America has the world's largest reserves of recoverable coal, providing the country with an estimated 240-year supply of secure, domestic energy that is more affordable and reliable than alternative fuels. Its abundance accounts for why coal generates half of the nation's electricity — by far the largest share — and why coal's share is projected to grow to 54 percent of U.S. electricity generation by 2030, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Recent technological advances in horizontal drilling and fracturing techniques made the natural gas industry take a new look at the Marcellus shale, which underlies 65 million acres from West Virginia and Ohio through Pennsylvania and upstate New York. The Marcellus Shale may be the 2nd largest gas field in the world with 100+ years of supply. Extrapolated to include the other gas basins across the U.S., technology development has presented this vast, game-changing opportunity for our country to truly achieve energy and economic security.
The U.S. must promote – not hinder – responsible development of these domestic, abundant, affordable natural resources.
Policies that address this complex issue must intelligently balance the need for jobs, a competitive economy, social well-being, national security and a clean environment. But even at a time of great economic stress, EPA is poised to enact a series of back-door mandates that threaten to cost millions of Americans their jobs, increase the cost of their electricity and restrict access to vast supplies of domestic energy.
Any changes to the regulatory climate should be enacted with great care taking Congressional input and a realistic assessment of economic impact and global competitiveness into account.
Health, Safety and Compliance
Employee safety, regulatory compliance and continuous improvement are the core values of CONSOL Energy. Advanced technology, greater emphasis on worker training and safety awareness, and regulatory efforts by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and state mine safety agencies have all contributed to steady improvements in mine safety throughout U.S. mines. From a safety record that consistently surpasses industry standards two fold, to our goal of always striving to not just meet, but exceed environmental regulations, CONSOL Energy is strongly committed to these core values.
We must maintain a strong working relationship between regulators and industry to ensure that safety and compliance continue to remain a core value and top priority for all involved - allowing the U.S. to responsibly meet our growing demand for energy.
Research and Development
As America and the world move toward policies to stabilize and reduce carbon emissions, carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies present one of the most promising and effective options for large-scale reductions in CO2 emissions from energy use. CONSOL Energy maintains the largest private research and development facility in the industry that is devoted exclusively to energy utilization and production. In addition to supporting the production of CONSOL Energy's coal and gas operations, it also focuses on energy development, improving energy efficiency and reducing pollution.
Government must support significant investment in CCS technology for long-term, realistic energy and economic security for the U.S.
The nation’s inland waterway infrastructure is in crisis. Nearly 40 percent of the 89 lock and dams in the Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio division, which includes the Port of Pittsburgh, are more than 70 years old. A failure of even one of the lock and dam systems would halt commerce and impede delivery of millions of tons of coal and other commodities which are moved on the river systems annually. An Army Corps-commissioned study estimated that a failure could cause power plant closures and increase electricity costs up to $1 billion annually for approximately 21 million residents along the U.S. east coast. Moreover, it would take more than 1000 large trucks to move the same amount of coal a standard 15-barge tow is able to carry.
Public investment in locks and dams must be made a top priority for the economic well-being of residential electricity consumers, the nation’s manufacturing sector and our overall global competitiveness.