Beating up the coal industry
Published: Thursday, May 15th, 2014
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin didn’t mince any words last week after White House adviser John Pedesta told reporters that Congress could not derail the administration’s efforts to unilaterally enact policies to fight global warming. Podesta said the president is committed to using executive orders to pass regulations under the Clean Air Act to limit carbon dioxide emissions that they say cause global warming, according to an article in The Daily Caller.
Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have urged the Obama administration to scale back their climate goals because of the adverse effects of new regulations on the coal industry. Coal supporters have called the administration’s actions the “war on coal” due to huge job losses in coal states like West Virginia and Kentucky, which is bound to have an effect at the polls in November.
“We’re getting the living crap beaten out of us,” Manchin told Ron Binz, the president’s former nominee to be the country’s top energy regulator last year. “There has been nothing more beat up than coal,” Manchin said. “They just beat the living daylights out of little West Virginia, but they sure like what we produce,” Manchin is quoted as telling Binz. “We could do it a lot better if we had a government working with us as a partner,” he said.
The Obama administration seems to be willing to work as a partner with anyone in the energy business with the exception of coal. This is the industry he vowed to put out of business in his campaign to become president, and, remarkably, he was still elected. If you are in any other energy-related business other than renewable energy like oil and coal, you have a friend with this administration.
No matter if you are a Solyndra or an A123 Systems, this administration was willing to bet on you. In picking winners and losers, Solyndra, a Silicon Valley manufacturer of solar panels, shut down in August 2011, leaving the taxpayers holding the bag for $535 million. A123 Systems, an electric car battery manufacturer in Michigan, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2012, losing $129 million of a government energy department grant.
Podestra was brought into the Obama White House to show the president ways he could use his executive authority to implement various plans that are considered too divisive for Congress to consider. Specifically, Podestra is to help Obama find ways to use his executive orders to unilaterally push climate policies. This will include implementing energy policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent by 2020 in the U.S.
In this part of the country and others, we are already seeing the administration’s efforts to retire the cost-efficient coal-fired plants and replace them with plants powered by natural gas. Black Hills Power and Black Hills Electric Cooperative are both faced with having to steadily raise their electric rates to customers. BHP is in the process of constructing a new natural gas plant in Wyoming, which is causing electric rates to rise.
Keep in mind that these much tougher emission requirements are being imposed by unelected bureaucrats in the Environmental Protection Agency. Podestra in a 2010 report wrote that the EPA could “spur the retirement of coal-fired power plants” and replace them with natural gas plants by imposing stricter emissions limits. The EPA says that these new limits would effectively do away with coal-fired power plants unless they install costly carbon capture and storage technology, which is cost prohibitive.
The latter is all the result of an Obama executive order from last year. The EPA and Obama are willing accomplices in putting coal companies out of business. They are literally beating the crap out of an American industry, and, apparently, there is nothing anyone can do about it.
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