War on Coal: Obama Doesn’t Do Pinpricks

by Henry Payne

In the War on Coal, the Obama administration doesn’t do pinprick strikes.

The Obama EPA is plotting an attack on the U.S. energy industry that would decimate future coal-plant construction in the name of fighting global warming. Doing an end-run around Congress, the EPA edict would essentially put in place the cap-and-trade green scheme that even a Democratic Congress rejected in Obama’s first term. The Wall Street Journal reports that the EPA rule is set to be formally proposed by the end of next week. The new rules would reportedly set an emissions limit of 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour for coal plants — banning new facilities, which typically emit twice that amount.

The plan would not only gut the coal economies of states like Kentucky and West Virginia that have already suffered job layoffs due to the Obama EPA’s mercury and particulate mandates (W.Va.’s Democratic delegation boycotted the Democratic Convention in 2012), but it’s also sidelining one of America’s greatest natural gifts: Cheap coal reserves.

The U.S. is the “Saudi Arabia of coal.” Imagine the Saudis regulating their oil reserves out of reach and you get a sense of the inanity of EPA’s crusade. And for what? Even assuming that the political movement variously committed to ending (depending on the weather) global cooling/global warming/climate change has any scientific basis, the solution would be much worse that the disease: Climatologist Patrick Michaels estimates the U.N.’s proposed reduction of industrial emissions by 80 percent  by 2050 would decimate the global economy while reducing estimated temperature increases by a mere 7 percent.

“For the first time ever, EPA is becoming a regulator of energy. The rule they’re putting out there is going to force choices as to which energy you use, and that’s a very disturbing concept for manufacturers,” Ross Eisenberg of the National Association of Manufacturers tells the Journal. Coal currently makes up 40 percent of U.S. electricity production.

In Obama’s model, Europe — where environmental zealots have similarly demonized coal — electricity prices are often three times that in the U.S., creating hardship for the poor popularly known as “energy poverty.” The coal ban puts lie to the administration’s claim to be for as “an all-of-the-above” energy policy. And by walling off America’s greatest energy resource, the EPA will make energy supplies less stable.

As with Syria, Congress should protest this ill-conceived war on coal. Expect legal challenges.