Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, the former governor of coal-producing West Virginia, is blasting the Obama administration for using the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate coal-fueled power plants out of business.
On Thursday, American Electric Power company announced that to comply with a series of EPA regulations, it will close five coal-fired plants — three in West Virginia and one each in Ohio and Virginia — at a net cost of 600 jobs.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states.
“We have worked for months to develop a compliance plan that will mitigate the impact of these rules for our customers and preserve jobs, but because of the unrealistic compliance timelines in the EPA proposals, we will have to prematurely shut down nearly 25 percent of our current coal-fueled generating capacity, cut hundreds of good power plant jobs, and invest billions of dollars in capital to retire, retrofit and replace coal-fueled power plants,” said AEP Chairman and CEO Michael G. Morris.
“The sudden increase in electricity rates and impacts on state economies will be significant at a time when people and states are still struggling,” he added.