Energy & Environment

EPA chief: US needs coal to protect electric grid


The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) argued Wednesday that using coal for electricity is necessary for the reliability of the electric grid.

Speaking on Fox Business’s “Varney & Co.,” Scott Pruitt warned of the problems of relying too heavily on natural gas, which has increased in use over the last decade as coal has fallen.

Pruitt argued in part that cybersecurity concerns should inspire the country to maintain coal as a significant fuel source.

{mosads}“Utility companies across this country need fuel diversity. You need solid hydrocarbons on-site that you can store, so when peak demand rises, you’ve got solid hydrocarbons to draw on,” Pruitt told host Charles Payne.

“What would happen if we had an attack on our infrastructure when you’ve diverted to natural gas almost exclusively and you don’t have coal there as a safeguard to preserve the grid?” he asked.

“I mean, it’s a smart strategy for this country to invest in technology and innovation, burn coal, burn natural gas, use renewables, make sure we advance nuclear. But it truly needs to be a part of the fuel diversity with utilities across the country.”

Earlier in his appearance, Pruitt boasted about the United States reducing its greenhouse gas emissions without regulations like the Clean Power Plan. Natural gas replacing coal over the last decade is the primary reason for that reduction.

“We’re leading the world already with our CO2 footprint,” he said. “What’s interesting about the reduction of our CO2 footprint is that it’s been accomplished without any government mandate.”

Pruitt and President Trump have worked on numerous fronts in recent months to push policies that help coal, mainly through working to repeal regulations that harmed the industry.

Trump has repeatedly promised, through his policies, to bring back the coal industry.

“You know what this says?” Trump said to a coal miner in March before signing an executive order to start repealing Obama’s climate regulations. “You’re going back to work.”

Separately, Energy Secretary Rick Perry has commissioned a study to examine whether renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power threaten grid reliability at the expense of coal and nuclear.

Tags Coal Electricity Environmental Protection Agency Rick Perry Scott Pruitt

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