U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., has introduced a welcomed measure in the U.S. House of Representatives that could help in further boosting coal's future.
The legislation would allow a coal-burning power plant or related facility to retrofit or upgrade without meeting new environmental emission standards. Under the proposed measure, the plant or facility would only have to show an improvement in efficiency with less pollutants.
"That would allow some of those folks who have aging coal facilities to retrofit without a big expense," Griffith told the Daily Telegraph last week. "It would still cost money, but not nearly as much. They only have to show that it (emission standards) would be better than they were."
That way, rather than being forced to shut down, a plant or facility could stay open. And the plant could continue to use coal.
Griffith believes the measure will pass the Republican-controlled House and will be supported by President Donald Trump.
Under the Obama administration, a number of coal-fired power plants that provided good-paying jobs were forced to close as a result of unrealistic and overly stringent federal regulations. The Trump administration has since rolled back a number of those burdensome rules.
Still, in many cases, the damage is already done. A good example was the coal-fired power plant in Glen Lynn, which was forced to close in 2015.
Griffith says he would also like to see a certain percentage of Appalachian thermal coal, which is used in power plants, set aside as a reserve in case of a natural disaster or terrorist attack that would impact the natural gas supply or the supply of coal from western states.
That's a good idea.
We welcome the on-going efforts of Griffith, and other congressional Republicans, to boost coal production. The industry is rebounding, and this helps our regional economy. Every new job that is created in the coal and related service industries strengthens our region.