Rail Conference Urges EPA to Reconsider Coal Regulations
WASHINGTON, March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Teamsters Rail Conference is urging the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider tough new environmental regulations for coal-fired power plants that could negatively impact railroad workers.
The EPA recently issued a final rule establishing mercury and air toxic standards. "This rule has the potential to cost our membership a staggering number of jobs by significantly decreasing the amount of coal used in electricity generation," said Teamsters Rail Conference President Dennis R. Pierce.
In a March 16 letter to President Obama, Pierce alerted the White House of the potentially devastating impact the rule could have on rail workers who are members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division (BMWED), which are divisions of the Teamsters Rail Conference. Pierce also serves as President of the BLET.
"Nearly one in five railroad jobs are related to coal haulage," Pierce said in the letter. "If these jobs are lost, it is not likely that new business generated on our nation's railroads will ever make up for the loss of coal."
According to the EPA, 40 percent of coal-fired power plants in operation in the United States are not equipped to comply with the new requirements. Bringing the plants into compliance would be so expensive that some power companies already have announced that they intend to close plants because complying with the regulation in the short time permitted by the rule would be too difficult and expensive.
Pierce stressed that, in these tough economic times, America needs more jobs, not less.
The rail conference fully supports the administration's high-speed rail and green jobs initiatives, Pierce wrote. But the new requirements "take the nation in the opposite direction, and our members simply cannot bear the costs of these emissions regulations."
Pierce asked the administration to support the petitions for reconsideration of the new source emission limits that will be filed with the EPA. "We also ask you to include coal in your 'all of the above' plan for America's energy future so that a balanced energy policy can be maintained," he said.
View Pierce's letter at http://www.ble-t.org/pr/pdf/Obama_MATS_Rule.pdf
The Teamsters Rail Conference represents more than 70,000 rail workers employed as locomotive engineers, trainmen and maintenance of way workers across the United States as members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes.
The Teamsters Union was founded in 1903 and represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information www.teamster.org or follow us on Twitter @teamsterpower.
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