Obama’s War On Coal Escalates

- June 25, 2013

Obama Abandons Any Pretense Of An "All Of The Above" Energy Plan And Steps Up His Effort To Bankrupt The Coal Industry

Today, Obama Will Outline His Latest Energy Plan That Will Expand Greenhouse-Gas Regulations To Cover Existing Power Plants. "President Obama will announce Tuesday that he plans to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, according to individuals who have been briefed on the plan but asked not to be identified." (Juliet Eilperin, "Obama To Announce Tuesday He Will Regulate Existing Power Plants As Part Of Climate Strategy," The Washington Post , 6/22/13)

  • Obama's Latest Regulations "Would Be Vastly More Costly And Contentious" Than His Previous Controversial Regulations. "The administration has already begun steps to restrict climate-altering emissions from any newly built power plants, but imposing carbon standards on the existing utility fleet would be vastly more costly and contentious." (John M. Broder, "Obama Readying Emissions Limits On Power Plants," The New York Times , 6/19/13)

Harvard Professor Daniel P. Schrag, One Of President 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)


"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 Greenhouse Rule Would "Effectively Prohibit New Coal-Fired Power Plants." "President Barack Obama's proposed emission rules for power plants effectively prohibit new coal- fired power plants, buttressing the nation's shift away from a power source that fueled the Industrial Revolution to cheap natural gas. Obama's Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first limits on greenhouse-gas emissions from U.S. power plants yesterday, setting a standard natural-gas facilities can meet. A new coal plant, however, would need carbon-capture technology, which industry lobbyists say isn't available at competitive rates." (Mark Drajem, "Obama Power-Plant Rule Signals Demise Of 'Old King Coal,'" Bloomberg, 3/28/12)

  • Obama's 2012 Greenhouse Gas Proposal "Probably Will Mean 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)


According To The American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 288 Coal Units Across 32 States Are Currently Slated To Close Because Of EPA Policies. ("Coal Unit Shutdown," American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 6/20/13)

Between 2009 And 2012, Credit Suisse Estimated Coal Plant Closures At 111 Plants - "One-Fifth Of The Nation's Nearly 500 Coal Plants ." "But in the past two years, an increasing number of coal-powered electricity plants across the country have announced closures. Estimates vary, but banking and industry analysis firm Credit Suisse put expected and known closures for 2009-2012 at 111 plants, that's one-fifth of the nation's nearly 500 coal plants." (Lisa Desjardins, "The War Over Coal Is Personal," CNN, 7/17/12)

Last Year, The Energy Information Administration Projected That 2012 Coal Retirements Would Constitute "The Largest One-Year Amount In The Nation's History." "The coal-fired capacity expected to be retired over the next five years is more than four times greater than retirements performed during the preceding five-year period (6.5 GW). Moreover, based on EIA data, the approximate 9 GW of coal-fired capacity retirements expected to occur in 2012 will likely be the largest one-year amount in the nation's history." ("27 Gigawatts Of Coal-Fired Capacity To Retire over The Next Five Years," Energy Information Administration, 7/27/12)

Even Fellow Democrats Have Criticized The Impact Of Obama's Disastrous Energy Policies

"Some Democrats, Including Those Hawkish About Climate Action, Also Worry That Tough New Standards On Power Plants Could Slow Job Growth And Raise Energy Costs…" "Some Democrats, including those hawkish about climate action, also worry that tough new standards on power plants could slow job growth and raise energy costs, particularly in places like the industrial Midwest that depend on cheap power from coal. But administration officials signaled that Mr. Obama had decided the risks from climate change outweighed the potential economic and political costs from taking steps to address it." (John M. Broder, "Obama Readying Emissions Limits On Power Plants," The New York Times , 6/19/13)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Condemned The Obama Administration's "Attempts To Destroy Our Coal Industry And Way Of Life In West Virginia." "Announcing the suit against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, Mr. Manchin, a Democrat, condemned what he called the Obama administration's 'attempts to destroy our coal industry and way of life in West Virginia.'" (Erik Eckholm, "West Virginia Sues U.S. Over Mining Restrictions," The New York Times, 10/7/10)

  • Manchin: "This EPA Is Fully Engaging In A War On Coal, Even Though This Country Will Continue To Rely On Coal As An Affordable, Stable And Abundant Energy Source For Decades To Come." ("Sen. Manchin: EPA Fully Engaged In A War On Coal," The Herald-Dispatch, 3/27/12)
  • Manchin: "This Is What Happens When This Country Doesn't Have A True All-Of The-Above Energy Approach. Instead Of Trying To Completely Eliminate Coal In The Long-Term, The EPA Should Be Trying To Work With Industry." ("Sen. Manchin: EPA Fully Engaged In A War On Coal," The Herald-Dispatch, 3/27/12)

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D-WV), On The EPA's Regulations: "Yet Another Example Of The EPA's Inappropriate Use Of Its Regulatory Authority … We Should Be Working To Make Our Country More Energy Independent And Create Jobs, Not Harm Them." "Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said the regulation will severely hurt West Virginia by reducing jobs and unnecessarily increasing the cost of power for its citizens. 'This latest announcement is yet another example of the EPA's inappropriate use of its regulatory authority to set policy for our country,' Tomblin said. '... We should be working to make our country more energy independent and create jobs, not harm them.'" ("Sen. Manchin: EPA Fully Engaged In A War On Coal," The Herald-Dispatch, 3/27/12)


Then-Presidential Candidate Obama, On His Energy Plans In 2008: "If Somebody Wants To Build A Coal Plant, They Can - It's Just That It Will Bankrupt Them…" 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)

  • In 2007, Then-Presidential Candidate Said "I Don't Think There's Much Of A Role For Clean Coal In Energy Independence," And "Clean-Coal Is Not The Route To Go In The United States." BIDEN: "I don't think there's much of a role for clean coal in energy independence, but I do think there's a significant role for clean coal in the bigger picture of climate change. Clean-coal technology is not the route to go in the United States, because we have other, cleaner alternatives." (Amanda Little, "An Interview With Joe Biden About Energy And The Environment,", 8/30/07)

Biden, In 2008: "No Coal Plants Here In America." BIDEN: "We're not supporting clean coal. Guess what, China is building two every week - two dirty coal plants. And it's polluting the United States. … No coal plants here in America. Build them - if they're going to build them over there, make them clean because they're killing you." (Joe Biden, Remarks At A Campaign Event, Maumee, OH, 9/16/08)

  • In 2007, Biden Ranked Coal Ahead Of High-Fructose Corn Syrup And A Terrorist Attack As More Likely To Contribute To The Death Of An Average American. HBO's BILL MAHER: "Senator Biden, forgetting about the upcoming Iowa caucus for just a moment, which would you honestly say is more likely to contribute to the death of your average American: a terrorist strike or high-fructose corn syrup and air that has too much coal in it?" BIDEN: "Air that has too much coal in it, corn syrup next, then a terrorist attack. But that is not in any way to diminish the fact that a terrorist attack is real. It is not an existential threat to bringing down the country, but it does have the capacity, still, to kill thousands of people. But hundreds of thousands of people die and their lives are shortened because of coal plants, coal-fired plants and because of corn syrup." (Sen. Joe Biden, Slate, Yahoo, The Huffington Post Presidential Forum, 9/13/07)

The Wall Street Journal: "For Three Years The Environmental Protection Agency Has Imposed A De Facto Ban On New Coal-Fired Power While Doing Everything It Can To Harm Existing Coal Plants." (Editorial, "Killing Coal," The Wall Street Journal, 4/5/12)

  • The Wall Street Journal: "The Agency Is Conceding That Coal Development Has Been Shut Down As A Result Of Its Many New Regulations, Such As The Recent Mercury Rule And The Illegal Permitting Delays That A Federal Appeals Court Slapped Down Last Week." (Editorial, "Killing Coal," The Wall Street Journal, 4/5/12)

The Wall Street Journal: Coal Is Not Part Of Obama's "All Of The Above" Energy Strategy. "Everyone in Washington including President Obama claims to favor an 'all of the above' energy portfolio. As misguided as that is-far better to let markets decide which energy sources to develop-the EPA has now admitted that Mr. Obama doesn't really mean it. Coal is not part of his 'all.'" (Editorial, "Killing Coal," The Wall Street Journal, 4/5/12)


As Head Of The EPA's Clean Air Division, McCarthy Has "Been A Central Player In Developing Greenhouse-Gas Rules." "She has already been a central player in developing greenhouse-gas rules proposed last year that would effectively rule out new coal-fired power plants using existing commercially viable technology." (Tennille Tracy, Keith Johnson, and Ryan Tracy, "Insider Emerges As Top Contender For EPA Job," The Wall Street Journal, 2/14/13)

  • FLASHBACK: In April, McCarthy Assured The Senate That The EPA Was Not "Currently Developing Any Existing Source GHG Regulations For Power Plants." "Now that the president is proceeding with regulating greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, Senate Republicans are likely to be even tougher on McCarthy, who informed them in April the agency was not drafting such regulations. In responses submitted April 30 to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's top Republican David Vitter (La.), McCarthy made the point three times, in almost exactly the same phrase: 'EPA is not currently developing any existing source GHG regulations for power plants,' she wrote, referring to greenhouse gas emissions."

At Obama's EPA, McCarthy Took On "Much Of The Heavy Lifting Of Writing, Structuring, And Implementing" "Controversial New Climate And Clean Air Rules." "EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has taken most of the fire from Republicans as her agency rolls out a slew of controversial new climate and clean air rules. But McCarthy, the EPA assistant administrator of the Office of Air and Radiation, has taken on much of the heavy lifting of writing, structuring, and implementing the rules." (Coral Davenport, "EPA Official Was Romney's 'Green Quarterback,'" National Journal, 9/22/11)

McCarthy "Helped Fashion Tough New Emissions Standards" That "Would Make It Virtually Impossible To Build Any New Coal-Fired Power Plants In The United States." "As a senior E.P.A. official in Mr. Obama's first term, she helped fashion tough new emissions standards for cars and light trucks, tightened standards for mercury and other harmful pollutants in the air, and issued the first proposed regulations for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas pollutants for new power plants. Those new rules would make it virtually impossible to build any new coal-fired power plants in the United States." (John Broder and Matthew Wald, "Obama To Nominate New Heads For Energy Department And EPA," The New York Times , 3/4/13)

McCarthy Is In Charge Of Writing New EPA Emissions Rules That "Would Essentially Bar Construction Of Any New Coal-Fired Power Plants." "The E.P.A., which the Supreme Court granted authority to regulate carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, is in the midst of writing regulations governing such emissions from new power plants. Those rules, expected to be completed this year, would essentially bar construction of any new coal-fired power plants unless they included the means to capture carbon gases, a technology that does not yet exist on a commercial scale." (John Broder and Matthew Wald, "Cabinet Picks Could Take On Climate Policy," The New York Times , 3/5/13)

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