West Virginia could improve energy efficiency, expand renewable generation of electricity and increase its reliance on natural gas as part of an “all-of-the-above” plan to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to curb greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, according to a new analysis released on Monday.
The use of coal would decline under such a plan, but coal would still account for three-quarters of the state’s generation load, according to the analysis, prepared by the West Virginia University College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and the environmental consulting firm Downstream Strategies…
…Among other things, the report that explains there is little that the DEP can really do to protect the coal industry when it eventually writes a plan for complying with the carbon dioxide rules that the EPA is expected to finalize in August.
“While these challenges appear stark in the face of carbon pollution mandates, the long-term loss of coal jobs in West Virginia has persisted for decades, and in recent years declines in coal jobs and coal severance tax revenues have grown increasingly more pressing as market forces converge with increasingly stringent environmental regulations,” the report said. “West Virginia has the resources to meet these challenges, however, and can usher in new economic opportunities throughout the Mountain State.”
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