Southern Indiana coal industry responds to EPA regulations

Coal Picture

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Sunrise Coal LLC, a mining company with a facility based in Carlisle, responded Thursday to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently released “Clean Power Plan.”

The plan, which according to coal experts, includes a 1,000 page preamble, lays out guidelines to reduce carbon dioxide emissions up to 30% by 2030. The industry has advised, the transition would be difficult, because Indiana is dependent on coal-fired power plant energy.

80% of Indiana’s electricity is powered by coal-fired power plants.

“This is essentially an attempt to eliminate one of our two most abundant resources for producing electricity in the country,” said Suzanne Jaworowski, Director of Communications, Sunrise Coal.

About Sunrise Coal LLC: The company, which sits on highway 58 outside of Carlisle, employs roughly 375 staffers, with a average yearly salary of $75,000. Jobs at the site include subsurface and surface, with an output of 3 million tons bituminous coal annually, according to its website.

“Typically, a crew of 4 is working underground,” reads the mine’s website “They enter the mine on a specially-designed, low-profile mining vehicle through a 2,400-foot, 16% grade tunnel. It takes 20 minutes to arrive at 1 of the 5 working sections.”

Business was usual Thursday, despite the EPA’s recent announcement. But, the announcement does have the company’s attention.

“The EPA’s goal is to go as close to zero percent CO2 emissions as possible in the power industry and their regulations are to create a 30% decrease in CO2 emissions from coal fired electricity,” said Jaworowski.

Jaworoski explained, that decreasing emissions could lead to increasing home energy costs, which in turn would also impact several other industries.

“The cost of electricity goes up and if the estimate is 80%, then the cost of bread will go up and the cost of everything in between will go up,” she said.

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