Monthly Archives: July 2016

Coal Related News from Around the Nation

These Climate Change Regulations Will Increase Your Electric Bill

Via The Daily Signal:

Amid the summer heat, American households are thankful foraffordable, reliable air conditioning. But the Obama administration’s war on coal is going to drive up energy prices for families who want to keep cool in the summer and stay warm in the winter.

A recent study by Heritage Foundation economists estimates that the administration’s regulations to counter global warming, or climate change, will increase household spending on electricity between 13 and 20 percent over the next 20 years.

Americans have plenty of reasons to be concerned with the administration’s regulations on new power plants, and states have good reasons to challenge these regulations in court.  Here are three:

  1. Regulations drive up energy costs.

Higher energy costs hurt the poor the most. If the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on new power plants stand, they will take a reliable power source off the market.

For instance, Maryland coal production fell 62 percent between 2005 and 2013, according to the Maryland Department of the Environment. Though this decline is partially a result of cheap natural gas prices, many also point to EPA regulations for the industry’s decline.

The decline in coal production is problematic because coal and carbon-based conventional fuels made up 87 percent of America’s primary energy between 2003 and 2013.

In fact, electricity prices are 15 percent lower in those states that rely most on coal.  Unnecessarily driving out coal production will cause electricity prices to increase, disproportionately hurting low-income Americans who spend a greater portion of their budget on energy bills.

  1. Mining towns suffer from overregulation.

The EPA’s regulations of future power plants will have detrimental impacts on coal mining towns.

Alabama coal worker Renea Aldridge said: “Think about the families you’re affecting. Think about all the jobs you’re closing down. I keep thinking the coal industry will never be the same again.”

What’s more, because a small coal mining town’s livelihood often is tied to the power plant, regulation of coal power plants also harms investments, hurts small businesses, and decreases the town’s overall economic activity.

The EPA’s latest regulations of newly built coal power plants will seriously harm these coal towns. And because of the stringent requirements for new plants, many towns that might otherwise have had a coal plant built will be deprived of the economic benefits.

  1. The regulations barely make a dent in climate change.

A few hot days does not mean the planet is experiencing more heat waves because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Even if it did, however, the administration’s climate change policy would make no noticeable impact.

According to Cato Institute’s “carbon tax temperature-savings” calculator, developed by climatologists, the U.S. could shut down its entire economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero and it would mitigate global temperatures only a few tenths of a degree Celsius over the next 85 years.

In fact, if all industrialized nations cut 100 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, temperatures would be only 0.352 degree cooler than if the emission levels remained the same.

States are fighting back, but Congress should assert its authority.

Last year, much of the Environmental Protection Agency’s onslaught of overregulation came under the pretense of addressing man-made global warming, or climate change. The regulations threaten the livelihood of miners and coal towns, and the availability of coal as a dependable energy source.

The Supreme Court temporarily halted regulations on existing power plants (the administration’s “Clean Power Plan”) after states and industries challenged them.

But another important legal front is the states’ challenge to global warming regulations on new electricity generating units. After the EPA issued a regulation under Section 111(b) of the Clean Air Act to control how much carbon dioxide may be emitted by new power plants, 23 states filed a lawsuit challenging the proposal.

The regulation restricts carbon dioxide emissions of coal-fired power plants to 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour and the emissions of natural gas power plants to 1,000 pounds per megawatt hour.

According to the federal government’s Energy Information Administration, the average emission for a coal-fired power plant in 2014 was between 2,070 and 2,170 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour, depending on the type of coal used.

States certainly are justified in taking legal action, but it’s also time for Congress to rein in unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats at the EPA. Congress should pass legislation that prevents all agencies from regulating carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

See the article here.

Via The Morning Consult:

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are miles apart on the greenhouse gas-cutting Clean Power Plan. She’s for it. He’s against it. No matter the polarized rhetoric, the plan’s future is much more convoluted than “live or die,” in part because its fate lies in the hands of the courts.

Outside observers and attorneys involved in the lawsuit say the federal government’s actions on greenhouse gases could go in a few different directions, depending on the outcome of the election and an eventual likely high court ruling.

Supporters of the plan, meanwhile, are debating two alternate routes a Clinton administration could take if the plan is struck down.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments over the CPP in September, and the Supreme Court issued a stay of the rule in January, indicating it will take up the case next year. A final ruling won’t come until long after the November election.

A win for either side would happen in a relatively straightforward manner. If Clinton wins the White House and the CPP is upheld, she’ll look to build on the plan’s emission-cutting requirements. If Trump wins, he has promised to repeal the plan regardless of the court ruling, although it would be quicker for the court to strike it down than for Trump to go through the process of rolling it back.

But attorneys on both sides say the fate of the plan gets more complicated if the court strikes it down and the country elects a president who hopes to curb greenhouse gas emissions. That’s not an unlikely scenario, even though the next president will get to nominate a justice to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s spot, said Jeff Holmstead, an attorney with the plaintiffs.

If the court accepts the argument against the CPP, it would probably rule out any other broad, national standard for cutting greenhouse gases, Holmstead told Morning Consult.

As it stands now, the Environmental Protection Agency believes the Clean Air Act enables it to call on states to meet emission reduction standards based on its mandate to reduce greenhouse gases and provide guidelines to the states to get the needed reductions.

Opponents, including Holmstead, argue the law only calls on EPA to develop standards of cutting emissions at individual power plants. In other words, Holmstead said, the Clean Air Act allows the EPA to require carbon-capture technology and other efficiency measures, but it doesn’t allow the EPA to transform states’ entire energy systems.

“It’s fairly likely that they will say, ‘Look, what Congress intended you to do is provide guidance to states about things that can be done at individual plants to reduce emissions,” Holmstead told Morning Consult. “It would be heat-rate improvements and efficiency projects at individual plants to reduce the CO2 emission rate.”

If that happens, a Democratic administration could work with Congress to pass comprehensive legislation on greenhouse gases, Holmstead said, rather than reinterpreting the Clean Air Act to serve its needs. That’s a tall order, considering it’s an uphill battle for Democrats to take control of the House, regardless of the outcome of the presidential election. Even when Democrats controlled both chambers, the 2009 cap-and-trade bill proposed by then-Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) stalled.

“It would require the hard work and compromise that the Obama administration was not willing to do,” Holmstead said.

But CPP supporters believe there is a more expeditious path forward if the court rules against them. In fact, they see two options, but they don’t agree on which is better.

A LESS FLEXIBLE APPROACH

Sean Donahue, a counsel for the Environmental Defense Fund, which filed a brief in support of the CPP, said it’s possible that a ruling against the plan could have only a minor effect. Even though the CPP’s standards are based on “generation shifting,” it’s up to states to determine the best way to reach those goals.

If the court tells the EPA it’s not allowed to base its standards on such a holistic approach, Donahue said, the agency could justify similar goals by suggesting that individual power plants use more expensive carbon-capture technology or that coal plants co-fire using natural gas.

Ultimately, states would probably choose to reach the emission-reduction goals by replacing coal with natural gas and renewables, which is exactly what the CPP currently asks them to do, Donahue said. In effect, a ruling against the CPP could be just a technicality.

“The irony of this case is that EPA went with the flexible and cost-sensitive approach, and the petitioners’ lawyers may take that off the table and force them to consider less flexible means,” Donahue said. He added, “There’s something deeply artificial about these legal attacks.”

USE THE PARIS ACCORD

There might be an even more direct approach to reducing emissions if the CPP is struck down — simply employing a different section of the Clean Air Act.

The CPP is currently based on a section of the law that requires the agency to develop pollution standards based on “the best system of emission reduction.” That has led to the debate over whether the word “system” means a single power plant or an entire state’s energy system. But a different section of the Clean Air Act gives the EPA broader power to regulate pollutants if it’s part of an international agreement. The Paris agreement, which currently has 197 signatures, more than meets those requirements, said Brian Potts, an energy and environmental attorney with Perkins Coie.

The EPA would have a lot of hoops to jump through to justify significant emission reductions at individual power plants, Potts said. And the agency would be directed to consider the economic viability of the plans. Carbon-capture technology is generally expensive, and some states have no place to store sequestered carbon, which means they would need to build pipelines hundreds of miles to transport the liquefied carbon dioxide. With those cost limitations, it would be difficult to continue raising the emission-cutting requirements down the road, Potts said.

Holmstead doesn’t see this part of the law as the EPA’s “get out of jail free” card if the CPP is struck down. It’s telling that the EPA chose to craft the plan under the state-based provision, indicating the Obama administration is less confident in the legal standing of any alternatives.

Potts said that’s not necessarily true. When asked why the EPA didn’t use the international provision in the first place, he responded, “They got bad legal advice.”

See the article here.

Raising Coal Leases Would Cost, County Says

Via The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel: 

Boosting the price of coal mined from beneath public lands will result in mine closures and worsening damage to rural economies, Mesa County officials told a federal agency.

The federal coal leasing program provides an “adequate return to the public,” the county said in a letter to the Bureau of Land Management the commission approved on Monday. “Given the current state of the coal industry, increases in lease payments and royalties would ultimately result in more mine closures and less revenue to the public.”

Instead of increasing royalties on federal coal, the BLM should expedite its coal-leasing process, the letter said. Though Mesa County has little coal, it serves as a center for the coal industry in Gunnison and Moffat counties.

Grand Junction also is a commercial center for communities that serve coal mining, such as Delta County, which has seen the loss of 900 high-paying jobs, said Commissioner Rose Pugliese.

The loss of those jobs, many of which pay as much as $139,000 a year, salary and benefits, is reverberating in Mesa County with reduced sales tax revenues, said Commissioner John Justman.

“The three-year coal lease sale moratorium and other anti-coal actions imposed by the federal government have significant negative impacts on our Mesa County economy,” the letter says. “The federal government should help to alleviate the burdens placed on the energy industry by streamlining the coal leasing process to enable the responsible development of our natural resources.”

A moratorium on leasing would harm other economic sectors, the letter said.

Affordable, reliable energy from coal stimulates the entire economy, the letter said.

“The more affordable and reliable our electricity is, the better our access is to food, shelter, clothing, transportation, sanitation and clean water. In states such as California where electricity from fossil fuel use has been restricted, electricity rates are over double the rates we pay here in Colorado.”

The letter is a follow-up to the public meeting last month that was part of the process for a programmatic environmental impact statement on the federal coal-leasing program.

See the article here.

Study: Wind & Solar up to 5X More Costly than Existing Coal and Nuclear

Via The Institute for Energy Research: 

A new study from the Institute for Energy Research finds that electricity from new wind and solar power is 2.5 to 5 times more expensive than electricity from existing coal and nuclear power.

This innovative study relies on data from the Energy Information Administration and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to find the levelized cost of electricity from existing plants, not just the cost of electricity from new power plants as is typical with many studies.

In addition, IER’s study estimates the costs imposed on the grid by the intermittent nature of wind and solar power. Factoring in these “imposed costs” provides a more realistic estimate of what electricity from new wind and solar power costs. In fact, solar power’s imposed costs actually increase as more capacity is added to the system.

  • Electricity from new solar is nearly 5 times more expensive than from existing nuclear and over 3.5 times more expensive than from existing coal.
  • Electricity from new wind is over 3.5 times more expensive than from existing nuclear and over 2.5 times more expensive than from existing coal.

“Much of our existing coal and nuclear fleet could continue to provide affordable, reliable electricity for decades to come if not for policies like the Obama administration’s carbon regulations or the deal struck in California to shut down Diablo Canyon,” said IER President Thomas Pyle. 

“Unnecessarily shutting down our existing generation in favor of expensive and intermittent wind and solar power means Americans will be left with higher electricity bills and less money in their pockets. This will have the harshest impact on poor and middle class families who spend more of their hard-earned money on energy costs. This study adds a much-needed reality check to the debate over our nation’s electricity policy.”

Click here to read the full study.This study was conducted by Tom Stacy, a former member of the ASME Energy Policy Committee, and George Taylor, PhD, the director of Palmetto Energy Research. The source of the calculations used in this study is a compilation of data reported by the generators themselves to FERC and EIA.

See the press release here.

The Platform Is Right: Coal Is Clean

Via National Review: 

Some in the media are alarmed that the just-approved Republican-party platform takes a positive view of fossil fuels. “The platform tosses aside an environmental regulatory structure built on congressional legislation and judicial rulings over more than four decades,” wrote Steven Mufson of the Washington Post. It’s no surprise that mainstream media and its friends on the political left would feel that way — especially after they have been vilifying oil, gas, and especially coal for more than a generation. It’s on that last fuel that the platform takes perhaps its most remarkable position, declaring coal “an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource.”

It doesn’t meet with the approval of the environmentalist Left — but it does happen to be true.

Although this Environmental Protection Agency never acknowledges it, a slew of state-of-the art technologies has led to dramatic reductions in emissions from coal-fired power plants. In this respect, coal is quite clean. Since 1970, emissions of key pollutants per kilowatt hour (electric) have fallen 89 percent. Use of low-NOx boilers, selective catalytic reduction, wet and dry electrostatic precipitators, scrubbers, and sorbent injection, while not popular topics at cocktail parties, have led to huge reductions in genuine pollutants that impact human health under certain concentrations and exposures.

In 2007, during my tenure as chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, I signed the first permit for a lignite-fired coal-power plant in more than two decades. The elaborate emissions controls for this new plant have achieved amazing efficiencies comparable to those of plants powered by natural gas, and they continue to reduce real emissions. Yet EPA’s Clean Power Plan may force closure of this modern plant, trashing the hundreds of millions invested in reducing real pollutants.

Although now viewed by the EPA as dirty carbon pollution, carbon dioxide (CO2) lacks any of the characteristics of a real pollutant. CO2 is an odorless, invisible, and beneficial natural gas and the catalyst for photosynthesis, the most vital energy conversion in our biosphere. How soon we forget eight-grade science! CO2’s life-amplifying potency is why greenhouses pump CO2 to levels over four times that of the natural concentration in the air we breathe.

Officialdom’s constant use of the word “clean” masks the many details about energy that keep the lights on. In most cases, “clean energy” is a general designation for low-to-zero carbon-energy resources, the most prevalent forms being wind and solar power. The public has been led to believe that coal and other fossil fuels are dirty and that wind and solar are clean.

But just how clean are the steel and concrete used in the fabrication and operation of wind and solar installations? The amount of rebar packed under the ground to anchor the wind turbines is an eye-opener. Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University calculates that a typical wind system uses around 460 metric tons of steel and 870 cubic meters of concrete per megawatt (electric). A natural-gas combined-cycle power plant of the same capacity uses only three metric tons of steel and 27 cubic meters of concrete. “You can make wind turbines with steel, but you can’t make steel with wind turbines,” as Chris Horner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute put it. Coal remains essential to making steel.

Coal has long been the mainstay of reliable generation. We are so accustomed to electric power delivered at the touch of a finger that most people are unaware of the intricate system of bulk power that provides this marvel: cheap, versatile, and controllable electricity. Unlike other energy carriers, electric generation must exactly, and almost instantaneously, adjust to demand for electricity. This constant balance between generation and demand is critical to keeping the electric grid stable. This is what energy doyen Mark P. Mills of the Manhattan Institute refers to as “the incredibly weird physics of the electric grid.”

In contrast with wind and solar power, coal, as well as natural gas, can ramp generation up and down in split-second response to demand and thereby balance the grid. And the massive transmission and voltage infrastructure of our electric system was designed around the availability of coal and other dispatchable energy sources. In stark contrast, the variability of wind and solar cannot be controlled. In other words, the availability of wind or solar power has no correlation to demand. This is a rarely admitted but huge challenge for renewable energy.

The antidote to this inherent limitation is reliable backup power typically provided by coal. When wind speeds fluctuate, coal generation can increase or decrease generation to meet demand. Wind and solar lack this flexibility and therefore reliability. Backup or redundant power, however, is a highly wasteful and expensive way to generate and deliver electricity. Germany has found that a completely redundant supply of flexible power operating in a form of idling is necessary at a certain level of wind energy dispatched on the grid for every megawatt of wind and solar power dispatched. This has forced Germany to increase the use of coal and wood — not exactly a goal of their clean-energy revolution. As a consequence, Germany’s average electric rates are three times higher than the current U.S. rates.

As inherently variable energy sources, wind and solar can also generate power in excess of demand at unpredictable moments. In these instances, grid operators have to intervene within seconds to rebalance power supply and demand. And here arises the incredibly ironic economics of intermittent renewables. As a result of unpredictable surges in wind power in 2015, the German government paid grid operators and wind generators $548 million to abruptly shut down to avert a collapse of the grid.

The U.S. Congress is addicted to ballooning energy subsidies. But we must ask ourselves what energy breakthrough of enduring, universal value has resulted from the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars devoted to these pipedreams. Just look to the free market for two overlooked energy miracles. The recent shale revolution has given us access to the mother lode of oil and natural gas long thought forever locked in shale, while innovative engineers have developed technologies to reduce genuine pollutants by as much as 90 percent. Now, the plentiful, reliable, and affordable energy source that is coal can be regarded as clean.

— Kathleen Hartnett White is Distinguished Senior Fellow-in-Residence at, and the director of, the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. She is a coauthor of the new book Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy.

See the article here.

Ohio Coal Industry Crushed

Via the Mansfield News Journal:

For decades, Ohio has proudly mined the coal that fuels America. Coal still generates more than a third of U.S. electricity — more than any other single power source last year — and provides thousands of good jobs for states like Ohio.

Unfortunately, Ohio’s coal industry is now facing an all-out assault from an unlikely antagonist — the federal government. With its so-called Stream Protection Rule (SPR), the Obama Administration is determined to keep coal in the ground and low-cost electricity away from American households and industries.

If there was a poster child for needless, costly regulation, the SPR would certainly qualify. This 2,300-page regulatory behemoth could not only spell the end the U.S. coal industry, but could also mean higher costs for basic industries and households that expect and need affordable electricity.

You wouldn’t know this from the rule’s name, however. After all, who doesn’t want to protect streams? But like other federal rules with poll-tested names designed to win public backing, the SPR will do more to pad a bureaucratic agency’s budget than protect streams. The federal government’s own reports show that virtually all U.S. mining operations carry no offsite environmental impacts. Because of this, a skeptical Congress is asking why the U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) needs more funding when poor market conditions have already left it with fewer coal mines to regulate.

Then there’s the sleight-of-hand by which OSM foisted this regulation on the states. The agency spent six years dodging both its promise and legal obligation to consult with state mining agencies before proposing this massive rule. States were left in the dark as OSM, hoping to expand its role, muscled in on the states’ current authority to set mining standards. That’s why Ohio is one of 17 coal producing states that have formally protested the SPR.

The coal industry and state governments aren’t the only casualties of this power grab. Because the SPR is certain to drive up the cost of mining, it will also drive up the number of unemployed miners. An independent analysis of the rule projects the loss of at least 40,000 high-wage coal mining jobs nationwide, adding to the 67,000 jobs already lost since 2011. Total job losses throughout the U.S. coal supply chain — from railroads and power plants to ports and heavy equipment — could reach 281,000 jobs.

Keeping coal in the ground will be expensive. The annual value of lost coal production from the SPR could reach $29 billion, with federal and state tax revenue falling by as much as $6.4 billion annually. That’s why America’s biggest losers may not be coal communities. Displacing affordable coal power with higher-cost alternatives will mean heavier price burdens on everyone, including low-income households that can least afford it.

The SPR is a rule in search of a purpose — one that is more about politics than environmental protection —and from a federal agency that has clearly lost its way.

See the article here.

Aimless Agency Crushes Wyoming’s Coal Industry

Via the Casper Star-Tribune:

For decades, Wyoming has proudly mined the coal that fuels America. Coal still generates more than a third of U.S. electricity – more than any other single power source last year – and provides thousands of good jobs for states like Wyoming.

Unfortunately, Wyoming’s coal industry is now facing an all-out assault from an unlikely antagonist — the federal government. With its so-called stream protection rule, the Obama administration is determined to keep coal in the ground and low-cost electricity away from American households and industries.

If there was a poster child for needless, costly regulation, the SPR would certainly qualify. This 2,300-page regulatory behemoth could not only spell the end the U.S. coal industry but could also mean higher costs for basic industries and households that expect and need affordable electricity.

You wouldn’t know this from the rule’s name, however. After all, who doesn’t want to protect streams? But like other federal rules with poll-tested names designed to win public backing, the SPR will do more to pad a bureaucratic agency’s budget than protect streams. The federal government’s own reports show that virtually all U.S. mining operations carry no offsite environmental impacts. Because of this, a skeptical Congress is asking why the U.S. Office of Surface Mining needs more funding when poor market conditions have already left it with fewer coal mines to regulate.

 Then there’s the sleight of hand by which OSM foisted this regulation on the states. The agency spent six years dodging both its promise and legal obligation to consult with state mining agencies before proposing this massive rule. States were left in the dark as OSM, hoping to expand its role, muscled in on the states’ current authority to set mining standards. That’s why Wyoming is one of 17 coal-producing states that have formally protested the SPR.

The coal industry and state governments aren’t the only casualties of this power grab. Because the SPR is certain to drive up the cost of mining, it will also drive up the number of unemployed miners. An independent analysis of the rule projects the loss of at least 40,000 high-wage coal mining jobs nationwide, adding to the 67,000 jobs already lost since 2011. Total job losses throughout the U.S. coal supply chain – from railroads and power plants to ports and heavy equipment – could reach 281,000 jobs.

Keeping coal in the ground will be expensive. The annual value of lost coal production from the SPR could reach $29 billion, with federal and state tax revenue falling by as much as $6.4 billion annually. That’s why America’s biggest losers may not be coal communities. Displacing affordable coal power with higher-cost alternatives will mean heavier price burdens on everyone, including low-income households that can least afford it.

The SPR is a rule in search of a purpose – one that is more about politics than environmental protection – and from a federal agency that has clearly lost its way.

See the article here.

Emerging Technology-based Consensus May Help Clear the Air

Via The Hill:

Is it possible in this contentious political year that there may be some energy and environment policies on which Republicans, Democrats, environmental groups and a major coal producer like Cloud Peak Energy can agree?

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have acknowledged that affordable fossil energy will be part of our energy generation mix for the foreseeable future. Mr. Trump has said he will put miners back to work, while a draft Democratic Party platform includes the following: “The fight against climate change must not leave any community out or behind – including coal communities who kept America’s lights on for generations.”

Secretary Clinton has said that fossil energy will be part of the generation mix in the 21st Century, albeit in a different way than it generated electricity in the 20th century. While 100-percent renewable energy is her goal, she has also recognized that we need to develop the capability to reduce carbon emissions through technologies like Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) which captures the CO2 emissions from power plants before storing them permanently in the ground where they came from. Indeed, while campaigning in Kentucky she expressed strong support for CCUS saying, “We’ve got to do a lot more on carbon capture and sequestration and try to see how we can get coal to be a fuel that can continue to be sold and continue to be mined.”
I cannot agree with Secretary Clinton on other positions she has taken on coal, such as her seeming support for efforts to stop mining on federal lands. However, I applaud her commitment to CCUS as a means of reconciling concern for the environment with concern for coal communities.

Independent polls have shown that Americans want action to address climate change. Cloud Peak Energy believes that concerns about climate and CO2 should be addressed in a meaningful way through technology development, specifically the commercialization and deployment of CCUS. In this, we are in full agreement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which has stated that achieving goals of climate stabilization will be 138-percent more expensive, and may not be possible at all, without widespread deployment of CCUS.

There is a potential bipartisan common denominator here which could represent a win for all: the goals of maintaining reliable, affordable energy, taking meaningful action on CO2 and climate, promoting job security in coal country, and allowing States and local governments to continue funding public services that depend on coal industry revenues.

This week, a group of Democratic senators led by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota introduced legislation that could help lead to commercial scale CCUS and major long-term cuts in CO2 emissions. That bill, and similar legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), with numerous bi-partisan co-sponsors, offers a pathway to serious long-term cuts in CO2 emissions while protecting the jobs and livelihoods of tens of thousands of American workers, and the communities they live in across the country. Our company and other organizations, including several major environmental organizations, support these bills.

These bills are the latest indication of a growing bi-partisan consensus that CCUS can help reduce CO2 emissions, protect the jobs and communities of people who depend on coal and natural gas, and avoid sharp energy price increases for those least able to afford them. I applaud Senator Heitkamp and her co-sponsors for their bill. I also applaud the many Republicans who are supportive of CCUS. Regardless of who wins in November, we look forward to working with the next Administration to further this consensus on achieving meaningful carbon emissions reduction through CCUS technology.

Colin Marshall is President and CEO of Cloud Peak Energy, headquartered in Gillette, Wyo. and one of America’s largest coal producers.

See the article here.

OP-ED: Wyoming Coal Industry Crushed by SPR Rule

Via The Cody Enterprise:

For decades, Wyoming has proudly mined the coal that fuels America.

Coal still generates more than a third of U.S. electricity – more than any other single power source last year – and provides thousands of good jobs for states like Wyoming.

Unfortunately, Wyoming’s coal industry is now facing an all-out assault from an unlikely antagonist – the federal government. With its so-called Stream Protection Rule (SPR), the Obama Administration is determined to keep coal in the ground and low-cost electricity away from American households and industries.

If there was a poster child for needless, costly regulation, the SPR would certainly qualify. This 2,300-page regulatory behemoth could not only spell the end the U.S. coal industry, but could also mean higher costs for basic industries and households that expect and need affordable electricity.

You wouldn’t know this from the rule’s name, however. After all, who doesn’t want to protect streams?

But like other federal rules with poll-tested names designed to win public backing, the SPR will do more to pad a bureaucratic agency’s budget than protect streams.

The federal government’s own reports show that virtually all U.S. mining operations carry no offsite environmental impacts. Because of this, a skeptical Congress is asking why the U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) needs more funding when poor market conditions have already left it with fewer coal mines to regulate.

Then there’s the sleight-of-hand by which OSM foisted this regulation on the states. The agency spent six years dodging both its promise and legal obligation to consult with state mining agencies before proposing this massive rule. States were left in the dark as OSM, hoping to expand its role, muscled in on the states’ current authority to set mining standards. That’s why Wyoming is one of 17 coal producing states that have formally protested the SPR.

The coal industry and state governments aren’t the only casualties of this power grab. Because the SPR is certain to drive up the cost of mining, it will also drive up the number of unemployed miners. An independent analysis of the rule projects the loss of at least 40,000 high-wage coal mining jobs nationwide, adding to the 67,000 jobs already lost since 2011.

Total job losses throughout the U.S. coal supply chain – from railroads and power plants to ports and heavy equipment – could reach 281,000 jobs.

Keeping coal in the ground will be expensive. The annual value of lost coal production from the SPR could reach $29 billion, with federal and state tax revenue falling by as much as $6.4 billion annually. That’s why America’s biggest losers may not be coal communities. Displacing affordable coal power with higher-cost alternatives will mean heavier price burdens on everyone, including low-income households that can least afford it.

The SPR is a rule in search of a purpose – one that is more about politics than environmental protection – and from a federal agency that has clearly lost its way.

See the article here.

Clean Power Plan Would Devastate the Trades

Via The Mesabi Daily News:

Over the course of the past many months, we have watched the developments of the MPCA regarding the clean power plan.

Our organization has evolved into a highly specialized trade craft that mainly works in the fossil fuel industry. The Clean Power Plan, as written, will decimate our industry, period. Therefore, we have spent a considerable amount of time looking at all points of this issue, and the one thing we have noticed the most is the complete lack of true economic impact studies as they relate to the thousands of people that work in the energy sector.

The job losses that people are talking about are the immediate ones — people who work at coal fired power plants. The jobs that are not be talked about or thought of are all the surrounding area spin off jobs, building trades, area manufacturing, area businesses that are vendors to the plants themselves.

Along with this, how will raising energy costs affect statewide manufacturing and industry as a whole? Why would a company continue to do business here or start one in Minnesota when the basic energy costs are higher than neighboring states?

On a grander scale, why would companies maintain or build any industry in the U.S. when they can go to Asia and get their labor and energy cheaper?

This entire endeavor has not been thought through enough and the projected benefits of it are nothing more than someone’s best hopes. The only thing we see this plan doing is crushing an industry that has been the backbone to the growth of this country and helped make it what it is today.

I understand the science of this issue and understand that we do need to take care of our planet. I have a wife and three young daughters who I am concerned about the future for. Not only in regards to the welfare of the planet, but for the welfare of our country. I hope to see them go through school and become whatever they choose to be.

My fear is the Clean Power Plan will destroy the reliable and affordable energy we have today and completely eliminate the manufacturing industry in our state and country, thereby creating a society of nothing but consumers without a place to work.

Minnesota has always been a leader in environmental standards and innovation. Why don’t we look at ways to clean up fossil fuels and be a leader in technology that would have more global impact than simply slamming the doors on our few remaining coal fired plants? We would put thousands of people to work — scientist, engineers, manufacturing facilities, building trades, contractors, vendors and suppliers of all types.

We could change the way power is produced and help other countries around the world with the technology, and truly make a difference for the next generation.

Respectfully,

Luke Voigt

Business Manager

Boilermakers Local 647

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Lost Production Equals Lost Employment from the Clean Power Plan

Lost Production Equals Lost Employment from the Clean Power Plan

July 13, 2016

The administration has long blamed coal’s troubles on the marketplace, not on its regulations. In congressional hearings, all the president’s men and women discount the impact of the Clean Power Plan on jobs, coal communities and the grid – even as they claim credit for regulating coal out of the grid when talking to climate activists here and abroad.

Last week the Energy Information Administration became the latest among the energy experts to dispute the official line. In the Annual Energy Outlook 2016, EIA for the first time included the CPP in its reference case. And lo and behold, the forecast shows the rule’s impact on coal production is substantial.

Thanks in part to the CPP, the AEO16 projects a 26 percent drop in U.S. coal production by 2040. A big drop in coal production means a big drop in high-wage employment – the kind the US isn’t creating anymore.

How big a drop? Calculating a standard job loss number per ton of production – and applying that ratio to the production decline EIA projects – we arrive at job losses from miners and contractors totaling 19,500. That’s just the direct “CPP cost,” lost jobs averaging $83,700 a year with good benefits.

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SPR is Bad News for Kentucky Coal Miners

Via the Louisville Courier-Journal:

As most of us understand, Kentucky’s economy is powered by coal. The low-cost, reliable electricity that coal provides our commonwealth benefits every Kentuckian. Coal gives us a huge competitive advantage over other states that pay more for electricity and allows us to keep and attract good jobs. As it interconnects with every facet of our lives, what we pay for electricity has a direct impact, not only on our personal budgets but also on every other aspect of 21st-century society.

Unfortunately, President Barack Obama, his administration and their allies have a different opinion about Kentucky coal than the one held by the vast majority of Kentuckians.

In concert with anti-coal activist groups and, in most cases, against the will of Congress, the current occupant of the White House has damaged both the production and use of coal through overregulation, at times exceeding his legal authority. Now, with less than 200 days left in the Obama administration, his bureaucrats are hoping to finish the job of stopping Kentucky coal production with their so-called Stream Protection Rule (SPR).

If the SPR is ever enacted, it will put tens of thousands of coal miners out of work across the nation – in addition to the more than 67,000 who have lost their jobs since 2011.  Countless more livelihoods will be damaged or lost that rely on coal production.

Beyond the coalfields, Kentuckians will pay more for electricity, and utilities will face additional pressure to use more expensive and less reliable fuel for electricity production.

As my counterparts in other states have said, if there was a poster child for needless, costly and poorly conceived regulation, the SPR would certainly qualify. This 2,300-page regulatory behemoth might sound good from its title, but as is often the case in Washington, a name rarely reflects something’s actual nature.

What I find most interesting is that Kentucky’s Democrats and Republicans alike have greatly criticized the SPR. While the Republican Bevin administration is fighting on every front to make sure the SPR does not occur – to avoid saddling taxpayers with an unfunded mandate and robbing them of state sovereignty – the SPR is also in the crosshairs of Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general, Andy Beshear. For the same reasons, he is also joining with other coal state AGs to push back on this wrongheaded rule. I would add that we saw the same anti-SPR position from the previous Democratic governor and attorney general in Kentucky as well.

Opponents of coal mining suggest that it is only “market forces” that are destroying coal jobs and eroding our ability to produce electricity in a low-cost and reliable way. But they steer clear of the reasons why our coal market is where it currently is.

The Obama administration has damaged our ability to produce and sell coal, which damages our market in two ways. First, by making our product more costly to produce and, second, by forcing electric utilities to choose other fuel sources due to regulatory and political pressure. Most insidious is there is a de facto ban on the ability to build new coal-fired power plants due to emission limits set by the Obama administration that current technology cannot meet, which causes our steam coal market to contract in the future. As our aging coal fleet retires, no new coal plants will come online, and that will cost Kentucky coal jobs, tax revenue and the economic advantage of coal-fired electricity.

If you care about the economy of Kentucky, if you care about our Kentucky coalfields, and if you care what you pay for electricity in Kentucky, then you need to stand against the SPR.

See the article here.

EPA Reg Shutters FOUR TIMES More Coal Power Than Agency Initially Predicted

Via The Daily Caller: 

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) initial projections on coal power vastly underestimated how much coal-fired power would be shuttered by its mercury regulation, according to federal data.

Actual capacity retirements from coal-fired power plants were more than four times greater than EPA initially projected. Newly-released Energy Department data shows 20 gigawatts of coal power have retired, compared to the 4.7 gigawatts projected by EPA.
“Coal-fired generating capacity in the United States dropped from 299 gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2014 to 276 GW as of April 2016,” according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

EIA attributed coal’s demise “to a mix of competitive pressure from low natural gas prices and the costs and technical challenges of environmental compliance measures.”

EPA’s mercury regulation, called MATS, is one of the most contentious and costly rules ever imposed under the Clean Air Act. The coal industry claimed MATS would force power plants to close down, but EPA said only a fraction would close and these would be outweighed by the public health benefits.

EPA’s initial regulatory analysis predicted 4.7 gigawatts of coal-fired power capacity would be shuttered as a result of MATS. EPA said “about 4.7 GW (less than 2 percent) of coal-fired capacity is projected to be uneconomic to maintain by 2015.”

Their estimate took into account “various regional factors (e.g., other available capacity and fuel prices) and unit attributes (e.g., efficiency and age)” and many of the projected “uneconomic” generators were “older, smaller, and less frequently used.”

To justify turning all these coal plants into “uneconomic” assets, EPA said the rule would save thousands of lives and prevent 100,000 asthma attacks every year. The agency said the monetary value of these health benefits were as high as $90 billion.
EPA estimated MATS would only cost $9.6 billion.

EIA data shows nearly 20 gigawatts of coal-fired power was shuttered between January 2015 and April 2016 — utilities had until April 2015 to comply with MATS, and some got a year-long extension.

“Twenty-six percent of those retirements occurred in April 2015, the MATS rule’s initial compliance date,” EIA noted. “Most remaining coal plants applied for and received one-year extensions that allowed them to operate until April 2016 while developing compliance strategies.”

“If a coal unit did not meet MATS requirements by then, it had to either retire, switch to another fuel, or cease operation,” EIA reported. “A few plants, totaling 2.3 GW, received additional one-year extensions, giving them until April 2017 to comply. About 5.6 GW of coal capacity fuel switched primarily to natural gas.”

EIA estimates utilities spent at least $6.1 billion complying with MATS and other rules between 2014 and 2016. Most coal capacity was kept online through installing costly pollution controls, according to EIA.

See the article here.

States are Right to Worry About Clean Power Plan Costs

Via The Hill:

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court issued a stay on President Obama’s “Clean Power Plan” (CPP.) That was good news for the 29 states now on record as formally opposing the president’s plan to vastly transform the nation’s power grid. But those states now appear doubly justified in opposing the effort, thanks to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) recent study on the CPP’s projected costs.

For starters, the EIA says the plan will mean “significantly higher” prices for residential and commercial electricity. They attribute this to “higher transmission and distribution costs” coming at a time when electricity consumption will also grow slightly (in 2015-2040.)

Interestingly, the EIA projects that these higher electricity prices will actually reduce demand 2% by 2030. Why? Because “compliance actions and higher prices” will force cash-strapped consumers to adopt their own austerity measures.

A key part of the CPP is the dismantling of coal-fired power in the U.S. As the EIA sees it, “Coal’s share of total electricity generation, which was 50% in 2005 and 33% in 2015, falls to 21% in 2030 and to 18% in 2040.” Coal power plants currently anchor America’s base-load electricity generation, so it’s understandable that their elimination would drive up prices. But is such a move justified?

The EIA projects that “renewable energy” (solar and wind) will play a “significant role in meeting electricity demand growth throughout most of the country.” It’s a bold gamble, since the EIA believes that renewables will account for 27% of total U.S. generation by 2040. But EIA data shows wind and solar power supplying only 5.6% of U.S. electricity generation in 2015. So, the jump to 27% will require significant investments.

What’s instructive is EIA data on Germany, where residential retail electric prices have risen, and are expected to keep rising, due to higher taxes and fees for renewable power. Overall, Germany’s foray into green energy has driven the average residential electricity price to 35 cents/kWh, almost three times the U.S. average of 13 cents/kWh. Along with Denmark, Germany has some of the highest residential electricity prices in Europe.

Under the Clean Power Plan, the EIA envisions the most significant changes in power generation occurring in regions where coal-fired power has played a key role, including the industrial Midwest. In the Northern Plains, coal power displaced by the CPP is expected to be replaced with increased renewables generation.

The net “benefit” of the CPP is that it will lower total power sector carbon dioxide emissions 20% by 2030. However, the EIA doesn’t mention the simultaneous increase in CO2 emissions from new coal plants in China, India, and other emerging Asian nations.

Overall, the CPP will impose massive expenses on businesses and consumers for CO2 reductions that will be instantly negated by far larger CO2 emissions growth overseas. Perhaps this explains why the Obama Administration’s former Department of Energy fossil fuel director, Charles McConnell, recently told a Congressional panel that the EPA’s plan is “ideological mumbo jumbo” that will not significantly affect global CO2 emissions.

As McConnell, who now serves as executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative, subsequently explained, he is “not against climate regulations…but I am against stupid regulations.”

The Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan remains in effect, and governors currently have no legal obligation to comply. But thanks to the findings of the Energy Information Administration, they now have more reasons not to follow through.

Jarrett is an energy attorney and consultant, and a former commissioner on the Missouri Public Service Commission.

See the article here.

Obama’s Climate Policy Is a Hot Mess

Via The Wall Street Journal:

When President Obama flew to Ottawa, Canada, on Wednesday to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, promoting their climate-change policies was near the top of the agenda. “The Paris Agreement was a turning point for our planet,” the leaders’ joint statement said, referring to the climate pact signed with fanfare in April by nearly 200 nations. “North America has the capacity, resources and the moral imperative to show strong leadership building on the Paris Agreement and promoting its early entry into force.”

Attracting rather less attention than the Ottawa meeting was a June 22 hearing on Capitol Hill. Testifying before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy extolled the Paris Agreement as an “incredible achievement.” But when repeatedly asked, she wouldn’t explain exactly how much this treaty would actually cut global temperatures.

The Paris Agreement will cost a fortune but do little to reduce global warming. In a peer-reviewed article published in Global Policy this year, I looked at the widely hailed major policies that Paris Agreement signatories pledged to undertake and found that they will have a negligible temperature impact. I used the same climate-prediction model that the United Nations uses.

First, consider the Obama administration’s signature climate policy, the Clean Power Plan. The U.N.’s model shows that it will accomplish almost nothing. Even if the policy withstands current legal challenges and its cuts are totally implemented—not for the 14 years that the Paris agreement lasts, but for the rest of the century—the Clean Power Plan would reduce temperatures by 0.023 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.

President Obama has made grander promises of future carbon cuts, beyond the plan’s sweeping restrictions on the power industry, but these are only vaguely outlined now. In the unlikely event that all of these extra cuts also happen, and are adhered to throughout the rest of the century, the combined reduction in temperatures would be 0.057 degrees. In other words, if the U.S. delivers for the whole century on the very ambitious Obama rhetoric, it would postpone global warming by about eight months at the end of the century.

Or consider the Paris Agreement promises from the entire world using the reduction estimate from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the organization responsible for the Paris summit. The U.N.’s model reveals a temperature reduction by the end of the century of only 0.08 degrees Fahrenheit. If we generously assume that the promised cuts for 2030 are not only met (which itself would be a U.N. first), but sustained throughout the rest of the century, temperatures in 2100 would drop by 0.3 degrees—the equivalent of postponing warming by less than four years at the end of the century. A cut of 0.3 degrees matches the finding of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology analysis of the Paris Agreement last year.

The costs of the Paris climate pact are likely to run to $1 trillion to $2 trillion annually throughout the rest of the century, using the best estimates from the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum and the Asia Modeling Exercise. Spending more than $100 trillion for such a feeble temperature reduction by the end of the century does not make sense.

Some Paris Agreement supporters defend it by claiming that its real impact on temperatures will be much more significant than the U.N. model predicts. This requires some mental gymnastics and heroic assumptions. The group doing climate modeling for the U.S. State Department assumes that without the Paris Agreement emissions would be much higher than under any realistic scenario. With such an unrealistically pessimistic baseline, they can then magically show that the agreement will cut temperatures by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit—with about 1.5 degrees of the drop coming from a reduction of these fantasy carbon emissions.

The Climate Action Tracker, widely cited by Paris Agreement fans, predicts a temperature reduction of 1.6 degrees by the end of the century. But that model is based heavily on the assumption that even stronger climate policies will be adopted in the future—98% of the assumed reductions come after the current Paris Agreement promises to expire in 2030.

Even this wishful thinking won’t achieve anything close to the 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) reduction that has become the arbitrary but widely adopted benchmark for what will be essential to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

The Paris Agreement is the wrong solution to a real problem. We should focus more on green-energy research and development, like that promoted by Bill Gates and the Breakthrough Coalition. Mr. Gates has announced that private investors are committing $7 billion for clean energy R&D, while the White House will double its annual $5 billion green innovation fund. Sadly, this sorely needed investment is a fraction of the cost of the same administration’s misguided carbon-cut policies.

Instead of rhetoric and ever-larger subsidies of today’s inefficient green technologies, those who want to combat climate change should focus on dramatically boosting innovation to drive down the cost of future green energy.

The U.S. has already shown the way. With its relentless pursuit of fracking driving down the cost of natural gas, America has made a momentous switch from coal to gas that has done more to drive down carbon-dioxide emissions than any recent climate policy. Turns out that those who gathered in Paris, France, could learn a little from Paris, Texas.

See the article here.

EPA Rule Transforming Job of Regulators — NARUC President

Via E&E Publishing:

The leader of the nation’s association for state utility regulators last week said U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan could forever alter his job description — and he’s not happy with the idea.

“Regardless of what you think about a regulation like that, [the Clean Power Plan] is the premier example of the convergence of environmental regulation and utility economic regulation, and it really threatens to completely alter the latter forever,” said National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners President Travis Kavulla.

Public utility commissioners are increasingly required to weigh competing and sometimes contradictory interests when they make decisions, Kavulla argued. They are already tasked with being economic regulators for their state power sectors, he noted: “An extremely hard thing to do.”

“It becomes even more complicated when economic regulators are called upon to be safety regulators … [and] it becomes even more difficult when we are called upon to be environmental regulators,” said Kavulla, speaking at a lunch hosted by the Natural Gas Roundtable in Washington, D.C.

“Even if you support the underlying premise of what EPA and other regulatory agencies have done regarding environmental regulations, it’s a real dilemma when they start layering on responsibilities to economic regulators that are in tension with one another,” said Kavulla, who has been a frequent critic of the Clean Power Plan since it was finalized last August.

“It’s absolute chaos on a job description like mine because frankly there is no common ground,” Kavulla said.

Kavulla also said he had issues with environmental agencies becoming more involved with determining how states generate electricity as they seek to curb carbon emissions, arguing that these agencies are “usually less independent from their political system than utility commissioners.”

He said, “You can have a situation where an environmental regulator essentially puts together a carbon integrated resource plan, ordaining the construction of this or that resource, dressed up in the angle of EPA regulatory compliance.”

However, Kavulla noted that public utility regulators in different states don’t see eye to eye on how to approach this issue.

“We see more and more a divergence between the states in terms of what the identity of their utility commission ought to be,” Kavulla said.

He added, “States seem more different than ever in what they ask their utility commissions to do, and I think we have a lot of thinking to do about what it is that utility commissioners should be asked to be responsible for.”

Tomorrow in Washington, D.C., Kavulla and EPA air chief Janet McCabe testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee for a hearing to review the agency’s energy and industry regulations.

The heads of the North Dakota Industrial Commission and Texas Railroad Commission will appear, as well as the director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative and the president of Public Citizen.

See the article here.

Why Your Electric Bill Won’t be Going Down Soon

Via The Delco Times:

You have to admire the Obama Administration’s optimism. Even though the Supreme Court issued a stay on the president’s “Clean Power Plan” (CPP) earlier this year, the EPA insists that states should keep moving forward with efforts to radically alter their power sector. It’s a bold move, since the High Court has already determined that states shouldn’t be compelled to incur such hefty costs before the case is fully litigated.

At the time of the High Court’s ruling, 27 states had formally opposed the CPP. That number has now risen to 29, as states grow increasingly concerned with both the federal overreach and massive costs involved.

Although the president likes to tout the CPP’s projected energy efficiencies, he makes little comment about its economic ramifications. But if there were any doubt as to the plan’s hefty price tag, federal number crunchers at the Energy Information Administration (EIA) have released an analysis of the CPP’s impact.

For starters, the EIA says the plan will mean “significantly higher” prices for residential and commercial electricity. They attribute this to “higher transmission and distribution costs” coming at a time when electricity consumption will also grow slightly (in 2015-2040), compared to 2000-2015.

Interestingly, the EIA projects that these higher electricity prices will actually reduce demand 2% by 2030. Why? Because “compliance actions and higher prices” will force cash-strapped consumers to adopt their own austerity measures.

A key part of the CPP is the dismantling of coal-fired power in the U.S. As the EIA sees it, “Coal’s share of total electricity generation, which was 50% in 2005 and 33% in 2015, falls to 21 percent in 2030 and to 18 percent in 2040.” Coal power plants currently anchor America’s base-load electricity generation, so it’s understandable that their elimination would drive up prices. But is such a move justified?

The EIA projects that “renewable energy” (solar and wind) will play a “significant role in meeting electricity demand growth throughout most of the country.” It’s a bold gamble, since the EIA believes that renewables will account for 27% of total U.S. generation by 2040. But EIA data shows wind and solar power supplying only 5.6% of U.S. electricity generation in 2015. So, the jump to 27% will require significant investments.

What’s instructive is EIA data on Germany, where residential retail electric prices have risen, and are expected to keep rising, due to higher taxes and fees for renewable power. Overall, Germany’s foray into green energy has driven the average residential electricity price to 35 cents/kWh, almost three times the U.S. average of 13 cents/kWh. Along with Denmark, Germany has some of the highest residential electricity prices in Europe.

Under the Clean Power Plan, the EIA envisions the most significant changes in power generation occurring in regions where coal-fired power has played a key role, including the industrial Midwest. In the Northern Plains, coal power displaced by the CPP is expected to be replaced with increased renewables generation.

The net “benefit” of the CPP is that it will lower total power sector carbon dioxide emissions 20% by 2030. However, the EIA doesn’t mention the simultaneous increase in CO2 emissions from new coal plants in China, India, and other emerging Asian nations.

Overall, the CPP will impose massive expenses on businesses and consumers for CO2 reductions that will be instantly negated by far larger CO2 emissions growth overseas. Perhaps this explains why the Obama Administration’s former Department of Energy fossil fuel director, Charles McConnell, recently told a Congressional panel that the EPA’s plan is “ideological mumbo jumbo” that will not significantly affect global CO2 emissions. As McConnell, who now serves as executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative, subsequently explained, he is “not against climate regulations … but I am against stupid regulations.”

The Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan remains in effect, and governors currently have no legal obligation to comply. But thanks to the findings of the Energy Information Administration, they now have more reasons not to follow through.

See the article here.