Federal regulations blamed for Georgia utility closing 15 coal, oil power plants

Jason Hayes, spokesman for the American Coal Council said the Obama administration’s policies have combined with a sluggish economy and increasingly cheap natural gas – coal’s main competitor – to hurt the industry.

Tough federal emissions standards are being blamed for the closure of 15 coal-fired plants and the loss of nearly 480 jobs in Georgia.

Georgia Power plans to close the power plants, cutting its grid capacity by more than 15 percent, in a move the utility said was necessary to comply with federal regulations aimed at reducing air pollution.

“We recognize the significant impact that these retirements will have on the local communities and we took that into account when making these decisions,” said Georgia Power President and CEO Paul Bowers. “These decisions were made after extensive analysis and are necessary in order for us to maintain our commitment to provide the most reliable and affordable electricity to our customers.”

The announcement was hailed by environmental activists but lamented by coal industry advocates, who say the Obama administration is “targeting” their industry.

“There’s no question about it, the industry is being targeted by this administration,” Jason Hayes, spokesman for the American Coal Council, told FoxNews.com. He said current regulations and laws make it nearly impossible for older coal-burning plants to be upgraded in a cost-effective manner, leaving utilities like Georgia Power little choice but to shut them down.


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