Monday, June 13, 2011

Rep. Morgan Griffith ponders electric cars without electricity

Congressman Morgan Griffith

More regulations = Lost jobs and high costs. This is what I have been talking and writing about. As you know, due to proposed EPA regulations, American Electric Power (AEP) announced last week that five of their coal-fired power plants are slated to close by December 2014 along with production cuts at six others. The Glen Lyn Plant in Giles County is one of those scheduled to close. In Russell County, two of the three generators at the Clinch River Plant will be shut down as well.

Compliance with EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants is just too costly for the industry. Oftentimes it’s more cost-effective to close shop than try to comply. These regulations also cost jobs. Approximately 600 good paying jobs at AEP will be lost nationwide, including potentially 44 in Giles County and 43 in Russell County. These job losses don’t just affect the AEP families in Giles and Russell Counties, but also the people who sell them cars, washing machines, and groceries. When so many families in the 9th District are already struggling to make ends meet, requiring power companies to comply with these rules will force electric rates to climb higher. Appalachian Power has estimated a 10-15 percent increase. It’s a huge cost for the entire economy, and it’s all because of the EPA.

On top of the announcement from AEP that regulations are going to kill their jobs, we learned last week that a shift in a federal determination could lead to more burdensome regulations on formaldehyde and styrene. These actions, if not stopped, could jeopardize jobs in the 9th District, with the brunt of those possible jobs losses coming in Bristol and Smyth County.

Why can’t the EPA and others in the Administration recognize that their actions kill jobs and destroy the economy not only in Southwest Virginia, but nationwide? These regulations should not be implemented unless they are absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, many of their recent actions are geared for small gains in the environment at the expense of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S.

The Obama Administration keeps wondering why the economy won’t create more jobs. Perhaps they need to start looking at their own policies. While some of their policies make sense, some are inconsistent. Earlier this year, President Obama stated one of his goals was to have a million electric cars on the road by 2015. While laudable, the question begs to be asked: Mr. President, how will you run these cars without electricity generated by coal?

On the positive side of electric cars, I had the opportunity to visit again the Evatran facility in Wytheville. Evatran is working to make electric cars a viable option for consumers by developing infrastructure for car charging stations. According to the Energy Information Administration, nearly half of America’s energy is generated by coal. In Southwest Virginia, it’s even more. The beauty of an electric car is that you can recoup your additional costs for the car and the equipment by using a lower cost fuel. That fuel is electricity generated largely from coal and nuclear power, but with the cost of electricity skyrocketing due to Administration policies it seems they are undermining their own stated goals.

In addition to touring Evatran this week, I also made a number of stops around the 9th District. I spoke with business people in Martinsville and Henry, Patrick, Washington, and Roanoke Counties. I visited a health care facility in the New River Valley along with meeting constituents in my offices and on the street. When I’m not in Washington my weeks are busy, but it is good to talk with people who have common sense, unlike so many of the professional Washingtonians.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Business, National, Politics

Tags: , , ,

Comments (3)

Mark McClain

June 13th, 2011 at 5:17 PM    

The answer to Morgan’s question about how you will run a million electric cars without electricity made from coal is surprisingly obvious. You will do it with electricity made from other sources (the other 50+% of our electric energy mix which isn’t coal, i.e. hydro, nuclear, natural gas, wind, and yes, even solar). In areas where there is significant wind energy, electric cars can be recharged overnight during low demand, low price periods. Electric motors are significantly more efficient that internal combustion engines. One million cars is a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start.


June 13th, 2011 at 10:34 PM    

Morgan Griffith want to double-down on the failed policies that have brought America to its knees. Any politician who embraces deregulation is missing the point of why we have a government. One of governments jobs is to protect the “people” from corporate abuse and they have failed. Griffith wants to give the banksters anything they ask for while delivering lip service to the voters and in the background he gives a big wet kiss to his corporate and “party” benefactors. Mr. griffith is just another example of what is wrong with our “bi-polarized party” political system.

Joey Williams

June 17th, 2011 at 1:28 PM    

Wow could the EPA leave companies alone for once. The administration while doing its job correctly is doing the exact opposite of what it promises. Jobs! Closing the plants means more people unemployed. The coal plants are providing reliable electric power sources and electric power to hundreds of people everyday across the country. Coal is our number 1 energy production in the US but we sell most of it to China when it be cheaper to just keep it here and use it ourselves. It costs us less that 5 cents to run a microwave for 1 hour off coal power but we’d rather send the coal to China for the money they offer. It doesn’t make since to close plants when your opening new ones like the surry coal plant in virginia. Anyways great article and sad to see Obama get his way again.

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