Fears became a reality this week when Kentucky Power announced its plans to close the primary generating unit at its Big Sandy Plant in Louisa, KY. The writing was already on the wall earlier this year when Kentucky Power officials announced that it would not make the nearly $1 billion investment needed to install new scrubbers to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s newest unprecedented mandates.
Instead, Kentucky Power plans to power the region by purchasing half of the operations at American Electric Power’s Mitchell Generation Station in Moundsville, WV. By 2015, the two million tons of coal consumed per year by the Big Sandy Plant will fall to zero, costing approximately 500 coal-related jobs.
But the job loss is not the only blood on the EPA’s hands. As a result of the EPA’s radical green decrees, Kentucky Power will be raising rates by 8% for customers. If the utility company had acquiesced to the initial demands of the EPA and installed the costly scrubbers, customers’ bills would have soared 31% higher.
And what do Kentuckians get for these rate increases? Plants like Big Sandy currently release emissions considered 90% clean. $1 billion worth of scrubbers will make the emissions 98% clean. The EPA has yet to explain how this 8% reduction will improve living conditions for Kentuckians, yet alone how 8% is worth the costs forced on the commonwealth by these mid-Atlantic bureaucrats.
Commonsense suggests that the costs and benefits of Kentucky coal would be best weighed by those most affected by the black rock – Kentuckians.