Senate Fails to Block New EPA Regulations, War on Coal Continues
As conservatives recover from the Supreme Court ruling, we cannot let Obama off on his unrepentant assault on American coal. Obama’s war on coal is killing job throughout the country and it was disappointing that the Senate failed last week to block the new EPA regulations that could bring the destruction of the entire industry one giant step closer. As reported by Human Events:
Legislation to defeat an EPA emissions rule that critics say would kill thousands of jobs and raise electricity rates for consumers was killed in the Senate Wednesday. A handful of Republicans sided with Democrats to block the measure on a procedural vote of 46 yeas to 53 nays, including Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and Susan Collins and Olympia Snow of Maine.
Democrats who crossed over to vote with Republicans included Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Warner and Jim Webb of Virginia. Republicans say the mercury emission rules for coal-fired plants are the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s war on coal.This effectively kills coal in America, said Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), author of the measure. Republicans said the regulations are the most expensive rules ever created by the EPA, and will cost consumers $10 billion a year in addition to killing 50,000 jobs.
This comes after the closure of ten power plants in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic last February. A move that will increase the cost of electricity. As the Washington Post reported at the time:
Jeffrey Holmstead, who headed the EPA’s air and radiation office under President George W. Bush and now represents utility companies, wrote in an e-mail that new wind projects coming online cannot simply substitute for coal plants because wind power generation is intermittent. And gas units, according to Holmstead, face pipeline supply constraints that can “take years” to resolve.
“The cost of electricity will go up — and in some places (including Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania), it will go up a lot,” Holmstead wrote. “Existing coal-fired plants — even the old ones that don’t run very often — play a major role in controlling costs because they keep the marginal costs down during peak periods.”
It appears that this is one of the few pledges Obama has kept concerning bankrupting new coal plants. A promise he made back in January of 2008. In the video the president states “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can — 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.” As Hot Air reported last March:
GenOn Energy Inc. plans to close five of its older coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania over the next four years.
The company, based in Houston, said Wednesday that tough new environmental rules make it unprofitable to operate the plants, which generate a total of 3,140 megawatts of electricity. The plants are in Portland, Shawville, Titus, New Castle and Elrama. Two plants in Ohio and one in New Jersey will also be closed. The company said the timeframes are subject to further review based on market conditions.
The Sierra Club cheered the announcement, of course, claiming it will prevent 179 premature deaths a year. The Sierra Club is located in San Francisco, California, of course, and not in Pennsylvania, which will have to find some way to replace the production of 3140 megawatts of electricity each year. The lack of production will make electricity even more expensive in the Rust Belt state where unemployment is 7.7% (about midrange for the US) and rising fuel prices will hammer the middle class already.
In addition, West Virginia placed three plants on the chopping block, which was probably a factor, besides distancing himself away from this toxic presidency, in Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.V.) decision to skip this year’s Democratic National Convention held in Charlotte. As Gateway Pundit reported via Metro News:
Ohio based FirstEnergy Corporation announces it will close three coal fired power plants in West Virginia by this fall. The closings come directly from the impact of new federal EPA regulations.
The plants to close are Albright Power Station, Willow Island Power Station, and the Rivesville Power Station. The company says 105 employees will be directly impacted.
The three plants produce 660 megawatts and about 3-percent of FirstEnergy’s total generation. In recent years, the plants served as “peaking facilities” and generated power during times of peak demand for power.
The plants operated under subsidiary Monongahela Power. Mon Power recently finished a study of unscrubbed coal fired plants in the system to determine the potential impact of the most recent environmental regulations from EPA. Company officials determined the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) made it unfeasible to retrofit or continue operating the three plants.
“The high cost to implement MATS and other environmental rules is the reason these Mon Power plants are being retired,” said James R. Haney, regional president of Mon Power and president of West Virginia Operations for FirstEnergy.
Obama’s reckless policy of destroying affordable energy should be another issue in the Romney camp’s arsenal that could be used to hammer the president as anti-job and too beholden to the environmental left. The war on coal continues and the fate of 100,000 jobs and the price of electricity hang in the balance. Does anyone want to pay the Obamatax on top of a higher electric bill? And that’s not counting federal and state income taxes, social security taxes, and medicare taxes. Feeling taxed enough already…you’re not alone.