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Indiana coal miner hires ex-EPA head Mr Scott Pruitt to lobby against plant closures

Coal News - Published on Wed, 24 Apr 2019

Image Source: utilitydive.com
Dive Brief: An Indiana coal mining company has hired former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Mr Scott Pruitt to lobby against the closure of coal-fired power plants in the state. Terra Haute-based Hallador Energy announced that it had hired Pruitt to "protect" Indiana power customers from rate increases caused by coal plant shutdowns. The Indianapolis Star reported last week that Pruitt had registered as a lobbyist in the state.

Hallador said Indiana utilities are closing coal plants "based on Obama era rules that Trump and his EPA are in the process of unwinding," but utilities say it is because natural gas and renewables are cheaper options. State lawmakers this month rejected a plan aimed at saving coal plants, but Hallador wants the language added to the state budget.

The Indiana coal sector's latest push to save their resource is based on a familiar argument — that coal, absent regulations, is cheaper than other sources of electricity.

Indiana utilities Vectren and the Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) have plans to shut most of their aging coal generators before 2030. The companies say replacing the plants with natural gas and renewables will be cheaper than keeping them online.

Hallador, however, argues the utilities only think coal is expensive due to the expected cost of Obama-era regulations on carbon emissions, mercury pollution and releases of coal ash and wastewater. The Trump administration aims to replace each with less stringent standards.

Hallador said in a release "[The utilities'] argument is that no one knows what the new rules will look like so we should hurry and make permanent decisions today. Who better than Scott Pruitt to aid the Indiana legislature on what Trump energy policy will look like?"

NIPSCO and Vectren did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But NIPSCO has said that its coal generators are not competitive with natural gas and renewables, even in favorable regulatory climates.

Source :

Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 24 Apr 2019
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