Environmental Protection Agency Takes Aim at 800,000 Coal Jobs

coalYesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new proposals to cap greenhouse emissions from new power plants.  And coal-fired power plants will fail to meet the limits without some very expensive technology that captures and stores emissions.  No coal-fired plan in the world has yet to use the technology.  There are two plants under construction that include the new technology, one in Canada and one in Mississippi but the costs are outrageous.  The price for the Mississippi plant is $4.7 billion and it already has over $1 billion in cost overruns. And who do you think will be paying for this?  Watchdog.org has all the details on this story.

Coal industry officials told Watchdog that the new regulations could kill coal and most of the 800,000 jobs it supports.  EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Americans have a “moral obligation to the next generation” and that the proposal is a “necessary step to address a public health challenge.”  In a speech at the National Press Club she said the new standard creates a “path forward” for the coal industry and that the CO2 limits are achievable and flexible.  But I don’t see any reports of her saying the new standard is affordable.  Bruce Josten, vice president for Government Affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, “It is clear that the EPA is continuing to move forward with a strategy that will write off our huge, secure, affordable coal resources by essentially outlawing the construction of new coal plants.”

Back during his 2008 campaign Barack Obama said one of his energy goals was to “bankrupt” the coal industry by making electricity prices “skyrocket.” This will certainly help him achieve that goal.  Even Democrats in the coal states are lashing out at him for the new rules.  Democrats running for the Senate in West Virginia and Kentucky have expressed “disappointment” in the EPA and Obama.  Republicans are working to tie the candidates to Obama and his policies, which they are justifiably calling a “war on coal.”

Naturally, the coal unions are up in arms about the EPA’s proposal.  “The climate action plan outlined today by President Obama contains many lofty goals but nothing that speaks to the hardship and suffering his plan would cause to the lives of coal miners, their families and others in the communities where they live,” said United Mine Workers president Cecil E. Roberts.  You’re a little late, Mr. Roberts.  In 2008 the coal unions gave strong support to Obama, despite his plan to bankrupt their industry.  And in 2012 the United Mine Workers of America decided to stay silent and offer no endorsement to either Obama or Mitt Romney.  Now that the man they helped get elected is making good on his promise to destroy their livelihood, they start complaining.  They should not be the least bit surprised.  Didn’t they listen to what Obama said he was going to do?  It’s hard to feel sorry for these unions, but there are millions of people in the coal communities who are going to suffer financially as a result of Obama’s war on coal.  Perhaps this will teach them that when someone promises to destroy your livelihood, you shouldn’t vote for him.  But, since they did, when the coal plants shut down and they are all out of work, perhaps Obama will give them all a free Obamaphone.  Then they can call all their friends and family members and tell them how foolish they have been.

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6 comments to Environmental Protection Agency Takes Aim at 800,000 Coal Jobs

  • LD Jackson

    It has always been hard for me to understand how the people from the coal unions could support Obama. It made no logical sense for them to do so, given his open hostility towards their industry. He is making good on the promise he made to bankrupt the coal industry and they are between a rock and a hard place, with nowhere to go. Unfortunately, they have no one to blame but themselves.

  • R Naz

    Nothing in the new proposal affects existing plants, it is directed at new plants. Do your self a favor an read the actual press release on the EPA.gov website. Why are they doing it?
    The following quotes are contradictory to this “author” statements. Just where did he find his “facts”?

    Under today’s proposal, new large natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, while new small natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. New coal-fired units would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, and would have the option to meet a somewhat tighter limit if they choose to average emissions over multiple years, giving those units additional operational flexibility.

    These proposed standards will ensure that new power plants are built with available clean technology to limit carbon pollution, a requirement that is in line with investments in clean energy technologies that are already being made in the power industry.

    • It’s true, nothing in the new proposal affects existing plants. If there is, as you seem to be saying, nothing to worry about, then why is the Washington Post reporting that this is just the initial step and that later on the EPA will tackle emissions from existing plants? Why is the coal industry decrying the new regulations en masse? Why are Democrats in coal states not happy about the new regs and trying to distance themselves from the EPA and Obama? Many have issued statements denouncing the new policy. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Friday morning that the regulation “will have devastating impacts to the coal industry and our economy.” I could quote many other Democrats who say essentially the same thing.

      As for the clean technology, is it really good policy to require billions of dollars be spent on it in new plants when there is no plant in the world that uses it? It has not been commercially proven by operation, yet the EPA is already requiring it.

      Instead of taking the world of liberal bureaucrats in D.C. I choose to listen to the people in the industry. I’m pretty sure they know better than some suit in D.C. what will harm the coal industry or even drive it out of business. But, I suppose driving it out of business is the goal. After all, didn’t you read the part of my post when I quoted Obama saying he would “bankrupt the coal industry?”

    • LD Jackson

      What you say is true. The new EPA rule is aimed at new coal-fired plants, but as Charles points out, it no doubt is just the first step. As with any liberal agenda, from gun control down to climate change, this is a work in progress. Once their foot is in the door, where will that lead? How long will it be before they start requiring this same technology, expensive technology that has not been proven by use in real situations, to be used in existing power plants? If you think that isn’t a very real possibility, then you are naive.

      On another note, I can’t help but wonder where this technology came from. Is the provider of the technology an Obama supporter? If so, then it’s pretty clear what is taking place.

      • Ah, that’s something that hadn’t occurred to me, where this technology came from. And if anyone thinks there’s no possibility there’s something to that I will just say – Solyndra.

  • He is able to finish the old plants with previously issued regs. Someone bought the kool aid. This effects nat gas as well. I am surprised he didn’t wait until after 2014. He is starting to flail.