State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) expressed concerns today over the Clean Power Plan, a proposal from the Obama Administration and US Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) that aims to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. The new regulations largely focus on traditional coal-fired plants, like the Sammis and Cardinal plants in Jefferson County.


“Coal plays an important role in Eastern Ohio’s economy,” said Rep. Cera. “From coal mining to those working on river barges, railroads and manufacturing, new carbon mandates from Washington could force hundreds of people here in Eastern Ohio out of their jobs.”


The administration’s plan focuses on the development of other, renewable sources of energy like wind, solar and natural gas. Though renewable energy production is cleaner than many traditional forms, some experts have questioned how new technologies would affect the electric grid. Traditional energy sources such as coal are often seen as more reliable for base load generation.


“While I agree that we should cautiously move forward with renewable energy and natural gas electric generation, I am concerned about the reliability of those sources for base load generation,” Cera added. “A radical shift from traditional energy sources like coal in favor of renewables could short circuit research and development that promises to make our coal-fired plants more efficient, cost-effective and reliable in the long-run.”

Rep. Cera serves on the Ohio Coal Technical Advisory Committee, which funds research looking at ways to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. One such technology developed at The Ohio State University is the Coal-Direct Chemical Looping Process, which presents a lower cost way to reduce carbon emissions.

“Ohio needs to do what is best, not only for consumers, but what will help our economy and create the most jobs,” Cera said. “Renewable energy has potential, but I believe we need a more holistic approach coming from Washington. These new federal EPA regulations hurt our local economy. We need to do what is best for Ohioans, not just what is politically expedient.”

Rep. Cera also serves on the Senate Bill 310 Mandates Study Committee that is reviewing Ohio’s law on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

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