Tag Archives: Coal

Obama to implement economy-crushing coal regulations after election

WASHINGTON, NOV. 5, 2012 – On September 22, 2011, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, held a hearing with one witness, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Lisa P. Jackson, on regulatory reform. At the hearing Stearns predicted that President Obama would not push through controversial environmental regulations before the 2012 election. As Stearns stated then, “issuing such a rule would cause [Obama] severe electoral problems in the next election.” Today, the Washington Times is running a story* on Obama halting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations for a “political split second” before tomorrow’s election and then imposing massive coal regulations after the election.

As chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Stearns held a hearing on the EPA’s plans to impose severe regulations on coal development, transportation, and use that would harm the coal industry, cost thousands of jobs, and limit domestic energy production. In response to Stearns’ oversight and the lack of economic growth and job creation, the Obama Administration and the EPA withdrew its regulatory plan. With the election ending tomorrow, the White House and the EPA are preparing anti-coal regulations that are expected to be released at the end of November.

Added Stearns, “According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, regulations cost American taxpayers and businesses $1.8 trillion each year. The looming regulatory burdens at the center of President Obama’s agenda contribute toward the broad uncertainty that prevents economic growth and job creation. I’m proud of my role in exposing the cost of these regulatory schemes, but I cannot be heartened by my prescientprediction that the 2012 election only would delay temporarily these new coal regulations.”

Obama’s War on Energy is about Control

When one thinks of energy, the thoughts about economic growth rarely come into play.  In fact, most take it for granted.  It charges our iPhones, laptops, and Kindles, but it also is the lifeblood that keeps our economy growing.  It’s also the critical element that keeps our health services running.  It allows us to channel our resources elsewhere – to be more productive during the day.  However, we’re starting to see a shift occur through the policies of the Obama administration.  This radical reconfiguration of our energy infrastructure will be disastrous in the long run, and some in the media don’t seem to care.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Thomas Pyle, President of American Energy Alliance, Robin Millican, Policy Director for Institute for Energy Research (IER), and Dan Kish, Senior Vice President for Policy at IER on October 26 to discuss this issue further – and how it’s currently shaping the outcome of the 2012 election.  I mentioned the study Professor Gabriel Calzada conducted on Spain’s green energy investments and how he predicted a bubble, which seems to be bursting on the Iberian Peninsula.  Most disconcerting was the fact that for every green job created – 2.2 jobs were lost as a result.  In fact, Professor Gabriel Calzada found himself targeted by liberals and the Center for American Progress, John Podesta’s bastion of progressivism, as a consequence of his study concerning Spain’s green energy economy.  Nevertheless, regardless of the outcome in Spain, President Obama plans to use it as a model and apply it here, which would enter a more aggressive phase if he were reelected on November 6.

Furthermore, IER conducted a study on the impact of green energy initiatives in Germany.  Here are the key points:

  • Financial aid to Germany’s solar industry has now reached a level that far exceeds average wages, with per worker subsidies as high as $240,000 US.
  • In 2008, the price mark-up attributable to the government’s support for “green” electricity was about 2.2 cents US per kWh. For perspective, a 2.2 cent per kWh increase here in the US would amount to an average 19.4% increase in consumer’s electricity bills.
  • Government support for solar energy between 2000 and 2010 is estimated to have a total net cost of $73.2 billion US, and $28.1 billion US for wind. A similar expenditure in the US would amount to about half a trillion dollars US.

 

  • Green jobs created by government actions disappear as soon as government support is terminated, a lesson the German government and the green companies it supports are beginning to learn.
  • Government aid for wind power is now three times the cost of conventional electricity.

However, one area that is salient to American voters is coal.  Obama’s War on Coal has been brutal for thousands of families who live in states along the Appalachian Trail.  With new greenhouse gas regulations the EPA is doling out, it’ll prevent the creation of new plants and is scheduled to shut down 10% of existing coal plats that are operational today.

Pyle warned that there will come a time when the economy will begin to grow again and the energy infrastructure that President Obama and the environmental left envision for America will not be adequate to meet the demands of commercial expansion. There’s no special switch we can turn to get our power back to appropriate levels for economic development. Furthermore, it doesn’t help our long-term energy development when government shuts down coal mining, offshore drilling, or puts the kibosh on the Keystone Pipeline.  As a result, the Gulf States, Alaska, Colorado, and Wyoming are suffering under Obama’s war on energy.

While the Environmental Protection Agency has the reputation of being a ‘protector,’ they have recently become the heaviest portion of the boot that is on the throat of American enterprise.  One thing the United States can never compete in again is the labor market.  However, with the derivatives from oil/gas/and coal such as petrochemicals, smart phones, computers, Kevlar, shaving cream, toothpaste, and gum – we can still retain our economic vigor.   However, EPA regulations are making it harder to produce such products for American and international markets.

Dan Kish, Senior Vice President of Policy for IER, noted how the air is cleaner and the water is better. In fact:

Since 1990, nationwide air quality has improved significantly for the six common air pollutants. These six pollutants are ground-level ozone, particle pollution (PM2.5 and PM10), lead, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Nationally, air pollution was lower in 2008 than in 1990 for:

  • 8-hour ozone, by 14 percent
  • annual PM2.5 (since 2000), by 19 percent
  • PM10 , by 31 percent
  • Lead, by 78 percent
  • NO2 , by 35 percent
  • 8-hour CO, by 68 percent
  • annual SO2 , by 59 percent

Additionally, the EPA has affirmed this claim.

 As a result, life expectancy has increased dramatically – which is an effective metric at gauging the socioeconomic health of a nation.  Yet, the EPA feels that more needs to be done, despite that fact that states have their own safety and health provisions, which are tailored to accommodate the environments of each respective state.  However, given the dependency mentality of the Obama administration, the EPA insists on a one-size fits all model.  I guess the principles of federalism have taken a back seat.

Concerning coal, we have 497 billion short tons, which is enough to power the country for over 500 years – at our current levels of energy use.  When you incorporate Alaska into the picture, it dwarfs the lower forty-eight, with 10.38 trillion short tons for our use.  As a result, the United States is the ‘Saudi Arabia’ of coal.  And not all coal is used to generate electricity.  Thirty-eight percent of coal can be used to make jet fuel.  Fifty percent of all freight loads carried in the country are comprised of coal.  In fact, 25% of all rail revenue is derived from coal transportation.  What happens if that were to disappear, which is what the Obama administration wants as the end game in this power play.

We current use 1 billion tons of coal a year.  China uses 4 billion tons a year.  As a result, even if coal were to cease of an arm of the American economy, the effects on global CO2 emissions would be de minimis at best.  Kish noted how coal consumption has increased in Europe.  The reason is simple.  It’s cheap.  It works great, and is good for electricity.

Pyle touched upon the moral aspect of energy, which is seldom reported on in the press.  He reiterated the fact how 40% of India’s population don’t have access to affordable energy.  Kish noted how villages in Africa keep their kids to school, although they would like to send them there, because every available hand is needed to collect biomass to keep the home warm, to cook, and possibly fend themselves from predators at night.  If those kids were able to go to school because they had affordable energy, and access to it, increased economic activity from their education would have a ripple effect upon their community. Energy allows people to savor and spend their time more efficiently and purposefully. Until the Industrial Revolution, life expectancy had flat lined around age thirty for years, which saw a dramatic increase when people were able to utilize their time more efficiently due to proliferation of energy resources.

An example of the economic benefits in expanding our energy development can be seen in North Dakota.  Dan Kish recently visited the state, of which 97% isn’t owned by the government, and noticed the economic boom that has occurred from extracting the shale oil from the Bakken formation.  Williston, North Dakota has the busiest McDonald’s in the country.  A entry-level worker could earn up to $90,000 in his first year alone working the rigs.  In fact, five to ten years ago North Dakota wasn’t even a player in oil production.  Now, it’s ranked #2 – behind Texas – producing 18 million barrels of oil in March of 2012.  In all, between 2008-09, it’s proved reserves have increased from 543 million barrels to 1046 million barrels.  Some farmers, who’ve sold their land rights, are earning as much as $150,000 a month from the royalties.  Although, the monetary values is based on volume, but it’s possible.

As a result, North Dakota’s unemployment rate remains at 3%, the GDP per capita is well above the national average at $50,096, it’s spurred a budget surplus of $ 1 billion dollars, and increased the workforce from 5,000 in 2005 to 30,000 in 2012.  Here’s to prosperity.

We have the resources to be energy independent.  Pyle mentioned that in 1944 it was estimated that America’s proven oil reserves amounted to about 20 billion barrels.  However, from 1945-2010, the United States production exceeded 176 billion barrels of oil.  That’s because proven reserves tend to increase in volume as we continue to explore for more energy resources.  Case in point, the Bakken Shale.  However, the boot of the EPA and government regulation seems to be aimed at halting this process.  It’s because government, especially the one we have now, is set on breaking the independent arms that are harvesting these resources to the will of the state.  It’s about centralization of energy distribution. It’s trickle down government incarnate.

Last May, IER Policy Director Robin Millican spoke at an Americans for Prosperity rally in McLean, Va. There she said that the military has become victim to these government policies.  In her speech, she noted how the Department of Defense signed a $12 million dollar contract with two biofuel companies to produce 450,000 gallons of the advanced liquid.  In short, it’s incredibly expensive.  This ludicrous expenditure is grounded in the words of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus who said “We are doing this for one simple reason: It makes us better fighters…our use of fossil fuels is a very real threat to our national security and to the U.S. Navy ability to protect America and project power overseas.”  I’m sure the environmental left enjoys this change in course, but as Millican pointed out, the federal government has a portion of land in Alaska called the Naval Petroleum Reserve which is specifically set aside to meet the energy demands of the military.  Yet, we are going to pay companies to make fuel for our armed forces that is four times more expensive than standard fuel.

Additionally, Millican also delivered some remarks about the $500 million dollar loan allocated to Solyndra.  A company principally financed by George Kaiser, who was also a huge bundler for the Obama campaign in 2008.  In all, big government breed corruption, crony capitalism, and dependency. She aptly pointed out that these subsidies are not meant to better society, but are goodie bags to the politically connected.  She says, “look no further than a government funded program that relies on a stamp of approval from a group of unelected bureaucrats who have no technical experience.” The process in determining which system maximizes efficiency is not rigorous and comes down to nothing more than corporate welfare.  Continuing with the narrative of waste this administration has incurred due to its quest for clean energy initiatives, Millican detailed the Section 1603 program that has allocated $20 billion dollars in cash payments, not loans that need to be repaid, to companies that install solar, wind and geothermal properties.  Congress wants to extend this program for an additional year at the tune of $3 billion dollars.

Relating to AFP’s media campaign, Millican discussed the $529 million dollar loan to Fisker, which produced the $100,000 dollar Karma automobile that is principally made in Finland.  Is this investing in America? Ms. Millican astutely pointed out that renewables only constitute 1.5% of our entire energy consumption, but get the majority share of the funds allocated from Congress.

If Mitt Romney is elected President of the United States on November 6, it’ll be partially due to Americans’ disgust towards Obama’s war on energy – specifically coal.  The war on coal has affected thousands of families who live along the Appalachian Trail.  An aspect the Obama campaign should’ve taken more seriously since Virginia and Pennsylvania are both battleground and coal-producing states.  Currently, the small town of Grundy, Va is under siege by federal regulators who are preventing them from expanding their runway at the local airport because of coal.  It’s a three-year battle, which is really an assault on the American Dream.  The expansion of the airport would allow corporate jets to land, which could possibly spur economic development in Grundy and the surrounding counties.

Debra McCown reported on Grundy’s war with federal regulators back on October 17. I wrote, in a previous post, that since “the original airport was built on a piece of land made flat by surface mining by United Coal Co., which gave the land to Grundy,” the government won’t allow them to expand the runway.  It’s big government run amok.

McCown also reported in The American Spectator on October 22 “more than 5,500 people turned out Sunday afternoon at a mountaintop park in remote Buchanan County to show their support for coal.” She noted how the mood of the crowd exuded a certain dubiousness since most of these workers have an uncertain future, especially if Obama is reelected.   McCown quoted Jerry Shortt, who said, “the only promise Obama kept was to kill coal.”  “Jerry Shortt [is] a coal miner from Richlands who was laid off temporarily right after Labor Day — and learned Friday that for him, along with 189 other employees at the mine where he worked, the layoff would be permanent,” according to McCown.

She also noted that the EPA regulations that will be the harbingers of death for the industry.

First, new air emissions standards prompted utilities to announce the closure of dozens of coal-fired power plants, cutting the demand for coal and costing jobs. In some cases, utilities chose to convert those units to natural gas, which because of new technology for extraction has become relatively cheap and plentiful. Rules for coal-fired boilers have also affected factories and other facilities that use industrial boilers.

Second, a new proposed EPA rule would require any new coal-fired power plants to be constructed with technology to control carbon dioxide emissions — technology that’s not been fully developed. With this proposal, even state-of-the-art coal burning technology, like that being used at the new power plant that just opened in nearby Wise County, couldn’t be permitted, utility officials have said.

On the water pollution side, coalmines are now subject to new restrictions in obtaining the permits needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Targeted specifically at mountaintop mines in Appalachia, according to industry supporters, the change effectively prohibits modern surface mining and has also created significant problems for deep mining.

With the state in a statistical dead heat, the policies from the Obama administration to gut this business, and leave the families of those involved with coal mining in destitution – might be a deciding factor in how Virginia might vote on November 6.

The Washington Times’ Ben Wolfgang reported on October 23 that Obama’s crusade to destroy coal has put Pennsylvania in play.  More than anything, if Romney wins PA on November 6, it’ll be a very short election night.  While West Virginia was never going Democratic, Democrats there have eviscerated the Obama administration over recent coal miner layoffs.

Energy giant Consol announced Tuesday that it will idle its surface mining operations in Mingo County after failing to secure necessary Clean Water Act permits from the EPA.

The Miller Creek surface mine facility has been in operation for decades, and the company had planned to construct the new “King Coal Highway” as part of a reclamation project after mining is complete. Coal mine employees, Consol said, would eventually have been assigned to the highway project, once the coal supplies had been exhausted.

Democrats in the state, already angry with the administration’s “war on coal,” unloaded on the EPA on Tuesday afternoon.

“I am incensed and infuriated that the EPA would intentionally delay the needed permit for a public-private project that would bring so many good jobs and valuable infrastructure to communities that so desperately need them,” West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said in a statement.

For those affected, it’s called a “regional genocide.”  For government, it’s a shift towards a cleaner future, despite the data suggesting otherwise.  At the end of the day, it’s about government controlling more of the means of production through our energy consumption.

In the War on Coal – It’s Grundy vs. Obama

In another episode in the annals of the Obama administration’s war on coal, the town of Grundy, Virginia is being denied its right to indulge in the American dream.  They want to expand their small air field, in order to accommodate private jets to stimulate economic development.  The problem is that a portion of the runway expansion lies on top of coal. Hence, this story – and many others like it – are critical as Grundy is in the heart of coal country.

Grundy is about an hour an a half from Abingdon and rests between the three-way border of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.  This area could be critical in deciding the upcoming presidential election.  The federal quarantine on Grundy’s economic plans has been going on for three years according to Debra McCown of the Bristol Herald Courier, who reported on this development for The Washington Times.  That’s just around the time when the Obama administration stopped issuing coal permits.

McCown wrote yesterday that “Donnie Rife is chairman of the Dickenson County Board of Supervisors and a member of the Breaks Regional Airport Authority, the regional entity working on the project… said it might be tough to explain the nuances to federal regulators, but ‘there’s a huge difference in mining coal and building an airport…mining is involved, he said, because the area’s severe topography makes construction impossible otherwise in the hilly terrain. The original airport was built on a piece of land made flat by surface mining by United Coal Co., which gave the land to Grundy.”

Furthermore,”Mr. Rife said the delay has cost an estimated $20 million. Three years ago, he said, the coal that underlies the runway site would have sold for a higher price, helping offset the cost of what could be a $60 million project. He said the lengthened runway is crucial to the region’s plans to attract business and investment.”

Moreover, the parties involved aren’t even asking for a coal mining permit – they’re asking if they can expand the runway.

According to McCown:

Modernizing the airport is part of a broader plan to open up this part of Appalachia by developing infrastructure, a concept made possible by the ability to move mountains, thanks to equipment used by the industry that drives the local economy: coal mining. The first miles of a four-lane highway, the Coalfields Expressway, already are taking shape, thanks to public-private partnerships with two mining companies. Mr. Rife said the airport is a key piece of the region’s economic development plan.

Ironically, it is the coal that underlies the airport site that is causing the delay. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy initially approved the airport authority’s proposal, spokesman Mike Abbott said.

The mining department determined that the project was exempt from the need for a mining permit, including a government-financed exemption, which applies to government-financed projects and an Abandoned Mine Land Enhancement grant, which applies to projects where the coal removed is “incidental” to reclaiming the land and removal is necessary to address other hazards.

Mr. Puckett [State Senator (D-Lebanon)] said that under an initial public-private partnership, Alpha Natural Resources, a Southwest Virginia-based coal company, would bring the runway to rough grade and, in the process, mine the site and reclaim a dangerous highwall — a clifflike scar left on the landscape by previous mining.

Ted Pile, spokesman for Alpha, said the company would have lowered the mountain beneath the airport’s existing site, creating enough flat land to extend the 2,200-foot runway to 5,700 feet. But the Office of Surface Mining, which operates in the U.S. Department of the Interior and has the right to review projects involving abandoned mine properties, balked.

The issue has stoked anger against the Obama administration amongst voters in these areas.  In the Williamson Daily News, a local paper circulated in Kentucky and West Virginia, staff writer Julia Roberts Goad wrote on October 13 about how United for Coal, “a citizens group created to support the coal mining industry” has declared that “our government has decided to commit ‘Regional Genocide’ against our people [with this regulatory onslaught]”

Two years ago, Bill Raney, also of Williamson Daily News, wrote that:

The EPA has declared a war on Appalachian coal. The agency’s apparent intent to rescind the already issued Spruce Mine permit is the first time such an action has been taken and shows a reckless disregard for the impact on our people, on future investment in our region and even basic fairness. If EPA pursues this course, the very future of mining in our state and region… not just mountaintop mining operations or even surface mining … but all forms of mining is threatened, and with it the futures of 50,000 West Virginian and 80,000 Appalachian families whose livelihoods depend on mining coal.

[…]

The EPA issued the Spruce Mine permit almost three years ago. During a 10-year review prior to its issuance, the EPA participated along with the other agencies every step of the way during the review and praised the company’s efforts to design the project in such a way as to minimize the impact on the environment. In fact, total recoverable reserves of coal were reduced by 10.6 million tons as a result. It is not an exaggeration to say this permit is the most scrutinized mining permit in the history of West Virginia or the Appalachian region.  But the issue goes far beyond a single permit. If EPA revokes the Spruce permit, their action brings into question all forms of economic development across the region – anything that requires a company or an individual to move a shovelful of dirt.

Furthermore, these jobs are part of the American middle class, which Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and the Democrats say Republicans wish to destroy.  It’s odd since “the jobs created by the Spruce permit would be high-paying, long-term employment opportunities. These jobs would pay approximately $70,000 annually with full benefits and the total economic impact of this operation is estimated at approximately $15 0 million annually.”  Mr. Romney wants to strengthen this sector of the economy.

Although, there seems to be some government support for the coal industry. Back in March, a federal judge excoriated the EPA for their “magical thinking” in denying permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.

‘EPA resorts to magical thinking’ to justify nullifying permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Arch Coal Inc.’s Mingo Logan mine in West Virginia, wrote U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C.

Berman Jackson said the EPA’s effort to revoke permits already issued by the Army Corps lacked the backing of any statutory provision or regulation. ‘It posits a scenario involving the automatic self-destruction of a written permit issued by an entirely separate federal agency after years of study and consideration,’ the opinion says.

‘Poof! Not only is this nonrevocation revocation logistically complicated,’ the ruling said, but it also robs industry of the only way they can possibly measure compliance with the Clean Water Act — a permit. EPA ignored the effect that granting itself the right to revoke Army Corps permits could cause uncertainty and financial harm to industries dependent on capital credit for projects involving waterways. [The] ’EPA brushed these objections away by characterizing them as hyperbole,’ the judge wrote. ‘Even if the gloomy prophesies are somewhat overstated,” the concerns are real, she said. Berman called the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Water Act — which she separately lambasts for being poorly written — ‘illogical and impractical.’

Last Wednesday, FreedomWorks had an unannounced press conference about the war on coal in the Harrisburg Capitol, which caught the attention of legislators  in this coal producing and battleground state.  All along the Appalachian Trail, the families of coal miners and the families of businesses dependent on coal mining are saying “enough!”

Grundy’s plight is one of many stories in this administrations unabashed hatred for coal and the communities they are set to destroy if they’re successful at winning re-election this upcoming November.  Sadly, since federal regulators have stonewalled Grundy’s hopes at economic success, it’s most likely going to cost the town.  As McCown quoted Ted Pile at the end of her column, “if this [Grundy airport] project were allowed to go forward when it was first proposed, it would have essentially meant zero cost to taxpayers for a fully prepared airport site…now, because the coal markets have gotten worse, the economics no longer work. It’s a missed opportunity.”

Ohio Miners Speak Out Against “Absolute Lies”

In August Mitt Romney made headlines as scores of Ohio coal miners stood to hear him speak. While coal mine owners are known contributor to GOP candidates the miners themselves have voted Democrat. But times have changed. Today, it’s all about jobs: 1,300 coal jobs were lost in the second quarter of 2012. 

Shortly after the Romney visit multiple news stories (e.g. Huffington Post) were written letting the public know that “the miners were coerced into attending the Romney rally.” Huffington Post

The stories seemed to have enough truth in them that Team Obama made this ad:

This weekend the miners of Century Mine came forward with an open letter to President Obama asking him to stop the ad, claiming it contained absolute lies and misinformation. Wheeling Intelligencer The miners included 500 signatures from the working employees of Century Mine.

As you watch the miner’s press conference listen for these salient points:

  • Due to security, the mine was closed for the Romney Rally. Historically, during mine closures, including bad weather, miners are not paid. Miners were told they could make up missed hours if they wished.
  • Miners cannot be paid to attend political events.
  • No employee was forced to attend the event. Lists of attendees were made due to security concerns.

There can be no doubt that workers in this former Democratic stronghold are now very concerned with the policies of the Obama administration and they’re not sit idly and be used as pawns.

What do you think?

Luxury Tax 2.0 – Obama’s War on Prosperity

President Obama keeps asking “Do you want to return to the failed policies of the past?” At the same time he is urging us to envy those who have worked very hard and risked their own capital to make the American dream come true.

An examination of that question might be in order. Those who are not willing to just blindly accept what they hear, but are of reasonable mind might wish to examine the facts. His plea is not a new one, it is one we have tried before, with disastrous results.

The politics of envy got a thorough trial under George Herbert Walker Bush (41). In fact it worked out so well, it cost him his job along with 200,000 other poor unfortunates. Philosopher George Santayana put it so well, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Either the current administration does not remember the “Luxury Tax” or they are banking on the fact that the public does not.

To refresh our memories, after his famous 1988 campaign quote “read my lips, no new taxes”, in 1990 under enormous pressure from the Democrats in congress, President Bush acquiesced and signed the “punish the rich for being rich” luxury tax bill. That bill greatly increased taxes on things like yachts, airplanes and expensive jewelry. The Democrats said it would increase revenues and if folks could afford to buy yachts, they should cough up some of that cash to help the poor and unemployed. The actual effect though, as one might guess, is that people quit buying yachts, or bought them offshore. The net effect was that revenues went down, and 200,000 people who worked in the boat building industry lost their jobs. Ultimately it cost Bush the 1992 election.

What so many people fail to grasp is “The Law of Unintended Consequences.” Everything we do has consequences but so many want a life without adverse consequences to anything. It just isn’t possible. The law of unintended consequences is a offshoot of the law of cause and effect. If one hits one’s self in the head with a hammer, one’s head will hurt. Cause (hitting your head), effect (head hurts).

The law of unintended consequences comes into play when ideas which sound, on the surface like good ideas meant only for the benefit of people, are implemented without any thought to what the actual outcome might be. For example everyone wants clean air. We probably have the cleanest air in the world now, but under the guise of cleaner air the EPA has put in place regulations which are closing coal fired power plants all across the nation, 57 this year and 175 by 2016. In the US 42% of our electricity comes from coal fired generators. That means that in exchange for making our air an infinitesimal amount cleaner we are going to not only sacrifice 8.5% of our coal fired generating capacity with nothing to replace it, but we are going to put thousands and thousands of people out of work. All of this while energy consumption continues to grow. As the power plants shut down, so do the coal mines, the coal haulers, the coal mining suppliers, and the coal rail haulers.

In addition to reducing our capacity for electrical generation, we will also increase the cost of electricity by at least a factor of two. So Grandma, who was worried about Paul Ryan throwing her off a cliff by trying to save social security, can just fry in her apartment because she can’t afford to pay the electric bill.

As the cost of energy increases, so does the cost of everything else. Farmers and manufacturers must pass this added cost on to consumers. Meanwhile, lets add some additional tax and regulatory burden to those manufacturers as well, because they are the evil rich and we have to get them. No one ever explains why we have to get them, we just do. It’s the fair thing, no matter what it costs the rest of us.

Senate Fails to Block New EPA Regulations, War on Coal Continues

Barack Obama in January of 2008 stating his policies will bankrupt coal

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.

Green Death

Eight regions of Spain have had their credit ratings cut as uneasy Spaniards moved their money overseas. Spooked by the questionable state of their banks, Spanish savers are now moving their money abroad faster than records have ever shown. Spain’s credit rating has been downgraded two notches and nearly 25% of Spaniards are unemployed

The Spanish newspaper La Gaceta ran a full-page article exposing the truth about Spain’s “green jobs” agenda, which just happens to have been cited many times by barack obama as the way “forward” for the United States. “Green energy” has now been exposed as a costly disaster that has undone Spain’s economy.

The Spanish Administration confessed “the increase of the electric bill is principally due to the cost of renewable energies.” It has now become officially recognized that the price of electricity, as well as increases in Spain’s debt are due to the extra cost of solar and wind energy. Additionally, the Spanish administration now admits that each green job that was created cost more than 2.2 traditional jobs in the private sector.

All evidence to the contrary, the obama administration insists on moving full speed ahead with its ill imagined, full frontal assault on the American energy industry, coupled with increased promotion of their “green jobs” fantasy.

Not only is coal America’s cheapest source of energy, the United States owns some the world’s largest coal deposits. Newly enacted EPA regulations now force a reduction in utility CO2 emissions to 1,000 pounds per megawatt of electricity. This regulation effectively bans construction of new coal-fired plants and will invariably lead to hikes in electricity costs. Since only natural gas meets the new emissions standard, the country’s electricity providers will be forced to pay the cost of converting to natural gas. One way or another, electricity prices will “necessarily skyrocket”.

Despite administration claims, obama’s hostility towards fossil fuels has led to reduced opportunities for domestic oil production. obama continues to call for the elimination of targeted tax breaks oil companies have been receiving for decades. The general public is largely unaware of the fact that those tax breaks are targeted chiefly for exploratory activities. Drilling for oil is an expensive, uncertain business venture. Even successful fields have limited lifespans. Besides, hiking taxes on new exploration is counter-intuitive to increasing production.

In addition to his open aggression towards traditional fuels, obama plans on “investing” more of American taxpayer money by doubling down on spending for wind farms, solar energy, homegrown biofuels and energy-efficient cars and buildings. The history of the administration’s “investment” strategy is fraught with peril.

Here are a few of the “green” “sustainable energy” failures that have already been supported by the current administration’s “investments”. Remember, all this financing was done using your tax dollars. Well, not exactly. It has been done with tax dollars to be re-paid to the Federal Reserve Bank and China by your grandchildren and great grandchildren. Plus interest:

Evergreen Energy-Which has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, saying it’s “impossible to maintain operations” due to funding shortfalls. This announcement came after the company received $5.3 million in “stimulus” funds.

Amonix Inc.-A manufacturer of solar panels that received $5.9 million from the “stimulus”, laid off about 200 employees only seven months after opening a factory in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s home State of Nevada.

Beacon Power Corp-Sought bankruptcy protection in 2010 after they received a $43 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy.

Ener1 Electric-A car battery manufacturer, filed for bankruptcy three years after receiving a $118.5 million grant from the U.S. government.

These are all in addition to Solyndra-A solar panel maker that received a $535 million loan guarantee, then famously filed for Chapter 11 protection.

This is a mere taste of problems found when centrally planned big government intrudes into the free market. Not only is the spending inherently wasteful, the fact that these companies were in large part operated by big donors to obama’s political campaign points to the corruption involved when an ideologically captive, politically driven politician makes investment decisions based on cronyism. Two thirds of all energy loan guarantees or grants made by the obama administration’s Department of Energy have gone to his campaign donors or donation bundlers. Can you say quid quo pro?

All government energy subsidies should end. Energy companies should be free to compete without government interference. If and when “green” “sustainable energy” becomes a competitive solution, consumers will reward “green” companies that used private capital to successfully situate themselves in the market by purchasing their products. That’s how a free market works. That’s what’s made America the greatest economic success in the history of human civilization.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/green-energy-death/

Union Pressures Obama to Reconsider Ill-Conceived Anti-Coal Regulations

On March 16th, Teamsters Rail Conference president Dennis Pierce wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to reconsider the job-killing regulations that he pushed his EPA to write on the use of coal.

The ill-considered, tough new rules on coal use could potentially impact one out of every five Teamsters Rail Conference members and as Pierce said ” it is not likely that new business generated on our nation’s railroads will ever make up for the loss of coal.”

The EPA had announced that up to 40% of the nations coal plants did not meet its tough new standards. Instead of granting energy producers more time to comply with the regulation, the regulatory body took a tough stance forcing electricity generators to announce the shuttering of their plants as they could not meet the rules in the time given.

Pierce also mentioned in his letter that in these tough times, America needs more jobs, not less – a fact not well understood by the current administration as it seeks to achieve Obama’s self-stated goal of making electricity rates “skyrocket”.

Pierce asked the administration to support the petitions for reconsideration of the new source emission limits that will be filed with the EPA. “We also ask you to include coal in your ‘all of the above’ plan for America’s energy future so that a balanced energy policy can be maintained,” he said.

As President Obama is relying heavily on Union backing for his re-election bid, the pressure coming from the Rail Conference may be well-timed. The White House has today announced that Obama will sign an executive order to grant permits to the lower half of the XL pipeline – perhaps this latest salvo from the unions will grant electricity producers a similar reprieve.