Monthly Archives: March 2016

Coal Related News from Around the Nation

Power Grab: How The EPA’s Clean Power Plan Aims To Nationalize The Electric Grid

Via The Daily Caller:

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) tells 47 states and three Native American tribal nations to come up with plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions by a third or else the federal government will do it for them. The “or else” looks an awful lot like the cap-and-trade carbon emissions scheme rejected by Congress multiple times in the past decade. In any event, the CPP is an unprecedented federal power grab.

The U.S. Supreme Court stayed implementation of the 1,500-pages of costly red tape, temporarily delaying electricity cost hikes of around 30 percent, depending on the state.

The rationale for this disruption of the electric grid is the aim of slowing the rise in the global average temperature by 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100 — well within the wide margins of error of climate models, none of which have accurately predicted the result of complex interactions of the Earth’s climate.

See the article here.

Why Green Energy Means No Energy

Via Forbes:

Here are some basic facts about energy and human well-being.

• There are 7 billion people in the world who need cheap, plentiful, reliable energy to flourish.

• Some three billion have virtually no energy by our standards. Over a billion have no electricity whatsoever.

• In the history of energy technology, only three methods of energy have proven able to produce cheap, plentiful, reliable energy on any significant scale. These are hydrocarbon (fossil fuel), nuclear and hydroelectric power—with hydrocarbon being the most scalable and versatile (e.g., it provides virtually all our liquid transportation fuel).

• Two of those methods—nuclear and hydro—are not carbon-based and therefore are the obvious choices to champion to the extent you are concerned with reducing CO2 emissions.

• The biggest opponent by far of both of these technologies is the green movement—the movement that claims to care the most deeply about reducing CO2 emissions.

• That movement keeps insisting, against all evidence, that their anti-fossil, anti-nuclear, anti-hydro stance is not a problem because solar and wind, unreliable, parasitical sources of energy that increase costs wherever they are significantly deployed, will somehow save the day.

Why does the green movement oppose every practical form of energy?
There is only one answer that can explain this. Greens oppose every practical form of energy not out of love for the non-existent virtues of solar and wind energy, but because they believe practical energy is inherently immoral.

It’s in their philosophical DNA.

To “be green” means to minimize our impact on nature. In the green philosophy, the standard of value, the metric by which we measure good and bad is human nonimpact—does an action make our environment more or less altered by humans?

If we take that idea seriously, then practical energy is not a good thing.
Energy is “the capacity to do work,” that is, the capacity to alter the placement of matter in nature from where it is to where we want it to be—to impact it. The fundamental use of energy is to power the machines that transform our environment to meet our needs.

If an unaltered, untransformed environment is our standard of value, then nothing could be worse than cheap, plentiful, reliable energy. A consistent advocate of green energy therefore would oppose fossil fuels under any circumstances—if they created no waste, including no CO2, if they were even cheaper, if they would last practically forever, if there were no resource-depletion concerns.

Could this really be true? Yes, in fact history proved it true in the late 1980s.
For many decades, the ultimate energy fantasy has been what’s called nuclear fusion. Conventional nuclear power is called nuclear fission, which unleashes power through the decay of heavy atoms such as uranium. Nuclear fusion unleashes far more power through fusion of two light atoms, hydrogen for example. Fusion is what the sun uses for energy. But all human attempts at fusion so far have been inefficient—they take in more energy than they produce. But if it could be made to work, it would be the cheapest, cleanest, most plentiful energy source ever created. It would be like the problem-free fossil fuels I said the Green leaders would oppose.

In the late 1980s, some reports that fusion was close to commercial reality got quite a bit of press. Reporters interviewed some of the world’s environmental thought leaders to ask them what they thought of fusion—testing how they felt not about energy’s human-harming risks and wastes, but its pure transformative power. What did they say?

There are some quotes from a story in the Los Angeles Times called “Fear of Fusion: What if It Works?” Leading environmentalist Jeremy Rifkin: “It’s the worst thing that could happen to our planet.”

Paul Ehrlich: Developing fusion for human beings would be “like giving a machine gun to an idiot child.”

Amory Lovins was already on record as saying, “Complex technology of any sort is an assault on human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”

He is talking here about something that, if it had worked, would have been able to empower every single individual on the globe and that undoubtedly would have given him a longer life through the increased scientific and technological progress a fusion-powered society would make. He’s talking about something that could take someone who had never had access to a lightbulb for more than an hour, and give him all the light he needed for the rest of his life.

That is what Amory Lovins regards as disastrous “because of what we might do with it.” Well, we’ve seen what we do with energy—we make our lives amazing. We go from physically helpless to physical supermen. We build skyscrapers and hospitals. We take vacations and go on honeymoons. We visit our families and tour the world. We relieve drought and vanquish disease. We transform the planet for the better.

Better—by a human standard of value.

But if your standard of value is unaltered nature, then Lovins is right to worry. With more energy, we have the ability to alter nature more, and we will do so—because transforming our environment, transforming nature, is our means of survival and flourishing.

To the anti-humanist, that’s precisely the problem. Have you ever heard mankind described as a cancer on the planet? Prince Philip, former head of the World Wildlife Fund, has said, “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, in order to contribute something to solve overpopulation.” Biologist David M. Graber, in praising the theme of Bill McKibben’s book The End of Nature, said, “Until such time as Homo sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”

This is the logical end of holding human nonimpact as your standard of value; the best way to achieve it is to do nothing at all, to not exist. Of course, few hold that standard of value consistently, and even these men do not depopulate the world of themselves. But we need to depopulate the world of their ideas.
Our goal should not be the impossible idea of a form of energy that doesn’t impact nature but the form of energy that most benefits human beings. We don’t want green energy we want life-enhancing, humanitarian energy.

Alex Epstein is founder of the Center for Industrial Progress and author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.

See the article here.

Costly Clean Power Plan a Bad Deal for State

Via The Free Lance-Star:

The Supreme Court just hit the brakes on President Obama’s climate agenda.

The court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation to reduce carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants by 32 percent by 2030, should have been an important win for Virginia’s consumers. So far, it’s not.

Despite having no legal requirement to do so, Virginia is continuing to use taxpayer dollars to plan for a regulation that may never become law.

Twenty-seven states sued the EPA over the Clean Power Plan. Virginia, unfortunately, was not one of them. These states, as well as energy and legal experts, argued that the plan overstates the EPA’s regulatory authority under the Clean Air Act and its legality must be settled in federal court before states and utilities are forced to implement it. The Supreme Court agreed.

Virginia should hit pause on its own preparations for the Clean Power Plan and see what the courts decide. While Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s support of the plan is no surprise, Virginia lawmakers should not quietly follow suit.

The plan, if implemented, could send electricity prices soaring. National Economic Research Associates, a leading economic consulting firm, calculated that the plan would drive up electricity prices for Virginia consumers by 13 percent, on average, each year between 2022 and 2033. The peak-year Virginia electricity price increase could be as much as 18 percent. Virginia would join 40 other states in seeing double-digit electricity price increases. The total costs nationally to consumers to comply with the plan could total nearly $300 billion from 2022 to 2033.

Why the jump in electricity prices and the huge cost to consumers? The simple answer is that the Clean Power Plan forces states and utilities to abandon their most affordable source of electricity—coal-generated power—in favor of more expensive alternatives, many of which simply can’t compete in the marketplace without generous taxpayer subsidies.

Proponents of the plan have pointed to tepid utility support as evidence that it both can and should be implemented. But utilities aren’t going to be the ones paying for a radical overhaul of the nation’s electricity sector. That cost is going to be passed on to electricity consumers.

In fact, some utilities see the plan as a means to monetize huge investments in new energy infrastructure and to simply blame the cost increases on the EPA. Virginia consumers are going to get the short end of the stick. Early power plant retirements and then the needed construction of new power plants, pipelines and transmissions lines will cost a fortune.

The poor and those on fixed incomes, often our seniors, will bear a disproportionate burden of these rising electricity costs. Studies have shown that carbon taxes—and that’s exactly what the EPA’s plan is—are regressive. They impose a higher burden, relative to income, on lower-income households. With so many Virginians barely getting by as it is, why would we choose to impose higher costs on a necessity like electricity?

Virginia, and the nation, would be far better served by focusing on energy innovation to reduce emissions than on regulatory fiat. Heavy-handed government action to replace affordable sources of energy with those that are more expensive, and then pass the cost off to consumers, is unforgivable.

The Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan provides Virginia a golden opportunity to put politics aside and re-evaluate whether the EPA’s regulatory mandate is in the best interest of its citizens. State lawmakers would be wise in joining the majority of states and firmly saying no.

See the article here.

Wyoming Coal Operators Practice Responsible Restoration

Via The Casper Star-Tribune:

I have watched with interest the public discussion regarding restoration of mined lands in Wyoming and the suggestion that some companies may not live up to their obligations. As a rancher myself, and as a representative of ranchers and agricultural interests, I recognize the importance of maintaining the land we call home. Our wide open spaces in the West are the heritage we have handed down from one generation to the next. The land helps sustain our lives, from agricultural production to wildlife habitat to recreational use.

Having visited several Wyoming coal mines over the past 20 years, I have been impressed with the mining operations, but more importantly, as a landowner, with the quality of land restoration being undertaken by Wyoming mining companies. The reclamation specialists who work in Wyoming mines have a stake in making sure the land is restored for future use. Many were born and raised in Wyoming, and they care about the land, just as I do.

When I last visited a mine site, I saw acres and acres of restored land within the mine borders. I noticed restoration being conducted in step with the mining process to restore natural habitat. Water channels were reestablished and forage was growing abundantly. Antelope, rabbits and other wildlife were enjoying the abundance of forage on the previously mined land. Livestock were being returned to areas where they had grazed prior to mining. A more casual observer might not be able to tell the difference between land that was mined and land that is native habitat.

 See the article here.

Hillary Clinton and the Myth of Dirty Coal

Via Breitbart.com:

There’s more fallout from Hillary Clinton’s recent pledge to “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin calls Clinton’s comments “horrific” and noted that the reverberations of such remarks could sway voters throughout states where coal plays an important industrial role.

Indeed, Clinton’s remarks overlook the significant connections between coal and key sectors such as freight, rail, and manufacturing. Not only does coal continue to provide roughly 38 percent of U.S. power generation, but it also delivers both the energy and raw materials for America’s steel industry.

See the article here.

OPINION: Arizona Energy Plan Will be Costly for Seniors

Via yourwestvalley.com:

Recently, the Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of issuing a stay against President Obama’s massive Clean Power Plan. The Court determined that states should not be compelled to pay the exorbitant costs of the plan until a federal court determines its legality.

The ruling produced a huge sigh of relief from the 27 states currently suing to halt a large-scale transformation of their energy grid through one of the most far-reaching regulations ever imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Essentially, states no longer need to scramble to achieve a 32 percent reduction in power sector carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. However, the power plan had required interim targets in 2022, and many states were already bracing for the costs of building new power sector infrastructure.

See the article here.

The EPA’s All Pain, No Gain Plan To Nationalize The Electric Grid

Via Forbes:

Unlike prior regulatory efforts to improve air quality by reducing toxic emissions, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) aims to cut non-toxic carbon dioxide emissions by about a third. The stated reason is to slow the increase of the Earth’s temperature by 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Back when one of the aims of the EPA was merely clean air and water, mitigating air pollution from industrial sources typically entailed installing emissions control equipment, often at great cost. But, the net result was cleaner air.

The challenge with reducing carbon dioxide emissions is that carbon dioxide and water are typically the two emissions products that experts strive to produce as they are the two non-toxic products of clean fossil fuel combustion. Short of entombing carbon dioxide deep underground, an experimental process known as sequestration, the only ways of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power generation are to switch fuels and/or improve efficiency.

See the article here.

Coal Jobs: Jenkins Takes on the EPA

Via The Bluefield Daily Telegraph:

Kudos to U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., who spoke in passionate support of the coal industry while questioning Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy during a hearing this week.

Jenkins spoke of how the administration “has unapologetically and systematically worked to shut down our country’s most abundant, reliable and cheapest form of energy, coal,” adding, “But what this administration and the EPA doesn’t understand is what their actions have done to the people of West Virginia.”

While questioning McCarthy at the hearing on the EPA’s fiscal year 2017 budget request, Jenkins asked if she had ever visited West Virginia. The EPA chief replied with a succinct “I can not recall.”

Killing Coal Means Burying America’s Steel Industry Too

Via Brietbart.com:

Hillary Clinton recently vowed to “put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” It wasn’t a nice thing to say, considering the many thousands of hard-working men and women whose livelihoods are tied to the U.S. mining sector.

Clinton’s comments weren’t a complete surprise, however, given the open hostility exhibited by the environmental Left to America’s extractive industries. Fossil fuels have simply become public enemy number one for climate alarmists, and obviously Clinton and her compatriots hope to combat a perceived “crisis.”

But what would happen if Clinton got her wish? How would the United States fare if, moving forward, the country simply designated its remaining coal reserves as off-limits to mining?

See the article here.

Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers Faults EPA Chief for Coal’s Decline

Via Kentucky.com:

The chief of the Environmental Protection Agency got an earful Tuesday from a senior Kentucky lawmaker who blames EPA regulations for costing coal jobs in his district.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy came to Capitol Hill to testify about her agency’s 2017 budget request, which includes $50 million to implement regulations that could lead to a further reduction in the use of coal to produce electricity.

Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, reminded McCarthy that the U.S. Supreme Court had put the brakes on the Clean Power Plan until the lawsuits against it are resolved.

“Nevertheless,” Rogers said, “here you are asking for more taxpayer money to put toward this job of killing coal.”

McCarthy told the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies that the Obama administration’s plan was reasonable, cost-effective and legally sound. And, she added, it was not designed to eliminate coal from the mix.

“We are not looking to preclude coal from being a significant part of the energy system,” she testified. “Indeed, we project it will continue to be.”

Still, McCarthy acknowledged that Appalachian coal has become less competitive as utilities look to cheaper sources of coal, natural gas or renewable energy sources.

Rogers said that his Eastern Kentucky district has lost 10,000 coal jobs since 2009.

According to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, there were an estimated 15,668 coal jobs in the region in the first quarter of 2009. By the fourth quarter of 2015, the agency estimated that number at 5,077.

Some Eastern Kentucky counties have unemployment rates as high as 21 percent.

“Devastating,” Rogers said.

The Clean Power Plan would require a one-third reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. Kentucky was among 30 states that took the EPA to court to block the plan.

McCarthy said that 25 other states had asked the agency for help meeting the plan’s requirements in spite of the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that put it on hold.

She noted that the utility sector was already making the transition away from coal to natural gas and renewables.

“We do believe facilities can comply,” she said. “We think that states will be able to meet the requirements.”

Kentucky is a heavy producer and consumer of coal, which generates 90 percent of the state’s electricity.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Kentucky power companies retired 10 percent of the state’s coal generating capacity last year, in some cases switching to natural gas. The agency forecast a similar reduction in the state’s coal capacity through the end of next year.

Despite being the nation’s third-leading coal producer, 39 percent of the coal Kentucky consumed last year came from other states.

Last year, the federal government predicted that the Clean Power Plan would accelerate the growth of renewable energy and the decline of coal.

“There’s no question that the Clean Power Plan will fundamentally alter the energy economy in this country,” Rogers said.

See the article here.

Jenkins Grills EPA Chief on Coal Position

Via The Register-Herald:

Rep. Evan Jenkins joined a chorus of Republican lawmakers Tuesday bemoaning the Environmental Protection Agency’s policies concerning coal and the impact those regulations are having on local economies.

Jenkins joined other coal-state Republicans in grilling EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, as she appeared before the House Appropriations sub-committee to defend the agency’s 2017 budget request, which includes an additional $50 million to implement the Clean Power Plan.

Carbon dioxide emission reduction plans are having a devastating impact on the coalfields of West Virginia, Jenkins told the EPA head.

“Coal jobs provide a true, living wage that support a family. Coal jobs also come with really good benefits — a pension and health care benefits a retiree can count on. But not anymore. The bankruptcies of our country’s largest coal companies have left pensioners and widows desperate for help. And because of your actions, West Virginia now has one of the highest unemployment rates in the entire country,” Jenkins said.

McCarthy defended the agency’s placing limits on emissions from electric generating power plants, many of which are switching from coal to natural gas, a cheaper, cleaner source.

“We are not looking to preclude coal from being part of the energy system, and indeed, we project that it will continue to be,” she’s quoted in The Hill. “But we do believe that facilities can comply, and we think that states will be able to meet the requirements under the Clean Power Plan.”

Jenkins read several letters southern West Virginians have written to his office. The letters are from a McDowell County business owner struggling to pay bills or order new stock, a Boone County mother lamenting that her son’s elementary school is shuttering because the county cannot afford to keep it open, and a parent from Mercer County asking if there is a future in West Virginia for her family.

“‘Like every family that depends on coal for a living, we live day to day worrying about what will happen tomorrow. You can’t plan for the future because of the uncertainty. We love our state, but how does one stay here and survive if the jobs aren’t there?'” Jenkins read from a letter penned by April Brooks of Mercer County.

The common theme of the letters was how various forces have tried to to stop the coal industry and its employees from making a living.

“This Congress is trying its best to stop your agenda — an ideologically driven agenda hell bent on shutting down the use of fossil fuels for energy production. We’ve used the power of the purse and included policy riders on funding bills. We’ve supported the legal challenges brought by a majority of the states, led by Democrats and Republicans alike, trying to stop your regulatory overreach,” Jenkins said to McCarthy.

In his opening, Jenkins asked McCarthy if she ever visited West Virginia as head of the EPA. She replied that she doesn’t believe so.

“Administrator, West Virginians are a proud people. We want to work. We want to provide a better future for our children. Let us do the work we have done for generations — work that provides good paychecks and keeps the lights on. And until you actually visit the coalfields of West Virginia, you will never understand the impact of your actions,” he said.

McCarthy said at the end of Jenkins statement that she will take visiting West Virginia “under consideration.”

See the article here.

More Threats Looming for Kentucky Coal

Via The Courier-Journal:

The Obama administration’s assault on the nation’s coal producers took a remarkable turn recently.  The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay against the president’s massive “Clean Power Plan” (CPP), blocking the new program until a federal court determines its legality.

The ruling produced a huge sigh of relief from the 27 states suing to halt what they see as the most far-reaching and intrusive regulations ever imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Cash-strapped states no longer need to scramble to reduce power sector carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030.  Because the power plan requires interim targets in 2022, though, many states were already mobilizing to build new power sector infrastructure at substantial cost.

Now they don’t have to, and any state still following the EPA mandate risks wasting taxpayer money just to comply with a regulation that could soon be judged unlawful.  Unfortunately, even those states taking advantage of the reprieve have already sensed the risks facing affordable, reliable power generation.

Despite the court’s reprieve, more trouble is on the way, too. That’s because the president is still waging a wider battle against coal-based power.  His team hopes to replace coal with solar and wind power, even though neither one has demonstrated real ability to generate robust power or cost efficiency.

The Department of the Interior recently proposed a complete overhaul of coal mining regulations, largely replacing environmental oversight by the states with a massive new set of federal rules so broad as to potentially render more than half of U.S. coal reserves off-limits.  Even though states have demonstrated considerable success in policing their respective mining sectors, the “Stream Protection Rule” (SPR) proposed by the Obama administration has morphed into a staggering expansion of regulatory controls that, if fully implemented, could eliminate up to 280,000 jobs tied to the coal sector.

This hostility to coal was clearly on display during the president’s final State of the Union address, when he announced a moratorium on federal coal leases.  If the president can’t stop coal through the CPP, he will simply order it to remain in the ground.  Sadly, federal coal leases provide much of the nation’s affordable power supply, and generate whopping annual revenues, thanks to the hefty 40 percent royalty and tax fees applied to mining claims.

The great problem with this war on coal is that it ignores coal’s preeminence in generating roughly 37 percent of U.S. electricity (compared to less than 5 percent for wind and solar).  Coal remains the most dependable source of continuous power, and the state-of-the-art clean coal plants that scrub emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and particulate matter are currently running overtime to keep Americans warm during winter and cool in summer.

In short, any one of President Obama’s three proposals would result in higher electricity costs.  Not only would this harm America’s already troubled economy, but it would disproportionately affect the country’s most vulnerable populations, like seniors and low-income communities.  Americans on the poverty line, and rural residents depending on electricity co-ops, already pay an outsized percentage of their income for energy.  Without affordable coal power, they will be significantly affected by higher monthly electric bills.

The Obama administration has a record of imposing regulations without regard for expense, however.  Last summer, the Supreme Court struck down a separate EPA regulation on coal, saying the agency must consider cost before deciding if a regulation is “appropriate and necessary.”  Thus, the administration is now 0 for 2 in imposing its agenda.  But the Supreme Court may not be able to stop every one of the administration’s efforts, which means the American people could be the real losers if the president continues his costly assault on coal.

See the article here.

States Still Face a War on Coal from the Obama Administration

Via The Williamson Daily News:

The Obama Administration’s assault on the nation’s coal producers took a remarkable turn recently. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay against the president’s massive “Clean Power Plan” (CPP), blocking the new program until a federal court determines its legality.

The ruling produced a huge sigh of relief from the 27 states currently suing to halt what they see as the most far-reaching and intrusive regulations ever imposed by theEnvironmental Protection Agency (EPA.)

Cash-strapped states no longer need to scramble to reduce power sector carbon dioxide emissions 32% by 2030. Because the power plan requires interim targets in 2022, though, many states were already mobilizing to build new power sector infrastructure at substantial cost.

Now they don’t have to, and any state still following the EPA mandate risks wasting taxpayer money just to comply with a regulation that could soon be judged unlawful. Unfortunately, even those states taking advantage of the reprieve have already sensed the risks facing affordable, reliable power generation.

Despite the Court’s reprieve, more trouble is on the way, too. That’s because the president is still waging a wider battle against coal-based power. His team hopes to replace coal with solar and wind power, even though neither one has demonstrated real ability to generate robust power or cost efficiency.

The Department of the Interior recently proposed a complete overhaul of coal mining regulations, largely replacing environmental oversight by the states with a massive new set of federal rules so broad as to potentially render more than half of U.S. coal reserves off-limits. Even though states have demonstrated considerable success in policing their respective mining sectors, the “Stream Protection Rule” (SPR) proposed by the Obama Administration has morphed into a staggering expansion of regulatory controls that, if fully implemented, could eliminate up to 280,000 jobs tied to the coal sector.

This hostility to coal was clearly on display during the president’s final State of the Union address, when he announced a moratorium on federal coal leases. If the president can’t stop coal through the CPP, he will simply order it to remain in the ground. Sadly, federal coal leases provide much of the nation’s affordable power supply, and generate whopping annual revenues, thanks to the hefty 40% royalty and tax fees applied to mining claims.

The great problem with this war on coal is that it ignores coal’s preeminence in generating roughly 37% of U.S. electricity (compared to less than 5% for wind and solar). Coal remains the most dependable source of continuous power, and the state-of-the-art clean coal plants that scrub emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and particulate matter are currently running overtime to keep Americans warm during winter and cool in summer.

In short, any one of President Obama’s three proposals would result in higher electricity costs. Not only would this harm America’s already troubled economy, but it would disproportionately affect the country’s most vulnerable populations, like seniors and low-income communities. Americans on the poverty line, and rural residents depending on electricity co-ops, already pay an outsized percentage of their income for energy. Without affordable coal power, they will be significantly affected by higher monthly electric bills.

The Obama Administration has a record of imposing regulations without regard for expense, however. Last summer, the Supreme Court struck down a separate EPA regulation on coal, saying the agency must consider cost before deciding if a regulation is “appropriate and necessary.” Thus, the administration is now 0 for 2 in imposing its agenda. But the Supreme Court may not be able to stop every one of the administration’s efforts, which means the American people could be the real losers if the president continues his costly assault on coal.

See the article here.

EPA Lacks Authority on Clean Power Plan

Via The Las Vegas Sun:

On March 10, Democratic state Sen. Pat Spearman wrote in the Sun that the Office of the Attorney General, where I serve, defied “bipartisan” hopes for Nevada’s clean-energy future by filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the Clean Power Plan lawsuit. This lawsuit challenges the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ambition to permanently displace Nevada as primary regulator of its energy policy. I would have thought my action served the most essential bipartisan position of all: that Nevadans, under the principles of federalism, should control their own destiny.

Dozens of states sued the EPA for fear that its rule could spike electricity rates by double-digit percentages and foist on consumers more than

$79 billion in new costs. But my brief on Nevada’s behalf addressed a different issue: the constitutional one. The EPA simply has no legal authority to do what it schemes to do. The EPA’s administrator even admitted to Congress that the rule is less about “pollution control” than a federal-driven “investment opportunity” in renewables and clean energy.

Spearman may welcome this partisan and hostile takeover of Nevada environmental policy, but a majority of both the House and the Senate, as well as two-thirds of Nevada’s federal delegation, disagree with the EPA’s approach and policy.

Spearman seems to believe this unprecedented approach by a federal agency is in our best interests. But I say it is never in Nevada’s interest for a representative of the people to willingly hand over his or her representation, perhaps for good, to a federal agency. The EPA’s position may align with ours today, but what about tomorrow, when it’s too late to get back the authority we so shortsightedly gave up? And don’t we have a duty to guard that power for future legislators?

She also incorrectly asserts that Nevada’s friend-of-the-court brief could “slow down our transition to a clean-energy future.” Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, my friend-of-the-court brief argues that Nevada, not the federal government, should decide what its clean-energy future should look like. Spearman would have unelected bureaucrats decide energy policy by fiat and let Nevada serve at the whim of whatever administration, Democratic or Republican, is in power. The brief filed by my office is designed to reserve, for Nevada, power to do what our people direct, guided by our interests. We will always have our prosperity closer to heart than a bureaucrat 2,500 miles away. Spearman misses this point.

Two other things are particularly disconcerting about Spearman’s op-ed. The first is that the U.S. Supreme Court already froze the EPA rule — two weeks ago. This was the first time the court ever intervened to stop a regulation so early in litigation. Obviously I’m not the only one to suspect the illegality of the EPA’s actions. It is equally obvious that Spearman, not me, is the one playing politics. Two weeks after the high court acts, she accuses me of offering my opinion for “ideological” purposes. No, the state is fighting to preserve Nevada’s authority — and that decision has been vindicated so far; in fact, it’s way ahead of schedule.

Ironically, Spearman all but concedes that Nevada can act effectively without the blessing of the federal government. She says clean energy is “already paying off for Nevada” and that our initiatives here, begun five years ago, have yielded billions in investments and great jobs. Then don’t we know for fact that a new EPA rule, that has not yet taken effect, had nothing to do with these successes? The answer is manifestly clear.

My job is to enforce the law. My friend-of-the-court brief filed in this case was crucial to resist a dangerous power grab by an unelected federal agency in Washington, D.C. — an assault on the separation of powers and on federalism. Whether the EPA’s rule is a good idea or not is irrelevant to my legal argument; to me, what matters is safeguarding Nevada’s sovereignty over our energy policy. If “clean energy” benefits Nevada, as Spearman suggests, Nevada can embrace clean energy. But no Nevadan should ever sacrifice the rule of law, and our state’s constitutional power, to the latest policy initiative by unelected and distant bureaucrats.

See the article here.

House GOP to Continue Drumbeat Against Stream Protection Rule

Via E&E Publishing:

Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Director Joseph Pizarchik will be back in the House this week for another round of Republican tongue-lashing.

The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will be the second House panel this month to question the economic impact of his agency’s controversial rulemakings.

The Obama administration’s controversial stream protection rule was the focus of a recent House Appropriations subcommittee hearing. The new protections for waterways near coal mining will likely dominate Wednesday’s meeting as states continue to voice their outrage with OSMRE’s handling of the process (Greenwire, March 3).

Seventeen states have sent letters to OSMRE urging the agency to provide rule documents in compliance with an order included in the latest omnibus spending bill. They include top coal states Wyoming, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Republican Reps. Hal Rogers of Kentucky and Ken Calvert of California, and Republican Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski sent their own letter demanding progress.

OSMRE proposed the stream protection rule last July after six years of tense back-and-forth with states over its attempt to rewrite the George W. Bush administration’s stream buffer zone rule.

Coal advocates in industry and Congress immediately blasted the proposal. Many have maintained it is “a rule in search of a problem,” but states have laid into OSMRE for cutting off promised collaboration in recent years.

In the Senate, Republicans accused the agency of violating states’ environmental and mining regulatory authorities and failing to properly gather input from local regulators during a recent hearing (E&E Daily, Feb. 4).

Defending his agency earlier this month, Pizarchik told House members that “substantive” input from the states directly shaped the rule and his agency is in the process of uploading all documents online for states to access.

After the rule’s release, OSMRE attempted to re-engage with states multiple times, he said, to no avail. “I can only keep offering, but I can’t have a meaningful exchange if they choose not to meet with me,” Pizarchik said.

Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) said an online database couldn’t take the place of state-by-state sit-downs and chastised Pizarchik for refusing to extend the rule’s public comment period for a second time.

“If you are really sincere about re-engaging and working, give us time to work through the documents, analyze, study it, and then sit down with you and talk about the implications,” he said.

Appalachia help

An opportunity for harmony during Wednesday’s proceedings is Rogers’ H.R. 4456.

Well liked in Appalachia, the “Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More (RECLAIM) Act” would dispense $1 billion over the next five years from the abandoned coal mine reclamation fund to address cleanup needs and revive coal communities (E&ENews PM, Feb. 3).

The proposal mirrors another that is part of the Obama administration’s proposed Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Plus (POWER+) Initiative, but both have drawn skepticism from regulators and officials in some states.

Greg Conrad, executive director of the Interstate Mining Compact Commission, has expressed concerns about affecting formulas for distributing abandoned mine lands funds that Congress set up during the 2006 amendments to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

Last week, the White House gave a preview of the program by awarding the Appalachian Regional Commission $45 million in grants for economic stimulus.

Bill Price, the senior Sierra Club organizer in West Virginia, urged Congress to pass POWER+, which environmentalists hope signals the end of King Coal.

“As we transition to a clean energy economy, it is essential that we protect the health of our planet and the health of our communities,” Price said in a statement. “Congress should do everything in its power to help the coal communities and working families that have sacrificed for over a century to grow the American economy. They deserve nothing less.”

See the article here.

Court-Mandated Halt of Administration’s Anti-Coal Regulation Shows Merits of ‘Wait and See’ Approach

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote to the nation’s governors today regarding the Supreme Court’s recent nationwide stay of the Obama Administration’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” (CPP) – a massive regulatory plan that will not have a meaningful impact on global emissions but will punish states’ most vulnerable citizens and ship middle-class jobs overseas.

The letter follows one he sent governors in March 2015, urging them to carefully review the consequences of this deeply-misguided plan and to reject submitting a state implementation plan to the Obama Administration until the courts rule on its legality.

In today’s letter, Senator McConnell wrote, “The court’s action in State of West Virginia et.al. v. EPA et.al. will likely extend well beyond this administration, providing a welcome reprieve to states while simultaneously underlining the serious legal and policy concerns I wrote you about last year. In that letter I advised you to carefully consider the significant economic and legal ramifications at stake before signing your states up to a plan that may well fall in court, given that it was unclear — in my view, unlikely — such a plan could survive legal scrutiny… This is precisely why I suggested a ‘wait-and-see’ approach with respect to the CPP last year… even if the CPP is ultimately upheld, the clock would start over and your states would have ample time to formulate and submit a plan; but if the court overturns the CPP as I predict, your citizens would not be left with unnecessary economic harm. Nor would your states be left with responsibility for billions in unnecessary investment obligations.”

Senator McConnell added, “Moving forward, I hope that each of you will consider taking advantage of the relief granted by the Supreme Court and keep in mind that many of us in Congress stand ready to help you as you fight for the best interests of your states.”

The full text of Senate Majority Leader McConnell’s letter is HERE.

Clinton’s Remarks on Coal Dangerous

Via The Bowling Green Daily News:

Coal is a lifeline in Kentucky.

Ninety percent of our power comes from coal. It truly is an invaluable resource.

Coal not only provides electricity, it provides jobs for thousands of people in our state and puts food on the table for Kentucky families every day. Cheap energy also gives our state a competitive advantage in attracting new industries.

Among the biggest enemies of the coal industry in Kentucky has been President Barack Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency, which has waged war on coal. They have done everything they can to run coal out of business in Kentucky and other states, costing thousands of people their jobs in the process.

Because of Obama’s war on coal, coal production in Eastern Kentucky plunged in 2015 to a level not seen since the low point of the Great Depression in 1932, costing more than 2,000 people their jobs.

Statewide, Kentucky produced 61.4 million tons of coal in 2015. That was down 20.7 percent from 2014. The decline was 25.3 percent in Eastern Kentucky and 16.4 percent in Western Kentucky, according to a report by the state Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Obama and company have paid the price for it at the ballot box, with the election of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and re-election of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who have both fought tirelessly against Obama’s war on coal. It’s safe to say that Obama’s war on coal helped propel Republican Gov. Matt Bevin to office, as many of his votes came from coal miners.

While Obama’s position on coal is well known, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s position is known quite well now. On Sunday, Clinton was asked how her new policies would benefit poor white people in Southern states who generally vote Republican.

Clinton responded by saying, “I’m the only candidate, which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity, using clean renewable energy as the key, into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business. We’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people.”

So, Clinton wants to put coal miners and coal companies out of business. These words from the Democratic hopeful indicate she is a carbon copy of Obama when it comes to coal.

If Clinton had it her way, along with her long list of anti-coal donors and friends, coal would become extinct. That’s not an opinion, it’s a fact right out of the candidate’s mouth.

You can be certain that if coal was an important industry in her home state of New York, Clinton would be pushing for more research on clean coal technology rather than her ill-chosen remarks Sunday.

Democratic candidates in coal-producing states are now running away from Clinton, for good reason.

Voters should not be fooled by Clinton, who is now trying to backtrack on her remarks. She is anti-coal through and through, and if elected would continue to wage war on the coal industry as Obama has done for nearly eight years.

Clinton is no friend of coal. State Rep. Jonathan Shell, R-Lancaster, said it best: “I think every voter in the state of Kentucky needs to hear what she said.”

He is correct. Words have consequences. Clinton’s words were callous and wrong, and she should suffer the consequences for them when the time comes.

See the article here.

States Still Face War on Coal from Obama Administration

Via The Exponent- Telegram:

The Obama administration’s assault on the nation’s coal producers took a remarkable turn recently. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay against the president’s massive Clean Power Plan (CPP), blocking the new program until a federal court determines its legality.

The ruling produced a huge sigh of relief from the 27 states currently suing to halt what they see as the most far-reaching and intrusive regulations ever imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Cash-strapped states no longer need to scramble to reduce power sector carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030. Because the power plan requires interim targets in 2022, though, many states were already mobilizing to build new power sector infrastructure at substantial cost.

Now they don’t have to, and any state still following the EPA mandate risks wasting taxpayer money just to comply with a regulation that could soon be judged unlawful. Unfortunately, even those states taking advantage of the reprieve have already sensed the risks facing affordable, reliable power generation.

Despite the court’s reprieve, more trouble is on the way, too. That’s because the president is still waging a wider battle against coal-based power. His team hopes to replace coal with solar and wind power, even though neither one has demonstrated real ability to generate robust power or cost efficiency.

The Department of the Interior recently proposed a complete overhaul of coal mining regulations, largely replacing environmental oversight by the states with a massive new set of federal rules so broad as to potentially render more than half of U.S. coal reserves off-limits.

Even though states have demonstrated considerable success in policing their respective mining sectors, the “Stream Protection Rule” (SPR) proposed by the Obama Administration has morphed into a staggering expansion of regulatory controls that, if fully implemented, could eliminate up to 280,000 jobs tied to the coal sector.

This hostility to coal was clearly on display during the president’s final State of the Union address, when he announced a moratorium on federal coal leases. If the president can’t stop coal through the CPP, he will simply order it to remain in the ground. Sadly, federal coal leases provide much of the nation’s affordable power supply, and generate whopping annual revenues, thanks to the hefty 40 percent royalty and tax fees applied to mining claims.

The great problem with this war on coal is that it ignores coal’s preeminence in generating roughly 37 percent of U.S. electricity (compared to less than 5 percent for wind and solar). Coal remains the most dependable source of continuous power, and the state-of-the-art clean coal plants that scrub emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and particulate matter are currently running overtime to keep Americans warm during winter and cool in summer.

In short, any one of President Obama’s three proposals would result in higher electricity costs. Not only would this harm America’s already troubled economy, but it would disproportionately affect the country’s most vulnerable populations, like seniors and low-income communities. Americans on the poverty line, and rural residents depending on electricity co-ops, already pay an outsized percentage of their income for energy. Without affordable coal power, they will be significantly affected by higher monthly electric bills.

The Obama administration has a record of imposing regulations without regard for expense, however. Last summer, the Supreme Court struck down a separate EPA regulation on coal, saying the agency must consider cost before deciding if a regulation is “appropriate and necessary.” Thus, the administration is now 0 for 2 in imposing its agenda.

But the Supreme Court may not be able to stop every one of the administration’s efforts, which means the American people could be the real losers if the president continues his costly assault on coal.

See the article here.

Garland Poses Threat for Climate Rule Opponents

Via The Washington Examiner: 

Opponents of the Environmental Protection Agency’s far-reaching climate rules are urging Senate Republicans to oppose the president’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, which could upset the balance at the high court in favor of the Obama climate agenda.

“Despite today’s nomination, we continue to be part of the chorus of voices who believe American voters, not a lame duck president with a history of executive overreach, should decide who will fill the vacant Supreme Court seat,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of the pro-coal American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which supports the Supreme Court’s recent stay of the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of the president’s climate agenda.

Duncan, like many Republicans, argues that the president is attempting to stack the deck in his favor by nominating a new justice to replace the late Antonin Scalia before a new president is elected.

“Given the split of the court, the power to decide who fills the vacancy should be made after the electoral dust settles and the people have spoken,” Duncan said soon after it was reported that Garland was the president’s high court pick. “We urge the Senate to continue to stand their ground to protect the best interest of their constituents and the Constitution.”

The last decision Scalia made before his unexpected death was to agree with 30 states asking the court to halt the Clean Power Plan in a 5-4 decision, allowing the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — where Garland is chief judge — to decide on the merits of a major lawsuit. Those states and other groups argue that the Clean Power Plan is illegal under the Clean Air Act.

The stay will remain in place until all litigation is heard, including petitions to the Supreme Court, which are likely to follow no matter which way the appeals court rules.

“President Obama is no stranger to circumventing Congress and the will of the people as most recently evidenced by his costly Power Plan, which the Supreme Court has stayed due to valid legal challenges,” Duncan said. “Now he is once again compromising the will of Congress and the American people in a hastened effort to fill the vacancy that will ultimately determine the constitutionality of the Power Plan and a host of other challenges before the court.”

Garland has been lenient with the EPA on its power plant rules. In one of the last EPA cases he presided over in the appeals court, Garland sided with the agency in denying petitioners’ arguments that the court vacate costly mercury and air pollutant rules for power plants.

At Dec. 4 oral arguments on the mercury rule, Garland told a lawyer representing states in asking the court to vacate the rule, that the bulk of the utility industry says it would be disruptive “if we were to do anything more than remand” the rule back to EPA so it could do a cost assessment.

Other judges hearing oral arguments appeared to share Garland’s concerns that killing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants would be premature.

The appeals court also decided against staying the Clean Power Plan in a more recent decision. It did, however, agree to an expedited briefing schedule, which states opposing the plan say is favorable. Garland is generally considered moderate and fair.

Nevertheless, Juanita Duggan, CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, said the opposite. “Judge Garland has an extensive record, and based on our initial examination we have grave concerns,” especially when it comes to the EPA.

“A cursory examination of his record points to a judge who nearly always sides with regulators, labor unions and trial lawyers at the expense of small businesses,” Duggan said. “Small business has been under heavy pressure from the EPA … and the rest of the alphabet soup of regulators that have expanded their power over the private sector.”

The appeals court will hold two days of oral arguments on the Clean Power Plan in early June. The EPA is slated to submit a response brief in the case at the end of the month, laying out aspects of its defense.

See the article here.

Yes, Coal Can Power Clean Energy

Via The Hill:

At a time of heightened global discussions about low-carbon energy, we should take stock of priorities. How can we secure affordable energy, a clean environment and a healthy economy for our future? In a word: Technology.

Recently Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) introduced a bill to further support just such innovation – the storage and use of carbon captured from coal and fossil fueled power plants as well as industrial facilities. The bipartisan bill already has 23 co-sponsors. A remarkable coalition of coal, oil, agricultural, and industrial companies; labor unions; researchers and environmentalists came together to support the idea.

Technology has always been the solution to deliver on our energy and environmental goals. Advanced technologies are available right now. High-efficiency low emissions (HELE) coal plants, what some call clean coal, are in broad use globally delivering major environmental improvement.

This state-of-the-art technology achieves efficiencies that translate to lower emissions with some plants delivering 25 percent less carbon dioxide than the oldest plants. When equipped with advanced controls, such plants achieve key emission rates 75 percent below the existing fleet. In short: a dramatic environmental success story.

The technology promoted by the Conaway legislation, called carbon capture and storage (CCS), could further prevent up to 90 percent of a fossil plant’s carbon dioxide emissions by storing carbon underground. In many cases CCS can be paired with enhanced oil recovery, simultaneously boosting oil production, improving energy security and reducing emissions – the very definition of a win-win.

In fact, the oft-touted Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that a global climate solution would be 140 percent more expensive without CCS. Plus, fresh ideas are emerging: the X-Prize Foundation, the same group that led the push for commercial space flight, is offering $20 million to inventors who can repurpose carbon emissions. What if we had the ability to recycle carbon into advanced building materials or low emission fuels?

Not to mention that coal remains a staple of our energy supply. The fuel is plentiful – over 110 years of coal production exist around the world – and coal is affordable and reliable. It will remain a substantial source of electricity for decades to come, even with greater use of natural gas and renewables.

We also can’t lose sight of the fact that over a billion people, one in six, still lack electricity. As the world rises from poverty, coal will remain desperately needed for energy access.

India has pledged to use advanced technologies as it develops its coal fleet. Yet if the world moved the current average global efficiency rate of coal-fueled power plants from 33 to 40 percent through greater use of high-efficiency technologies, we would achieve the equivalent environmental benefit, every year, of reducing India’s carbon dioxide emissions to zero. The eventual deployment of CCS technologies on those advanced plants would only further the environmental benefits while building on existing, reliable, infrastructure.

So why aren’t we seeing more progress in and support for CCS innovation? Clearly a much more aggressive effort is needed in policy and investment.

In the months preceding the Paris climate discussions last year, U.S. Energy Secretary Moniz asked the National Coal Council to develop a report that would lay out a path to “level the playing field” for development of CCS. The secretary’s goal was to achieve policy parity between CCS and other low carbon options such as solar and wind.

That’s a tall order given that investment in CCS has been around $13 billion versus roughly $1.8 trillion for renewables since 2007. There are only 15 large-scale CCS projects in operation globally, including one in the power sector operating in Canada.

A constructive and conservative vision, which the DOE supports, would harness all of our nation’s energy resources, fossil fuels included. But like solar a decade ago, the most advanced forms of CCS still have a way to go before becoming commercially ready. Imagine where CCS could be if it received the same levels of dedicated support as renewables.

Conaway’s proposal would be a strong step to revitalizing America’s leadership advancing CCS by reforming an existing tax credit for storage. CCS has support from Congressional, environmental and fossil fuel allies. Sens. Bennett (D-Colo.) and Portman (R-Ohio) authored legislation to allow businesses to use tax-exempt private activity bonds to finance the high upfront capital costs associated with installing carbon capture equipment. A pro-CCS amendment to the Senate Energy bill garnered diverse support from Democratic environmental stalwarts like Sens. Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Franken (D-Minn.) to pro-coal Republicans like Sens. Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Capito (R-W.Va.).

These common sense reforms would boost American energy security, grow the tax base, and help commercialize low-carbon fossil fuel technologies. Instead of just saying no, environmentalists, private firms and government must roll up their sleeves and work together to drive growth and ensure a cleaner, more secure energy future.

See the article here.

Obama’s SCOTUS Nominee Has Sided With EPA Over Coal In The Past

Via The Daily Caller:

Merrick Garland, the jurist President Barack Obama nominated to replace Justice Antonin Scalia in the Supreme Court, has a record of siding with environmental regulators over coal producers, among other fossil fuel groups, according to the Governor’s Wind & Solar Energy Coalition (GWEC).

Prior to selecting Justice Elena Kagan as one of his nominees to the Supreme Court in 2010, Obama entertained the idea of picking Garland for the spot. During that year’s nominating process, the GWEC notes, SCOTUS watcher Tom Goldstein on the website SCOTUSblog stated the judge had “strong views favoring deference to agency decision makers.”

In particular, Goldstein continued, Garland is a mixed bag on environmental issues, delivering decisions that both favor “contesting EPA regulations” and those giving deference to EPA’s overarching regulatory hand.

Garland was on a panel upholding the EPA’s mercury standards for power plants in 2014. The mercury rule was eventually placed on hold after the Supreme Court argued the rule did not effectively take costs into consideration. It will cost utilities $9.6 billion a year to comply with the mercury rule.

The three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit panel upheld the rule, essentially rejecting pleas from industry groups and utilities arguing the rule would shutter hundreds of coal companies by imposing absorbent costs on coal production.

Later, in a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court knocked down the EPA-administered rule, arguing the agency acted “unreasonably when it deemed cost irrelevant to the decision to regulate power plant.”

The so-called mercury rule, also called MATS, “imposes enormous costs upon households and businesses but provides little additional environmental benefit. The court recognized the EPA has the authority to consider costs but upheld EPA’s decision to ignore them,” National Mining Association President Hal Quinn told reporters shortly after hearing Garland and his colleague’s decision.

Obama said Wednesday during a press conference held in the Rose Garden that Garland is “widely recognized not only as one of America’s sharpest legal minds, but someone who brings to his work a spirit of decency, modesty, integrity, even-handedness and excellence.”

The president added that Republicans should give Garland an up or down vote. And if they don’t, Obama warned, then “it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair.”

See the article here.

 

US Coal Hits Back at Hillary Clinton

Via World Coal: 

The coal industry has reacted strongly to claims by Hilary Clinton, who is running to be the Democratic nominee in this year’s US presidential election, that should be elected “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business”. Clinton made the remarks at a town hall event in Ohio broadcast on cable news channel, CNN.

Destroying the way of life for coal families

“Hillary Clinton’s callous statements about coal miners, struggling under the weight of a hostile administration, are reprehensible and will not be forgotten,” said the Ohio Coal Association in response in a statement posted on the association’s Facebook page.

“The way Secretary Clinton spoke so nonchalantly about destroying the way of life for America’s coal families was chilling”

The National Mining Association also hit out at Clinton’s comments with its President and CEO, Hal Quinn, calling the remarks “surpassing strange and deeply troubling to hear” and accused Clinton of being “completely out of touch with working Americans and the industries that employ them.

Adding its voice to the chorus of criticism, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity said that coal “played a tremendous role in powering homes and developing communities.”

“By flippantly writing-off the well-being of countless coal miners, their families and all of those involved in the coal-based electric industry, Secretary Clinton is showing Ohio voters her true colors,” the ACCCE concluded.

Campaign backpedals ahead of Ohio Primary

Since the remarks were made, Clinton’s campaign has tried to undo some of the damage with Brian Fallon accusing Clinton’s detractors of taking the words out of context.

“Obviously she was making the exact opposite point: that we have to take proactive steps to make sure coal workers, their families and their communities get not just the benefits they’ve earned, but also the future they deserve,” Fallon told CNN.

Coal is a key issues in Ohio – a key swing state in this year’s presidential election – and Clinton will be keen to do well in the state’s primary today. Polls show she holds a double-digit lead over her rival for the Democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders.

See the article here.

EPA Clean Power Grab Threatens Consumers

Via Real Clear Energy:

This is National Consumer Protection Week, when the federal government partners with state agencies, corporations, and interest groups to help “consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions.”

The irony is that while the federal government claims to be looking out for consumers, it also poses a great danger to them. Look no further than the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

Finalized last summer, the Clean Power Plan force utilities to choose between providing reliable and affordable energy to their customers or reducing their output to serve special interests. It does so by imposing different criteria on each state—that is, the federal agency determined how much carbon each individual state can emit.

Consumers’ Research, the organization I direct, has joined Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging the new rules. With Nevada on board, there are now 29 states challenging the rules in federal court.

There are major constitutional and legal reasons to distrust the regulations. For one thing, the EPA lacks statutory authority to impose the standards; for another, the regulations infringe upon the regulatory authority of individual states and the voice of the citizens in those states. The regulations are so onerous, and the EPA’s authority to impose them so dubious, that last month the Supreme Court took the unusual move of granting a stay against them; that means the plan is on hold as the legal challenges against it work their way through courts.

My greatest concern, however, is the damage that these regulations would inflict on the average American consumer.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle back in 2009, President Obama explained that “under [his] plan of a cap and trade system, 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.” While it’s nice to hear the president acknowledge the fundamentals of capitalism, his lack of concern—empathy, you might say—for the financial situation of the average American is alarming.

How much money will companies pass onto consumers? The consulting firm National Economic Research Associates (NERA) estimates that customers would pay between $220-$292 billion total in the years 2022 to 2033 with an average annual increase of $29 and $39 billion (in 2015 dollars). NERA also estimates that the “average annual U.S. retail electricity rate” would increase between 11% to 14%, and that “losses to U.S. consumers [would] range from $64 billion to $79 billion.”

Consumers would also suffer from less reliable electrical service—even as they pay more for it. Remember, the entire purpose of the new regulations is to promote unproven technologies above time-tested coal and natural gas powered plants. Wind and solar is simply more expensive than fossil fuels, as well as less consistent and reliable.

When EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2014, she appealed to the benefits consumers would receive from the new regulations, claiming that “the great thing about this proposal is it really is an investment opportunity. This is not about pollution control. . . . It’s about investments in people’s ability to lower their electricity bills by getting good, clean, efficient appliances, homes, rental units.” It will, she said, “position the United States to continue to grow economically in every state, based on their own design.”

At least she’s keeping the American consumer in mind; unfortunately, her agency’s regulations would do the opposite of what she claims.

During National Consumer Protection Week, it’s worth remembering that, as the EPA’s Clean Power Plan illustrates, sometimes consumers need protection from the government itself.

See the article here.

Clean Power Plan Not Good for Colorado

Via The Journal-Advocate:

The Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, are set on a destructive path in their quest for clean power. Determined to blaze a legacy trail for President Obama, EPA and CDPHE don’t care who gets harmed in the process of implementing the Clean Power Plan. Quite apart from the questionable legality of the rule, let’s consider the social and economic damage this plan will wreak on Colorado’s communities.

Implementation of the CPP is estimated to cost $300 billion by the National Economic Research Associates. Who will pay for this? You and me. Anyone who relies on electricity to heat their home, power a grain elevator, keep the lights on in the school gym or run the coffee makers in the local café. Electricity is a key component of our economic lifeblood; EnergyBiz Magazine said it best in their Winter 2016 issue, “The CPP will usher in an era of escalating electric bills and stifled economic growth that will harm the people least able to afford sharp increases in utility bills: the farmers, small business owners and families served by the country’s more than 900 electric cooperatives. Hardest hit will be families living on fixed incomes or in poverty.

 Economic hardship doesn’t just mean fewer dollars in your wallet. High energy costs result in sacrifices in other areas. A survey by the National Energy Assistance Directors Association found that in response to higher energy bills, lower-income households went without food for at least one day (24%), went without critical medical care (37%), were unable to fill a prescription (34%), and had someone become ill in their home because it was too cold (19%). This is unacceptable. Going without food or medical care in order to pay increases in energy costs is preventable, but only if we stand up to this unconstitutional rule, and CDPHE’s insistence on formulating a compliance plan for a rule that in its current form, may never be implemented.
In early February, the United States Supreme Court issued a stay on the implementation of the Clean Power Plan. While the constitutionality of the plan is under review by the D.C. Circuit Court, CDPHE is persisting in their efforts to craft a compliance plan. Until litigation is finished, CDPHE must desist in their CPP compliance efforts until the stay is lifted, the rule is finalized, and a clear goal for compliance plans is in hand. The preservation of public health, peace, and economic welfare depends on it.
See the article here.

Discontinue a Costly Plan Already Halted by the Supreme Court

Via The Marshfield Mail: 

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of issuing a stay against President Obama’s massive “Clean Power Plan” (CPP.) The Court determined that states should not be compelled to pay the exorbitant costs of the plan until a federal court determines its legality.

The ruling produced a huge sigh of relief from the 27 states currently suing to halt a large-scale transformation of their energy grid through one of the most far-reaching regulations ever imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Essentially, states no longer need to scramble to achieve a 32-percent reduction in power sector carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

Despite the reprieve, Missouri has chosen to move forward with the task of rebuilding its entire power generation sector. This means the state will still undertake the construction of new grid infrastructure, including the many new transmission lines and towers needed to carry electricity from planned wind and solar assemblies.

Ironically, wind and solar power have yet to prove reliable in terms of scalability for power generation. Such “renewable” sources of energy are intermittent — the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow — and require backup power generation from coal or gas plants. And so, even as Missouri — a state that currently derives 83 percent of its power from coal — begins to shutter its coal-fired power plants, it will need to build new coal or gas systems to backstop these projected wind and solar plants.

The question is why Missouri would bear this cost when it is currently under no legal obligation to do so. The stay by the Supreme Court means that all compliance deadlines are now suspended, and the stay will remain in effect until the Court has a chance to review the case following action by the D.C. Circuit. In fact, the earliest decision from the Court on the merits of the case would likely come in mid- to late-2017.

But the stay is only part of the reasoning here. More importantly, the rule could be struck down on judicial review. The Supreme Court’s issuance of the stay can only be read as reflecting a high level of dissatisfaction with the EPA’s legal basis for the rule.

Apart from the costs, Missouri should consider that the goals of the Clean Power Plan are of questionable practicality. It would yield only a trivial reduction in carbon dioxide that could soon be overwhelmed by emissions from China, India and other developing nations. That may be viewed as cost-effective for Washington, but not for Missouri.

The clean coal that currently powers much of Missouri — and much of America — has proven to be durable, affordable and reliable. Renewable energy, in contrast, has proven to be expensive and low-yield. Missouri would be wise to follow the example of those states that are rejecting the CPP as a costly overreach of federal authority — and one with little practical or environmental benefit.

See the article here.

Gov. Matt Mead: “Double Down” on Coal

Via The Wyoming Tribune Eagle:

Gov. Matt Mead unveiled an updated state energy strategy Monday that seeks to “double down” on the state’s commitment to coal while also growing the state’s burgeoning renewable energy sector.

“I recognize that renewables have an important role now and they will have a greater role later,” Mead said during a news conference at the Herschler Building.

“But there never was a discussion that coal is too tough now and we should move away from coal to renewables.

“In fact, I would say it’s a doubling down on coal while making a very good start on renewables.”

The revised energy plan builds on the original statewide strategy Mead released in 2013.

The update includes 11 new initiatives that span many of the state’s industries.

This includes a “carbon innovation” effort that is intended to further the development of clean-coal technologies and other ways to reduce carbon emissions for conventional fossil fuels.

The initiative specifically calls for state agencies and the University of Wyoming to identify regulatory challenges and find solutions in order to help bring more efficient and environmentally friendly carbon-based projects to market.

This comes as the coal industry has been hit with a string of recent bankruptcies and layoffs as concerns persist over the fuel’s impact on climate change and the environment.

But instead of abandoning coal, Mead said the nation’s top coal-producing state can’t afford to let the industry wither away.

“If there is a concern about coal, how do we address that concern, how do we find an answer, and how do we continue to use the hundreds of years of coal reserves that we have?” Mead said. “And we are not going to get there unless we are part of the solution.”

At the same time, Mead is calling for a new push to develop some of the state’s renewable resources.

An addition to the energy strategy is a goal to expand biomass industries that create energy from plant or plant-based materials, such as beetle-killed pine trees.

Mead also wants to use the Wyoming Business Council to help recruit manufacturing companies that make turbines and other equipment for wind farms.

The governor said the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, which is a plan to create a 1,000-turbine wind farm in Carbon County, shows Wyoming can be a leader in wind power.

“So as we recognize what looks like is going to be the nation’s largest wind farm, there also seems to be the opportunity to engage in how we can benefit even more by helping manufacture and maintain (the turbines).”

Mead said incentives will be an option to recruit the companies to the state. But he said he hopes the state’s tax climate and structure will be the main selling point to bring the firms here.

Other initiatives in the updated energy strategy include investing in infrastructure, reviewing the state’s reclamation standards, working with the federal government on Endangered Species Act reforms, the management of invasive species and opening up new uses on restricted federal lands.

No specific timelines were included for the 11 new initiatives. But Mead said he hopes the energy strategy will serve as a “living document” that can be used throughout his remaining term and by the governor who replaces him in 2019.

Mead asked for $500,000 to advance the energy strategy’s initiatives in his 2017-18 biennium budget request. But the Legislature rejected that request during the session that ended this month.

Mead said he was “disappointed” in that decision and said he will ask for the money again in next year’s supplemental budget.

Mead added that 28 of the original 47 energy, conservation and economic development initiatives in the 2013 version of the energy strategy have been nearly or entirely accomplished.

This includes developing a baseline water-testing rule before companies drill for oil or natural gas, promoting liquefied natural gas, and updating the setback requirement for oil and gas operations.

Representatives with Wyoming’s energy and conservation groups, including the Wyoming Outdoor Council and Powder River Basin Resource Council, said Monday they are withholding comment on the governor’s new plans until they have time to fully review his update.

See the article here.

GOP, Industry Backlash After Clinton’s Coal Comments

Via The Hill: 

Republicans and the coal industry are lashing out at Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential hopeful’s prediction that her policies would put many coal companies and miners out of business.

Clinton made the comment Sunday at a CNN town hall event while promoting her plans to help coal communities recover from the drop in demand.

 “I’m the only candidate which has a policy about how to bring economic opportunity — using clean, renewable energy as the key — into coal country. Because we’re going to put a lot of coal companies and coal miners out of business,” Clinton said.

“We’re going to make it clear that we don’t want to forget those people,” she continued.

The blunt statement harkened back to President Obama’s declaration during the 2008 presidential campaign that under his preferred climate change policy — a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide emissions — “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), himself a presidential candidate until last month, quickly shot back at Clinton on Twitter, saying that she “said out loud what the national democrat party has been trying to do quietly for the past 8 years” and accusing her of joining Obama’s “war on coal and Kentucky.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), while not mentioning Clinton by name, spoke on the Senate floor of leading Democrats “boasting” about putting coal miners out of business.

“What they want is to provide for their families, but here’s how more Democrats seem to view these hard-working Americans and their families: just statistics, just the cost of doing business, just obstacles to their ideology,” he said. “This is callous. It is wrong. And it underlines the need to stand up for hard-working, middle-class coal families.”

The National Mining Association joined in.

Hal Quinn, the group’s president, said it is “surpassing strange and deeply troubling to hear prominent presidential candidates boast of their determination in office to destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of hard-working Americans.”

“By flippantly writing-off the well-being of countless coal miners, their families and all of those involved in the coal-based electricity industry, Secretary Clinton is showing Ohio’s voters her true colors ahead of tomorrow’s primary,” the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity agreed.

Clinton’s campaign defended the remarks and accused Republicans of trying to twist her words to show a disregard for coal workers.

“Obviously she was making the exact opposite point: that we have to take proactive steps to make sure coal workers, their families and their communities get not just the benefits they’ve earned, but also the future they deserve,” spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement.

“From fighting to protect retired miners’ pensions to proposing new incentives to economically revitalize coal country, no candidate in this race is more devoted to supporting coal communities than Hillary Clinton,” he said.

Clinton outlined a $30 billion plan in November to try to revitalize coal-dependent communities and get jobs for former miners while increasing funding for carbon capture technology for coal plants, among other measures.

See the article here.

Obama’s Clean Power Plan Will Destroy Navajo Nation Jobs

Via The Daily Signal:

The federal government and their allies are choosing dubious environmental prescriptions to effectively impose a new tax on electricity increasing the costs of energy on all Americans and businesses.

These added costs will especially impact middle and low income families, and those seniors on fixed incomes. When running for office in 2008, President Barack Obama famously remarked, “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” His Clean Power Plan is the tool he will use to do just that.

Under the president’s power plan, certain Indian territories are especially singled out.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a supplemental proposal to the Clean Power Plan to address carbon emissions from affected power plants. This supplemental proposal sets area-specific goals for the four electric generating stations on Indian lands.

Some communities in the U.S. are hurt worse than others by the impacts of the Clean Power Plan. The legacy of mismanagement and mistreatment of Native Americans has left many with a lack of job opportunities, economic resources, and sometimes basic commodities like water.

This is the case for the Navajo Nation in Arizona. In an interview with the Heartland Institute, Arizona State Sen. Carlyle Begay commented on the unique communities in the Southwest directly impacted by a coal economy, including the Navajo Nation.

“The Navajo Nation’s unemployment rate is over 50 percent. Currently, revenue from coal represents 60 percent of the Navajo Nation’s general funds and operating budget. Absent political restrictions on the use of coal, coal mining and the Navajo Generating Station on the Navajo Nation’s land would be expected to boost its economy by over $13 billion dollars over the next 25 years!”

Navajo Nation mines produce approximately eight to 10 million tons of coal each year, down from 13 million to 16 million tons before EPA regulations began to restrict the use of their resources.

Additionally, a coal-fired power plant owned partially by the Navajo Nation produces approximately 3,750 megawatts of electricity sold primarily outside the Nation. The industry is responsible for more than 2,500 of the highest-paying jobs in the Navajo Nation. These revenues represent the Navajo Nation’s ability to act as a sovereign nation.

“Our power plant and mine’s continued existence are under threat from additional EPA regulations,” said Begay.

“You need to be a warrior with armor to get into this castle,” says a young Navajo girl.

See the article here.

NMA Remarks on Clinton’s Condemnation of America’s Coal Communities

National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn today criticized Hillary Clinton’s reported remarks on the nation’s coal miners in Ohio yesterday:

“It is surpassing strange and deeply troubling to hear prominent presidential candidates boast of their determination in office to destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of hard-working Americans. Hillary Clinton’s assertion at a CNN event in Ohio that ‘we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business’ adds to the abundant evidence that she and the administration she supports are completely out of touch with working Americans and the industries that employ them.

“Pledging to destroy high-wage jobs and promising to replace them with lower-wage and often temporary ones contradicts her stated concerns for a widening income gap and the dearth of employment capable of supporting families. Moreover, contrary to her assertion that this ‘is the way we will keep the lights on while we are transitioning to a clean energy future,’ shutting down the coal industry – the administration’s de facto energy policy – would deny the nation its largest source of affordable electricity as well as a major source of well-paying jobs throughout the coal industry’s nationwide supply chain.”

See the press release here.

State Environmental Officials Say Obama’s EPA Has Overstepped Its Authority

Via The Daily Signal:

The Environmental Protection Agency has overstepped its legal authority by imposing a regulatory agenda on the states, environmental officials at the state level testified Wednesday to a Senate committee.

Randy Huffman, cabinet secretary at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, testified that the EPA’s flood of environmental regulations since President Barack Obama took office in 2009 chipped away at the Founding Fathers’ intent of “cooperative federalism” between the national and state governments.

Instead of consulting state regulators when establishing new policies, Huffman said, EPA bureaucrats increasingly are imposing regulations through what is called federal guidance.

“There’s two problems with this: EPA guidance further eliminates state discretion, and it allows them to avoid the accountability and transparency of rulemaking,” Huffman testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

When Congress passed the Clean Air Act more than 40 years ago, Huffman said, lawmakers put states in charge of establishing procedures to meet federal standards. In fact, over 95 percent of the environmental regulatory duties in the U.S. are carried out by the states, he said, citing the Environmental Council of the States.

The West Virginia official said Congress placed the primary responsibility with the states because lawmakers knew that state authorities would be more knowledgeable of local environments than D.C. bureaucrats. Rather than following congressional intent, he said, EPA regulators seized authority from the states.

“In the past seven years, states have been forced to digest more of these federal takeovers … than were ever served in the prior three federal administrations combined 10 times over,” Becky Keogh, director at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, testified.

Keogh said the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, regulations on the coal industry designed to cut carbon emissions, is illustrative of the diminishment of state sovereignty.

“The reality is that states are more pawn than partner,” she said.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., who chairs the Committee on Environment and Public Works, noted that the amicus brief he and 33 other senators along with 171 House members filed against the plan last month at the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In the court papers, the lawmakers argued that the plan violates the Clean Air Act by coercing states to implement the EPA’s policies.

In early February, the Supreme Court halted the EPA’s implementation of the Clean Power Plan until legal challenges from more than two dozen states, four state agencies, and dozens of industry groups made their way through federal appeals court.

Deborah Markowitz, secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, lauded the EPA’s hand in establishing federal baselines for environmental policies.

Without minimum standards, she said, states that put more effort toward creating environmental policies still would bear the consequences from neighboring states that choose to do less.

“National environmental regulations establish an even playing field between states, helping to prevent a regulatory race to the bottom in a misguided attempt to attract economic development,” Markowitz testified.

West Virginia’s Huffman agreed that federal standards should be recognized, but said currently states are not given enough flexibility to determine how to meet those standards. Further, he said EPA creating those regulations through executive “fiat” imposed on states without local input.

“The real problem for me as a regulator is the way [EPA] is going about implementing these standards,” he said. “They are bypassing the guidelines under the federal environmental statutes on how to implement changes.”

See the article here.

Coal Industry Burned by Crippling Regulations

Via Fox Business: 

For decades, coal has been stoking the nation, but regulation over the past seven years has dealt a huge blow to the industry, spawning big job losses and bankruptcies.

The FOX Business Network’s Jeff Flock spoke with coal miners from 200 feet beneath the surface at the Rosebud Mining Company’s Tusky Mine, in Jefferson County, Ohio, the “heart of Ohio coal country.” This mine has been idle since Thanksgiving but is still required to spend money in order to maintain it.

More than 30,000 coal miners have lost their jobs during the Obama Administration and coal foreman Steve Stewart is afraid his may be next.

“My coworkers and [I] feel like we are under attack by this government with all the regulations they’ve imposed on us,” he said.

Coal Companies ObamaExpand / Contract
Coal mining stocks have also taken a big hit — with some losing almost 100% of their value, in addition to some companies filing for bankruptcy.

“The assault from Washington with our over-regulation, and in addition to that, we are facing very low natural gas prices that are causing us competition,” said Rosebud mining manager Gary Alkire.

Coal Mining StocksExpand / Contract
Although the Supreme Court has put a hold on President Obama’s clean power plan to cut emissions from power plants, the natural gas industry is taking off, generating just as much power as coal.

“There’s not a big demand for electricity, there’s not a lot of manufacturing going on, so the actual demand is down — so it’s bad news for coal,” added Alkire.

See the article here.

New Mexico Should Reject Obama’s ‘Clean Power Plan’

Via The Albuquerque Journal:

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of issuing a stay against President Obama’s massive “Clean Power Plan.” The Court determined that states should not be compelled to pay the exorbitant costs imposed by the plan until a federal court determines its legality.

The ruling produced a huge sigh of relief from the 27 states currently suing to halt a large-scale transformation of their energy grid through one of the most far-reaching regulations ever imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Essentially, states no longer need to scramble to reduce power sector carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030. However, the power plan had required interim targets in 2022, and many states were already bracing for the costs of building new power sector infrastructure.

Thankfully, states have been granted a reprieve. But New Mexico has chosen to move forward with the task of rebuilding its entire power generation sector.

This means the state will still undertake the construction of new grid infrastructure, including the many new transmission lines and towers needed to carry electricity from planned wind and solar assemblies.

Ironically, wind and solar power have yet to prove reliable in terms of scalability for power generation. Such “renewable” sources of energy are intermittent – the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow – and require backup power generation from coal or gas plants.

And so, even as New Mexico – a state that currently derives 67 percent of its power from coal – begins to shutter its coal-fired power plants, it will need to build new coal or gas systems to backstop these projected wind and solar plants.

The question is why New Mexico would bear this cost when it is currently under no legal obligation to do so.

Higher utility bills will fall hardest on low-income families and America’s seniors, 70 percent of whom live on a fixed income. The stay by the Supreme Court means that all compliance deadlines are now suspended, and the stay will remain in effect until the court has a chance to review the case following action by the D.C. circuit. In fact, the earliest decision from the court on the merits of the case would likely come in mid to late 2017.

But the stay is only part of the reasoning here.

More importantly, the rule could be struck down on judicial review. Many legal observers view this as likely since the point of granting the stay was to alleviate the obligation of states to develop plans (and thus incur further economic harm.)

The Supreme Court’s issuance of the stay can only be read as reflecting a high level of dissatisfaction with the EPA’s legal basis for the rule.

Even in the very unlikely event that the EPA ultimately prevails in court and the stay is lifted, the new compliance dates will most likely be delayed by the period of time that the stay was in effect. Or, a new, less sympathetic administration may set aside the entire rule.

Apart from the costs, New Mexico should consider that the goals of the Clean Power Plan are of questionable practicality.

While the plan, as envisioned by the Obama Administration, would shut down roughly 40 percent of America’s coal-fired power generation, it would yield only a trivial reduction in carbon dioxide that could soon be overwhelmed by emissions from China, India and other developing nations.

That may be viewed as cost-effective for Washington, but not for New Mexico.

The clean coal that currently powers much of New Mexico – and much of America – has proven to be durable, affordable, and reliable. Renewable energy, in contrast, has proven to be expensive and low-yield.

New Mexico would be wise to follow the example of those states that are rejecting the Clean Power Plan as an expensive overreach of federal authority – and one with little practical or environmental benefit.

See the article here.

Why is Arizona Complying with a Costly Plan Already Halted by the Supreme Court?

Via Willcox Range News: 

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of issuing a stay against President Obama’s massive “Clean Power Plan” (CPP.)  The Court determined that states should not be compelled to pay the exorbitant costs of the plan until a federal court determines its legality.

 The ruling produced a huge sigh of relief from the 27 states currently suing to halt a large-scale transformation of their energy grid through one of the most far-reaching regulations ever imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Essentially, states no longer need to scramble to achieve a 32% reduction in power sector carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.  However, the power plan had required interim targets in 2022, and many states were already bracing for the costs of building new power sector infrastructure.

Thankfully, states have been granted a reprieve.  But Arizona has chosen to move forward with the task of rebuilding its entire power generation sector.  This means the state will still undertake the construction of new grid infrastructure, including the many new transmission lines and towers needed to carry electricity from planned wind and solar assemblies.

 Ironically, wind and solar power have yet to prove reliable in terms of scalability for power generation.  Such “renewable” sources of energy are intermittent—the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow—and require backup power generation from coal or gas plants.  And so, even as Arizona—a state that currently derives 40% of its power from coal—begins to shutter its coal-fired power plants, it will need to build new coal or gas systems to backstop these projected wind and solar plants.

 The question is why Arizona would bear this cost when it is currently under no legal obligation to do so.  Higher utility bills will fall hardest on low-income families and America’s seniors, 70% of whom live on a fixed income.  The stay by the Supreme Court means that all compliance deadlines are now suspended, and the stay will remain in effect until the Court has a chance to review the case following action by the D.C. Circuit.  In fact, the earliest decision from the Court on the merits of the case would likely come in mid to late 2017.

 But the stay is only part of the reasoning here. More importantly, the rule could be struck down on judicial review. Many legal observers view this as likely since the point of granting the stay was to alleviate the obligation of states to develop plans (and thus incur further economic harm.)  The Supreme Court’s issuance of the stay can only be read as reflecting a high level of dissatisfaction with the EPA’s legal basis for the rule.

 Even in the very unlikely event that the EPA ultimately prevails in court and the stay is lifted, the new compliance dates will most likely be delayed by the period of time that the stay was in effect. Or, a new, less sympathetic administration may set aside the entire rule.

 Apart from the costs, Arizona should consider that the goals of the Clean Power Plan are of questionable practicality.  While the plan, as envisioned by the Obama Administration, would shut down roughly 40 percent of America’s coal-fired power generation, it would yield only a trivial reduction in carbon dioxide that could soon be overwhelmed by emissions from China, India and other developing nations. That may be viewed as cost-effective for Washington, but not for Arizona.

 The clean coal that currently powers much of Arizona—and much of America— has proven to be durable, affordable, and reliable.  Renewable energy, in contrast, has proven to be expensive and low-yield.  Arizona would be wise to follow the example of those states that are rejecting the CPP as a costly overreach of federal authority—and one with little practical or environmental benefit.

 See the article here.

Affordable Energy Essential to Indiana

Via the Indianapolis Star: 

In faulting backers of Gov. Mike Pence for defending Indiana against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s power plan, the March 4 IndyStar “Truth Squad” falls short of the truth.

The Truth Squad discounts studies by our organization and others showing the high costs of this rule on the state’s households and businesses, while touting the EPA’s own low-cost estimates. But the EPA is the author of this enormous regulation, so of course it would lowball its costs. This is the same agency that predicted its 2012 power plant rule would close only 5,000 megawatts of electricity generation when in fact the rule is currently on track to close 10 times more. This partly explains why experts voice concerns even now about the reliability of the power grid.

Gov. Pence appears to understand, unlike the environmentalists referenced by Truth Squad, that affordable energy is essential to a thriving, competitive industrial base and the high-wage jobs it supports. Indiana boasts an industrial economy. The EPA’s costly power plan would make it smaller and the state’s power costs larger.

Hal Quinn, President & CEO, National Mining Association, Washington, D.C.

See the article here.

Coal Stream Rule Proposal Scrutinized for Costs, Benefits

Via The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: 

A federal proposal to better protect streams from impacts of coal mining is coming under scrutiny regarding its level of necessity, particularly out West, and what benefits it would provide.

The National Mining Association is criticizing the proposal by the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, saying it applies a nationwide approach to dealing with issues arising with so-called mountaintop removal surface mining in Appalachia.

“Obviously we’re very concerned about this (proposal), for the impact it will have on production,” said Luke Popovich, an NMA spokesman.

The Interior Department released the proposal last July, saying it would protect some 6,500 miles of streams over 20 years. It would replace regulations adopted in 1983, incorporating updated science and benefiting surface and groundwater, fish and wildlife, Interior said.

Companies would have to monitor stream conditions before, during and after operations, and the rule also addresses post-mining stream restoration.

A rule adopted during the Bush administration in 2008 was challenged by environmental groups, who said it would weaken existing stream protections. That rule was vacated in a court ruling in 2014 and remanded for further action.

Adam Eckman, associate general counsel with the National Mining Association, said the Obama administration instead decided to develop a rule that “bears no resemblance” to the 2008 rule, which was narrowly aimed at a small set of issues in Appalachia.

“It really is confusing why this is being expanded out West to Colorado when Colorado has a nearly perfect reclamation record (by mines) and when no science related to impacts in the West has been cited at all” in support of the proposal, he said.

The NMA sees the rule, and other Obama administration moves including its court-challenged Clean Power Plan and its current moratorium on new federal coal leasing, as being part of an administration effort to eliminate coal-burning altogether.

Jeremy Nichols of the conservation group WildEarth Guardians said the proposal would impact Colorado’s underground mines only to the limited degree they have surface impacts, while having larger implications for surface mines like Colowyo and Trapper in northwest Colorado.

But he said a minimum level of such protections should apply nationally.

“Our clean water is just as deserving of protection as Appalachia’s clean water,” he said.

A study done for NMA estimates the new rule could cost up to 77,520 mining jobs, including potentially more than 10,000 in the West.

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement says it could cost an average of 260 jobs related to coal production a year, which would be offset by an average increase of 250 jobs a year related to complying with the rule.

It estimates the compliance cost at $52 million a year, including $2.5 million for Colorado Plateau surface mines and $200,000 for underground mines on the plateau.

The NMA study estimates the rule could result in a 27 to 64 percent decrease in access to recoverable coal reserves, and up to $6.4 billion annually in lost federal and state revenue.

The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety has sent the Reclamation and Enforcement office a letter supporting certain details of the proposal, but listing a number of concerns about it.

It says the rules would require extensive permit coordination between Reclamation and Enforcement, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers and states, which could delay permitting.

“The proposed rules do not account for regional differences in hydrology, climate, and mining methods/practices,” the Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety added.

See the article here.

Cutting Off Coal a Terrible Policy

Via The Las Vegas Review-Journal:

Coal is our most abundant and economical resource for producing electricity, and methods have been created to burn it much more cleanly. But President Barack Obama’s anti-fossil fuel fixation threatens to not only raise energy costs, but also do major damage to the coal industry and our economy.

As Mark Perry pointed out recently in Investor’s Business Daily, the Supreme Court issued a stay in the launching of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which was devised to meet the arbitrary goal of reducing domestic carbon emissions 32 percent by 2030, from 2005 levels. Twenty-seven states rightly argued that the EPA doesn’t have the authority to issue such a sweeping mandate to reshape the nation’s electric industry, and SCOTUS agreed.

While the court’s ruling is an important (albeit temporary) victory for consumers and states, the Clean Power Plan is only a portion of President Obama’s environmental vision. The Department of the Interior’s Stream Protection Rule, as well as the current moratorium on coal leases, serve as additional dubious means of keeping coal in the ground.

Despite the fact that successful measures have already been taken to protect streams, the new Stream Protection Rule adds to and tweaks 475 existing regulations, moving regulatory authority away from the states and into the hands of the Department of the Interior. As Mr. Perry points out, the job losses from such a needless rule could be “horrific.”

“More than 30,000 coal miners have already lost their jobs since 2011,” he writes. “Should the Stream Protection Rule become law, another 40,000 mining jobs will vanish. The total could be 280,000 jobs lost when indirect employment is included.”

And the rule doesn’t just threaten jobs, Mr. Perry notes. The cost of complying would cause roughly two-thirds of our coal reserves — a considerable, convenient and affordable source of electricity — to become economically untenable.

The current natural gas boom, as well as pressure from activists and elected officials to convince communities across the nation to shutter coal-fired power plants, has caused the coal industry to struggle. Not helping matters is the flawed Stream Protection Rule, as well as other efforts by the environmental lobby — including pushing for (and successfully blocking) proposed coal export terminals — which are keeping the U.S. from exporting coal to Asian markets, and further holding back an industry that would otherwise prove to be a huge boon to the U.S. economy.

Instead of catering to President Obama’s whims to cut states out and make it more costly to mine American coal, Congress needs to get more deeply involved in eliminating bureaucratic mandates that take the force of law, without ever facing debate or a vote. Dismantling the Stream Protection Rule is a good place to start.

See the article here.

Rogers to OSM Director: Coalfields Need Regulatory Relief

As Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Congressman Hal Rogers submitted the following statement for the fiscal year 2017 budget hearing for the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement:

“Mr. Chairman, thank you for yielding. Director Pizarchik, I appreciate you taking the time to be here today. Welcome to the Interior subcommittee.

“Yesterday, Secretary Jewell testified before this subcommittee and we had an extensive conversation about the impact of OSMRE’s policies on coal communities around this country. In short, the impacts are profound.

“At the outset, I must acknowledge the work of you and your staff on the RECLAIM Act. As this bill begins to make its way through the Committee process, I look forward to hearing comments and suggestions from my colleagues as to how this legislation can best benefit suffering coal communities in their home States. Let me also state my appreciation for your partnership in implementing the new AML pilot program that Congress established in the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus. As you know, this program will pilot the core concept of the RELCAIM Act, which is to accelerate the reclamation of abandoned mine lands with an eye toward economic development. While the RECLAIM Act will accelerate payments from the AML fund for reclamation in order to attract investment in planned economic development projects, the AML pilot will utilize general funds to explore how we might reclaim AML land and initiate such projects at the same time. It is my hope that we can get this pilot up and running in short order, so that we can bring real jobs and real hope back to these communities.

“Do not get me wrong, Mr. Director, these are important efforts. But here is the unfortunate reality as my constituents see it: Our communities would not be aching for support through this pilot, or for legislation like the RECLAIM Act, if the Administration actually supported the coal industry and our coal miners. My District in Kentucky, and coal communities all across the country, are experiencing an unemployment crisis. Some counties in Eastern Kentucky have 11, 12, and 15% unemployment rates and rising. It is not uncommon to hear about layoffs in the order of 100 and 200 jobs at a time. Ten thousand coal miners have lost their jobs in the last eight years since President Obama took office, and they are struggling to find work in this economic climate. Unfortunately, Mr. Director, regulations such as those coming out of your Department are to blame. While economic development programs and innovative approaches to diversifying and growing these economies are a part of the solution, we will not be able to turn this situation around without regulatory relief.

“Coal companies, farmers, and marina owners alike are struggling under the weight of costly regulations issued by this Administration. When they apply for permits, they know they will sink considerable costs without seeing a decision on their application for months or even years. When making decisions about growing their businesses, they know that hiring new employees is a risky decision – because having to shoulder even more expensive compliance costs is almost a certainty.

“My most serious concerns are with your agency’s proposed Stream Protection Rule. You have spent millions of dollars rewriting the stream buffer zone rule, and have nothing to show for it but a mismanaged process that has all but broken down entirely. The States that you are required to consult with during the rulemaking process have been completely shut out. The bottom line is that this rule stands to eliminate almost 200,000 jobs in my region, and that is a price we cannot afford to pay. The Secretary confirmed that the Department intends to adhere to requirements in the FY16 Omnibus related to the rule, and you can rest assured that this Committee will be following up to ensure OSM works with its State partners.

“I cannot understate the importance of this fact – we need regulatory relief if we are serious about revitalizing Appalachia. I would like to think that helping these communities is a priority we share, and I hope you can shed some light on how you intend to address these issues today. I look forward to hearing your testimony and I yield back.”

See the press release here.

Clean Power Plan Challenge is Based on Federalism

Via The Elko Daily Free Press: 

Shortly after Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the 29 states suing in federal court to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions from electric power plants, the attorney for an environmental group fired off a criticism.

“Attorney General Laxalt’s opposition to the Clean Power Plan is out of step with Nevada’s commitment to advancing clean energy that protects public health, the environment and our clean energy economy. …” wrote Robert Johnston, an attorney with the Western Resource Advocates. “Our state has been proactive in developing and enacting clean energy policies for more than a decade … As a result, Nevada is in a strong position to comply with the goal of a 35% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030 contemplated in the final rule.”

He said there is “no logical reason” for Laxalt to oppose the EPA fiat.

Whether the state is capable of complying with the plan is neither here nor there. The question is whether any federal agency has the power to order the sovereign states to do its bidding, which would be contrary to the constitutional concept of federalism under which powers not assigned to the federal government are retained by the states and the people — the 10th Amendment.

In fact, Laxalt’s brief, which was filed in conjunction with Consumers’ Research, a national consumer advocacy organization, states in its opening pages that the “elementary principles of federalism would preclude giving credence or deference to any state-authority-invading regulation …”

The state is well within its prerogatives to reduce its carbon emissions, but the EPA has no power to require it to do so under the Clean Air Act. The EPA proposal essentially seeks to divert energy generation from plants fueled by coal and other fossil fuels to plants powered by wind or solar, which the EPA claims will benefit the environment and prevent global warming by sharply reducing emissions of carbon dioxide.

The Supreme Court, shortly before the death of strict constitutionalist and states’ rights advocate Antonin Scalia, voted 5-4 to suspend enactment of Clean Power Plan rules until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia can hear and rule on the suit filed by the states. The action was deemed unprecedented by legal observers. The lower court had declined to block the rules but has expedited the case and is expected to hear arguments in June. The Laxalt brief is being entered into the record of that case.

In their appeal to the Supreme Court seeking to delay the rules, the 29 suing states also cited federalism.

 The Clean Power Plan “raises serious federalism concerns. It is a ‘well-established principle that it is incumbent upon the federal courts to be certain of Congress’ intent before finding that federal law overrides the usual constitutional balance of federal and state powers. …” the states argue. “The Power Plan cannot be squared with that principle. The States’ authority over the intrastate generation and consumption of energy is ‘one of the most important functions traditionally associated with the police powers of the States.’”

While rooted in this principle of states’ rights, the Nevada friend-of-the-court brief does not ignore the real consequences of the EPA’s meddling, noting, “EPA’s expensive economic experiment, imposed by fiat, will increase electricity prices for consumers and may well compromise the reliability of electric power service. The best estimates of how much prices will rise, performed by the NERA (National Economic Research Associates) economic consulting group, projects increases of as much as 14 percent per year costing Americans as much as $79 billion in present dollars. These excessive costs underscore the fundamentally legislative character of EPA’s final rule.”

Back when he was first running for office, Obama told a San Francisco newspaper editorial board, “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Coal-powered plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”

Of course, there is also the unambiguous wording of the Clean Air Act itself, which says the states, not the EPA, are to “establish” and “apply” performance standards, while the EPA merely outlines “procedures.”

It is not just about power plants, but about fundamental powers and principles.

See the article here.

Clean Power Plan Unconstitutional, Economic Burden

Via The Springfield News-Leader:

Like many of my colleagues, I was elected by the people of my district to protect and defend their rights, and to limit the impact of government in their lives. I work daily to promote a free market that generates jobs and prosperity, and to minimize the unnecessary intervention by government.

This is why I am working to stop the EPA from forcing utilities to raise electricity rates on families and businesses in Missouri. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its so-called “Clean Power Plan” purportedly to reduce carbon emissions from existing and new electrical power plants, chiefly coal plants.

Although the rule is supposed to protect the planet, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has conceded the rule will not impact global warming. What it will do is hurt every family and business in the state. The rule is unconstitutional and flawed so it is no surprise that 27 states, including Missouri, sued the EPA, and on February 9 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to forbid the EPA from enforcing the rule until the court can consider the merits of the sweeping regulation.

Over 130 other business organizations, labor unions, utilities, and electric coops joined the states in court. Constitutional expert and Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe urged the EPA to withdraw the rule. In his view, coping with climate change is a vital end, but it does not justify using unconstitutional means. Missouri families would be especially hard hit by this new electricity rule. Missouri uses 83% coal in the production of our electricity.

According to a study by NERA Economic Consulting, this EPA rule will mean an average rate increase to Missouri families and businesses of 24% and could potentially cause catastrophic shortages of electricity. This is unacceptable. The impact of these higher rates would be felt across the economy. Not only would my constituents pay higher electricity bills, but so would every restaurant, day care center, church, police station, school and public building.

The cost of government would rise, and thus taxes would have to be increased or services cut to pay these higher rates. On behalf of electric consumers, Missouri must push back against this federal power grab.

That is why I have introduced HB1470, the Interstate Power Compact. This bill will protect Missourians by joining other states to assert our constitutional authority to prevent and control air pollution right here in Missouri and to resist the EPA’s sweeping new regulations that will do little but cost families money.

HB1470 specifies that Missouri and other compact states may refuse to submit to the EPA a plan to meet their unconstitutional regulation until the Supreme Court rules that the regulation is legal. Missouri should regulate our electricity production, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington, DC. We should work together to protect and improve Missouri’s environment.

We do not need the Federal government imposing their plan on us. Ask your legislator to say “yes” to keeping electric bills lower and to protecting Missouri’s power grid by supporting HB1470.

See the article here.

House Republican: Obama Coal Policies are ‘Destroying My State’

Via The Hill:

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) slammed the Obama administration’s fossil fuel policies on Tuesday, saying the halting of an Interior Department coal-leasing program will “destroy” her state’s natural resources-based economy.

The Interior Department announced a plan in January to halt new federal leases for coal development on federal land while the government considers the royalty rates associated with the program.

 The proposal angered coal-state lawmakers, who warned it would hurt the coal industry at a time when market forces are already lining up against the commodity.

Lummis said that was the case in Wyoming, which leads the country in coal mining on federal land.

“In the face of the desire of this administration to literally destroy coal, oil and gas, how is it consistent with getting a fair return on the value of federal lands?” she asked Interior SecretarySally Jewell during a House Natural Resources Committee hearing on Tuesday. “No leasing means no financial return.”

Jewell noted that, under the leasing pause, current coal mining is allowed to continue. She said energy-sector factors are impacting coal prices and the industry more than federal policies.

The federal government, Jewell said, is simply looking to better reflect the environmental impact of coal in lease pricing.

“We are taking a look at a coal program that has not been looked at for many, many years. We are putting a pause until a programmatic [environmental impact statement] is done.”

Lummis said that alone will hurt the state’s coal industry because it doesn’t provide certainty to mining companies.

“The things that are being done at the national parks are fabulous, incredible and I applaud you,” she told Jewell.

“But what’s happening elsewhere in the rest of our state is destructive policies that are destroying my state: families, jobs, ability to earn an income. … I want to tell you I’m grossly offended by what this administration has done to my state.”

See the article here.

PA, Reconsider Proceeding with Clean Power Plan

Via Philly.com:

The U.S. Supreme Court recently took the unprecedented step of issuing a stay of President Obama’s massive Clean Power Plan. The court ruled that states should not be compelled to assume the exorbitant costs imposed by the plan until a federal court determines its legality.

The ruling produced a huge sigh of relief from the 27 states currently suing to halt a large-scale transformation of their energy grid through one of the most far-reaching regulations ever imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Essentially, states no longer need to scramble to reduce power-sector carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent as of 2030. Because the power plan had set interim targets in 2022, however, many states were already bracing for the costs of building new power-sector infrastructure.

Thankfully, states have been granted a reprieve. But Pennsylvania, for some reason, has chosen to move forward with the task of rebuilding its entire power-generation sector. This means the commonwealth will still undertake the construction of new grid infrastructure, including the many new transmission lines and towers needed to carry electricity from planned wind and solar assemblies.

Ironically, wind and solar technology have yet to be proven as reliable sources of power generation. Such “renewable” sources of energy are intermittent – the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow – and require backup power generation by coal or gas plants. So even as Pennsylvania – a state that currently derives 40 percent of its power from coal – begins to shutter its coal-fired power plants, it will need to build new coal or gas systems to backstop its projected wind and solar plants.

The question is why Pennsylvania would bear this cost when it is under no legal obligation to do so. The stay by the Supreme Court means that all compliance deadlines are now suspended, and the stay will remain in effect until the court has a chance to review the case following action by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In fact, the earliest decision from the court on the merits of the case would likely come in mid- to late 2017.

But the stay is only part of the reasoning here. More importantly, the rule could be struck down on review. Many legal observers view this as likely since the point of granting the stay was to alleviate the obligation of states to develop plans and incur further economic harm. The Supreme Court’s issuance of the stay can only be read as reflecting a high level of dissatisfaction with the EPA’s legal basis for the rule.

Even in the very unlikely event that the EPA ultimately prevails in court and the stay is lifted, the new compliance dates will most likely be delayed by the period of time that the stay was in effect. Or, with a new, less sympathetic administration, the entire rule could be set aside.

Apart from the costs, Pennsylvania should consider that the goals of the Clean Power Plan are of questionable practicality. While the plan, as envisaged by the Obama administration, would shut down roughly 40 percent of America’s coal-fired power generation, the actual end result would only yield a theoretical reduction in global temperatures of 0.02 degrees Celsius by 2100. That may be viewed as a cost-effective benefit for Washington, but it’s not for Pennsylvania.

The clean coal that currently powers much of Pennsylvania – and much of America – has proven to be durable, affordable, and reliable. Renewable energy, in contrast, has proven to be expensive and low-yield.

Pennsylvania would be wise to follow the example of those states that are rejecting the Clean Power Plan as an expensive overreach of federal authority – and one with little practical or environmental benefit.

See the article here.

Let’s Keep Up the Fight for Affordable and Reliable Energy

Via WMICentral.com:

President Obama’s environmental overreach was recently slowed down by the United States Supreme Court, which plans to determine the legality of the Environmental Protection Agency Power Plan. This is good news for Arizona and the 27 other States that joined the lawsuit to stop Obama’s far-reaching energy regulations that tax power, kill jobs, and harm the most vulnerable Arizonans.

 A recent study by National Economic Research Associates projects that President Obama’s environmental regulations will increase Arizona’s energy rates 10 percent on average each year more than they would without the EPA Power Plan rule. There are 1.2 million low-income and middle class families in Arizona that earn an average of $2,000 per month and spend 15 percent of their budget on energy costs. The average family spends about $2,033 a year for residential energy, which would lead to an additional $200 each year in costs. For families living paycheck to paycheck, this would mean less money to pay for rent and groceries.

The rising energy costs due to the EPA Power Plan would make energy unaffordable for hardworking families trying to make ends meet. Another study shows that Arizona’s minorities and senior residents would be the most affected by energy price increases. The burden of President Obama’s energy regulations would be borne by Arizona’s most vulnerable populations.

Jobs in Arizona will also be threatened if the EPA Power Plan continues to move forward despite the freeze of the EPA rule by the Supreme Court.  The 7,640 coal-related jobs and 6,200 manufacturing jobs in Arizona are at risk by the Obama administration’s policy decisions, plus the thousands of Arizona businesses that will have to make cuts due to increasing energy rates.

The Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity has seen first-hand the damage the EPA Power Plan will do to small communities.  In October of last year, we held a protest in Joseph City, protesting the EPA’s plans to shut down the coal-fired Cholla power plant.  At the protest, we met some families whose members had worked at the plant for three generations.  Now, they are being forced to move elsewhere.  Everybody told us the same thing: “the EPA’s going to kill this little town.”

Sadly, the EPA Power Plan is all pain, and no gain. While the plan will have severe consequences on the Arizona economy, the plan will have virtually no effect on global climate change. According to the EPA’s own climate models, the regulation will only reduce global temperatures by 0.018 degrees by 2100, 84 years from now. This is an imperceptible amount of climate change that will come at high economic costs.

The target of the Obama administration’s plan is the coal industry. Coal is about 29 percent of the energy that Arizona uses to keep its energy rates affordable and reliable. If the EPA Power Plan is allowed to be implemented and parts of the rule are not struck down by the Supreme Court, Arizona’s energy companies will be forced to invest in unaffordable and unreliable energy sources that will cause electricity costs to skyrocket.

Because of the Supreme Court’s ruling to halt Obama’s energy regulation overreach, the deadline for Arizona to submit an extension for a state plan to comply with the EPA will likely be pushed back, giving time to determine the state’s next course of action.

Arizona has a responsibility to protect the economy so citizens can have peace of mind and provide for their families. Arizonans should not have to bear the economic burden of paying for a climate change plan that will have very little effect on the environment both now and in the future. The hardworking people of Arizona should continue to voice their concerns to state leaders and state regulators about how their economic futures will be impacted by Washington, D.C. bureaucrats.

See the article here.