Federal Regulations Could Impact Coal Industry - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Federal Regulations Could Impact Coal Industry

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Your electric bill could increase. That is the scenario the coal industry in North Dakota is concerned about following President Obama's speech to cut carbon pollution across the country. Industry leaders fear the president is proposing an unattainable regulation.

The coal based power plants stand tall in the North Dakota prairie producing electricity to power homes all across the state. But their existence is under attack after President Obama announced his new national climate action plan to cut carbon pollution across the country.

"We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and sulfur and arsenic in the air or our water but power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution in the air for free," said President Barack Obama.

But the coal industry says cutting down on carbon emissions is not so easy because the technology to achieve the president's desires does not exist. Which means it is going to come to more fines on the coal industry and ultimately the consumer.

"If something is forced upon plants and if the technology is not there, it is very very expensive to do that," said Daryl Hill with Basin Electric.

The president is also proposing to double renewable energy sources on public lands, in an effort to limit the need for coal. But Hill says Mr. Obama is turning his back on the coal industry and without coal, providing reliable low cost energy would be impossible.

"When renewables, especially wind are available, it is a great way for displacing a fossil fuel. But the downside of renewables or wind is that if the wind is not blowing, how else are you going to provide electricity," said Hill.

"If not coal, then what? What is going to provide that base load power generation that provides that 24/7 electricity and does it reliably and affordably for Americans," said Steve Van Dyke with the Lignite Energy Council.

Coal industry leaders are also concerned that Mr. Obama is leaving the regulating up to the EPA and not our elected legislators.

President Obama did not specify how long the eight North Dakota power plants will have to comply with new federal regulations.

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