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Killing Coal & Keystone

- September 12, 2013

Obama Escalates His War On Energy And Jobs

THE ADMINISTRATION WILL ANNOUNCE NEW REGULATIONS THAT BAN NEW COAL PLANTS

The Obama Administration Is Set To Unveil Coal Regulations That Will Ban New Plants Without The Installation Of Expensive Equipment. "New coal plants would need to install expensive equipment to limit climate-change emissions under a proposal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is close to issuing, according to people familiar with the plan." (Mark Drajem, "Obama Said To Ban New Coal Plants Without Carbon Controls," Bloomberg, 9/11/13)

  • The New Regulations "Will Be Structured Differently" Than A Controversial Plan Outlined Last Year But "Offers Little Solace To Plant Operators." "The new version will be structured differently, though offers little solace to plant operators, according to the people who have been briefed by officials and asked not to be identified before the public release." (Mark Drajem, "Obama Said To Ban New Coal Plants Without Carbon Controls," Bloomberg, 9/11/13)

The Final Rules, Which Will Be Released On September 20, Will Impose Challenging Requirements On New Plants Because "The Technology Is Unproven And It's Too Expensive." "The rules, the subject of intense lobbying by the industry, are under review by White House officials, and could be reworked before the Sept. 20 scheduled release. The EPA has proposed retaining a provision letting utilities phase-in the capture technology over time, one person said. Relying on carbon capture to limit coal emissions is challenging because the technology is unproven and it's too expensive, according to the industry." (Mark Drajem, "Obama Said To Ban New Coal Plants Without Carbon Controls," Bloomberg, 9/11/13)

The Similar Proposal Unveiled Last Year Would "Effectively Prohibit New Coal-Fired Power Plants"

"Last Year The Environmental Protection Agency Proposed Regulating Greenhouse-Gas Emissions From New Power Plants." "For months, environmentalists have been pressing the White House to regulate utilities powered by coal and natural gas, which account for a third of the nation's greenhouse-gas emissions and 40 percent of its carbon output. Last year the Environmental Protection Agency proposed regulating greenhouse-gas emissions from new power plants, but it has delayed finalizing that rule. According to individuals familiar with the White House plan, who asked not to be identified since the president has yet to deliver his speech, Obama will couch the effort not only in terms of the nation's domestic priorities, but as a way to meet the administration's international pledge to reduce the country's greenhouse-gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels. According to an independent analysis by the World Resources Institute, the United States will need to regulate existing power plants and take other steps as well to meet that goal." (Juliet Eilperin, "Obama To Announce Tuesday He Will Regulate Existing Power Plants As Part Of Climate Strategy," The Washington Post , 6/22/13)

  • The 2012 EPA Regulation Meant That Coal-Fired Plants "As They Exist Now Will Not Be Built In The Future." "But beyond that, the rule means that coal-fired power plants as they exist now will not be built in the future. The standard will generally require that new power plants emit CO2 at a rate no greater than that of a natural-gas-fired power plant. Such plants emit about 60 percent less greenhouse gases than coal plants." (Erica Martinson, "EPA Hits Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Power Plants," Politico, 3/26/12)
     
  • Obama's 2012 Greenhouse Gas Proposal Would Ensure That "No New Coal-Fired U.S. Plants Will Be Built After This Year." "The Obama administration's proposal last week to put the first limits on greenhouse gases from new power plants probably will mean that no new coal-fired U.S. plants will be built after this year, but that won't slash coal use anytime soon." (Renee Schoof, "EPA Climate Proposal Could Limit Coal's Future, At Least In US," McClatchy, 4/1/12)

OBAMA'S REGULATIONS ARE JUST THE LATEST STEP IN A FIVE-YEAR EFFORT TO "BANKRUPT" COAL PLANTS

While Campaigning For President In 2008, Obama Said That His Cap-And-Trade Program Would Bankrupt New Coal-Powered Plants. OBAMA: "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." (Sen. Barack Obama, Interview With The San Francisco Chronicle's Editorial Board, 1/17/08)

Vice President Biden In 2008: "No Coal Plants Here In America." (Joe Biden, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Maumee, OH, 9/16/08)

  • Biden: "We're Not Supporting Clean Coal." (Joe Biden, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Maumee, OH, 9/16/08)

Harvard University's Daniel P. Schrag, One Of Obama's Advisers On Climate Change, Said "A War On Coal Is Exactly What's Needed." "Daniel P. Schrag, a geochemist who is the head of Harvard University's Center for the Environment and a member of a presidential science panel that has helped advise the White House on climate change, said he hoped the presidential speech would mark a turning point in the national debate on climate change. 'Everybody is waiting for action,' he said. 'The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they're having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what's needed.'" (John M Broder, "Obama To Outline Ambitious Plan To Cut Greenhouse Gases,"The New York Times, 6/25/13)

  • Schrag: "The One Thing The President Really Needs To Do Now Is To Being The Process Of Shutting Down The Conventional Coal Plants." (John M Broder, "Obama To Outline Ambitious Plan To Cut Greenhouse Gases,"The New York Times, 6/25/13)

AS THE ADMINISTRATION BURDENS THE COAL INDUSTRY, THEY'RE DELAYING THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE YET AGAIN

Due To Delays By The Obama Administration, A Decision On The Keystone XL Pipeline Likely Won't Come Until 2014. "As the State Department drags out the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, it is more likely President Barack Obama's final decision on the project to help link Canada's oil sands to U.S. refineries will slip into 2014, experts said." (Timothy Gardner, "U.S. Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Likely To Slip Into 2014," Reuters, 9/10/13)

  • Even Without Further Delays From The Obama Administration, The Decision On The Keystone Pipeline Will Take Up To At Least Three-And-A-Half Additional Months. "State Department officials have said there is no set timeline on the decision, and it will take as long as it needs to complete an analysis on the final review. But the specific stages still to come in the approval process add up to at least three-and-a-half months, which would push the process into December even without additional delays. After the environmental review is completed, eight federal agencies, including the Departments of Defense, Energy and Homeland Security, will have 90 days to comment on whether they believe the pipeline is in the national interest. Then the State Department will make a National Interest Determination (NID), which the agencies will have 15 days to appeal." (Timothy Gardner, "U.S. Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Likely To Slip Into 2014," Reuters, 9/10/13)
     
  • Former State Department Energy Official: "When You Take Into Account That The NID Takes 90 Days, It's Hard To See How The Decision Could Emerge Before The First Quarter Of 2014." "'When you take into account that the NID takes 90 days, it's hard to see how the decision could emerge before the first quarter of 2014,' said David Goldwyn, who headed international energy affairs at the State Department until early 2011." (Timothy Gardner, "U.S. Decision On Keystone XL Pipeline Likely To Slip Into 2014," Reuters, 9/10/13)

FLASHBACK: The Obama Administration Had Initially Intended To Make A Decision On Keystone By The End Of 2011. "The administration had initially hoped to make a decision on the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline by the end of the year, but State said the revised environmental review will take until early 2013 at the earliest, with a final decision to follow. The Department cited 'environmental sensitivities' in the proposed route and said it would look at alternative routes in Nebraska, where critics say the planned path would threaten a vital aquifer by traversing the Sand Hills region." (Ben Geman, "Obama Delays Keystone Decision Until After 2012 Reelection Bid," The Hill, 11/10/11)

Amid His Stalling On Keystone, Obama Has Consistently Derided The Jobs It Would Create

In An Interview With The New York Times In July, Obama Joked About The Potential Job Creation From The Keystone XL Pipeline. THE NEW YORK TIMES: "Keystone pipeline -- Republicans especially talk about that as a big job creator. You've said that you would approve it only if you could be assured it would not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon in the atmosphere. Is there anything that Canada could do or the oil companies could do to offset that as a way of helping you to reach that decision?" PRESIDENT OBAMA: "Well, first of all, Michael, Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator. There is no evidence that that's true. And my hope would be that any reporter who is looking at the facts would take the time to confirm that the most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline -- which might take a year or two -- and then after that we're talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs in a economy of 150 million working people." (Jackie Calmes and Michael Shear, "Interview With President Obama," The New York Times , 7/27/13)

  • Obama Derided The Thousands Of American Jobs That Keystone Will Create As A "Blip." NYT: "Yet there are a number of unions who want you to approve this." OBAMA: "Well, look, they might like to see 2,000 jobs initially. But that is a blip relative to the need. So what we also know is, is that that oil is going to be piped down to the Gulf to be sold on the world oil markets, so it does not bring down gas prices here in the United States. In fact, it might actually cause some gas prices in the Midwest to go up where currently they can't ship some of that oil to world markets. Now, having said that, there is a potential benefit for us integrating further with a reliable ally to the north our energy supplies." (Jackie Calmes and Michael Shear, "Interview With President Obama," The New York Times , 7/27/13)

Only Days After His Interview With The New York Times, Obama Mocked The Keystone Pipeline As "Not A Jobs Plan." OBAMA: "But I've got to tell you, just gutting our environmental protection, that's not a jobs plan. Gutting investments in education, that's not a jobs plan. They keep on talking about this -- an oil pipeline coming down from Canada that's estimated to create about 50 permanent jobs -- that's not a jobs plan." (President Barack Obama, Remarks On Jobs For The Middle Class, Chattanooga, TN, 7/30/13)

REALITY CHECK: According To The State Department, The Keystone Pipeline Would Help Support Tens Of Thousands Of Jobs. "Including direct, indirect, and induced effects, the proposed Project would potentially support approximately 42,100 average annual jobs across the United States over a 1-to 2-year construction period (of which, approximately 3,900 would be directly employed in construction activities). This employment would potentially translate to approximately $2.05 billion in earnings. ("Keystone XL Project Draft Supplemental EIS Executive Summary," United States Department of State, 3/13, p.14)

  • The Washington Post : "The President Shouldn't Pick And Choose How He Cites Job-Creation Numbers. Perhaps He Is Tipping His Hand On What He Secretly Thinks Of The Keystone XL…" "But the president shouldn't pick and choose how he cites job-creation numbers. Perhaps he is tipping his hand on what he secretly thinks of the Keystone XL by citing a low-ball figure, generated by the pipeline's opponents, but he should stick to using the official government estimate. (His 2,000-job figure is actually slightly lower than the Cornell estimate.) Otherwise, the president ironically seems to be signaling that even his own government does not produce the "most realistic" estimate that should be used by reporters." (Glenn Kessler, "President Obama's Low-Ball Estimate For Keystone XL Jobs," The Washington Post ,, 7/30/13)

EVEN DEMOCRATS APPROVE BUILDING THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE

"The Latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll Finds That More Than Two-Thirds Of Respondents, 67 Percent, Support Building The Pipeline To Carry Canadian Oil To Refineries On The U.S. Gulf Coast; That Includes 56 Percent Of Democrats." "The latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll finds that more than two-thirds of respondents, 67 percent, support building the pipeline to carry Canadian oil to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast; that includes 56 percent of Democrats. Less than a quarter of Americans, 24 percent, oppose the project, the poll shows." (Steve Sheppard, "Americans Support the Keystone XL Pipeline by Wide Margin," National Journal , 7/16/13)

  • According To A Pew Research Survey, 66 Percent Of Americans Favor The Keystone XL Pipeline, While Just 23 Percent Oppose It. "As the Obama administration approaches a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, a national survey finds broad public support for the project. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor building the pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada's oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries in Texas. Just 23% oppose construction of the pipeline." ("Keystone XL Pipeline Draws Broad Support," Pew Research Center, 4/2/13)
  • "Support For The Pipeline Spans Most Demographic And Partisan Groups. Substantial Majorities Of Republicans (82%) And Independents (70%) Favor Building The Keystone XL Pipeline, As Do 54% Of Democrats." ("Keystone XL Pipeline Draws Broad Support," Pew Research Center, 4/2/13)

Congressional Democrats Are Calling On The President To Approve The Pipeline

In March, 17 Senate Democrats Voted To Approve The Keystone Pipeline. "The Senate on Friday voted 62-37 to approve the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline in an amendment to Senate budget. … All Republicans voted in favor. The Democrats who supported the measure were Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tom Carper (Del.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W. Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bill Nelson (Fla.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Mark Warner (Va.)." (Zack Coleman, "Keystone XL Picks Up Senate Backing," The Hill, 3/22/13)

  • Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT): "Enough Analysis: It's Time To Put Montanans To Work On Keystone." "Enough analysis: it's time to put Montanans to work on Keystone. Four and a half years after the Keystone pipeline was first proposed, we need the jobs and the energy independence it provides more than ever." (Sen. Max Baucus, Press Release, 4/16/13)

19 House Democrats Voted In Favor Of The Northern Route Approval Act To Approve Construction Of The Keystone XL Pipeline. (H.R. 3, Roll Call Vote #179, Passed 241-175; R 222-0; D 19-175, 5/22/13)


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