EPA vs. the Coal Industry, Cont.

by Greg Pollowitz

University of Alabama law professor Andrew Morriss has a good op-ed on Team Obama’s war on coal in the Bradenton Herald:

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the share of U.S. electricity generated from coal will fall from 42 percent in 2011 to 36.8 percent in 2013.

Some of that decline is due to advances in fracking making cheaper natural gas available. That’s bad news for coal miners but no different than problems all industries face from competition.

Cheaper natural gas cannot explain all coal’s decline, however. A federal study found that coal use in electricity declined just 1.4 percent for every 10 percent change in relative prices between the coal and natural gas. This is not surprising because electric plants cannot change from coal to natural gas by just throwing a switch.

An important reason for coal’s decline is the administration’s war on coal.

Vice President Joe Biden made that clear during the 2008 campaign when he said the Obama policy was “No coal plants here in America.” Similarly, candidate Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle that he would ensure that building a coal plant would “bankrupt” the operator because of the cost of complying with new carbon-dioxide emission regulations.

Deliberate government efforts to end an industry are not part of normal competitive market pressures and bad for the U.S. economy for three reasons.

The rest here.

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