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One Year Later In Obama’s “War On Coal”

- June 25, 2014

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY, THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED ITS “WAR ON COAL”

One Year Ago, Obama Unveiled His New “Forceful” Climate Push, Highlighting New Regulations On Coal Power Plants. “President Obama delivered his most forceful push for action on global warming on Tuesday, declaring that his administration would impose tighter pollution controls on coal- and gas-fired utilities and establish strict conditions for approval of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.” (Juliet Eilperin, “Obama Unveils Ambitious Agenda To Combat Climate Change, Bypassing Congress,” The Washington Post, 6/25/13)

  • Daniel P. Schrag, One Of Obama’s Advisers On Climate Change, Said “A War On Coal Is Exactly What’s Needed.” “A Harvard University geochemist who serves as a scientific adviser to President Obama is urging the administration to wage a ‘war on coal.’ ‘The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants,’ Daniel P. Schrag, a member of the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, told the New York Times. ‘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.’” (Aaron Blake, “Obama Science Adviser Calls For ‘War On Coal,’” The Washington Post, 6/25/13)

JUST THIS MONTH, OBAMA FURTHERED HIS “WAR ON COAL” BY UNVEILING “THE MOST DRAMATIC ANTI-POLLUTION REGULATION IN A GENERATION”

Earlier This Month, The Obama Administration Launched “The First-Ever Carbon Pollution Limits On Existing Power Plants.” “President Barack Obama is planning a public show of support for new climate change rules that his administration will unveil Monday. The White House says Obama will spotlight the first-ever carbon pollution limits on existing power plants during his weekly radio and Internet address, released Saturday.”(Josh Lederman, “Obama Prepares To Push For New Power Plant Rules,” Associated Press, 5/30/14)

  • The EPA Has Launched “The Most Dramatic Anti-Pollution Regulation In A Generation.” “The EPA will launch the most dramatic anti-pollution regulation in a generation early next month, a sweeping crackdown on carbon that offers President Barack Obama his last real shot at a legacy on climate change — while causing significant political peril for red-state Democrats.” (Erica Martinson, “President Obama’s Big Carbon Crackdown Readies For Launch,” Politico, 5/16/14)

Time Headline: “New Carbon Rules The Next Step In Obama War On Coal” (Michael Grunwald, “New Carbon Rules The Next Step In Obama’s War On Coal,” Time, 6/1/14)

  • The Rule “Would Effectively Shutter Coal Plants Across The U.S., Hurting The Economy And Energy Jobs.” “Instead, such mandates would effectively shutter coal plants across the U.S., hurting the economy and energy jobs, pro-coal Democrats and Republicans claim. The senators recommended that Obama evaluate ‘more appropriate ways to regulate emissions.’”  (Laura Barron-Lopez, “Senate Dems To Obama: Reconsider Coal Rules,” The Hill, 5/21/14)

The EPA Efforts To Reduce Emissions Will “Take The War On Coal To The Next Level, And Will Probably Inspire A New Round Of Retirements.” “The EPA’s effort to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent will take the war on coal to the next level, and will probably inspire a new round of retirements.” (Michael Grunwald, “New Carbon Rules The Next Step In Obama’s War On Coal,” Time, 6/1/14)

Coal Customers Will “Feel The Biggest Hit” And Pay The Price For Obama’s Agenda

“But For Coal Country, The Rule Is Yet Another Indignity For An Industry Already Facing A Wave Of Power Plant Shutdowns Amid Hostile Market Forces And A Series Of Separate EPA Air Regulations.” (Erica Martinson, “President Obama’s Big Carbon Crackdown Readies For Launch,” Politico, 5/16/14)

  • “[N]o Matter How Much Flexibility The EPA’s Rule Offers, Somebody Will Have To Pay For Complying With It — And Again, Coal Customers Would Feel The Biggest Hit.” “But no matter how much flexibility the EPA’s rule offers, somebody will have to pay for complying with it — and again, coal customers would feel the biggest hit. Utilities heavy on coal-fired power would be the ones paying for credits in any carbon-trading scheme, while utilities with lots of gas, nuclear and wind power would have credits to sell.” (Erica Martinson, “President Obama’s Big Carbon Crackdown Readies For Launch,” Politico, 5/16/14)

Coal Plants Across The Country Are Already Shutting Down Due To EPA Policies

338 Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units In The U.S., Representing 51,349 Megawatts Are Already Shutting Down Or Converting Due To EPA Policies. (Coal Unit Shutdowns, American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 5/8/14)

  • 30 Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units In Pennsylvania, Representing 5,548 Megawatts Are Already Shutting Down Or Converting Due To EPA Policies. (Coal Unit Shutdowns, American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 5/8/14)
  • 18 Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units In West Virginia, Representing 2,737 Megawatts Are Already Shutting Down Or Converting Due To EPA Policies. (Coal Unit Shutdowns, American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 5/8/14)
  • 17 Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units In North Carolina, Representing 2,198 Megawatts Are Already Shutting Down Or Converting Due To EPA Policies. (Coal Unit Shutdowns, American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 5/8/14)

AND AS THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS APPROACH, SENATE DEMOCRATS ARE DUCKING A VOTE ON CURBING OBAMA’S “WAR ON COAL”

Senate Democrats Have Continued To Duck A Vote On The “War On Coal” Amendment. “The war over the ‘war on coal’ has been postponed after Democrats pushed off a second fiscal 2015 spending bill in the Senate. Late Wednesday, the Appropriations Committee decided not to move forward as scheduled with Thursday’s markup of the bill that funds the Energy Department, as well as water development projects.” (Niels Lesniewski, “Democrats Ducking Vote On ‘War On Coal’ Amendment — For Now,” Roll Call, 6/18/14)

  • “[T]he McConnell Amendment Would Require Certification That Neither Electricity Prices Would Go Up, Nor Jobs Be Eliminated, As A Result Of Implementing New Rules On Existing Power Plants.”  “According to a senior GOP aide, the McConnell amendment would require certification that neither electricity prices would go up, nor jobs be eliminated, as a result of implementing new rules on existing power plants. Without such a certification, the rules would not be able to move forward. The Environmental Protection Agency outlined its plans on June 2, and McConnell has been pledging to use any tools at his disposal to stop the action.” (Niels Lesniewski, “McConnell Plots Coal Amendment To Energy Spending Bill,” Roll Call, 6/17/14)
  •  “The Move Avoids A Potentially Problematic Vote For Senate Democrats And The Obama Administration…” “The move avoids a potentially problematic vote for Senate Democrats and the Obama administration that could have stopped the Environmental Protection Agency’s bid to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants — regulations that have the affect of targeting pollution from coal.” (Niels Lesniewski, “Democrats Ducking Vote On ‘War On Coal’ Amendment — For Now,” Roll Call, 6/18/14)

Under The Threat Of Veto, Top Senate Democrats Scuttled A Vote On A Major Spending Bill That Would End The Democrats’ “War On Coal.” “Top senators signaled the White House threatened to veto a Senate spending bill over a possible amendment from Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to block EPA power plant regulations. The amendment, billed by the Kentucky Republican as a fight against the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘war on coal’ was cited by the chairwomen of the full Appropriations Committee and the Energy-Water Subcommittee as the key factor in removing that fiscal 2015 bill from Thursday morning’s markup agenda.” (Niels Lesniewski, “White House Threatened Veto Of Spending Bill Over McConnell Amendment,” Roll Call, 6/19/14)

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): “The Amendment Was A Bill-Killer. If It Didn’t Lead To Defeat On The Senate Floor, It Would Have Resulted In A White House Veto.” “‘The amendment was a bill-killer. If it didn’t lead to defeat on the Senate floor, it would have resulted in a White House veto, as the chairman has said,’ said subcommittee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein. The California Democrat said the White House confirmed a veto threat over the amendment on Wednesday.” (Niels Lesniewski, “White House Threatened Veto Of Spending Bill Over McConnell Amendment,” Roll Call, 6/19/14)

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