President Obama came into office promising to bankrupt the coal industry. Through the EPA he has followed up on that promise, and coal producers are warning that the agency’s latest rule may kill off a huge swath of their industry:
It imposes a standard for emissions that is all but impossible for many plants to meet. It requires coal-fired plants to release no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour.
Environmentalists are praising the new rule as a vital defense against climate change.
“We know what fossil fuel damages do to our public health, the health of our kids, our families,” said Brent Blackwelder at a recent gathering of Friends of the Earth. “We know the damage it does to crops and to buildings. And now the big damage all around the world is climate disruption.”
But coal industry representatives believe they’ve made great strides in reducing emissions through the years — now capturing over 99 percent of particulate emissions released during the combustion process. The EPA’s proposed rule, they say, sets the bar too high and may force the closure of 20 to 25 percent of coal-fired plants across the United States.
In a state known for its bare-knuckles politics, both men vying for the governor’s office have joined forces in fighting this and other EPA regulations that target the coal industry. Incumbent Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin plans to sue the EPA over the rule – a move that his Republican opponent Bill Maloney welcomes.
“Last year at this time, we were looking for 2,000 coal miners to go to work. Now there’s 2,000 laid off,” Maloney said. “We’ve got six coal-fired power plants that are being shut. We’re losing our competitive edge, and it’s wrong.”
In any debate between environmentalists and the US economy, when Obama has his say, the environmentalists always win. He scuttled the XL pipeline on their behalf, and is killing coal on their behalf — despite the fact that the earth hasn’t warmed in the last 15 years, and the global warming story has fallen apart like a Washington Post exposee.
Not only will coal-fired power plants shut down under the EPA’s new rule, the loss of supply will drive energy prices up — they will skyrocket, as the president threatened they would. Families in West Virginia are looking at 30% hikes. Barack Obama is imposing an energy famine on the nation.