Obama Kills Coal

by Matt Patterson on March 29, 2012

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“If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” – Candidate Barack Obama, 2008

Well, we can’t say we weren’t warned.

This week the unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency released a new set of proposed rules designed to lower our greenhouse gas emissions.  If enacted, these rules would virtually destroy the coal industry – just as the President once promised.

Specifically, new power plants will be required to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity; current coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.  As Jordan Weissmann writes for The Atlantic, “Natural gas plants already meet this requirement. But if a utility wants to burn coal for electricity, it will need to install carbon capture technology — and that’s really expensive.”

Indeed it is, and assuming new coal plants are actually built under this regulatory behemoth, to whom do you think those new expenses will be passed on to?  That’s right – energy consumers.  Rich people will be able to pay those extra costs, though they may gripe about it.  But middle class households will see a rise in their energy bills that will put them in even greater financial distress than they already are under this abysmal “recovery.”

And as for poor and working class people, well, they will be screwed, as is almost always the case when wealthy pencil pushers hatch some brilliant plan to “save the planet.” Pencil pushers like EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who crowed, “Today we’re taking a common-sense step to reduce pollution in our air, protect the planet for our children, and move us into a new era of American energy.”

Will coal-power producers try and forge ahead and stay financially viable under these new regulations?  Doubtful.   Remember, this is an industry already groaning under the weight of a slew of new regulations imposed by the Obama EPA, including other emission limits “which would require utilities to eventually upgrade old plants or build entirely new ones,” as Weissmann notes.

OK, so unlike his promises to close the terrorist detainment facility at Guantanamo Bay, keep lobbyists out of the White House, oppose an individual mandate for health insurance, et cetera, ad nauseam, at least we know the President was true to his word when he promised to bankrupt an entire industry that employs many tens of thousands of Americans.

Well done.

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