John Ransom
Recommend this article

Enviro-Whack jobs are celebrating the demise of America‘s most abundant energy resource, coal. Because coal has just been given the death sentence by Obama and the EPA just as Obama planned.

“So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can,” said candidate Obama “it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

The EPA has issued new proposed rules on carbon emissions that will help Obama keep one campaign promise: Builders of new coal fired power plants won’t be prevented from building coal-fired power plants, they’ll just go bankrupt if they try.



"If old King Coal isn't dead already, he's certainly teetering toward life support," said Frank O'Donnell, president Clean Air Watch in Washington.

“Proposed emission rules for new power plants unveiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 27 spell the gradual demise of coal-fired power generation and entrench the current cost advantage for natural gas,” reports Reuters’ John Kemp.

If Obama can’t get the tax portion of the Cap and Tax, I guess he figures he might just as well get the cap portion done. The problem of course is that you and I are going to pay higher electric rates because of it.   

“The agency's proposed rule, signed yesterday, would set a standard well within the capability of modern gas-fired plants but impossible for coal-fired units to meet unless they employ (unproven) carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.”

Even before this proposed new rule, Obama has been using a variety of stratagems to stop the construction of new coal-fired plants.

“Power developers have scrapped plans for more than 100 coal-fired electricity plants over the past decade,” says a Reuters newswire report, “due to difficulty obtaining construction and pollution permits or because they were simply too expensive.”

Last year the EPA tightened up particulate standards for every type of industry including concrete. Additionally, the agency last year used obscure visibility standards to try to put the throttle on coal-fired power plant, eliciting an eruption of protest from the GOP-controlled House of Representatives.

“So much for that ‘all of the above’ energy plan the President touted last week,” says Congressman John Sullivan, Vice Chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee in response to the new EPA mandate. “Today's announcement from EPA is an unprecedented attack on American made energy.  EPA’s greenhouse gas rules are a backdoor attempt to enact a national energy tax that will have a crushing impact on consumers, jobs, and our economy- while doing little to protect the environment.”

OK, so maybe Obama will get the tax portion too. I stand corrected.   

The move by the EPA continues to try to help Obama shore up his environmental base in front of the 2012 presidential elections.

At this point, it’s all Obama can do, considering that: 1) He has no energy policy; and 2) The American people know that he has no energy policy.

According to a recent Gallup poll, a stunning 58 percent of Americans don’t think that Obama is doing a good job managing energy policy.  The poll also revealed that 57 percent of Americans don’t think Obama is doing a good job making the country prosperous. The numbers’ proximity to each other are likely not coincidental.

For 100 years the country has followed policies that tried to ensure that we have stable prices and a reliable sources of energy.

Obama’s policy of providing neither reliability nor price stability would be akin to the US announcing the unilateral departure from NATO.   

Obama and company are hoping that the nudge the economy has seen from the loose money policies followed by the Federal Reserve will be just enough to convince Americans that the president should get another term.

But the numbers say otherwise, mostly because policies- like this newest EPA mandate promoted by Obama- have killed job creation in the US, while sparking pockets of inflation. At a time when prices are going up, the job market remains dismal, and incomes aren’t able to keep pace. 

Conversely, the National Mining Association (NMA) is saying that the coal business won’t die- thanks to exports to emerging economies.

“Seaborne exports of coal are hitting record levels,” says Hal Quinn, the president and CEO of the NMA. “Last year U.S. mines exported more than 100 million tons of coal, up 40 percent from 2009 -- and the highest level in 20 years.”

In other words, the cheap coal that we won’t use is being used by other economies.

According to figures provided by the NMA:

Coal for electricity generation in China in 2010 stood at 1.6 billion tons—by 2030 it will almost double to 3.1 billion tons.

China’s industrial sector (steel, cement, petrochemicals) accounts for almost 40 percent of the coal demand at 1.2 billion tons—that is expected to almost double as well to 2.1 billion tons by 2030.

China has already invested $15 billion in coal conversion infrastructure to transform coal into oil; by 2020 that investment will reach anywhere from $65-80 billion with a requirement of over 100 million tons of coal.

India is investing in a new electrification program and 80 percent of new capacity will come from coal, with an expected increase in coal demand of over 200 percent in just five years.

Still despite exports to other countries, slackening coal orders domestically are going to hurt workers and cause rates to rise for electricty.

“The uncertainty caused by these regulations could result in the loss of thousands of Ohio jobs and will increase electricity rates for families during tough economic times, in return for less reliable power,” Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman said in an e-mailed statement to BusinessWeek.com.   

There is a reason why emerging economies have picked coal: It’s cheaper than natural gas over time and more reliable.

Already we have seen the enviro-whack jobs turn on natural gas, shutting down fracking operations around the country.   

 “This EPA is fully engaging in a war on coal,” West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said in a statement according to BusinessWeek.com. “This approach relies totally on cheap natural gas and we’ve seen that bubble burst before.”

“It might sound good now, but what happens if those prices go up?” Manchin added.

Oh, it’s not if, it’s when.

hr>

 "Like" me on Facebook and you'll get sneak peaks of columns and, as an added bonus, I will never raise your taxes. Send me email and I just might mention you on Sunday.   

   

Recommend this article

John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.
TOWNHALL FINANCE DAILY

Get the best of Townhall Finance Daily delivered straight to your inbox

Follow Townhall Finance!