Monthly Archives: September 2015

Coal Related News from Around the Nation

N.D. Governor Says He Has ‘Direct Questions’ for EPA

Via E&E Publishing: 

BISMARCK, N.D. — Gov. Jack Dalrymple plans to meet with top U.S. EPA officials next week to protest how his state was treated in the final version of the Clean Power Plan.

North Dakota’s emissions reduction target quadrupled from 11 percent below 2012 levels in the draft of the plan to 45 percent in the final version. The state has been responding on two tracks — preparing both a legal challenge and an implementation plan.

“How in the heck do you change your recommendation from 11 percent to 45 percent without any discussion?” Dalrymple (R) said in an interview here. “There’s going to be some very direct questions.”

Dalrymple’s staff said he’s tentatively scheduled to meet with Janet McCabe, the acting head of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

The Clean Power Plan is a key piece of the Obama administration’s plan to combat global climate change. It’s intended to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from electric generation plants 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Each state has its own emissions goal based on its generation fleet and is responsible for carrying out its own implementation plan.

North Dakota gets 79 percent of its electricity from coal-fired plants, about 16 percent from wind and about 5 percent from hydroelectric plants, according to the U.S. Energy Department.

North Dakota exports much of its wind power, though, and state officials have complained because the Clean Power Plan gives credit for wind power to the states that use it, rather than the states that produce it. They’ve also questioned whetherNorth Dakota’s power plants can come up with the efficiency increases EPA expects.

See the article here. (Subscription required)

 

Here’s Why States Should Reject the EPA Clean Power Grab

Via BrietBart.com:

By now, Americans are starting to learn about the Obama Administration’s new “Clean Power Plan” (CPP). And superficially, it sounds like a good idea, as in, “Why not make power generation cleaner” or “Why not move toward more renewable energy sources?”

These may be laudable goals, but what’s immediately troubling about the new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules are basic legal issues.

For starters, the EPA, which has never previously demonstrated any expertise in regulating America’s vast power grid, will begin to shut down coal plants under a vague authority derived from the Clean Air Act. Essentially, coal, the most affordable and abundant fuel used to generate electricity in the U.S.—and which currently generates about 40 percent of the nation’s power supply—will be phased out in favor of higher priced and less reliable wind and solar.

The problem, as legal experts are now pointing out, is that the EPA’s plan oversteps federal authority. Harvard University Constitutional Law Professor Laurence Tribe, who is generally a supporter of the president’s agenda, told Congress earlier this year that that the plan exceeds the EPA’s authority under federal law. According to Professor Tribe, the CPP makes states unacceptably subservient to Washington on energy and environmental matters because it “invades state regulatory control in an unprecedented manner” that “raises grave constitutional questions that the Act must be construed to avoid.”

How exactly is the EPA overreaching its authority?

As Professor Tribe explains, the EPA will force states to adopt policies that will raise energy costs, a blunt approach that runs counter to the mandates of many state energy commissions. The EPA rules are deceptive, too, in that they claim to provide states with a “choice” in devising new energy approaches. As Professor Tribe notes, there is little real choice when state policies are in fact compelled by the EPA: “Such sleight-of-hand offends democratic principles by avoiding political transparency and accountability.”

The EPA doesn’t recognize this conflict of interest, unfortunately. As EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said recently, “We’re particularly interested in making sure states and utilities can achieve emissions reductions along a flexible glide path so that they can meet their targets.”

Far from being flexible, the CPP simply seizes the authority long held by states to regulate their power systems. And what’s being imposed is disturbing because it could lead to heavy-handed plant closures in states that currently rely on coal for everyday living.

Not only are wind and solar intermittent sources of energy—the wind doesn’t always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine—but the coal plants on the chopping block have continually proven their durability and reliability in supplying robust electricity. As the EPA shuts down these high-performing coal plants, the reliability and affordability of electricity in many states will become victims to a misguided, one-size-fits-all agenda. Consumers will thus pay higher electric bills while facing potential blackouts during peak usage.

Which brings us to the pushback emerging from states as they realize their authority to structure internal energy supply is being usurped by Washington. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has issued an executive order directing that her state will not comply with “such a clear overreach of federal authority.” Indiana Governor Mike Pence has made the same declaration regarding a policy he believes “will drive up electricity prices without any discernible impact on global carbon dioxide emissions.”

All in all, more than 20 states are preparing to join a lawsuit against the EPA’s overreach. Historically, states have established their own energy policies to ensure adequate and reliable service at reasonable prices. But the EPA’s vast federal bureaucracy faces no such mandate. Instead, it seeks to impose a heavy-handed “solution” that will likely dismantle decades of carefully managed, localized energy regulation. This poses a troubling and expensive problem for working class America, and state governors should reject such unwise federal mismanagement.

Terry M. Jarrett is an attorney with Healy Law Offices, LLC in Jefferson City, Missouri, and a former Commissioner of the Missouri Public Service Commission.

See the article here.

Energy Market Demands Diverse Sources

Via The Standard Speaker:

Editor,

Your article on Aug. 11, 2015, made some very good points as to how taxes and regulations can lead to major problems in the cost and efficiency in the PJM Interconnection system.

The PJM system was developed by electric utilities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and other states with good cooperation and hard work over a long period of time.

It is so reliable that we take it for granted. Just plug your battery charger into the wall outlet, charge your battery, put it into your phone and you can do wonders with your new phone.

The generation units and the PJM system improved by continued use of new technology. It made Pennsylvania the second largest electric power producing state in the nation. Mine mouth coal fired plants built in the 1960s and nuclear units in the 1970s and ’80s supplied the growing base load.

This led to a significant number of jobs in Pennsylvania, many of which are still in place today. The continuing use of new technology led to a significant increase in manufacturing jobs in the country.

Increased regulations have slowed the replacement of the older units, which has caused a loss of manufacturing jobs. The older units will be retired due to cost to maintain and cost to meet new regulations. This will cause a significant loss of jobs in generation and coal mining in Pennsylvania. The PJM system can be maintained by adding gas turbine generators in the right locations. It will require miles of new gas pipeline to do this and will make a lot of people unhappy.

Your “Gas, power march together” article on Aug. 20, 2015, identifies that big change will be required to implement the increase in gas-fueled power plants in our state. Pipelines will bring about big changes in our landscape. Cost of electric will increase due to the step change in natural gas fuel used in generating electricity in our state.

Lack of pipe to deliver fuel and lack of generation capacity can lead to rolling blackouts. The New England states were very close to rolling blackouts in the 2014 winter.

It just might be that the use of our natural resources is a bigger concern than our fear of global warming.

I believe that we need to continue to use coal and nuclear fuel to produce our base load electricity. This will extend our natural gas (which we really do not know how much we have)capabilities out for our children and grandchildren. This will allow them to deal with the climate changing that has occured around here for a few million years.

If we put a severance tax on gas production, I propose that since we are the second largest electric generating state in the nation that we do a study to determine if using natural gas to produce most of our electricity is the right thing to do.

R.J. Toole,

Hazle Township

See the article here.

Technology – Not Caps – is the Answer for Clean, Affordable Energy

Via The Hill:

There is much talk about where America should get its power following the administration’s stunning attempt to rewrite the playbook for our U.S. energy supply. The new carbon plan favors a switch to the most expensive forms of energy. It puts at risk the best, most reliable power system in the world. And it quite literally throws caution to the wind for political convenience with no notable benefit under climate theory.

Why else would the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) admit that the carbon benefits associated with its plan are so insignificant that is has never even bothered to measure them?

The administration’s carbon rule is fundamentally flawed on legal, policy and practical grounds. It’s time to take a step back to protect access to low-cost electricity and counter actions that would raise power costs and damage reliability.

America’s energy policy should not be guided by political fancy but by the dire need for affordable energy for families and businesses. Consider that as many as 100 million Americans – nearly one-third of the population – qualify for energy assistance. A record 93 million Americans are out of the labor force, and 45 million Americans live in poverty.

Yet the administration’s plan forces utilities to increase use of volatile natural gas and pricey renewables, which several earlier studies show will continue to drive up electricity rates to new records. This comes at a time when the majority of Americans believe the plan will increase energy costs and need relief from “pain at the plug.” Last year was the most expensive year ever for electricity in the United States, and electricity rates have increased at twice the pace of household incomes since 2000.

The EPA models its carbon proposal after California, a state where high renewable mandates and energy taxes have created some of the nation’s most expensive power.

Californians pay electricity costs that are 68 percent higher than my home state of Missouri where over 80 percent of our electricity comes from coal.

California’s approach is a striking example of energy policy that hurts people and economies. And other regions that have embraced similar practices suffer the same result. Australia elected a new government with a mandate to repeal the carbon tax, which reportedly cost the economy a whopping $20 million a day.

Europe embraced the world’s first cap and trade system. Now Spain’s residential power prices are two-and-a-half times higher than the United States, and Germany’s residential power prices are three times higher. In Ontario, power is like a luxury good. High renewable standards have pushed the average monthly residential bill to the highest in North America.

These are lessons, not models for U.S. energy policy.

Beyond cost issues, the carbon rule is likely to create power shortages across the nation in the Great Plains, the Midwest, the Northeast and Texas, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corp. The cuts needed to comply are simply not feasible for many states.
Within this framework, who is looking out for families and businesses? Is this really the best we can do?

Coal provides a steady, reliable source of U.S. electricity with a cost advantage that is free from the volatility seen historically with natural gas or the high costs associated with renewables that offer intermittent power and require baseload backup from fossil fuels.

In fact, the states that use the most renewables have seen electricity rates grow nearly twice as fast as the rest of the nation. And after 60-plus years of propping up renewables with over $85 billion in subsidies, wind and solar only supply about 5 percent of U.S. electricity.
Coal fuels some of the lowest-cost electricity in the United States, provides the backbone for reliable power and would continue to fuel a significant share of electricity even under the EPA plan. Globally, coal is the world’s fastest-growing fuel this decade with one 500 megawatt coal-fueled power plant coming on line approximately every three days.

Today air quality in the United States is among the best in the world, thanks to American innovation and wise deployment of state-of-the-art technology. Continuing to advance a technology path – not artificial caps – is the far better approach to address carbon concerns over time.
There is a common sense reason why members of Congress and a majority of states have expressed opposition to the rule… why governors are saying no… and why attorneys general… business associations… citizen groups… and hardworking Americans are pushing back against the rule.

We counter the EPA’s plan with a more practical vision to protect access to low-cost electricity. The path to clean, affordable energy has four elements:

1) Insisting on low-cost electricity, which means putting people first by putting energy first;

2) Investing in efficiency improvements at existing coal plants;

3) Deploying high-efficiency low emissions supercritical coal plants; and

4) Supporting greater research and development to commercialize next-generation coal technologies including carbon capture, utilization and storage.

Advancing social and economic progress through affordable energy should be our first order priority. Let’s put in place a technology path for long-term improvement in carbon emissions that will enable us to use more energy more cleanly while keeping electricity available and affordable.

Boyce is executive chairman of Peabody Energy and chairman of the International Energy Agency’s Coal Industry Advisory Board. Peabody Energy is the world’s largest private-sector coal company. For more information, please visit AdvancedEnergyforLife.com<http://AdvancedEnergyforLife.com>.

See the article here.

EPA Air Rule Would Harm Colstrip and Montana

Via The Great Falls Tribune:

Remember when our country had an “all of the above” energy policy?  Man, how times change in a hurry.  The outright war on coal being waged by Obama administration and the radical EPA has taken our country from a trend of energy independence to one where many experts worry we could experience periodic blackouts.

Montana is unfortunate to occupy an especially bad spot in the president’s plan to fundamentally redesign how Americans get energy.  The president has chosen to implement a winners and losers strategy.  Anything that involves coal is definitely a loser.  With Montana’s economic dependence on coal, all Montanans are going to feel the pinch.

At this point it’s unclear whether our major generating facility, Colstrip, will continue to operate.  Obama’s environmental cheer squad is certainly clamoring for Colstrip to be shut down.

For Colstrip to get tossed on the scrap heap would be an economic disaster.  The economic activity created by Colstrip supports nearly 5,000 jobs and is one of the largest economic drivers in Montana, contributing almost $700 million to our economic output annually.

Colstrip is the largest source of the electricity used by Montanans.  For decades, Colstrip has provided low-cost, reliable electricity that powers agriculture, industry, commerce, and our homes.  Losing Colstrip means most Montanans will pay a lot more for their energy.  In addition, taking plants like Colstrip off the grid brings into question the reliability of 24/7 energy delivery that we’re accustomed to.

I’ve seen too many environmentalists claim that the President’s plan will create jobs in Montana.  Supposedly, by destroying jobs related to coal, we can generate new jobs in wind and solar.  In economics, this is known as the broken window fallacy — it’s like saying an economy can create jobs by paying some people to break windows and other people to fix them.  It looks like people are employed, but of course breaking and fixing windows doesn’t create economic growth.

The president’s plan doesn’t create new jobs.  It just replaces existing jobs with hollow promises.  The infrastructure we’ve created around mining, transporting, and burning coal for electricity supports thousands of workers.  Wind and solar don’t require the same types of manpower; they rely on technology (which is why they’re more expensive).

As the adage goes “wind turbines don’t have parking lots.”  A 300 MW wind farm would requires 16 to 18 full-time employees.  A similarly sized coal generator employs more than 10 times that many.

Losing Colstrip and reducing the amount of coal mined in Montana would create a huge hole in our tax base.  The president’s plan will result in a combination of state budget cuts and potentially huge increases in property taxes on Montana homeowners and small businesses.  Colstrip alone accounts for about $115 million in annual tax collections; the mining industry for hundreds of millions more.

You have to ask, why are we doing this?  Why are we self-inflicting wounds to the sector of our economy that supplies energy to every other sector of our economy?

We had it right before.  America needs to get serious about an all-of-the-above energy policy.  And that’s not to say that we shouldn’t address climate change — we need to be the world leader in developing the clean coal tech that will solve this problem.

The president’s energy plan is incredibly destructive and it needs to be stopped  It is important that we contact our congressman and both U.S. senators, tell them to make some noise.  It is very important that our governor and attorney general file a lawsuit against the EPA.  I hope you’ll join me in trying to save Colstrip and the Montana economy.

Duane Ankney represents Senate District 20, which includes Colstrip.  He is the vice chairman of the Senate Energy Committee. 

See the article here.

Abolishing Affordable Energy Will Not Help the Poor

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. coal industry is mindful of its responsibilities as stewards of the Earth as well as its role in providing people and industries with essential energy. The impressive reductions in power plant emissions, the dramatic improvements in mine safety and the extensive reclamation of land following mining operations all testify to this enduring commitment.

The Pope’s message this week invites attention to the plight of the World’s poor and the moral obligation of affluent nations to raise the living standards of those less fortunate. Fossil fuels, especially coal, have been responsible for lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the past 30 years, more people that have been freed from poverty in the past 300 years.

Energy essential for rapid industrial growth will continue to be indispensable for sustaining improvements in living standards and for alleviating the suffering of those millions still living in destitution as well as providing new infrastructure and technologies demanded by a growing global middle class living in comparative affluence. Within two decades, two-thirds of the world’s middle class will be living in emerging countries, driving demand for energy and other resources on a scale far higher than today’s.

The United Nation’s 2015 Millennial Development Goal to “eradicate extreme poverty and hunger” by 2030 cannot be achieved without providing reliable and affordable electricity to the world’s energy poor still living in darkness. As the International Energy Agency has acknowledged, “To the degree that affordable coal has allowed hundreds of millions of people in emerging economies to enjoy the conveniences that the industrialized world began taking for granted long ago, its proliferation is blessing.” Senior officials in the developing world have said the use of coal and other fossil fuels is “a moral imperative” for eliminating poverty and to improve health care, education and life expectancy.

As policymakers grapple with solutions to long-term environmental challenges, they must not neglect the immediate consequences their actions may have on the living standards of many today. In acknowledging this “moral imperative,” our solutions should recognize the transformative powers of technology and our God given ingenuity that have enabled us to achieve continuous environmental progress. The challenge therefore is not to eliminate fossil fuels but to use them wisely for the millions who need them both here and abroad.

See the release here.

Missouri Families Can’t Afford to Lose Affordable Power

Via The Marshfield Mail: 

Right now, many American families are struggling financially. And as I look around at these families in need, I wonder how many of them are prepared to pay more for their electricity now that the Environmental Protection Agency is implementing a “Clean Power Plan” to reduce carbon dioxide “pollution.”

At a quick glance, the EPA plan seems reasonable. What could be better than improved energy efficiency, for example? But the EPA program means to swiftly reduce America’s reliance on coal-fired power generation. And that’s where the trouble starts.

America has long been powered by coal, and in recent decades coal-fired power has become far more high-tech. Coal is now the predominant source of reliable, affordable power generation for many states, and provides roughly 80 percent of Missouri’s electrical power. As coal-fired power production has become more important to Missouri, the industry has progressed greatly by adding technology that carefully “scrubs” emissions of unwanted byproducts such as sulfur and particulate matter.

Thankfully, this state-of-the-art technology has allowed coal to become cleaner and more efficient. But that isn’t always the case in countries where coal is used extensively. Most of the existing coal-fired power plants in Asia and India lack proper emissions controls. And so, it’s little wonder that more than 25 percent of California’s smog now comes from China.

While China is clearly the largest country that needs to clean up its act, the EPA is concerned with cutting America’s coal-fired power production on a fast timetable. But coal provides 38 percent of America’s total electricity generation — more than any other power source — which means that a lot of our electrical supply is at risk. The problem we face is that existing, alternative supplies simply can’t make up the difference.

Studies of the new EPA plan suggest that once the new rules are in place, a family of four could see their home energy bills increase by hundreds of dollars each year. And what will America get for this trade-off? A theoretical reduction in global temperatures of a tiny fraction of a degree by 2100.

The American people are busy trying to make ends meet. They’re not focused on the climate issue like Washington is. A recent Gallup poll found that 62 percent of Americans do not see climate change as a serious threat. But they do rank a struggling economy at the top of their list of worries.

I want to know how many families are prepared to pay hundreds of dollars more for their electricity each year — especially for no meaningful environmental improvement. And how often will paying for such an increase mean having to choose between buying groceries or monthly medicine in order to keep their house warm during the winter? That’s a scenario we’re likely to face, once the EPA plan is fully implemented.

In the real world of belt-tightening and limited household budgets, many families can hardly afford higher energy prices. For the sake of those families and individuals who are struggling each day to pay their bills, I hope state governors will tell the EPA to rethink this costly, risky plan.

Dr. Charles Steele Jr. is president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights organization co-founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

See the article here.

Texas Business Groups Blast ‘Avalanche’ of EPA Proposals

Via WOAI News Radio: 

Texas business groups are warning today about what they call an ‘avalanche’ of proposed new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency which has the potential to cripple the state’s economy, erode the personal savings of residents, and damage thousands of businesses, without having any measurable impact on improving the environment or public health, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Stephen Minick of the Texas Association of Business says one is a proposal to drastically cut the allowable ozone standard for metropolitan areas.  That rule would automatically leave metro San Antonio out of compliance, which would immediately trigger the requirement to undergo expensive new annual auto emissions testing, jacking up the price of an annual inspection by about $40.

Minick says there is no way that this new rule can be complied with.

“The EPA is proposing a much more stringent regulation which in many ways would approach natural background level, and the EPA cannot identify a set of control measures that could actually lead to compliance with those regulations.”

That’s right…the EPA is proposing a regulation it will be impossible for cities to comply with…making regulatory enforcement universal.

Minick says the regulations will actually decrease public health, especially among low income Texans, because they will take money away from those families that could go toward healthy food, and health care for their children.

“I believe the ozone regulations will have far more negative impacts, in terms of their ability to take care of their and their children’s health care expenses and the like,” he said.

Another proposal that Minick and others are concerned about is one that would crack down on power plant emissions as part of the Obama Administration’s attempt to fight climate change.

Minick says the regulations would jack up the electric bills of homeowners and businesses, once again, with no significant result.

“If you take the proposed greenhouse gas reductions and run them through the International Panel on Climate Change’s own model, we are going to prevent a sea level change of 0.165 inches, which is the thickness of a business card.”

Also in the cross hairs of the business groups are the new rules designed to crack down on methane releases in horizontal fracking.

Dr. Ed Ireland, Executive Director fo the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, says not only will the regulations result in higher home heating and gasoline bills for citizens, again cutting down on a family’s ability to buy healthier food and pay for health care for their children, but the methane rules will have a negative impact on clean air.

“Natural gas has helped the electricity generating sector replace their older coal fired plants, resulting in a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to their lowest level in twenty years,” Ireland said.  “Of course that is because natural gas is far cleaner burning than coal.”

The group says ‘from higher electricity bills for middle class families to fewer job opportunities for new college graduates, this wave of EPA regulation puts a bullseye on the entire Texas economy.  Texans deserve a more balanced regulatory approach, not more federal overreach from Washington.

See the article here.

 

How Ohio Can Fight the EPA’s High-cost Clean Power Plan

Via Cleveland.com:

Recently, President Barack Obama laid out the final version of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan — and it’s tougher on coal-dependent states than originally anticipated.

Both the EPA and the Obama administration have been in full public-relations mode lately, and both have completely ignored the very real costs to local economies and vulnerable residents in coal-powered states, like Ohio, that the Clean Power Plan will create.

The goal of the Clean Power Plan is to cut carbon emissions 32 percent by 2030 — two percentage points more than in the original version of the rule. The EPA is seeking to accomplish this by forcing state environmental protection agencies to develop plans on how they will reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced in their states, and then having the state agencies send those plans to the federal EPA so that they can enforce implementation.

Few will be hurt more than the residents of the state of Ohio if the Clean Power Plan is implemented.

Only Texas generates more electricity from coal-powered plants than Ohio does. More than 67 percent of Ohio’s energy comes from coal, and the industry employs several thousand Ohioans.

In order for Ohio to comply with the Clean Power Plan regulation, it would likely need to shutter many of its coal power plants and/or spend billions retrofitting them with carbon-capture technologies. Even with tax subsidies, the type of power plants encouraged by the Clean Power Plan can be extremely expensive and produce energy below capacity.

These enormous costs will always be passed on to consumers in the form of higher utility bills, which disproportionately affects low- and fixed-income households.

A study conducted by the Black Chamber of Commerce found that, by 2030, the Clean Power Plan will lead to $565 billion in higher annual electricity costs – and higher electricity costs don’t just mean a higher utility bill; it’s higher prices on food, clothing, and every other good from a store that uses electricity.

In a preliminary analysis of the Clean Power Plan, NERA Economic Consulting calculated that the new regulations could increase retail electricity prices between 12 percent and 17 percent — which translates to as much $240 more per year for electricity for consumers.

Policymakers and citizens in coal-powered states are rightfully indignant at the costs of the Clean Power Plan, and it didn’t take long for them to stand up to the EPA. Only hours after the president introduced the final version of the rule, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced that the state planned to sue the EPA. Attorneys General of 15 other states, including Ohio, have joined or plan to back West Virginia in the lawsuit and political leaders in more than 30 states have expressed opposition to the Clean Power Plan.

Many expect the Clean Power Plan to be overturned.

Submitting plans to the EPA while waiting for the litigation to play out would undermine the legal challenges against the Clean Power Plan. Notoriously litigious environmental activists are also likely to try to compel states that submit plans, through legal action, to comply with their plans even while the plan is still being debated in the courts.

Some, like Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, are pushing for federal legislation that would allow states to opt out of the Clean Power Plan regulations if they can prove it will “disproportionately harm low/​fixed-income vulnerable households, cost jobs, harm the economy, or risk electric reliability.” House Republicans also back a rider on the EPA’s annual spending bill that would cut off federal funding to implement the rule.

Obama, however, has vowed to veto any legislation that would undermine the Clean Power Plan, so it’s likely going to be up to the courts to shut down the Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan will raise the price of electricity, making life that much more difficult for the poorest residents of Ohio and other coal-powered states for years to come. Ohio should not comply with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Erik Telford is president of the conservative-leaning Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, based in Virginia.

See the article here.

Workers Stand with Bullock Against EPA Clean Power Plan

Via The Independent Record:

The Clean Power Plan, as proposed by the EPA, calls for a crippling reduction of productivity from Montana’s economy. It’s an outrageous plan, and everyone in Montana should join union workers, local electric co-ops, industry and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock in opposing it.

The EPA sees no middle ground in their efforts to destroy our energy economy, and their aggressive approach to carbon reduction is sure to cause a string of job losses and economic destruction across the U.S., but most prominently in Montana.

The EPA is calling for almost 50 percent in reductions in Montana’s carbon output in a stunning and nebulous federal overreach that will remake America’s electric grid at a very high cost to Montana families.

Gov. Steve Bullock should be applauded for standing up to the extremist actions of the EPA on its Clean Power Plan efforts. He has pointed out the absurdity of the plan recently to the EPA, and with a plan that better suits Montana economy.

The EPA has every intention of shuttering Colstrip and killing high-paying union jobs in Montana. They tried to hide this intent at first, but now they’ve dropped their ruse. Their finalized plan lays it out in black and white, and Gov. Bullock has acknowledged that the Clean Power Plan is a destructive force and that we must oppose it to save Montana jobs.

The unreasonable and downright punitive EPA carbon reduction goals single Montana out among the states and seems designed to punish us for not toeing the line on the president’s carbon reduction agenda. Thankfully our political leadership is ready and willing to stand up to this vast federal overreach.

Gov. Bullock stands side by side with workers and families whose livelihoods depend on Montana’s vast coal resources and abundant power generation opportunities in opposition to the EPA’s grand schemes. Montana has the cleanest coal in the world and it represents a great opportunity to help solve the world’s carbon challenge. Gov. Bullock sees that and is acting in our state’s best interest when he tells the EPA that this plan does not work for Montana.

Acknowledging the realities of our economy and electric grid seem too difficult for the EPA, so we in Montana welcome EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to take the time out her busy schedule to visit Montana’s coal fields and power plants before attempting to shut them down and put our employees in the bread line. Maybe she can learn something about the realities of our economy and the power it takes to keep this nation’s lights on.

Jess LaBuff is the business manager of the Boilermakers 11 Union. 

See the article here. 

Coal Supporters Turn Out in Large Numbers Against Stream Protection Rule

Via The West Virginia MetroNews:

Many supporters of coal were on hand for the last in a series of six public hearings held by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) on the the Stream Protection Rule proposed in July Thursday night at Charleston Civic Center.

The rule, also referred to as the buffer zone rule, updates rules first implemented in 1983, aiming to address negative environmental effects from mining on surface and groundwater. Many in the mining industry and those associated with coal fear the rule could be the final blow for mining in Appalachia.

“This is another chapter in the war on coal from the Obama administration, and this is one that’s going to literally put underground and surface mining in this part of the country out of business,” said West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney. “It’ll take our peoples’ jobs and that’s why we’re all here tonight in strength.”

Speakers were given two minutes to speak throughout the night. The first speaker was Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who received a rousing standing ovation after condemning the rule.

“Just a few miles from here in the heart of the coal country, you can see the faces of those already affected by overreaching federal regulations that ignore economic realities, and attempt to enforce regulations that provide few, if any, substantial benefits,” the governor said in his opening remarks.

Some did turn out in support of the rule, several wearing stickers that said “Our Water, Our Future.” Carey Jo Grace of the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition wanted to see bodies of water polluted by coal mining cleaned up under the rule.

“People of Appalachia have been asking for a strong stream protection rule for many, many years,” she said. “We’re glad to see the Office of Surface Mining is putting out a strong, strong rule.”

Debbie Jarrell, the director of Coal River Mountain Watch, blamed politicians for not planning for the decline of the coal industry.

“Alternatives? That is for our politicians, which absolutely are dropping the ball on that. They should have been thinking of this years ago when they knew the coal industry was going to drop like it is,” Jarrell said.

Dave Chapps, a miner from Marshall County who made the long trip to Charleston, said he and his family had mined coal since coming to West Virginia.

“I think we need to clean the White House out,” Chapps said. “It’s terrible. They’ve overstepped their boundaries with every rule they’ve made. They’ve pushed, pushed, pushed, and made rules so that it’s impossible to adhere by them.”

If finalized, the rule could apply to about 6,500 miles of streams and will cover both surface mines and any surface effects that originated in underground mines. State Delegate Marty Gearheart thought the rule was more about a vendetta against coal than about saving the environment.

“There’s little or no environmental benefit to the rule that’s suggested. What it does do is weaken our country by eliminating the most abundant source of energy,” Gearheart said. “It hurts every person in our state and across the country who has to pay more for electricity. And it hurts everyone that works in that industry to keep the lights on and supply a product that we have in abundance in West Virginia.”

Previous public hearings have been held in Denver, Co., Lexington, Ky., St. Louis, Mo., Pittsburgh, Pa., and Big Stone Gap, Va. Those who attended that did not wish to speak publicly were given the opportunity to sit down with a court reporter or submit a written letter.

The public comment period for the stream protection rule goes until Oct. 26.

See the article here.

The Office of Surface Mining’s Dog-and-Pony Show

Via West Virginia MetroNews: 

Hoppy’s Commentary

The U.S. Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining is holding a public hearing later today at the Charleston Civic Center on the agency’s new Stream Protection Rule for mining operations.  We will give OSM credit for at least showing up in West Virginia. When the EPA scheduled public hearings on its Clean Power Plan it conveniently bypassed West Virginia’s coal fields.

So OSM will get an earful from coal miners, their families, and state and local leaders who have seen their livelihood and a critical state industry devastated by a combination of market conditions and one punitive regulation after another from the Obama administration.

In this case, OSM and environmentalists argue the new rules will protect streams from the rocks and dirt that are dumped in the valleys.  But the ultimate intent is to add yet another executive fiat that puts an even tighter clamp on the coal industry and bolsters the President’s climate change cred in preparation of the United Nation’s conference in Paris in December.

These rules were supposed to be developed in conjunction with environmental agencies from impacted states.  However, OSM was so heavy-handed that a number of states, including West Virginia, withdrew from the process in protest.

“We entered into this agreement in good faith, believing that OSM wanted to engage West Virginia and other coal-producing states as active partners in the development of the Stream Protection Rule,” said state DEP Secretary Randy Huffman last May.  “It is clear now that our faith in this relationship was misplaced.”

OSM has changed its tune dramatically on the potential impact the new rules will have on coal field communities.

An initial draft of the Regulatory Impact Analysis concluded the rules would cost 7,000 mining jobs and cause economic harm in 22 states.  Small mining companies (those employing fewer than 500 people) would be “economically impacted in a catastrophic way.”

That report would never do, so the Interior Department fired the contractor that reached those conclusions and paid for a new analysis.  Now the new rules are supposed to cost only 460 existing jobs, but create 250 new jobs in mine reclamation work.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources has repeatedly criticized the administration and OSM for its handling of the rule-making process and repeated obfuscation when Congress has asked for more information.

As far back as 2012, the Committee released the results of its investigation concluding, “The Obama administration’s campaign to impose this rewritten regulation must be halted and an open, transparent rulemaking that fairly accounts for job and economic impacts must be undertaken.”

But here we are.

If Congress can’t get a straight answer out of the Interior Department and OSM, there’s not much hope tonight’s hearing will produce any sort of mea culpa from the agency.  However, at least those government officials will have to see the faces of the West Virginians most directly impacted by these rules.

See the article here.

Winners and Losers from EPA Carbon Regulations

Via the Institute for 21st Century Energy:

They say a picture can be worth one-thousand words.  In this case, however, it might be worth far more in summarizing the practical impact of the thousands of pages of regulatory text issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set forth and support its final carbon regulations for electric power plants.   While we have asserted that the EPA’s recently finalized carbon rules will increase electricity costs for businesses and consumers, impose tens of billions in annual compliance costs, and reduce our nation’s global competitiveness, we may not have had a clear picture of the winning and losing states from the EPA’s top-to-bottom reconfiguration of our electricity system … until now.

Using the EPA’s state-specific fact sheets accompanying its carbon regulations, and the EPA’s 2020 base case emissions rate projections set forth therein, we are able to get a sense of which states lose under the EPA’s carbon regulations, and which states stand to gain.  We did so by tracking the emissions rate reductions that would be necessary under the EPA’s plan in each state from 2020 through 2030.  Not surprisingly, our analysis found many more losers than winners.  But these figures also reveal an intriguing image showing the geographic split among those winners and losers.

Based on EPA’s own projections, nine states are actually permitted to increase their emissions rates from 2020 to 2030 while still achieving compliance with the agency’s carbon mandate.  How can this be if the aim of the EPA’s rulemaking is solely to reduce carbon emissions from the United States power sector?  Is redistribution a concurrent goal of the EPA’s unprecedented regulatory regime, or just a coincidental outcome of complicated formulas and difficult projections?

Pursuant to the federal plan accompanying its carbon regulations, the EPA sets forth two alternative compliance pathways:  “a rate-based emissions trading program and a mass-based emissions trading program.”  Thus, the EPA is coercing states to trade credits – a la cap and trade – in order to comply with its carbon emissions mandates.  While rate- and mass-based projections and requirements vary slightly, the states that are assigned easier lifts in either circumstance may act as credit “banks” while the more numerous “debtor” states are saddled with challenging emissions reduction targets. 

As a practical matter, what does this mean?  For starters, creditor states will face reduced pressure to shut down affordable gas- and coal-powered electricity, thereby lessening the impact of the electricity price spikes expected from the rule. The ability to increase emissions rates will allow economic development to proceed with fewer restrictions, while states with strict targets are forced to curtail affordable energy in order to remain in good standing with the electricity overlords at the EPA. And for states that enter into cap-and-trade regimes (the EPA’s heavily preferred compliance path), those allowed to increase carbon emissions can opt to sell credits to losing states, effectively cashing checks on the backs of states with steeper emissions reduction mandates.

For example, between 2020 and 2030, EPA’s final rule allows Oregon to increase carbon emissions by 3.1 million tons of CO2 annually—a whopping 63% jump. If the state so chooses, it could monetize that allowance which, at a reasonably expected price of $40 per ton, could provide the state of Oregon $125 million in annual revenue—paid for by losing states seeking to comply with the EPA’s regulatory mandate.

It is also interesting to note that the states that are permitted to increase emissions rates happen to currently endure some of the highest electricity prices in the country.  In fact, states such as those in New England, along with California and New York, are transformed from electricity price “losers” under their own restrictive state policies into EPA-imposed cap-and-trade “winners.”  Viewed another way, the EPA’s rule will effectively nationalize the exorbitant electricity rates and cap-and-trade economies of the West Coast and Northeast, and force the rest of the country to foot the bill for those policies.

The story that this graphic unmistakably projects is one where the EPA is not solely looking to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  Instead, the EPA has picked winners and losers by imposing a system that will drive up prices in low-cost electricity states and redistribute the revenues associated with those higher prices to select West Coast and Northeast states.  Whether a direct objective of the regulation or a coincidental outcome, these disparities shine light on the inherent unfairness of the EPA’s scheme, and ought to set off warning bells in the many states dealt the short end of the stick.

See more here.

The President’s Decarbonization Fantasy

Via The Washington Examiner: 

Last month, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administered what they hope will be the coup de grace to America’s coal industry. They unveiled a new “Clean Power Plan” (CPP) with much fanfare and red-hot rhetoric, most of it faithfully echoed by the Washington press corps and the world’s news media.

National Public Radio, CNN, Al Jazeera, the BBC and German television believe our grandchildren are likely to perish unless we reduce global temperatures in 2030 by 0.02 percent — the goal of EPA’s misaligned plan to shut down more U.S. fossil fuel-powered plants.

Correspondents who normally flaunt their independence meekly bowed in obedience to this strained logic. Doesn’t the plan make important concessions to critics, they asked? Or, offer states flexibility, spare the world’s asthmatics from a wheezing death and avert climate catastrophe? Well, no actually, it does none of those things.

Coal communities around the country that were wounded badly with the initial proposed rule have now been all but shot dead in the final CPP. Standards are toughened, not weakened, forcing states to take more draconian steps to reduce carbon emissions. Governors received extended deadlines, but only to implement a costlier, more improbable plan after a relatively easy efficiency option was withdrawn to shore up EPA’s weak legal authority.

Some who thought the final rule might help them instead face ugly surprises. Coal-burning states like Kentucky and Montana that initially received modest emissions reduction targets got kneecapped in the final rule with much tougher targets. Natural gas producers were anticipating a “rush to gas” for generating electricity once coal-based power plants were retired. Now they suddenly find their windfall blocked after green activists pressured the EPA to front-load incentives for renewable fuels instead.

Allowing gas to fill the void left by coal, the EPA explained, would be “inconsistent” with the real goal here, which is the “decarbonization of the economy” after 2030. For “decarbonization,” substitute the word “deindustrialization.” That will be the likeliest outcome when rising electricity prices from costlier renewable energy kill the industrial renaissance here.

The final rule envisions wind and solar taking 28 percent of the generation market by 2030, up from 22 percent in the proposal. But to hit even the lower mark, the Department of Energy predicts wind power would have to add 16,000 megawatts a year beginning in 2017. In 2013, wind added just 1,087 MW.

How will the EPA’s fantasy come to pass without costly subsidies that neither Congress nor the states will relish paying, when the weather doesn’t always cooperate, and when communities often block solar and wind farms? The cost of decarbonization is “beyond astronomical,” concluded billionaire technology expert Bill Gates.

The Clean Power Plan is the thanks that coal gets for helping the United States achieve a standard of living that for generations has been the envy of the world. It’s thanks, too, for playing a major role in lifting more of the world’s poor out of poverty over the past 30 years than escaped poverty in the past 500 years.

This climate change symbolism, with all its theatrical trappings, is designed not for carbon reduction here but for showcasing the president’s green “commitment” at the United Nations climate conference in December. In Paris he hopes to persuade the Chinese communist party and India’s Hindu national party to raise their countries’ energy costs, when he can’t even persuade the U.S. Congress to raise ours.

No matter. Green fantasy sells among the fashion-conscious. Leonardo DiCaprio, star of “Titanic,” hailed the president’s plan, leaving one sinking ship to board another. Only this time, he’s trading Kate Winslet for EPA head Gina McCarthy. Well, it is a fantasy.

Meanwhile, the coal industry will be joined by more than a dozen states in the D.C. appeals court challenging the EPA’s authority. We’ll see if federal judges trust an agency (with expertise in safeguarding standards for tadpole habitat) with the responsibility of transforming the nation’s power grid.

See the article here.

The Unseen Casualties of EPA’s Climate Agenda

Via The Muscatine Journal:

Since the Environmental Protection Agency, unilaterally and without congressional authorization, conferred on itself the power to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant, many changes have taken place in America, with few of them related to the climate.

As a prime example, one study shows that the total number of coal-mining jobs in the United States dropped from about 81,000 in 2008, to around 77,000 by 2013. At the same time, we have 40,000 fewer high-wage jobs, as total power-plant jobs fell from 137,000 to 97,000.

Whole communities, from Appalachia to the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming, dependent on coal and power plant jobs, have been decimated, leaving workers without jobs or income, families without futures, children without hope for a better life. And this was before the EPA’s controversial and costly Clean Power Plan, the latest blow they now want to bring down on many of these same communities.

The Clean Power Plan shows EPA and its environmental allies have little sympathy for these industries and the people and the communities that depend on them. The EPA continues to pursue unrealistic climate goals while ignoring that this effort will yield little or no change in the Earth’s climate, while costing American taxpayers and electric ratepayers billions that might otherwise have been spent to build communities and better futures.

While the direct damage to coal mines and power plants is easily apparent and quantifiable, the indirect damage to low-income communities across the nation is less obvious. In fact, it has been completely ignored by EPA and the environmental movement. And despite valid concerns over the shrinking middle class and the rise in the number of chronically poor people, the costly plan will fall hardest on those who can least afford to pay more for electricity — the low income, largely African- American towns and cities.

Today Charles Steele Jr. is raising awareness of their plight. As president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Steele narrates a video highlighting the real-life effect of the Clean Power Plan on families and whole communities. The video, which can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5329pjmPHfY, dramatizes the depth and severity of the plan’s effects far beyond the coal mines and fields of Appalachia and Powder River. It interviews local leaders and ordinary citizens in small communities hard hit by skyrocketing light bills and shuttered power plants.

It’s a poignant and telling commentary, by people who know from experience about the collateral damage that the media and Washington’s regulators choose to ignore. But, perhaps most important, the video provides credible and undeniable proof that the damage to Americans’ livelihoods and quality of life from EPA’s carbon rules will be all too real, and almost certainly irreversible.

Many of these communities have been all but forgotten by national political leaders eager to chase questionable environmental goals or build a personal legacy. In many cases, they are the same communities left behind when the economy booms, but who suffer most when things go bad or government overreaches. They are the least able to cope with economic downturns, much less with the rising costs of everyday life unfairly and unnecessarily imposed on them by their own government.

And, they are not limited to the African-American communities. They exist across the country, in rural areas, small towns and big cities.

Steele does not advocate abandoning our pursuit of a clean environment. But the testimony he brings from those less fortunate should give pause to those who pursue environmental policies without regard to the burden they will place on others. Steele urges us to make greater efforts to craft policies that are realistic, achievable, and above all balance benefits and costs in a way that doesn’t deepen the divide between the affluent and the poor.

Terry M. Jarrett was appointed to the Missouri Public Service Commission in 2007. He served as chairman of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ Committee on Critical Infrastructure. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

See the article here.

Snyder Invites a Federal Energy Takeover

Via The Detroit News: 

Gov. Rick Snyder has announced he intends to help President Barack Obama impose national carbon regulations, the so-called “Clean Power Plan.” In a statement, Snyder claims implementing the federal rule is the “best way” to ensure Michigan “retains control of its energy future.”

The governor has it backwards. Implementing Obama’s carbon rule before the courts weigh in ensures Michigan’s energy decisions end up “in the hands of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.”

Unfortunately, Snyder seems to have succumbed to Obama’s false choice: submit a state plan or have a federal plan foisted on you. The actual choice is whether to begin implementing this federal scheme before the serious legal challenges have a chance to play out.

Snyder should know better. After all, our state was the lead plaintiff in Michigan v. EPA, in which the U.S. Supreme Court remanded Obama’s mercury rule because EPA failed to adequately consider costs. Even though the courts ruled against EPA, it didn’t matter: in May, Consumers Energy announced it planned to close seven coal-fired power plants—32 percent of its coal fleet—by April 2016, exactly one year after the mercury rule took effect, since “it doesn’t make economic sense to spend more to keep them running.” The damage was already done.

Michigan is also taking EPA to court over the Clean Power Plan, joining 16 other states challenging the rule. Implementation before legal resolution harms the state’s effort to protect Michiganians from “yet another executive action taken by President Obama and the EPA that violates the Clean Air Act and causes the price of electricity to increase, placing jobs at risk and costing Michigan families more,” as Attorney General Bill Schuette puts it.

Other legal experts agree with our attorney general. Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe has described the regulation as “a total overhaul of each state’s way of life” that amounts to “burning the Constitution.”

Beyond its legal infirmities, the rule is an economic disaster. Implementing it will require Michigan to uproot our electricity system, replacing low-cost coal that comprises almost half of our power with more expensive sources. An economic analysis of the proposed rule found it would raise electric rates on Michigan households by 12 percent, or about $140 per year. The final rule is even more severe, so costs will likely be higher.

By rushing to help Obama implement his rule, Michigan has little to gain but much to lose. It will ensure Obama’s EPA gets to mandate its favored energy sources while inflicting huge economic costs on Michiganians that cannot be undone if the courts later invalidate the rule.

Christopher Douglas is associate professor and chair of the economics department at the University of Michigan-Flint and is a member of the board of scholars at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

See the article here.

Ohio EPA Chief Faults New U.S. Air Standards

Via The Columbus Dispatch: 

New clean-air standards threaten the future of some coal-burning power plants and would undercut Ohio’s industrial comeback, the state’s top environmental regulator told a U.S. House committee in Washington on Friday.

“We are marching down the road toward implementing a rule with far-reaching economic consequences without any assurance that the rule is even a legal exercise of U.S. EPA’s authority,” said Craig Butler, director of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The new rules, which would force states to burn less coal and use more renewable energy, are “ not the answer,” Butler told the environment subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Ohio and 14 other states have filed a federal lawsuit in a bid to block the plan to dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions produced by coal-fired power plants and other sources blamed for contributing to climate change.

Ohio and the other states contend that the new U.S. EPA rules exceed the agency’s authority and represent an end run around the power of Congress to enact standards.

Butler said meeting the standards would be expensive and undermine the long-term viability of power plants in a state that uses half of its electricity for heavy industry such as auto, steel, iron and glass manufacturing.

Butler revealed that Gov. John Kasich wrote to President Barack Obama on Aug. 28 to ask that the new standards be suspended until legal challenges are resolved.

“Access to reliable, abundant and low-cost electricity is critical to Ohio’s economy,” Kasich wrote, saying that Ohio has achieved a 30 percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions — the primary greenhouse gas — from coal-fired power plants since 2005.

The way the rules are drafted would not allow Ohio to count reductions in air pollution it achieved prior to 2012, Butler said. That means that Ohio would need to cut carbon-dioxide emissions by an additional

37 percent by 2022.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio predicts, based on an analysis of an earlier draft of the rules, that wholesale energy prices could rise by 39 percent by 2025, costing Ohioans $2.5 billion, Butler said. Ohio gets two-thirds of its electricity from coal. The cost under the final rules has not been calculated.

The Obama administration estimated that compliance with the standards and greater use of wind and solar energy will protect public health and save the average household about $85 a year in energy costs.

Ohio environmental groups say Ohio would have been better positioned to meet the new U.S. EPA standards if Kasich had not gone along with the GOP-dominated legislature in 2014 to put a two-year freeze on annual increases in standards for energy efficiency and using renewable energy. Kasich has said the standards are not achievable.

See the article here.

EPA Rules Stifle Job Creation

Via Republican American:

In recent months, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a laundry list of mandates to implement President Obama’s climate agenda. The three most disruptive and expensive are the EPA’s proposed standards for ozone pollution, carbon emissions from power plants, and methane releases related to oil and gas production.

All U.S. businesses would be adversely affected to some degree by the regulations, but the automotive and electric-power industries stand to be hit hardest. Because both of these industries contribute significantly to the American economy, the fallout could be substantial.

Ground-level ozone, a pollutant, largely is caused by vehicle tailpipe emissions. Ground-level ozone regulations most recently were tightened in 2008 to allow ozone levels of 75 parts per billion. Now the EPA wants to lower the acceptable level to 65 ppb.

If implemented, the new standard could be the costliest regulation ever, potentially reducing economic output by about $140 billion annually for the next 25 years, according to a recent study prepared for the National Association of Manufacturers.

Further, there would be adverse effects on U.S. employment that would be equivalent to an annual loss of 1.4 million jobs. As with other EPA regulations, the agency has not conducted a careful cost-benefit assessment of the new ground-level ozone standard.

The EPA argues ground-level ozone is a major cause of asthma. But under the existing standards, which have resulted in an 18 percent decrease in ground-level ozone since 2000, the number of asthma cases has increased. In short, the proposed new standards cannot be justified by science or economics.

Even though carbon emissions have fallen in recent years to their lowest level in 20 years, the EPA unveiled a set of regulations last month designed to reduce emissions from the nation’s power plants further, by 32 percent, no later than 2030.

If these regulations withstand legal challenges, hundreds of coal-fired power plants could be forced to shut down over the next 15 years, while natural-gas generating plants may eventually face the same fate.

Though the first iteration of the rules envisioned a large shift to natural gas, the current proposed regulations require that utilities use more renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

The costs of attaining these carbon reduction targets will be astronomical.

According to the Energy Department, the current cost of producing a megawatt-hour of electricity from coal and natural gas ranges between $38 and $49. Installing and operating new wind facilities would cost $107 per megawatt-hour, largely because of the natural intermittency of wind that forces base-load generators to operate at higher costs. Solar power suffers from the same deficiency.

Who pays the bill? A recent study estimates the EPA plan will raise household electric and heating bills by an average of $680 annually. Higher power costs also will erode the competitive advantage of America’s rebounding manufacturing sector.

Most recently, the EPA has proposed a rule that would mandate a 45 percent reduction in methane emissions related to oil and gas production within a decade. Because individual states already regulate these releases, the proposed EPA rule would be duplicative and simply increase the industry’s regulatory compliance costs.

Here again, the administration has ignored the fact methane emissions from natural-gas production have decreased 38 percent since 2005, while those from hydraulically fractured wells have dropped 79 percent.

In all of these examples, the EPA is mandating solutions in search of problems.

Existing regulations, combined with market forces and new technologies, already have greatly improved the nation’s air quality and overall public health. Justifying new and costly federal regulations with exaggerated and unscientific estimates of their benefits will improve neither the environment nor the economy.

The public would be better served by a “rethink” of these costly regulations or, at least, an extension of their compliance dates.

Mark J. Perry is a professor of economics at the University of Michigan-Flint and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

See the article here.

Clean-air Rules Would Harm Ohio, EPA Director Tells Congress

Via The Columbus Dispatch: 

New clean-air standards threaten the future of some coal-burning power plants and would undercut the state’s industrial comeback, Ohio’s top environmental regulator told a U.S. House committee today.

“We are marching down the road toward implementing a rule with far-reaching economic consequences without any assurance that the rule is even a legal exercise of U.S. EPA’s authority,” said Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Director Craig Butler.

The new rules, which would force states to burn less coal and use more renewable energy, are “ not the answer,” Butler said intestimony before the environment subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Ohio and 14 other states have filed a federal lawsuit in a bid to block the plan to dramatically reduce greenhouse-gas emissions produced by coal-fired power plants and other sources blamed for contributing to climate change.

Ohio and other states contend that the new U.S. EPA rules exceed its authority and represent an end-run around the power of Congress to enact standards.

Butler said meeting the standards would be expensive and undermine the long-term viability of power plants in a state that uses 50 percent of its electricity for heavy industry such as auto, steel, iron and glass manufacturing.

He revealed that Gov. John Kasich wrote President Barack Obama on Aug. 28 to ask that the new standards be suspended until legal challenges are resolved.

“Access to reliable, abundant and low-cost electricity is critical to Ohio’s economy,” Kasich wrote in his letter, saying Ohio has achieved a 30-percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions — the main component of smog — from coal-fired power plants since 2005.

The way the rules are drafted would not allow Ohio to count reductions in air pollution it achieved prior to 2012, Butler said. That means Ohio would need to achieve a 37-percent additional cut in carbon emissions by 2022.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio predicts that under the federal rules, wholesale energy prices could rise by 39 percent by 2025, costing Ohioans $2.5 billion, Butler said. Ohio gets two-thirds of its electricity from coal.

The Obama administration estimated that compliance with the standards, and greater use of wind and solar energy, will protect public health and save the average household about $85 a year in energy costs.

Ohio environmental groups say Ohio would have been better positioned to meet the standards if Kasich had not gone along with the GOP-dominated legislature in 2014 to put a two-year freeze on annual increases in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. Kasich has said the standards are not achievable.

See the article here.

Ohio Set to Lay into EPA at Hearing

Via The Washington Examiner:

House Speaker John Boehner’s home state of Ohio will lay into the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate rules Friday, joining other states’ environmental commissioners to testify on the problems with the Obama administration’s strict rules for power plants.

Craig Butler, the head of Ohio’s Environmental Protection Agency, will testify before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s environmental subcommittee, giving his state’s perspective on “How EPA’s power plan will shut down power plants,” the title of the Friday’s hearing.

Ohio is a strong opponent of the EPA Clean Power Plan, which places states on the hook to reduce emissions by one-third by 2030. Utilities have said the efficiency improvements to coal plants that EPA calls for under the regulation are next to impossible.

The plan also calls for ramping up renewable energy to supplant fossil energy such as coal and oil, which the White House says is meant to “decarbonize” the grid. The coal industry says “decarbonize” translates into coal plant closures.

Butler was appointed by Republican Gov. John Kasich, who is now running for president. Butler has criticized the EPA’s climate plan, submitting comments to the EPA on both the technical and legal hurdles the rule faces. Ohio’s attorney general joined a group of 15 states led by West Virginia in opposing the EPA’s climate change plan in federal appeals court.

The lawsuit should be discussed during the hearing, given both Butler’s understanding of the law and that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals late Wednesday rejected Ohio’s request for the court to stay the EPA rule. Ohio joined with Michigan, Florida, Georgia, West Virginia and Nebraska in asking for the stay. Much of the electricity produced in those states is derived from coal power plants.

The court said in a one-page decision that states had not met the high legal requirements needed to win an emergency stay of a government regulation.

Butler in comments to EPA in December warned that the court has not been kind to federal regulators that encroach on the jurisdiction of states, and that many of the problems he finds with the rules stem from overreach. Previous D.C. Circuit Court decisions demonstrate that federal regulators do not “have unbounded authority to regulate electric markets that traditionally have been left to the states.”

Ohio and the group of 15 states are champing at the bit to sue the agency again as soon as the Clean Power Plan is published in the Federal Register and submitted to Congress. The Justice Department and EPA told the court last week that it won’t publish for a few months, pushing off litigation until the end of the year.

Butler will be joined on Friday’s panel by Bryan Shaw, the chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and Jason Eisdorfer, the utility program director for the Oregon Public Utility Commission. Texas has been an outspoken critic of the plan and says it will fight EPA in court even though the agency lowered its emission target in the final rule. Oregon, on the other hand, has been supportive of the rule.

See the article here.

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States Are Right to Pressure EPA with ‘Nullification’ Efforts

Sixteen state attorneys general recently announced the filing of a multistate lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The lawsuit is neither the first nor the last time we will see states pushing back against the nation’s environmental “authority” and other outrages emanating from Washington, DC.

The Clean Power Plan requires states to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from their power sector with a nationwide goal of reducing emissions by 32 percent below 2005 emission levels by 2030. Each state has individualized targets to meet, with some states (mostly blue states) having to reduce emissions little or not at all, and the power sectors in other states (mostly red states) having to reduce emissions by much more than 32 percent. The easiest way for most states to meet their emission reduction targets will be to prematurely shutter existing coal-fired power plants. Every state is required to submit its emission reduction plan to the EPA for approval by 2022.

The 16 states filing suit – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming – rely on coal power today, as they have for generations. Utility executives in those states will have two options if EPA’s plan goes forward: either close down power plants or adopt expensive technologies such as carbon capture.

During his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama promised he would bankrupt the coal business, and he is making good on that pledge. He also said “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. … Whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money onto consumers.” By “pass that money,” he meant “pass those costs.”

Research conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute in multiple states demonstrates the impact of EPA’s costly CO2mandates: Louisiana citizens would get socked with a 22 percent increase in their energy bills over 15 years, would experience a $181 million loss in capital investment, and would lose more than 20,995 jobs. These examples demonstrate the real cost of EPA’s agenda in the name of reducing carbon emissions.

The attorneys general were compelled to take action because Obama’s stricter standards on coal-fired power plants will harm their economies. For every coal-related job, an additional 3.5 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy, according to the National Mining Association. Once power plants cut jobs, the ripple effect will be felt across the nation’s economy. Retailers will suffer decreased consumer spending from the absence of these high-wage jobs, while manufacturers will have to rely on more expensive sources of energy to power their facilities. That will force cutbacks of manufacturing production and the loss of jobs.

Nullification, a doctrine first articulated during the days of the nation’s founders, is now the only option states have on the table to rein in EPA. The doctrine holds that states do not have to comply with federal laws they believe to be unconstitutional. In the Virginia Resolution of 1798, Thomas Jefferson said states “are duty bound to resist” when the federal government violates the Constitution. The 16 attorneys general are honoring Jefferson’s call to resist the feds because the Obama administration is usurping the proper authority of their states and the American people.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has shown she is intent on regulating every aspect of life affecting people and their businesses. The nation’s founders envisioned a system in which states would be the last line of defense against an out-of-control federal government. Those 16 states are right to press this effort to stop a looming increase in energy prices that will kill good-paying jobs and stomp all over the nation’s system of checks and balances. The latter is our only real defense against out-of-control government, which once was called by a very simple name: tyranny.

See the article here.

Gov. Pat McCrory Discusses Federal Challenges to North Carolina

Via McClachy:

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory told civic and economic officials in Washington on Tuesday that his state faces plenty of challenges from the federal government these days, ranging from “serious, serious issues” on transportation to new environmental rules that he finds overbearing.

McCrory, a Republican, spoke at the North Carolina Business and Economic Development Summit in Washington. The event, hosted by U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., was a way for local leaders to hear from government officials about federal legislation and policy. It continues on Wednesday.

McCrory described several of the “issues and challenges” that he said his state faces in Washington, touching on highway construction, energy and Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The governor discussed his push to renovate major highways throughout North Carolina as well as to build new ones.

“We’ve got some serious, serious issues,” McCrory said. He said he wants to “catch up and move ahead in transportation building.”

The reason for the transportation push, he said, is the rapid growing of the state, which grew more than 18 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to the U.S. Census, and is now the ninth most populous in the country.

“We better start preparing for that growth as opposed to reacting to that growth,” he said.

McCrory then mentioned the potential to tap more energy in the state of North Carolina.

North Carolina received permission to do “seismic testing” for oil and gas, and McCrory thanked the Obama administration for allowing the state to “see what’s out there.” However, he argued that North Carolina should receive revenue sharing in the project in order to improve the state.

McCrory also criticized the “new, very stringent regulations” on water and air by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“My administration is very strongly going to fight the regulations of the federal government taking over the waters of North Carolina,” he said. McCrory argued that the new rules will negatively affect North Carolinian communities, especially farmers.

He also said that the EPA air regulations “punish” North Carolina for “progress (it) has already made.”

“We’re not getting credit for what we’ve done,” McCrory said.

Among those in the audience, Scott Millar, president of Catawba County Economic Development Corporation, applauded McCrory for pushing North Carolina’s economic development.

“We need to get the House and the Senate and the governor’s office all together to help create an environment where economic development projects can be successful,” Millar said.

See the article here.

 

McConnell: ‘Battle Continues’ Against Power Plant Regs

Via The Hill:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed to continue his fight against the Obama administration and environmental regulators over their new climate rule for power plants.

In a newsletter to constituents released Monday, McConnell said he will work to block the administration’s Clean Power Plan rules legislatively this fall, pledging to protect his home state’s coal industry in the face of regulations set to hit it especially hard.

McConnell said the rule is the “latest attack on Kentucky coal jobs, miners and their families,” and one that he’s looking to block in the Senate.

“This move demands and deserves a forceful response from those of us who seek to protect Kentucky coal,” he wrote.

McConnell repeated the potential legislative plan of attack he laid out when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the rule in early August. That includes using the appropriations process to block the rule, or a measure of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act.

He also repeated his call for state governors to refuse compliance with the rule, questioning whether it will survive legal challenges.

“The battle continues,” McConnell wrote. “I’ve fought this administration and its EPA every step of the way in the president’s war on coal, and I don’t intend to stop now.”

Since the EPA released the Clean Power Plan on Aug. 3, several states have sued seeking a stay. A Senate panel also passed a bill to block the regulations, giving McConnell another option to use against them.

“I’ll keep up the fight against this administration and this EPA through the many tools at Congress’s disposal to rein in out-of-control bureaucrats,” he said in his newsletter.

“My promise is this: I will not sit idly by while this administration tries to wipe out the lifeblood of our state’s economy.”

See the article here.

Coal Remains an Economic Cornerstone

Via The Lane Report:

“It is important to talk about decreases in coal production, the job losses in the coal industry and the effect this has on the region,” said Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett. But he has a further message he believes is equally important: Coal is still in business, significantly.

“We are still mining 70 million tons of coal each year in Kentucky, and Kentucky is still a major player,” Bissett said. “Most importantly, we are mining that coal in a responsible and legal way.”

Since 2009, Eastern Kentucky has lost 8,500 well-paying coal-mining jobs, more than half the region’s coal-mining employment, as production has plummeted due to increased federal regulations, rising operation costs and increased competition from natural gas. The latest estimates are that fewer than 6,000 mining jobs remain.

The trend motivated Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Harold Rogers in 2013 to launch the Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative that aims to diversify a regional economy that has long risen and fallen with coal mining. (See articles in the July and August issues of The Lane Report)

Bissett said he is not a “Chicken Little” predicting that the sky is going to fall.

“Our grandchildren’s grandchildren are going to be using coal,” he said. “Coal is not going away, but the time has come that we can no longer take it for granted.”

Because the industry’s jobs pay much more than suggested replacements and miner family spending supports others’ paychecks, he said, coal should be a key element of SOAR strategy.

Coal traditionally is a cyclical industry, but there is a growing view that recovery prospects are much dimmer now that hydraulic fracturing of underground U.S. shale formations has pumped cheap and environmentally friendlier natural gas into the energy market. Within the past year the United States became the world’s largest producer of crude oil and natural gas, and this summer natural gas displaced coal as the top fuel for U.S. power generation.

Bissett, in his five and one-half years as KCA president, has been at the epicenter of the national debate about coal, particularly as it relates to Eastern Kentucky. In fact, he calls Eastern Kentucky “ground zero” in what has become an increasingly contentious battle of jobs and economic prosperity versus potential environmental impact.

EPA to Ky: Cut carbon emissions 30%

An announcement last month from the Obama administration is a good example.

In early August, the Environmental Protection Agency released much-anticipated proposed final regulations concerning greenhouse gases (GHG) that, if implemented, will have a significant impact on Eastern Kentucky and consequently all of Kentucky, according to Bissett.

The EPA wants the commonwealth to reduce its annual carbon emissions to 63 million tons by 2030, a 30 percent decrease from baseline 2012 levels. Preliminary EPA regs had called for Kentucky to cut those emissions by 15 percent to 77 million tons, a target that already meant moving away from coal-fired electricity generation.

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, the central piece in U.S. efforts to address climate change, aims by 2030 to reduce all power plant carbon dioxide releases by 32 percent below the levels of 2005.

“With 535 days left in office, President Obama and the United States Environmental Protection Agency have announced a final rule regarding the regulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) that will raise electricity rates and damage the reliability of electricity in the United States, while doing little to address the issue they seek to address of climate change,” Bissett said.

“While we are confident that this rule will not survive legal scrutiny in the courts, electric utilities are already moving away from coal to comply with the possible threat of this new regulation. While our nation’s economy will be harmed and electricity rates will ‘necessarily skyrocket,’ as President Obama announced on the campaign trail in 2008, this new regulation would be especially damaging to the economies of coal mining and coal-using states like Kentucky and West Virginia.”

Lower than average electric power rates in Kentucky have been a powerful draw for business attraction and growth, especially for power users such as manufacturing and metal production. Aluminum smelters and users have a big presence, and the state is home to the largest stainless steel producer in North America.

“This unilateral mistake by the Obama administration will be observed by other countries, such as India, China, Spain, Germany and many other existing and developing countries – but only observed,” Bissett said. “These countries are either moving back to coal after creating ‘energy poverty’ through more expensive forms of electricity production or developing coal-fired electricity sources like we did in the United States to build their economies.

“Although we have faced many new regulations regarding coal production and use from the Obama administration, it is clear that these GHG regulations are, by far, the most damaging and economically harmful when compared to any of the Obama administration’s previous actions,” he said.

“Simply put, there is no greater threat than these final GHG regulations to coal-powered economies like Kentucky’s economy, and we must do everything possible to stop this final rule and show the growing numbers of people and organizations against this wrongheaded and ineffective regulation.”

Underground mining down another 10%

The EPA’s proposed regulations came as second-quarter 2015 numbers on coal production and coal jobs were announced. According to energy.ky.com, Eastern Kentucky coal production decreased 5.4 percent during the second quarter.

Surface mines increased production by a marginal 0.5 percent. Underground mining operations decreased 10.3 percent but remain the leading coal extraction method in Eastern Kentucky. Below-surface mining accounted for 52 percent of regional production.

During the second quarter of 2015, the state reported, there were 5,889 persons employed at Eastern Kentucky coal mines, a decrease of 10.6 percent from the first quarter of 2015. Coal mines in Western Kentucky decreased total employment by 110 jobs or 2.9 percent.

Bissett is familiar with the numbers, but said there is more to the story:

“These (coal jobs) are jobs that start at $65,000-$70,000 a year, and many provide more than a six-figure income with overtime. In addition, for every coal job there are three more indirect jobs (i.e., heavy equipment operators) as well as induced jobs – those at gas stations, restaurants, etc.”

Bissett said the coal industry supports the efforts being undertaken via the SOAR initiative, but he is not enthused about efforts to create jobs in Eastern Kentucky through sectors such as tourism.

“These are jobs that start at $15,000 to $30,000,” he said. “Tourism is also a competitive field. Eastern Kentucky will be up against areas such as Gatlinburg that are already established. People also want easy access. The transportation infrastructure in Eastern Kentucky is still a challenge.”

Coal wants and needs to be at the table as plans are made to enhance the region, Bissett said.

“SOAR is doing its best to find the bright spots in Eastern Kentucky,” he said. “These are tough conversations to have, but we must have them and SOAR is making this happen.”

There are more tough times and tough conversations ahead for coal and Eastern Kentucky, Bissett predicts.

“We need to maintain what we have,” he said, “and this won’t be easy, particularly in light of Obama’s proposed regulations.”

The state and the industry, Bissett said, must also continue to maintain a market for coal.

“This is significant,” he said. “The market is going to change. Coal usage is going to fall off in certain states. The market may now be overseas. So many countries are now moving to coal for electrical production. The rest of the world is going a different way on coal usage. Overseas may now be the end user. The domestic market is now tenuous.”

The change will show up in our electric bills as well.

“Electricity rates are going to go up, particularly in Kentucky; the reliability of electricity is going to decrease,” Bissett said. “It will be interesting to see what happens if people are without electricity for a while.

For Eastern Kentucky, uncertainty will reign, especially when it comes to the region’s reliance on coal.

“Energy issues are constantly changing,” he noted. “Twelve years ago we were importing natural gas to meet demand; now we have an abundant supply. After the (2011 Tohuku) tsunami, Japan is now moving (back) toward nuclear power.”

See the article here.

Ky. Wins Battle – But Not the War – on Coal

Via The Courier-Journal: 

The real question for Kentuckians is this: Is EPA going to seriously consider the economic damage done to Kentucky’s families who are dependent on mining?

In the first quarter of 2015, the number of employees at Kentucky coal mines stood at 10,356, far fewer than the 19,422 who worked in the mines in the first quarter of 2009. Thousands more provide for their own families by working at small businesses that cater to these miners or support the coal industry in some way.

Yet before celebrating, those who are dependent on coal might want to hold onto their hats. The decision might have been a victory, but the case was only a skirmish in the larger war on coal. The Supreme Court has merely ordered EPA to consider economic impacts before enforcing its draconian rule.

EPA is required to go back and do its homework on cost/benefit analysis before the rule may become effective. But with the Obama Administration in office—with its anti-coal agenda—it will not be surprising if EPA ultimately decides to implement the rule after considering the economic impacts, which means that this ultimately remains a political issue.

So, odds are that Kentuckians can expect the assault on the coal industry to continue. Oh, there will be announcements of government programs to spend a little money on workforce training, to help the displaced miners find new jobs, but there are no jobs. Unemployment in the coal fields is still the highest in the state.

We can also count on these regulations to drive the cost of electricity up for all of our households, small businesses and industries. Low power rates are one of the strongest lures the commonwealth has in bringing new jobs and industry here. Our advantage will take a big hit.

We continue to hear about green jobs that will be created with wind and solar energy. Neither of these will produce the cheap power that Kentucky needs to create jobs. Regardless, any of these “clean energy” solutions will not generate enough jobs in eastern Kentucky to help the thousands of displaced coal industry workers.

Under the EPA’s rule, our state will be forced to levy emission reductions that will produce an 18.3 percent reduction in carbon by 2030, based on 2005 levels. That’s a pretty big number, but consider this: By using levels from a decade ago, the reduction does not take into account 10 years of industrial growth. Thus, the reduction target will be even higher.

And let’s not forget “cap and trade.” This was a major initiative of the Obama administration that failed in Congress several years ago. Soon you will hear that the United States should get in the business of selling “carbon credits.”

Just like “cap and trade,” it delineates the maximum emission level and forces businesses to “purchase” the ability to expand by buying “credits.” This is widely used in Europe, but has lead to “speculative” pricing and become quite the business.

Higher energy costs would hurt everyone, but they would be especially harmful to small businesses. According to the NFIB Research Foundation’s 2012 Small Business Problems and Priorities survey, the cost of electricity was ranked number 12 out of 75 issues, ahead of other major problems like cash flow and poor earnings.

Small businesses need affordable energy not only to stay competitive but also to simply stay open. If the government essentially mandates higher energy costs, then the cost of everything else will go up as a result, and businesses will have no choice but to pass the higher costs onto their customers, people like you and me.

In order to create an environment that supports families and small businesses and helps create jobs, this Obama administration needs to expand our energy options, not limit them. If the administration is allowed to impose these drastic new rules on coal, then I’m afraid it will be lights out for Kentucky.

See the article here.

 

Fighting Back Against President Obama’s Anti-Coal Plan

Via bereaonline.com:

The Obama Administration recently unleashed its latest attack on Kentucky coal jobs, miners, and their families by unveiling the final version of its so-called Clean Power Plan, which seeks to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. This move demands and deserves a forceful response from those of us who seek to protect Kentucky coal.

When the Obama Administration released the preliminary version of this regulation last year, it was more than apparent that it would mean closing power plants, cutting more jobs, and increasing the cost of electricity for families and businesses across our state.

I raised my concerns directly with the EPA and invited EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to Kentucky to hear our objections firsthand. Yet, instead of listening and reworking their proposed regulation, the administration has issued a plan that would shrink our economy significantly and raise electricity rates for the Kentucky families who can least afford it. And it would reduce the affordable, plentiful energy we get from coal, which is critical to industries throughout Kentucky.

Even Kentucky’s Democratic governor called the final plan “disastrous” for the state’s coal and manufacturing industries. Yet for all these detrimental effects, it would have no real impact on the global environment.

Recently, a constituent from eastern Kentucky wrote to tell me just how badly these regulations are hurting his business. As he put it, “without manufacturing there is no middle class, and it seems like President Obama would like nothing more than to destroy manufacturing here and in the rest of the country.”

And Tony Campbell, president and CEO of East Kentucky Power, said this regulation will “effectively remove coal as an option for future power plants,” and “will put pressure on costs to rise.”

So the battle continues. I’ve fought this administration and its EPA every step of the way in the President’s war on coal, and I don’t intend to stop now.

I wrote a letter to every governor in the country suggesting they take a wait-and-see approach before subjecting their states to unnecessary pain by complying with the EPA’s request for state implementation plans for the so-called Clean Power Plan–since it’s questionable whether issuing this regulation is even within the EPA’s legal authority. I’ve heard from several governors who have said they will not comply, and I expect more will follow suit.

I was also recently able to place language in a U.S. Senate Interior Appropriations bill that would guarantee that governors who heeded my warning would be protected by prohibiting the administration from arbitrarily imposing its will on states that take this responsible approach.

If enacted, the measure I secured would restrict the EPA from using its funding to force states to submit an implementation plan. Kentucky’s next governor, no matter who wins the election, could forego compliance with this harsh regulation without fear of retaliation from the EPA.

Fourteen states have already joined forces to file a lawsuit against the EPA challenging the legality of the so-called Clean Power Plan. I applaud this effort, which is why I’m also a cosponsor of a bill in the Senate that would prohibit the EPA’s regulations from moving forward until the courts have ruled on their legality. I was pleased when this bill, the ARENA Act sponsored by West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito, was able to pass favorably out of committee.

And I’m actively pursuing other legislative options, including a procedure called the Congressional Review Act, by which Congress can attempt to overturn regulations issued by the executive branch.

We must take advantage of all of these tools in the face of the Obama Administration’s attack on Kentucky jobs. Kentucky’s coal industry provides a way of life for thousands of families. For every miner employed, three more Kentuckians hold jobs indirectly dependent on coal.

It is thanks to coal that generations of Kentuckians have been able to get good-paying jobs that help them afford food, clothing, medical care and other necessities. That’s why the administration’s plan represents a disturbing triumph of left-wing ideology over common sense and compassion.

And that’s also why this president won’t get the last word. I’ll keep up the fight against this administration and this EPA through the many tools at Congress’s disposal to rein in out-of-control bureaucrats. My promise is this: I will not sit idly by while this administration tries to wipe out the lifeblood of our state’s economy.

See the article here.

The Clean Power Plan and Supporting Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas

Via Forbes:

The U.S. energy economy is the 2nd largest but most dynamic in the world, a massive complex devouring 6 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) every day. Our daily energy supply will continue to be based on the very real market factors of affordability, reliability, and availability, not the trite platitude of “we’re Americans, we can do anything.”

In fact, with an unacceptable 94 million working age Americans not in the labor force (56 million of them women) and 48 million stuck in poverty, it’s quite apparent there’s a lot we can’t do. And one of the things we can’t do is displace dispatchable, 24/7 always available energy with non-dispatchable intermittent energy. No matter what interest groups proclaim or what laws get passed, mandates don’t change physics, and wishing something doesn’t make it so.

Out of 34 countries, the U.S. has ranked 17th in science and 25th in mathematics, but perhaps our biggest mental hurdle is understanding energy scale and the enormity of the energy system that drives our ever-expanding $17 trillion economy. This explains why so many of us continue to believe that wind and solar power will displace fossil fuels,when it fact they haven’t because they can’t.

Despite a relentless quest started by Alessandro Volta in the late-1700s, we still have no way to store electricity large-scale, and despite tens of billions of dollars in support and claims since the 1970s that our renewable energy world is “right around the corner,” wind and solar today supply just 2% of our energy and 6% of our electricity (see here).

And with “efficiency” being mentioned 327 times in EPA’s  128-page Clean Power Plan (CPP) proposal released in June 2014, the “we just need more efficiency to lower electricity demand” argument has no factual basis. In 1990, 1 Mtoe generated about 3.8 TWh of electricity; in 2014, 1 Mtoe generated 4.6 TWh of electricity. Yet, despite this 21% increase in U.S. electricity efficiency, power demand still increased 40%. No kidding…we’ve added 70 million people and $7.3 trillion in real GDP!

California has been unrealistically and unwisely used as EPA’s model for more efficiency and more renewable energy, mentioned 22 times in the CPP, versus the typical state getting 0 mentions. California, however, has power rates 45% above the U.S. average, imports a leading 33% of its electricity, and always leads Eaton’s Blackout Tracker, with 537 in 2014, compared to 178 for 2nd place Texas. In fact, this over reliance on growing neighbors means that “Obama’s Clean Power Plan is bad news for California.”

For impact on minorities, elderly, and low income households, Climate Change is the obsession, ignored is the impact of higher electricity prices and the less grid reliability that hampers our economy by forcing the deployment of naturally intermittent energy. But, these devastating impacts are well known across the pond where the same anti-coal, oil, and natural gas policies have been enacted: it’s been termed “fuel poverty,” andenergy dreams kill 

Just take Europe’s capitals of wind power, Denmark and Germany, both retain some of the best engineers in the world and have spent tens of billions of dollars incorporating wind. Yet, residential power rates there are the two highest in the world, now 42 and 39 cents/kWh respectively, compared to our 12.5 cents kWh.

Even though many of our best wind locations have already been taken, the CPP requires the wind industry to add more capacity in eight years than it added in the previous 120 years. Not to mention the requirement to actually generate massive amounts of incremental electricity, even though wind power is unavailable more often than it’s available. Meanwhile, back here on Earth, with coal and natural gas capacity factors running ~90%, renewables, “my dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place.”

Although I implore you to fight much harder than you now do, (we pro-energy people are in the right!), stay strong fossil fuel producers, as the reality of higher costs, less reliability, and rising demand (even amid great improvements in efficiency) smacks us in the face, we will ultimately be scaling back or significantly watering-down many of the anti-fossil fuel laws being enacted or proposed today. And, once again, it will be more affordable and reliable coal, oil, and natural gas that’ll fill the void.

Indeed, just put out by Bloomberg, “Denmark’s Liberal government is to reverse ambitious CO2 emission targets introduced by the previous administration [and] drop plans to phase out coal-fired power plants and become fossil-fuel free by 2050.” Both Spain and Germany are reducing expensive subsidies for wind and solar, and recent patent data indicate “Global hopes for renewable energy fading.” Even the most ardent supporters of renewables have articulated the limitations of naturally intermittent energy:

  •  “Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy,” Dr. James Hansen, the “Grandfather of Climate Change,” NASA
  • “We came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions,” Ross Koningstein and David Fork, Google

The Scale of the Challenge (U.S. Incremental Changes 2005-2030)

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 5.42.06 PMSources: EIA; USDA; U.S. Census Bureau

As for other key countries following any example we claim to be setting, that’s not only unrealistic but undesirable. The most significant incremental emitters of CO2 are far too poor and energy-deprived to be so constrained. For example, the average American consumes 6.8 Toe per year, compared to just 0.65 Toe for Indians, and makes 34-times more money! Governments in the developing world realize that more energy is the enabling force behind more human development (see here) and therefore desperately seek to increase personal consumption.

Working in tandem, study after study demonstrates that more energy demand causes more economic growth, and more economic growth causes more energy demand (see page 112 here). No wonder that UN environmental conferences were founded on an apparently now forgotten principle: “The Environment is People and Their Necessity for More Energy.

To be clear, the developing countries will gladly accept “
funding” from the West to “combat Climate Change,” but when push comes to shove they know to lean on the same affordable, reliable, and commercial-scale energy sources that built the richest economies. The domination of coal, oil, and natural gas isn’t because of a Koch conspiracy Mr. Reid, it’s because they’re bigger…stronger…faster…more energy denseChina, remember, has called new wind farms “vanity projects.” China, with Russia, and India, with Iran, continue to seek huge oil and gas deals with “whoever, wherever” (see hereherehere).

Importantly, California installed cap-and-trade in early-2012 falsely thinking others would blindly do the same. “The irony of this is that once the law passed in California, no one followed suit. No one,” says Former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, who carried AB 32 in 2006 that led to cap-and-trade. It turns out other states might better realize the criticality of more affordable and reliable energy in our goal to grow the economy and improve public health. It’s disposable income that’s the basis of our health, and consumer spending constitutes 72% of U.S. GDP.

That’s why at least 16 states are preparing to sue EPA after the CPP is submitted for publication in the Federal Register. As Michigan just proved, other states could adopt out of fear the Federal government will eventually set their power policies. One Harvard expert says this would be “unconstitutional,” which explains EPA pushing “credit for early action.”

I demand that spiraling poverty, which kills 900,000 Americans a year, immediately re-emerge as our priority issue, particularly since EPA itself has documented the “great progress in air quality over the decades – as have IEvery minute, 14 children around the world die from preventable poverty, enabled by a lack of the huge, dynamic, and diverse energy supply we now take for granted. Blocking this proven modern energy supply from poor people is about as “anti-environment” as one can get. Indoor pollution from using primitive fuels like dung/wood/crop waste kills 4.3 million humans a yearenergy poverty now our most tragic afterthought to our computer modeled future.

U.S. Climate Policy is NOT “Climate Insurance:” Incremental CO2 Emissions Won’t Come From the U.S.

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 11.45.48 AM

Source: IEA, WEO 2014

As for the all-important but very obscure “Social Cost of Carbon” (SCC) being employed to enact or propose anti-fossil fuel legislation, experts at the University of Chicago Law School have already recognized: “A close reading of the cost-benefit analyses performed by agencies in connection with climate regulation reveals much to worry about.” To illustrate, “carbon fertilization” is a major benefit of more CO2 that routinely gets ignored in most SCC. CO2 is essential to photosynthesis, and plant growers regard CO2 as a nutrient.

CO2 generators produce greenhouse levels above 1,000 parts per million (ppm) to double or triple plant growth, compared to the 400 ppm of atmospheric CO2 today. As just one omission, the three Integrated Assessment Models deployed to determine SCC either understate (FUND) or ignore (PAGE, DICE) the great benefits that higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations have on agricultural output in their “cost-benefit” analysis, rendering those assessments glaringly incomplete – an

To demonstrate the problems involved, a 2014 peer-reviewed study found that when carbon fertilization is considered, SCC can be less than $7 per metric ton, compared to the $37 or more SCC that the Obama administration wants to use.Thus, adding the established effect of carbon fertilization to SCC lowers the SCC figured by the Obama administration by over 80%, slashing the negative costs assumed for using coal, oil, and natural gas. In fact, some analyses have found that SCC can even be in the negativesmeaning the benefits outweigh the costs.

No kidding…for 12 years I’ve been documenting how the benefits of our affordable and reliable energy economy built on fossil fuels are so great that they can’t be measured (see here).

But far more straight-forwardClimate Change at core is “undoubtedly and inherently a global issue,” so it’s effectively impossible to show or prove the domestic benefits of CO2 reductions because the decisions of other nations are fundamental to realizing those benefits. And our leaders have no right whatsoever to assume those outside policies in U.S. energy and environmental policy.

In other words, for Americans to realize the “benefits” being claimed by those that use SCC to justify mandating less U.S. coal, oil, and natural gas use, other critical nations like China, India, and Brazil would also have to significantly cut their energy demand and CO2 emissions. In stark contrast, the U.S. could eliminate its entire coal sector and the world would compensate for those saved CO2 emissions within 2-3 years.

More emissions is only logical: our overwhelmingly under-developed world seeks and requires much more energy, not less. India alone has 750 million people that have no refrigeration! As confirmed by Bill Gates, “If you could pick just one thing to reduce poverty, by far you would pick energy.” The crucial IEA and EIA forecasting bodies are projecting a 25-45% increase in CO2 emissions by 2040.

This all points to a worrying and growing regulatory trend to obsess over all imaginable costs of using coal, oil, and natural gas, but to under appreciate or even ignore the most important and obvious benefits of using those fuels. In a world where a rising 6,100 million humans live in undeveloped nations, and fossil fuels are a very telling 85% of the developed world’s energy, such tunnel vision must be fought, endlessly.

Benefits of More CO2 for Global Crop Production Get Ignored in SCC

Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 5.02.18 PM

Source: Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, October 2013

GUEST COMMENTARY: Missouri Families Can’t Afford to Lose Affordable Power

Via The Missourian:

Right now, many American families are struggling financially. And as I look around at these families in need, I wonder how many of them are prepared to pay more for their electricity now that the Environmental Protection Agency is implementing a “Clean Power Plan” to reduce carbon dioxide “pollution.”

At a quick glance, the EPA plan seems reasonable. What could be better than improved energy efficiency, for example? But the EPA program means to swiftly reduce America’s reliance on coal-fired power generation. And that’s where the trouble starts.

America has long been powered by coal, and in recent decades coal-fired power has become far more high-tech. Coal is now the predominant source of reliable, affordable power generation for many states, and provides roughly 80 percent of Missouri’s electrical power. As coal-fired power production has become more important to Missouri, the industry has progressed greatly by adding technology that carefully “scrubs” emissions of unwanted byproducts such as sulfur and particulate matter.

While China is clearly the largest country that needs to clean up its act, the EPA is concerned with cutting America’s coal-fired power production on a fast timetable. But coal provides 38 percent of America’s total electricity generation — more than any other power source — which means that a lot of our electrical supply is at risk. The problem we face is that existing, alternative supplies simply can’t make up the difference.

Studies of the new EPA plan suggest that, once the new rules are in place, a family of four could see their home energy bills increase by hundreds of dollars each year. And what will America get for this trade-off? A theoretical reduction in global temperatures of a tiny fraction of a degree by 2100.

The American people are busy trying to make ends meet. They’re not focused on the climate issue like Washington is. A recent Gallup poll found that 62 percent of Americans do not see climate change as a serious threat. But they do rank a struggling economy at the top of their list of worries.

I want to know how many families are prepared to pay hundreds of dollars more for their electricity each year — especially for no meaningful environmental improvement. And how often will paying for such an increase mean having to choose between buying groceries or monthly medicine in order to keep their house warm during the winter? That’s a scenario we’re likely to face, once the EPA plan is fully implemented.

In the real world of belt-tightening and limited household budgets, many families can hardly afford higher energy prices. For the sake of those families and individuals who are struggling each day to pay their bills, I hope state governors will tell the EPA to rethink this costly, risky plan.

Dr. Charles Steele Jr. is president and CEO of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights organization co-founded by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

See the article here.

Letter: It’s More Regulatory Overreach by the EPA

Via Inforum:

It is no secret that North Dakota’s energy industry is booming. Between oil and gas development, and the coal and wind industries, North Dakota is flush with energy-rich resources. The Republican leaders of our state have done an outstanding job balancing regulation of the industry while promoting development. Unfortunately, the bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency seem to think they can better manage and regulate our energy industry.

Recently, the EPA released their proposed “Clean Power Plan,” which, simply put, is nearly 1,600 pages of regulatory overreach disguised as a feel-good program.

The EPA has offered no explanation as to why the proposed 11 percent cuts in carbon emissions for North Dakota has now skyrocketed past the national average of 32 percent to 45 percent in the most recently released rule. Because of these drastic cuts, the price of power for the American family is going to increase by more than $1,225 per year, coal industry employees will face massive job cuts and the economy will be reduced by $2.3 trillion over the next two decades.

North Dakota is one of 14 states that meet all ambient air quality standards, which goes to show that we know how to regulate our energy industry and set North Dakota standards for North Dakota resources. The new EPA rule is another harsh example of the Obama administration pushing their radical environmental agenda with no thoughts toward the pocketbooks and jobs of the American people.

 Leighton, Bismarck, is executive director, North Dakota Republican Party

See the article here.

Securing America’s Energy Future

Via The National Review: 

Reliable energy production is critical for Americans’ financial well-being.

By Marco Rubio — September 1, 2015

EPA’s Price Tag for Carbon Regulations: 34,000 Jobs

Via The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: 

EPA’s Clean Power Plan isn’t so much a “War on Coal,” as it is a war on coal workers.

Sam Batkins at the American Action Forum is doing a deep read on EPA’s carbon regulations.

He points out that EPA expects electricity generated by coal to drop by nearly half–48%–from 336 gigawatts in 2012 to 174 GW in 2030. Because of this, as many as 34,000 jobs will be lost by 2030.

At the same time, EPA claims the regulations will create jobs. However, in comparing EPA’s proposed rule released in 2014 to the final one, Batkins noticed something odd about EPA’s job estimates:

Incredibly, for the proposed rule, EPA claimed it would support 78,800 new jobs for “demand-side energy efficiency.” The agency has now partially cut the building block that supported that demand side growth, yet EPA still projects 83,300 more energy efficiency jobs because of the rule.

Because of previous EPA regulation states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic have already witnessed thousands of coal-realted jobs cut. “Combine coal extraction losses with coal generation declines nationwide and the coal industry has lost more than 47,500 jobs already, with the promise of more to come by 2030,” Batkins writes.

In Kentucky 37% of coal mining jobs have vanished since 2008.

Chart: Kentucky coal mining jobs

Source: American Action Forum.
Chart: Ohio coal power jobs.

Source: American Action Forum.

If EPA’s carbon regulations are fully implemented, it will be tough for anyone whose job revolves around coal.

See the article here.

Marco Rubio Jabs Obama in New Energy Policy Speech

Via CNN:

As President Barack Obama highlights climate change and his energy agenda in Alaska this week, Marco Rubio, a Republican hoping to take his place, is using the opportunity to ding the President to spotlight his own energy policy ideas in the Midwest.

The Florida senator on Wednesday gave a speech on energy in Oklahoma City, and he previewed his message with an op-ed published Tuesday evening in the National Review.

He wrote about “new and exciting possibilities” in energy production in the U.S., including fracking, and took a shot at Obama in the process.

“This week, President Obama traveled to Alaska to talk not about seizing our energy potential, but about limiting that potential through environmental policies that grow government and raise costs,” Rubio wrote. “I believe this is an outrageous misalignment of priorities.”

Obama traveled to Alaska this week to talk about the dangers of climate change, using a tour of a glacier to make the case for global warming and show the shrinking of the glaciers.

RELATED: Boat tour frame’s Obama’s climate message

Rubio’s plan focuses on removing federal energy regulations and on boosting the domestic energy business. He pledges to lift the crude oil export ban that prevents U.S. businesses from exporting oil overseas; to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan that the administration announced in August to reduce carbon emissions from power plants; and to turn over energy regulation to the states.

The latter two proposals are traditional conservative policies for transferring regulatory power from the federal government to the states and scaling back the EPA, but Rubio’s first proposal is actually picking up some bipartisan steam in Washington. The administration’s own Energy Information Administration released a report Wednesday found that easing restrictions on crude oil exports may actually lower gas prices domestically.

Rubio hammered the message home in his speech Wednesday, and he expanded his attacks to include the Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

“America’s energy future must be entrusted to our businesses and scientists, not our bureaucrats,” Rubio said. “And finding ways to empower our energy producers to capture our energy potential should be a priority for every presidential candidate. Unfortunately, what we hear from Hillary Clinton are more of the same ideas from yesterday — and that’s when she speaks up on the issue at all. For the most part, she resorts to empty rhetoric that refuses to chart much of a course in either direction.”

On the trail, Rubio has avoided most of the party in-fighting that has gripped front-runners Donald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, focusing on rolling out wonky policy speeches. Last week, he focused on foreign policy and China.

See the article here.

Electric Grid Reliability Fears Remain in Wake of Climate Rule

Stakeholders and government officials are unsure about whether the Obama administration’s legacy climate rule will threaten the electric grid, according to the ISO/RTO Council, whose members include independent systems operators and regional transmission organizations.

Critics of the power plant emissions rules have long held that the Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 30 percent, would lead to more brownouts and blackouts. In an attempt to bed those concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency added a reliability “safety-valve,” or RSV, to the final rule released in early August. But there’s little agreement on whether the RSV actually helps.

The ISO/RTO Council, or IRC, rarely takes a position on major federal policies. Yet it was one of many commenters who asked EPA to make keeping the lights on a bigger priority.

Having had nearly a month to digest the rule, IRC hasn’t yet reached agreement about whether the last-minute safety valve satisfied its members’ concerns. Ray Dotter, a communications manager at PJM Interconnections, said Friday that “there is no joint position at the ISO-RTO Council on the Clean Power Plan or the reliability safety valve provision.”

“From PJM Interconnection’s perspective, we understand what EPA did given its other changes and will work to see that [the safety valve] works as intended in practice,” Dotter said. “There’s nothing more to be said at this point.”

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency that regulates the sale of electricity, also recommended the addition of the RSV. The regulator safety valve, FERC argued, could allow states to request a temporary waiver to compliance plans in the event the CPP threatens electric grid reliability.

As it’s currently written, the RSV offers electric generating units the ability to operate outside of the plan for up to 90 days. In the event reliability comes under threat, power plants can apply for up to two 90-day noncompliance periods over the lifetime of the unit.

That’s not enough assurance for FERC Commissioner Tony Clark, who said after the climate rule published that EPA is operating out of bounds.

“EPA officials are not responsible for ensuring reliable, affordable power,” he said. “No one should think reliability and affordability are slam dunks, lest we deny the science of electrical engineering.”

On the other hand, FERC chairman Norman Bay said earlier this month that EPA is working with a trifecta of other departments to make sure reliability concerns are addressed safely and effectively.

Bay said EPA, FERC and the Department of Energy will have a “coordination document” that “will make reasonable efforts to monitor states as they develop and implement plans to meet CPP’s requirements and maintain awareness of any potential electric reliability effects.” Bay also said the relevant agencies will coordinate, as appropriate, to address reliability concerns.

Bay pointed to the successes of previous inter-agency coordination on a similar effort as proof that this part of the rule can work. EPA, DOE and FERC worked together in monitoring reliability during implementation of toxic emissions rules. In that case, Bay said, the agencies established a “successful working relationship.”

Paul Gutermann, a natural resources attorney with the law firm Akin Gump, said the RSV might make the rule more palatable to federal judges, who will ultimately decide whether the Clean Power Plan is legal. The addition of the RSV hampers the argument that the rule would have serious negative impacts on public access to reliable electricity.

Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, said earlier this month that “electric generators are reassured with a new reliability ‘safety-valve.’”

Critics maintain the safety valve does little to change the overall impacts of the regulation.”While a safety valve designed to address reliability crises is necessary, no safety valve can fix a poorly crafted rule that harms reliability as it is implemented,” said Scott Legal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, in a statement. “That’s like relying on an emergency brake after the accident is already under way. You need to prevent the accident in the first instance.

See the article here.

EPA’s Clean Power Fraud

The Environmental Protection Agency has twisted 280 words in the Clean Air Act into 2,690 pages of Clean Power Plan regulations and appendices. The Clean Power Plan requires that states slash their utility-sector carbon-dioxide emissions an average of 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

At least 12 states will have to impose 40-48 percent reductions. Those states now get 50-96 percent of their electricity from coal, and nearly all their electricity from coal and natural gas. Further complicating matters, even replacing coal-fired units with natural gas turbines is highly restricted under the plan.

Replacing this power generation with wind and solar will disrupt grid reliability, risk brownouts and blackouts, and bankrupt many businesses, families and communities.

Coal-reliant states currently pay 8-9 cents per kilowatt-hour. Their rates will likely go well beyond the 15-17 cents per kilowatt-hour that families, hospitals, factories, schools and businesses now pay in “green energy” states such as California and Connecticut. They could skyrocket to the 36-40 cents that Germans and Danes are paying — or 70-80 cents when taxpayer subsidies are included.

The EPA claims more taxpayer-financed energy subsidies will help the poorest families. What about everyone else?

Millions of workers will lose their jobs, leaving more families destitute and welfare-dependent. Many will have to choose between buying food and gasoline, paying the rent or mortgage, visiting doctors, giving to charities, or saving for retirement. Those still working will pay for everyone else.

Families will face sleep deprivation, greater stress and depression, and more drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse, and theft and robbery. Nutrition and medical care will suffer. More people will have strokes and heart attacks. More will die prematurely or commit suicide. More elderly people will perish from hypothermia, because they cannot afford to heat their homes properly.

Sprawling wind and solar installations and transmission lines across millions of acres of wildlife and scenic areas will kill millions of eagles, hawks, and other birds and bats.

These are among the reasons Congress has rejected nearly 700 climate bills. The Clean Power Plan is the result of the EPA colluding regularly with radical environmentalist pressure groups and circumventing our legislative process, laws and Constitution.

The EPA also uses a “social cost of carbon” scheme that places arbitrary, inflated costs on damages it claims result from carbon-based fuels disrupting Earth’s climate. The agency includes every imaginable cost of using hydrocarbon energy — but ignores even the most important and obvious benefits of using those fuels.

The Clean Power Plan also ignores the real world outside the EPA’s windows. Contrary to climate model predictions, global temperatures haven’t budged in 18 years, and no Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane has hit the United States in nearly a record 10 years. Moreover, slashing America’s carbon-dioxide emissions, destroying jobs and impairing human welfare will prevent less than 0.03 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming 85 years from now.

These totalitarian green decrees are fraudulent, illegal and unconstitutional. They severely impair the rights of people to enjoy affordable, reliable energy and the quality jobs, living standards, health and welfare such energy brings.

We must demand debate on every aspect of climate and energy issues — and honesty, transparency and accountability in all regulatory processes. There is no room for fraud and deceit.

States should refuse to comply with the Clean Power Plan. Elected officials, presidential candidates and citizen groups should speak out loudly, clearly and often — and begin curbing the excessive power and representation of extreme environmentalists and bureaucrats in our government.

Congress and courts must end the constant collusion and sue-and-settle lawsuits between the EPA and radical pressure groups. Congress must cut agency budgets, especially the billions of dollars the EPA and other agencies give to anti-energy advocacy organizations and rubber-stamping advisory panels.

Congressional committees and our next president must subject secret data, computer codes, models and studies to full review by independent experts — to determine which assertions, policies and regulations are reasonable and legitimate, and which are based on serious error, deceptive claims or outright fraud.

During this review process, they should suspend and defund implementation of regulations and programs that raise serious questions about honesty and validity. Rules and programs ultimately found to be based on junk science, doctored data, collusion or concocted evidence should be terminated — and agency personnel who have engaged in deceptive or fraudulent practices should be penalized or fired.

We must ensure that regulatory agencies and their advisory councils become more honest and transparent; represent a broader spectrum of expertise, viewpoints and interests than they do now; fully assess evidence for and against alleged “dangerous man-made climate change”; and carefully evaluate the impacts of regulatory actions on jobs, living standards, health and welfare.

Congress and states must reassert their legislative roles, restore federalism and separation of powers as the foundation of our American system, and address the extreme deference that courts too often give “agency discretion.”

These steps will be opposed by President Obama, many Democrats and members of the climate crisis and renewable energy complex.

However, these actions are essential if the United States is to have an economic and employment revival, and poor, minority and blue-collar families are to be protected from regulatory excess and unaccountable ruling elites.

• Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power — Black death (Merril Press, 2010), and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: Saving the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine (CFACT, 2014).

See the article here.

Report: Obama Coal Plan Will Boost Electricity Bills 16%, Drive Companies Offshore

Via The Washington Examiner:

By PAUL BEDARD

As President Obama jetted to Alaska Monday to talk up his climate change plans, burning through nearly 17,000 gallons of fuel, a new report showed that his “Clean Power Plan” will increase consumer electric bills 16 percent and speed plans by job-creating manufacturers to flee America’s high fuel costs.

The free-market focused Institute for Energy Research said that Obama’s plan to replace coal-fired plants with renewable energy makers like windmills and solar will force companies to spend up to four times more on energy and hit consumers.

Emissions from coal plants, like this one in Kansas, are under the microscope. AP Photo

“The so-called Clean Power Plan is expected to decrease carbon dioxide emissions in the generating sector by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2032. To do this, massive amounts of coal-fired generating capacity will be shuttered and wind and solar power will be built in their stead—technologies that cost 2 to 4 times more than the coal capacity that is being shuttered,” said the group in a report issued Monday.

They also cited the impact on consumers: “According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), residential electricity prices are expected to be 16 percent higher in real prices than today due to the proposed regulation and others imposed on the generating sector by EIA.”

Obama and his supporters have been touting the positive impacts of the plan, but the report attempts to put a price on the initiative.

He was expected to discuss climate change in Alaska and the results of doing nothing. Air Force One burns about five gallons per mile, for a total of 16,875 gallons used to promote climate change initiatives in Alaska.

Several states have sued to stop his plan.

The report, which quotes multiple government and other official sources, said that the development of energy in the United States, leading to cheaper prices, has lured many American companies back to the homeland to set up shop. Even some Chinese firms are relocating to the U.S. because of cheaper energy.

But it warns that the attractiveness of the United States will end with the new Obama regulations.

“Low energy prices and American ingenuity have brought manufacturing back to this country. However, all this is likely to change as President Obama’s regulations go into effect, making electricity and natural gas prices escalate, forcing companies to accept higher domestic operating costs or move offshore,” warned the report.

The report concluded: “President Obama is making energy prices escalate due to stringent environmental regulations being promulgated by the EPA. Due to the timing of these regulations, most of the price increases will not been seen by the public until his second term is up. Nonetheless, the headway the United States made to bring manufacturing back to America is being threatened. The result will be a loss of jobs that we cannot afford.”

See the article here.