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My Effort to Protect Your Electric Supply

By: West Virginia PSC Chairman Charlotte R. Lane

A sworn statement I issued recently on behalf of the Public Service Commission is at the heart of a multistate effort, led by West Virginia, to limit efforts of the federal government to wreck our state’s economy.
While that is an important element of my work, it is even more crucial to protect and defend the nation’s electric energy supply.
I’m angry. And I am determined to protect the reliability of that energy source to the maximum extent I can.
I confess this latest assault by the federal government on coal-fired electric energy generation has deeply upset me. But we are talking about the promise that when you go home tonight and flip that electric switch, you are going to have power to cook your dinner, watch television or use your home computer.
I reiterate it is all well and good to aspire to a higher plane in energy production and to protect the environment. Who wouldn’t want that? I want that. Everyone wants that. But the practical reality is that wanting is not getting.
Wishing for a cleaner energy supply is doing just that – wishing. You can pass all the laws you want, calling on us to switch to cleaner energy. But none of that is going to make cleaner energy more reliable.
And until that reliability is assured, we realists want to stick with what we know is a reliable energy source. And that is coal. It is the backbone of our state’s economy.
So new rules proposed by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency that will accelerate the end of coal-fired electric generation are being opposed by the Public Service Commission and our state government and more than half the other states.
These rules are issued under the fictitious notion that a mostly untried technology, labeled carbon capture, will allow electric power plants to use coal in the future with some slight adjustments.
This is not true. Those adjustments are not simple. EPA, industry, and anyone in the know can clearly tell you that. They are untested, untried, and unreliable.
So for now, my 27-page sworn statement about the incredible damage these rules will cause will be a cornerstone of the lawsuit that fights to keep our reliable energy supply safe.