most.

Of course, the anti-carbon crowd and the current EPA bureaucrats won’t be held accountable if the Clean Power Plan disrupts the future reliability of the grid. In any case, this disruption won’t be felt for several years, most likely when the Obama administration is history. But whoever is occupying the Oval Office, regardless of political party, will not find it a pleasant place to be when the lights start flickering.

Mr. Cramer, a Republican, is a U.S. congressman from North Dakota. As a public-service commissioner in North Dakota from 2003-12, he regulated the electrical utilities industry.




The South’s Top Ten Carbon Hypocrites

JobKeeper Alliance, a job-focused nonprofit organization strongly opposed to the EPA’s proposed limits on carbon emissions, launched a new effort spotlighting individuals they call “carbon hypocrites.” A website unveiled this week features a list of The South’s Top Ten Carbon Hypocrites, with names of those on the list to be reveled over the next three weeks.

The project highlights the disparity between a group of elite environmentalists who praise President Obama’s Climate Action Plan while enjoying an energy intensive lifestyle verses the middle-class working families who use far less energy, but will bear the highest costs resulting from the job-killing carbon regulations.

Stephen Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, earned a top spot on the list of carbon hypocrites for directing $92,000 in payments from the green group he leads to an aviation business he owns for flights on his private plane, travel that was presumably in support of the nonprofit organization’s anti-carbon mission. Another noteworthy name landing a top spot on the list is Dell Brooke, a Southern Environmental Law Center Board Member who supports energy polices that will force average families to use less energy, while her 9,000 sq. ft. home and beach house consume more electricity in just two months than the average household uses in an entire year.

Visit to learn more about this project and individuals featured on our list of The South’s Top Ten Carbon Hypocrites.

JobKeeper Alliance is a 501(c)(4) alliance formed between the business community and labor. This partnership is cemented by the two group’s mutual interest in protecting and creating quality jobs.

Tuscaloosa News Editorial: Not all can afford global-warming tax

It’s not often that we support the positions that newspaper editorialists take on issues related to climate-change, but we agree wholeheartedly with the Tuscaloosa News’ editorial “Not all can afford global-warming tax.”

The fact is, there is a huge disparity between the lifestyles of the politicians and environmental activist elites that are praising EPA’s Climate Agenda and the average working families whose quality of life will be diminished by the higher energy costs and job loss that will result from EPA’s overreaching carbon rules. In the coming months, JobKeeper will be highlighting the “carbon footprint hypocrisy” that exists within the environmental activists community. In the meantime, please take a moment to read this editorial and share it with your friends and co-workers.

Tuscaloosa News Editorial: Not all can afford global-warming tax
Published September 26, 2014

Ordinary people should pay more to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They shouldn’t have the freedom of movement that automobiles offer. And they shouldn’t be allowed the luxury of world travel.

So say wealthy corporate executives and plutocrats who claim it’s time for something be done about global warming or climate change; you know, the theory that it’s getting colder because it’s getting warmer.

“The idea long advocated by policymakers, economists and environmental activists is that the world can’t hope to slow the heating of the planet until its cost is incorporated in the everyday activities that contribute to it, such as gas or coal-generated electricity, driving a car, shipping a package or flying around the globe,” reports the Associated Press.

This is what AP reports “hundreds of corporations, insurance companies and pension funds are calling on world leaders gathered for a U.N. summit on climate change” in New York to do. No doubt they made their voices heard from the backseats of stretch limos, the cabins of private jets and the studies of massive mansions.

It’s easy to propose “paying a little more,” whether its taxes or just the cost of everyday items like food or fuel, when you can afford to “pay a little more” and still have more than enough to enjoy those things and plenty others. The people who propose the sacrifices for ordinary working people, the plutocrats and the political elite know that their lifestyles will continue unabated.

Thus they can put their faith in the alleged science of climate change, in computer models that keep missing predictions. It’s easy to be a true believer when the cost is negligible. It’s easy to advocate costly policies that make people feel good while accomplishing little or nothing when your lifestyle rocks on as fat and fine as ever.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s Carbon Emission Hypocrisy

Over the past few months, proponents of EPA’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants have been diligently praising the agency and President Obama for “taking action on climate change.” In this region, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is one of the strongest supporters of the costly carbon rules. However, this organization’s words do not match their actions.

During the EPA’s public hearing in Atlanta, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Executive Director Stephen Smith told the agency that “rejecting science and failing to address and curb global warming pollution, which is leading to climate change and extreme climate disruption, shreds the intergenerational commitment of leaving a better world to our children.” Smith’s testimony sounds convincing, if you ignore the fact that he flew to and from that hearing in a luxurious private plane paid for by his environmental activist group.

Those who visit the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s website,, will find a lot of information about the pitfalls of carbon emissions and even some stories about Smith’s Nissan Leaf. What you will not find is any mention of the $92,000 that the nonprofit group paid to an aviation company owned by their executive director for private flights on his $300,000 plane. Many in the environmental community might consider the heavy carbon footprint left by one of their own a cardinal sin.

Actions speak louder than words, which is why it is hard to take the words of Stephen Smith and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy seriously. Flying hundreds of miles in private plane so that you can lecture the public about carbon pollution is hypocrisy, not environmental advocacy.

To be clear, JobKeeper Alliance strongly opposes EPA’s proposed carbon emission regulations for existing power plants. This misguided policy will kill jobs, weaken our economy, raise energy costs, and make our grid less reliable. We believe the high cost of this regulation far outweighs the benefit of the projected 1% reduction in global carbon emissions.

Stephen Smith's Plane 07-29-2014 w- SACE logo

Alabama coal war: Judge dismisses federal lawsuit seeking to shutter dozens of coal mines

Published by on May 28, 2014
By Kent Faulk |

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – The Black Warrior Riverkeeper last week lost a federal court battle to bring a halt to permits that allow Alabama mining companies to fill small streams with coal waste.

Coal groups applauded the judge’s ruling, saying it protects coal jobs in Alabama. They called the Riverkeeper’s lawsuit frivolous and a part of what they say is a war by the Obama Administration on the coal industry.

“The baseless attacks of these local liberal groups are nothing more than an effort to do the bidding of west coast extremists who will stop at nothing to get their way in Alabama and kill our jobs and raise our energy prices,” Alabama Coal Association President George Barber stated in a Wednesday press release.

But the war isn’t over for the Birmingham-based Riverkeeper group, which says the issue is about protecting state water resources.

“We are disappointed in the ruling because it effectively gives Alabama’s rivers and streams less protection from destructive coal mining impacts than rivers in other mining states, including Kentucky and West Virginia.,” Catherine Wannamaker, attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said Wednesday.

The Riverkeeper’s attorney, Eva L. Dillard, on Wednesday also filed the group’s notice of appeal to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Alabama Coal Association was represented by attorneys from Balch & Bingham LLP.

U.S. District Court Judge William Acker last week issued a ruling in a 2012 lawsuit brought by the Riverkeeper and one other environmental group over the permits that allow the filling of streams with coal waste. The judge granted summary judgments in favor of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which issues the permits, and the Alabama Coal Association and four of its member companies.

The four companies are MS&R Equipment Co., Inc., Reed Minerals, Inc., Twin Pines, LLC, and Walter Minerals, Inc.

The Riverkeeper in the lawsuit, among other things, challenged the grandfather provision in the 2012 Nationwide Permit 21. That permit, which is issued by the Corps under the federal Clean Water Act, allows the filling of streams and wetlands with coal mining material. The grandfather provision allows mining companies that had five-year permits under 2007 rules to continue the unlimited filling of streams for five more years without obtaining a new authorization under the more restrictive 2012 rules, according to the group’s lawsuit.

The Riverkeeper claims more than 27 miles of streams in the Black Warrior River watershed are being filled as a result of 41 permits issued in Alabama. Courts have barred coal mining companies in other states, including Kentucky and West Virginia, from operating with permits under the grandfather rule, the Riverkeeper has noted.

Acker had earlier rejected a motion by the Riverkeeper for an injunction to halt the permits while the lawsuit proceeded. The group, the Corps and coal industry then each sought summary judgments in their favor on the issues.

Acker granted the summary judgment motions by the Corps and coal industry but not the Riverkeeper in last week’s ruling.

Acker, in his 38-page opinion, rejected arguments by the Riverkeeper that contended that the Corps improperly relied on an analysis of the accumulative effects of allowing stream fills performed from 2007 when it issued the new NWP 21 in 2012. The judge also rejected the group’s claim that the Corps’ Clean Water Act cumulative effects analysis under the permit is arbitrary and capricious because the Corps did not properly consider compensatory mitigation “and because compensatory mitigation does not have a factual basis.”

An Environmental Protection Agency website defines compensatory mitigation as “the restoration, establishment, enhancement, or in certain circumstances preservation of wetlands, streams or other aquatic resources for the purpose of offsetting unavoidable adverse impacts.”

In his ruling, also Acker found that the Riverkeeper should have filed its suit when the new rules were put in place, not months afterward. “Intervenors (coal companies) took actions in reliance on the (permit) reauthorizations in the 9-10 months that plaintiffs delayed before bringing suit. The court knows that intervenors would be badly hurt by a vacatur (removal) of 2012 NWP 21(a), but cannot say whether vacatur would benefit plaintiffs,” the judge states.

The coal industry had told the judge that granting summary judgment in favor of the Riverkeeper would bring a halt to the surface coal mining industry in Alabama and put a $783 million dent in the state’s economy.

“Judge Acker’s prompt dismissal of this lawsuit is a major victory for the estimated 1,000 coal miners whose livelihoods were put in jeopardy by this legal challenge,” Patrick Cagle, executive director of JobKeeper Alliance, stated in an email to on Wednesday. “Black Warrior Riverkeeper and the Southern Environmental Law Center have routinely pursued litigation such as this as a back door approach to ending coal mining in Alabama.”

EPA regulations not stringent enough, according to local environmental group

By Patrick Cagle
Special to 
Posted April 11, 2014
Stacie Propst, executive director of the environmental group GASP, recently published a guest editorial that was inexplicably misleading.

In her opinion piece, Propst urges members of the community to oppose the renewal of ABC Coke’s Title V Operating Permit as a means of “taking back control” from the “political goliaths.” Her populist rhetoric is used as a diversionary tactic that implies impropriety by omitting relevant facts.

Propst never mentions that ABC Coke, a plant that turns Alabama mined metallurgical coal into a product used to make steel, is in full compliance with all regulations and mandates established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The truth is, GASP wants ABC Coke to be held to standards stricter than those required by the EPA, which is a tough pill to swallow since overregulation has become a hallmark of the environmental agency under the leadership of President Obama.

The mounting regulatory burden the EPA has placed on the coal industry has pushed it to the verge of collapse. Now, local groups like GASP are urging regulators to tighten their stranglehold on the embattled industry. This two-pronged approach is the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation’s strategy for killing coal. First, the Foundation applies pressure from the top-down by giving grants to groups working at the national level to “secure new EPA rules to limit pollution from coal-fired power plants.” Then, they apply pressure from the bottom-up by giving grants to environmental groups like GASP that are working at the state and local level to “accelerate the retirement of coal-fired power plants in Alabama.” By creating this echo chamber of activist groups demanding action, they produce the illusion of broad public support that encourages the Obama Administration to call for new job-killing EPA regulations. This strategy bears a striking resemblance to the “sue and settle” tactic that environmental groups have used to induce EPA rule making behind closed doors.

The Energy Foundation has given $2.8 million dollars to the coalition of anti-coal environmental groups that are active in Alabama. This coalition is comprised of the Alabama Environmental Council, Alabama Rivers Alliance, GASP, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and the Southern Environmental Law Center. This month, GASP is earning their keep by fighting against the ABC Coke Plant. Next month, it could be any combination of these groups. The Energy Foundation sees the big picture, and so must we. Their ideology should take a backseat to the economic wellbeing of hardworking Alabama families.

Alabama legislators show overwhelming, bipartisan support for state’s coal industry and miners


WHEREAS, the State of Alabama is blessed with the abundance of coal that is used to provide low-cost electricity to individual homes, business, and industry; and

WHEREAS, this same low-cost energy is a key factor in recruiting industry into the state, which in turn provides employment opportunities not otherwise available; and

WHEREAS, the State of Alabama utilizes coal as part of the overall mix of energy production and has a 200-year supply of coal remaining; and

WHEREAS, the coal industry has been very vibrant in Alabama for well over 100-plus years and has employed thousands of miners to extract this valuable natural resource; and

WHEREAS, currently there are over 4,000 miners working to provide coal for the benefit of the State of Alabama and its citizens; and

WHEREAS, there are over 16,000 indirect vendor jobs associated with the mines that provide good employment not only directly, but also indirectly; and

WHEREAS, the mining industry is a two billion dollar annual industry in Alabama, producing millions of tax dollars into the state and local governments each year, along with millions more in charitable and civic contributions; now therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA, BOTH HOUSES THEREOF CONCURRING, That we hereby commend the Alabama coal industry and the individual miners for their continuing efforts, under great duress from outside interests, to provide a low-cost energy source in order that our citizens may continue enjoying a good quality of life and access to good jobs.

Sponsored by:  Senators Bedford, Waggoner, Singleton, Blackwell and Reed