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Easter in Coal Country

Easter in Coal Country

April 19, 2017

“The war on coal is over,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a group of miners in Pennsylvania last week. They survived the eight-year conflict. Many didn’t.

In 2011 the MATS rule took out 33,000 MW of coal based power generation, as EPA unleashed a barrage of regulations that sent the coal industry, already reeling from the shale gas revolution, into steep decline.

Altogether, 51,000 MW were retired between 2010 and 2016 thanks to EPA rules. Without coal based power plants there is no need for coal mines, and without mines you don’t need miners.  This simple syllogism eluded coal’s critics as they denied responsibility for the carnage that regulations caused in coal communities.

But notice what has happened now that peace has been restored and regulations lifted. Coal is slowly recovering.

Production is running more than 16 percent higher than this time last year. Exports are up, jumping in the fourth quarter to 19.3 million tons from 12.6 million in the 3rd quarter. Power plants have drawn down coal stocks dramatically in the past year, steadily increasing their coal burn as gas prices have risen to almost twice the price of coal in the past 12 months.

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What Trump Can Do for Coal

What Trump Can Do for Coal

April 13, 2017

By now we know his reputation. Shoots from the lip, dismisses facts as inconvenient truths, creates his own truth from his unassailable position as billionaire newsmaker.

Yup, that’s Michael Bloomberg. With a recent editorial in The New York Times and new speechifying to green groups, the Sierra Club financier who once scolded New Yorkers for drinking soda now returns to his coal-bashing agenda. These days, it’s enough in some rarefied circles to simply oppose the president to be on the side of the angels. With enough indignation, no facts are needed.

Reportedly Mr. Bloomberg told green energy advocates last week that Trump’s promises to bring back coal jobs is “like promising the people who worked for Eastman Kodak that they’re going to get their jobs back.” Well, no, it’s not. Eastman Kodak didn’t struggle against a federal government determined to drive it out of business, coal did. Voltaire said any man in the right is in grave danger when his government is in the wrong. Equally true of the U.S. coal industry.

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Crushed by Coal’s Survival

Crushed by Coal’s Survival

April 5, 2017

“This day may be remembered as a low point in human history …” — David Arkush, head climate programs for Public Citizen.

That day? Last Tuesday. The “end of days” event?  President Trump signing an executive order blunting the regulatory assault on U.S. coal. Bad enough the president prefers his steak well done, but now he’s moved us “decisively toward catastrophe” merely by returning to traditional energy policy and stabilizing coal production.

Survivors of the Cold War will recall the hysteria that led to backyard bomb shelters. Today, as Marx said, “history repeats itself but as farce” after Trump’s regulatory re-set touched off similar hysteria among Beltway journos.

E&E News recounted the tearful plight not of coal miners but of “very saddened” EPA scientist left in a “zombie” state from Trump’s betrayal. Axios Generate ignored the stoic miners at Trump’s side to quote EPA staff who were “horrified” at the “cruel” sight of Trump dismantling what “people have spent their lives and careers working on.” (more…)

A New Era for American Energy

A New Era for American Energy

March 29, 2017:

“The War on Coal is over – and a new era of American energy has begun.” So tweeted our vice president this weekend, foreshadowing the events that occurred at EPA headquarters.

It was a stirring sight: 30 coal miners from the Brush Valley Mine in Pennsylvania alongside President Trump, EPA Administrator Pruitt and Energy Secretary Perry, for the signing of an Executive Order that marks the beginning of the repeal of the Clean Power Plan and lifts the federal coal moratorium.

This order marks a new era for American energy: one of true and fair competition, where an “all of the above” energy policy that benefits all Americans is welcome once again.

In recent years, supporters of former President Obama’s regulatory program claimed it was natural gas, not regulation, that was causing the decline of coal. President Trump’s actions today will test that hypothesis. If coal’s critics are right, little will change in coal’s overall trajectory and the President will have helped remove the government’s heavy hand from the energy market.

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A Realistic Debate About Coal

A Realistic Debate About Coal

March 22, 2017

The unseemly haste to bury coal is taking a new tact. From Axios to The Washington Post, this week’s conventional wisdom about coal is: Trump can’t put king coal back on its throne. This is how coal’s critics set up the quintessential straw man, then triumphantly knock it down. It’s a staple of reporting: choose the weakest guy to beat up to avoid the fight you can’t win.

The issue isn’t whether Trump can help coal regain its glory any more than we can expect Jeff Bezos to restore the Post’s Watergate stature. Even coal miners who know best were reluctant to take the president’s campaign pledge literally. No one in the industry expects coal to reclaim its industrial-era stature in the near future, let alone rehire every miner idled over the past decade.

The issue is whether Trump can help coal survive in the aftermath of an eight-year regulatory onslaught and keep more capacity, more production and more jobs from becoming its victims. Can he rescue good jobs and energy diversity from irresponsible policies advanced by ideologues? This is the realistic debate worth having.

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CPP’s Last Stand

CPP’s Last Stand

March 16, 2017:

The Obama Administration’s so called war on coal, a campaign that appeared destined for victory just a few months ago looks to be in full retreat. An executive order, expected soon, will start a re-examination of costly and potentially unlawful policy impediments to energy independence.

Prominent among these will be two, both designed to keep the world’s largest coal reserves in the ground. The Clean Power Plan threatened many of the remaining coal power plants; the moratorium slapped on new federal coal leases that would impact the largest source of the nation’s coal production.

The executive order not only marks the beginning of the end to a determined effort to drive coal out of the country. It also dramatizes the perils of regulatory overreach. The Clean Power Plan was launched with great fanfare but little support by an administration that shunned alliances with Congress and the states, refused negotiations and compromises and instead invented legal authority to support the plan.

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Lift the Moratorium on Federal Coal

Lift the Moratorium on Federal Coal

March 9, 2017

Coal is declining as a source of power, say critics, because cheap and abundant natural gas is keeping coal in the ground and away from power plants.

Today, coal generates a third of the nation’s electricity, a steep drop from its 50 percent market share when President Obama took office. Coincidence? We don’t think so. Team Obama spent eight years issuing regulation after regulation, piling costs on coal miners and power plants, hobbling coal’s ability to compete with natural gas.

Now that’s changing. Honoring a pledge made in his campaign, President Trump with the help of Congress has already removed the stream rule, one of the costliest regulations aimed at coal communities. Another policy that richly deserves the axe is the current moratorium on new federal coal leases. Imposed in the waning days of the Obama administration, the ban affects production throughout Wyoming, Montana, Colorado and Utah, a region that provides the nation’s largest and growing source of coal, much of it used in power plants in the populous Eastern half of the country.

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The President vs. The Beltway

The President vs. The Beltway

March 2, 2017

“We have undertaken a historic effort to massively reduce job crushing regulations, creating a deregulation task force inside of every Government agency; imposing a new rule which mandates that for every 1 new regulation, 2 old regulations must be eliminated; and stopping a regulation that threatens the future and livelihoods of our great coal miners.” –– President Donald J. Trump Address to a Joint Session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017.

The president’s support for the country’s coal miners this week, together with the stream rule CRA signed last week and the executive order beginning the withdrawal of the waters of the U.S. rule, will give the vapors to his detractors who fret about his provocative opposition to regulation. But the president’s actions are both welcome and reassuring in two ways often overlooked inside the Beltway.

First, they fulfill his campaign pledge to, in his words, “make full use of our energy sources, including traditional and renewable energy sources.” A new president who dutifully fulfills a promise to voters usually deserves applause, at least by those who voted for him. Why not this one? (more…)

One Down, Two to Go

One Down, Two to Go

February 22, 2017

With the ceremonial removal of the stream rule in the Oval Office last week, a major burden on coal communities and threat to our diverse energy mix was lifted. But the danger from President Obama’s “keep it in the ground” regulatory tear lives on in two key policies: the moratorium on federal coal leases and the Clean Power Plan.

The moratorium can be lifted by the new Interior Department secretary as easily as it was imposed by his predecessor. This is a unilateral decision he can make at his discretion. No need for whip counts or bargaining for floor time. Taxpayers are already getting 39 cents from every dollar earned from federal lease sales and the net global carbon contribution from federal coal mined is negligible. In other words, the moratorium solves a problem no one has.

The CPP meanwhile offers no solution to the problem it claims to address: global climate change. It’s a product of full notice and comment co-authored with activist lawyers that does nothing to reduce the world’s warming. Here was the summa of regulatory ambitions: a total transformation of the nation’s energy grid engineered by an environmental agency hoping to impose through regulatory fiat and creative legal legerdemain the very carbon cap-and-trade regime that Congress repeatedly rejected.  (more…)

A Rollback, or a Reset?

A Rollback, or a Reset?

February 15, 2017

This week the Senate will send a belated Valentine to blue-collar Americans. It’s likely the upper house will confirm either Mr. Zinke as Secretary of the Interior or Mr. Pruitt as the new EPA administrator before adjourning for President’s Day.

Both men will be greeted warmly by the many whose jobs are tied to the coal industry – from the mines to the ports, and the power plants and railroads in between. After surviving an eight-year regulatory siege mounted by the previous administration, blue collar workers will forgive a late bouquet of love from a sympathetic government that feels them.

This is the reason both House and Senate chose the so-called Stream Protection Rule as the first regulation voided with the Congressional Review Act. It’s the same reason President Trump selected it to become the first bill he signs. The rule creates no environmental benefit but lots of economic hardship for communities clobbered by a slow decline in manufacturing and an administration drunk on regulations. If politics today is often symbolic, then Thursday’s White House event will be a powerful symbol for reasserting government’s commitment to regulatory responsibility.

The same indictment of the stream rule characterizes much of the regulatory onslaught against the coal industry in the past decade.  (more…)

Lifting the Moratorium on Federal Coal Use

Lifting the Moratorium on Federal Coal Use

February 9, 2017

What a week for improbable, heroic, logic-defying efforts. First the astonishing comeback by the Patriots, persuading the most hardened doubters of their greatness after overcoming a late 25-point deficit.

Then the equally daunting challenge faced by those GOP wise men who sought to persuade us that a carbon tax isn’t really an energy tax. And that the tax windfall collected would be sensibly allocated with Olympian detachment by a Congress under siege from competing interest groups.

A more sensible and far more achievable goal will soon come to the attention of Mr. Zinke once he is confirmed as Interior secretary. He could lift the moratorium on federal coal lease sales imposed by his predecessor late last year.

Lifting the ban on the deepest, most productive coal basin in the country would be sensible for several reasons. It would stimulate employment; EIA’s February Short Term Energy Outlook expects coal production to increase “most in the Western region, rising from 407 MMst in 2016 to 443 MMst in 2018.”  It will therefore increase the supply of affordable energy and provide more revenue to federal taxpayers. It would help local counties that rely heavily on sales revenue to pay for basic services.

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The Club on the Head of American Workers

The Club on the Head of American Workers

February 1, 2017

Today in Congress, the Sierra Club will twice be reminded of former President Obama’s boast: that “elections have consequences.”  The Environment and Public Works Committee will endorse Mr. Pruitt’s nomination as EPA administrator. The climate lobby that owned EPA for the last eight years now frets Pruitt will undo their handiwork while the many more punished by those regulations hope he will.

Also, today the House will approve a resolution of disapproval voiding the so-called Stream Protection Rule. An oxymoron right up there with airline cuisine and military music, the stream rule will soon get the same treatment in the Senate.

How did this happen? Last week the Sierra Club provided one answer. It announced a new goal to destroy 65,000 jobs.

To the red-carpet supporters, billionaire philanthropists and trust fund intellectuals who cheer the Club’s ambition to shut down another 28 Gigawatts of coal-based generation, the jobs impact will be lost in translation. It won’t be lost on voters.

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A Masterpiece of Bad Regulation

A Masterpiece of Bad Regulation

January 25, 2017

As congressional Republicans head for Philadelphia today to set goals for the new year, the president announced one of his own: erase 75 percent of government regulations affecting business.

This is either hyperbole, intended to grab attention. Or its aspirational, less an expectation than a stretch that will still achieve a lot. In any event, 75 percent of anything is a big chunk. Especially if it’s three-quarters of the 3,300 new regulations that a recent survey by the National Association of Manufacturers found are promulgated each year.

So even though the president set an ambitious goal, the Obama administration left behind a target-rich environment for pursuing it. And it’s a goal that job-hungry voters will approve. They understand that whatever their presumed benefits, regulations do not create jobs; they only come from investment and economic growth.

That’s why the president’s de-regulatory goal is ideal for a GOP eager to deliver the goods to restive voters as well as a smart goal for Democrats who’ll face them in two years. Today’s voters aren’t traditional party loyalists; they want action to spur good jobs.

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Don’t Overlook the Biggest Protest

Don’t Overlook the Biggest Protest

January 18, 2017

As the Capital girds for Friday’s Inauguration, the media is focusing heavy attention on the myriad protests that eagerly vie for its fleeting attention. This is understandable; dissident voices should be heard.

But while the protesters parade by, let’s not overlook the biggest protest event – the November election.

That was a nationwide protest of millions of voters against the continuation of policies that had collectively failed to create good jobs and lift the living standards of working people. Policies that not only failed to create jobs, but deliberately destroyed existing ones.

So while it’s good to listen to the Sierra Club and NRDC as they join others in protest, let’s not forget it was their job-killing regulations – enthusiastically accepted by a grateful administration — that helped to sweep their antagonist into the White House.

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Great Expectations

Great Expectations

January 11, 2017

In the political world, as in the real one, we often experience a frustrating disparity between expectation and reality. The incoming administration and the 115th Congress may prove to be the exception. At least with respect to major regulations that have hamstrung the coal industry.

Early signs suggest that House and Senate leaders, with the blessing of the new administration, intend to honor the pledges they made to undo some of the Obama-era rules that offer little benefit but come with the loss of high-wage jobs.

This is both smart politics and smart policy. Trump voters overwhelming named job creation as their number one concern. So blunting regulations that have crippled the coal industry’s market competitiveness is a great way to say “we hear you.”

It’s smart policy, too. New evidence from the Department of Energy suggests the efficacy of this approach for saving high-wage jobs and sustaining a diverse energy supply.

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A Recipe for Winning Back Working America

A Recipe for Winning Back Working America

January 4, 2017

Congress returned this week just in time for official Washington to digest a famous chef’s recipe for winning back the voters they lost. It’s surprising that this prescient election post mortem should come from the kitchen rather than the green room, but then we’ve all been numbed to surprise by now.

Anthony Bourdain’s New Year’s Day dissection of his class’s  November shock rivals any analysis by Washington’s wise men. Writing in the Washington Post Bourdain blames “privileged Eastern liberals for showing utter contempt” for working class America. When media and pop culture figures “mock them at every turn and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good,” he said.

Bourdain could have been describing coal country when he described his travels in “God fearing America”. There he found people doing what everyone else in the world is doing: “the best they can to get by and take care of themselves and the people they love.”

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New Year, New Hope

New Year, New Hope

December 29, 2016

In old Europe, people ushered in the new year by emptying their chamber pots into the street. Not to put to fine a point on it, but something akin to this exuberant house cleaning is occurring in this town. Men and women with a radically different take on the country’s energy industry and government’s obligations to working people are about to seize the levers of power.

Are they cavalry to the rescue, or barbarians at the gate? Depends on how you view the last eight years. Besides, how much real change we will see is anyone’s guess. But change is in the air, blowing through town like a gale force wind.

Here are some of the changes we’re likely to see. Not all readers will agree with them. Not all we agree with — and not all should be taken too seriously.

But every New Year brings hope – “the thing with feathers that perches in the soul” (Emily Dickinson).

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Stream Rule – Destined for the Dumpster

Stream Rule – Destined for the Dumpster

December 20, 2016

Although bitterly opposed by the mining industry, states and Native American communities among others, the stream rule finalized Monday by the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) serves a very useful purpose.  It shows what’s wrong with this administration’s regulatory policies and the malign motivation behind them.

The stream rule achieves a rare trifecta.  It delivers no environmental benefits, rests on fictitious legal and “scientific” authority, yet will be economically ruinous for mining communities. If the stream rule were a Broadway play, it would fold after opening night.  Given the promised opposition from the president elect and Senate Majority Leader McConnell, that will likely be its fate.

To learn what’s wrong with this rule, ask what’s right with it.  Water quality controls are already effectively imposed by the Army Corps and the Environmental Protection Agency as well as by state agencies. Wildlife protection measures are enforced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Translation: pointless duplication.

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Pruitt Comes to Town

Pruitt Comes to Town

December 14, 2016

It’s been a frightful cacophony. The mournful lamentations, the rending of robes, the wailing and keening over the nomination of Attorney General Scott Pruitt have echoed throughout the Acela corridor.

“This can’t be happening!”  “This” being the election. Now Armageddon is at hand, we’re warned, if this climate change apostate, this unrepentant EPA critic is confirmed to run the agency. The noisy apoplexy isn’t surprising. For the environmental left, climate change is less science than religion. And now an unbeliever will rule in the temple of the faithful.

A less hysterical and more plausible reaction would see Pruitt’s nomination as not about weakening legitimate environmental protections but about curbing EPA’s rogue means of securing them. Whatever his personal views, Pruitt sued EPA not over the veracity of climate change science but over EPA’s unlawful usurpation of Oklahoma’s authority. Nor is he some outlier: attorneys general from more than half the states have joined him in challenging EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

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Today We Salute America’s Miners

Today We Salute America’s Miners

December 6, 2016

Every December 6, we celebrate National Miners Day, a day to appreciate, honor and remember miners of past, present and future.

Despite the key role mining plays in virtually every aspect of our daily lives, it is likely the most important profession most Americans don’t spend a great deal of time thinking about.

A national poll conducted last week found that half of Americans said mining was important to their lives. But when informed that mining provides affordable and reliable energy; the materials required for virtually all consumer products and infrastructure; the building blocks that are key to national defense technologies and equipment; and minerals that are used in medical technologies; that number jumped to nearly 80 percent.

The numbers give a glimpse into just how misunderstood our industry is.

Look no further than recent post-election coverage. Countless news outlets have questioned President-elect Trump’s ability to “save” coal. Yes, the Trump administration has clearly stated its desire to end the war on coal and abandon the relentless keep-it-in-the-ground policies that have been the hallmark of the current administration. This is good news for coal miners everywhere – and other industries that rely on coal. But no one is looking to be “saved.”

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The Interior Department’s Stream Rule – a Case Study in Failed Obligations

The Interior Department’s Stream Rule – a Case Study in Failed Obligations

November 30, 2016

Even as the administration vows to push forward with its damaging stream rule – a rule that puts more than one third of coal-related jobs at risk – we continue to learn about more groups that were shut out of the rulemaking process.

In a letter sent to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) earlier this month, the Crow Nation asked the government not to move forward with the stream rule.

Why? The stream rule seems to be yet another case of regulatory zeal outpacing the rules and facts.

Set aside that the proposed rule provides no discernable environmental benefits beyond duplicating extensive state and federal protections that exist. Never mind that this kind of duplication is prohibited under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. And forget that its only real value seems to be its ability to appease keep-it-in-the-ground activists.

In this case, the federal government is required “to ensure that all Executive departments and agencies consult with Indian tribes and respect tribal sovereignty as they develop policy on issues that impact Indian communities.”
What happened? “We weren’t consulted.” So says Darrin Old Coyote, chairman of the Crow Nation, according to news reports issued last week.

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Thanksgiving – for a New Start from a New Government

Thanksgiving – for a New Start from a New Government

November 22, 2016

Tens of thousands of people connected to the coal mining industry suddenly have something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.  It isn’t only miners that are facing a brighter holiday season. It’s the many others whose livelihoods depend on coal miners to keep the proverbial turkey on the table. Some work in power plants, own the diner near the mine, teach in a local school or provide one of the many services the industry needs to run coal.

It’s deplorable what happened to many of them over the past several years. Partly because of tough market conditions families lost breadwinners, but also because their government – urged on by once influential activists – resorted to aggressive regulation based on real and imagined authority to drive down their industry. From 2008 until the last few quarters of 2016, coal lost 64,000 direct jobs [MSHA], more than half of its power plants (52%) and close to half of its mines (45%).

Administration officials say market conditions would have ended coal’s reign anyway, even without its regulations. Then why did we need the regulations?

If coal’s decline is inevitable, then none should fret when the incoming administration and the new Congress lift the regulatory burden.

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What Wasn’t Surprising

What Wasn’t Surprising

November 17, 2016:

We too were surprised by the election outcome. President-elect Trump’s shocker may have been more unexpected than Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize win.

What didn’t surprise us, however, was the revolt of the working class, the blue-collar vote that massively went to Trump and ultimately proved decisive.  We weren’t surprised because many of these men and women are in coal communities across the country. Hundreds of thousands of them are either employed by coal companies or are supported by coal at railroads, power plants, equipment manufacturers and ports.

To get these people to the polls, the president-elect didn’t need a door-pounding ground game or a state-of-the-art social media campaign. They got there all by themselves, eagerly supporting the candidate who promised to lift the regulatory burden placed on their shoulders. No single issue provided such a stark contrast between the candidates or foreshadowed more clearly the eventual outcome.

That’s why in the coming months lifting this regulatory weight from coal should be a high priority for the new administration and the new Congress. It should be a bi-partisan priority too for three reasons:

First, Americans want coal. Last week a poll by Morning Consult found that 67 percent support coal in the nation’s energy mix. Voiding anti-coal regulations is broadly consistent with public acceptance of an inclusive energy policy.

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A New Administration and a New Congress Means a New Beginning

A New Administration and a New Congress Means a New Beginning

November 11, 2016

The U.S. mining industry looks forward to working with the Trump administration and the 115th Congress on a wide range of issues of mutual interest. Meeting the needs of the American people cannot be accomplished without a robust mining industry. And a robust mining industry is only possible with reasonable laws and regulations that balance costs with benefits in pursuit of realistic goals.

From infrastructure and energy to job creation and technological innovation, mining’s contributions are vital for addressing the nation’s priorities.

  • Improving the nation’s infrastructure and sustaining a strong national defense depend on minerals and metals mined on public and private land.
  • The world’s growing need for energy and our own reliance on a diverse energy supply argue strongly for policies that favor all domestic energy sources.
  • Continuing to raise global living standards and make further progress on environmental and health issues will require commercial deployment of advanced energy technologies powered by public and private investment.

These issues are part of the national agenda shared by the mining industry. America’s miners can contribute much to the solutions made possible by a new policy dialogue. With the world’s largest coal supply and a rich mineral endowment, we have the resources the new administration and Congress will need to build a stronger economy and provide better jobs.

Climate Goals are Global – So Is Energy Demand

Climate Goals are Global – So Is Energy Demand

November 2, 2016

Next week finally marks the long-awaited event.

No, not that one.  We’re referring to the UN climate conference in Morocco Nov. 7, the day before the other event.

For energy and climate policy watchers, the frequent gathering of the global green swarm – NGOs, industry reps, government officials – will hopefully shine further light on how nations plan to reach the climate goal they recognized at the UN climate summit in Paris last December. It may set a course for the next administration, too.

But if the much-ballyhooed Paris accord is to succeed, they’ll have to come up with something more than just lofty speeches from energy experts like Leo DiCaprio.  As they say in the Pentagon, a plan without resources is fantasy. And it is precisely fantasy that is the dangerous indulgence of many activists who do their cause no good by ignoring the reality of global energy needs.  Needs that will not be satisfied by renewable fuels alone.

Achieving the Paris agreement’s goals will require global engagement. So will meeting the realities of today’s energy demands. For the same reason that we don’t look exclusively at North America for emission reductions, we shouldn’t look only here to provide the blueprint for future energy needs. Obviously, OECD countries like the United States will not be the source of growing demand for fossil energy, but the developing world is and will continue to be.

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The Reality of Regulatory Costs

The Reality of Regulatory Costs

October 26, 2016

In a Facebook interview last week, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy acknowledged the obvious: her support for the environmental left’s “keep it in the ground” policy (“I think we share the same goal”), that coal state economies are suffering (they’re “in trouble” she allowed) and EPA’s regulations likely contributed (they may “steepen the curve” of coal’s fall).
Then, like a formula one driver veering from a collision, she quickly dodged responsibility for this “trouble” by blaming market competition. “Frankly, the coal industry has been going downhill since the 1980s,” she told Mashable.

Frankly, this is nonsense. Coal production rose steadily since 1980 until 2009.  Production in 1980 was 830 million tons and in 2008 it was 1.2 billion tons.  Coal employment rose steadily from 2000 through 2011, reaching a level that had not been seen since 1994.  Before the administration decided to destroy it, coal’s share of the nation’s power generation market hit 51 percent – higher by far than competing fuels. It broke records for coal exports and fueled more high-wage employment, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs paying an average of $84,000 per year with great benefits.

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STEYER V PODESTA on Renewables

STEYER V PODESTA on Renewables

October 19, 2016

In the latest round of personal email leaks, energy policy jumped into the headlines with an interesting exchange between renewable energy bankroller Tom Steyer and renewable energy advocate and current Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.

Last summer Steyer told The New York Times he couldn’t support any presidential candidate who refused to endorse his fanciful environmental goal of generating half the nation’s energy with renewable fuels by 2030. The billionaire pledged his troth and money to Bernie Sanders. After reading this, Podesta, like a jilted bride left at the altar, blasted his would-be suitor with words that would give a rap artist the vapors. (Bravender, E&E News, Oct. 14)

Both were splitting hairs, for they share two fundamental assumptions that are equally implausible. The first is that carbon-free energy will replace baseload power from fossil energy in the foreseeable future. Steyer’s renewable goal is little different from Clinton’s equally fanciful goal of generating a third or more of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2027. Last year wind and solar together held 5.5 percent of the power market, coal and gas about 72 percent. So Steyer and Podesta are like two guys fighting over who’ll be first to win the Powerball lottery.

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CAP Report on Coal Leasing Recycles Garbage

CAP Report on Coal Leasing Recycles Garbage

October 12, 2016

With its most recent screed against the federal coal leasing program, the Center for American Progress (CAP) continues to squander what little remains of its reputation for objective, credible policy analysis. Instead, this report recycles politically contrived conclusions based on a deeply flawed understanding of a program that in the past decade returned more than $12 billion to U.S. taxpayers.

Proposing to base federal coal production on the value of “a pool of carbon credits” that would arbitrarily change every five years would simply end long-term investment in federal coal production, the nation’s largest source of affordable coal energy used for electricity generation. It would also end the good jobs that federal coal production provides to thousands of Americans in the coal supply chain and the local revenue that helps states pay for schools, roads, health care and other necessities.

The environmental benefits CAP claims for this proposal are as negligible as the analysis it rests upon. It would lead to no measurable reduction in greenhouse gas concentrations, let alone in global climate change. If EPA’s Clean Power Plan aimed at shutting down the nationwide coal fleet yields a climate change benefit so small it is virtually unmeasurable, how much more insignificant would be the be the climate benefit of keeping federal coal in the ground?

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The President’s Climate Legacy Gets its Day in Court

The President’s Climate Legacy Gets its Day in Court

September 28, 2016

This Tuesday, a major chunk of President Obama’s legacy will face microscopic scrutiny when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit hears legal arguments regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan” (CPP).

The legal issues before the court are dauntingly complex, but the decisive issue before the nine judges can boldly be summarized as: What, if any, are the limits of executive power?  The argument advanced by 28 states and assorted mining, utility, and manufacturing interests, is that EPA has once again abused the discretion it often gets from the D.C. circuit.

Congress never authorized the EPA to transform the nation’s power supply by dictating comprehensive changes to each state’s energy grid. Nor should EPA ignore 45 years of Clean Air Act precedent that has previously limited it to regulating discrete sources. EPA’s authority to regulate pollutants under Sec. 111(d) is confined to emissions within a plant’s control or “fence line;” it doesn’t extend from the fence line to a state’s border.

Not only does this president have a stake in the outcome, so, too, does the next president. That’s because no issue more clearly divides Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump than the coal industry’s future and the jobs it supports, and no regulation will affect that industry more than the CPP. Clinton has pledged to double down on the rule; Trump has vowed to stop it. If the court upholds the CPP, it would embolden Clinton to continue the president’s efforts to keep coal in the ground. If the court declares the CPP unlawful, it could help Trump fulfill his pledge to end the coal calamity that has already claimed 68,000 mining jobs since 2011.

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10 Things EPA Doesn’t Want You to Know About The CPP

10 Things EPA Doesn’t Want You to Know About The CPP

September 21, 2016:

EPA’s website offers “Ten Things to Know About EPA’s Clean Power Plan.” In advance of the Sept. 27 oral arguments, NMA offers “Ten Things EPA Doesn’t Want You to Know” about it:

1. It’s unlawful – Sec. 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act doesn’t give EPA the authority to transform a state’s energy grid at the whim of Washington regulators. EPA is ignoring 45 years of interpretation that has limited its authority to regulating discrete sources within a fence line. It now claims power to regulate a significant portion of the U.S. economy.

2. It’s costly for the country – EPA ignores estimates of $64 billion needed for building out transmission infrastructure to replace power generation lost from the rule – power that could serve 24 million homes. The CPP will raise wholesale electricity prices by $214 billion, forcing typical annual household electricity bills a third higher by 2020 than they were in 2012.

3. It will have no significant environmental benefit – Reduces global temperatures by 0.018 degrees C by the year 2100, atmospheric concentrations of CO2 by less than one percent and sea level rise by 0.3 millimeters.

4. It’s opposed by most states – More than half the states (28) object to this transparent usurpation of their authority to regulate state power grids and raise power prices.

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Coal Miners – From Bill’s Day to Hillary’s

Coal Miners – From Bill’s Day to Hillary’s

September 14, 2016

Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but the former president is without question an inveterate newsmaker. The news he makes is not always welcome, of course, and there’s the rub.

On Friday, just as Hillary Clinton made halting attempts to bond with coal country, her husband blamed coal miners for deserting her and the Democratic Party. “The coal people don’t like any of us (Democrats) anymore,” he said. “They blame the president when the sun doesn’t come up in the morning now.”

The former president’s remarks are consistent with a new narrative that seeks an explanation for the alarming rupture between the working class and the political party that once inspired its allegiance. We’re told these blue collar workers, losing their livelihoods in record numbers, are ingrates. They don’t appreciate all that the Obama administration has done for them. Another explanation offered is that working Americans are prey to what Marx called “false consciousness,” meaning they are easily seduced by patriotic appeals.

There is a simpler explanation for why coal miners and their blue collar brethren are losing faith in their government. Their government has actively worked against them for the past eight years.

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Job One for the Returning Congress

Job One for the Returning Congress

September 8, 2016

The jobs report released Friday ended any glib White House talk about its Labor Day achievements. From the 275,000 jobs added in July, we added a dismal 151,000 in August.

AEI calls the impact on working men a “quiet catastrophe” – “quiet” because few in Washington’s punditry are talking about. “Catastrophe” because the labor participation rate last year among men in their prime working life was slightly worse than it was in 1940, at the tail end of the Great Depression.

If the administration won’t do anything to help create good jobs in its waning days in office, maybe Congress can help working people. There are precious few legislative days in this session – and soon less than a month before federal regulators at EPA, OSM and BLM run out of money. The power of the purse gives Congress opportunities to shed that “do-nothing” label.

Returning members can start this week with a truly bi-partisan objective: use any and all legislative vehicles to curb the regulatory abuse of power that is threatening still more good jobs with extinction.

Here are three places to start:

EPA’s Clean Power Plan – total job losses forecast by 2035 exceed 200,000 (EVA) thanks to higher wholesale power costs feeding through the economy and capital costs to replace lost generating capacity.

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How to Make the Next Labor Day Better than this One

How to Make the Next Labor Day Better than this One

August 31, 2016

Like Christmas with no gifts, this is Labor Day with no good jobs – at least not for the near record number of jobless Americans who want them. Average hourly wages have barely budged since the recession ended four years ago.
So this week count on the administration to airbrush its record and both presidential candidates to show how they would create the good jobs the president has not.

The Left, offering welfare payments and job training, blames U.S. companies for taking high-wage jobs offshore in search of cheaper labor and lower tax rates. But like German philosophers, they are looking to the clouds for what lies at their feet.

Conveniently they ignore the more compelling and surprising reason why good jobs are disappearing: the deliberate decision to kill them. Simply put, regulatory policies that destroy employers also destroy the jobs they create.

A new analysis by the King University School of Business and Economics shows the real culprit has been federal policy, not market conditions, that enfeebled the coal industry and coal communities. The conclusion from the Bristol, Tennessee university, confirming earlier findings from Duke University’s Nicholas School, exposes one of the biggest cover ups in modern industrial history – the regulatory impact on job creation.

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Why Voters May Soon Be Angry Over Energy

Why Voters May Soon Be Angry Over Energy

August 24, 2016

As the campaign gets underway in earnest, an always intriguing exercise for those keeping score at home will be to hear how the candidates address pocketbook issues. These are the ones – not national security, the national debt, lousy cable TV offerings, etc. – that are upper most in the minds of voters.

For example, when voters are asked what concerns them most about “energy,” they say it’s “cost.” Not where energy comes from or what its carbon footprint is, but how much they have to pay for it.

When Morning Consult put that question among others to 2001 voters Aug. 4-5, “cost” topped the list of energy concerns, followed by dependence on foreign energy and the environmental impacts of energy. No surprise there.

What may surprise is that 87 percent of respondents said their energy costs were currently “too high” (41%) or “just about right” (46%). Put another way, the overwhelming number of Americans will be cross as bears if their utility bills rise.

Unfortunately for them, their utility bills are heading up. Blame regulations that have shut down the most affordable sources of electricity and federal subsidies that favor the most expensive sources.  If the Clean Power Plan is implemented, for example, economists forecast a typical household’s electricity bill will be more than a third higher in 2020 than it was in 2012.

We doubt the typical household income will climb by a third in that time.

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A Note to the Candidates

A Note to the Candidates

August 17, 2016

Dear Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton:

If there’s any good news for coal these days, it’s that you both have promised relief for coal communities hit hard by market forces and the president’s regulations. Donald Trump, you say you’ll put coal miners back to work. Hillary Clinton, you pledged to put their communities back on their feet.

The upheaval underway in the power sector and the depth and duration of the regulatory assault on an industry struggling with market competition will make neither promise easy to keep, even assuming the sincerest of intentions. In the past five years, coal fields have lost more than 67,000 jobs paying an average of $83,700 annually with good benefits.

But one thing is plain. No promise of relief for miners and their families is possible without a sustainable coal industry that is strong enough to play a part in the energy transition now underway. Without coal producers, there are no jobs capable of supporting families. And without good paying jobs, there is no realistic prospect for a viable economy to replace the one destroyed, let alone a community that families want to live in.

There is one sure way that you as president could begin to make good on your promise: stop digging the regulatory hole deeper.

Here is a free, three-step guide for your first term to end the carnage in the coal fields:

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Administration Wins Gold

Administration Wins Gold

Washington, D.C. – The games got underway this weekend and already Team USA has claimed a coveted gold medal. But not in Rio.

Actually America won the prize here in Washington, for most regulations exceeding $100 million for a two-term president. With an estimated cost of $743 billion for it regulatory marathon – larger than the GDP of many of its competitors – the administration took top spot on the podium, pulling ahead with a series of late term anti-coal rules that narrowly beat silver medal winner China and bronze medal winner Venezuela.

The US, a dark horse before the event began, nevertheless won by imposing on its economy an average of 81 big, suffocating regulations a year, according to judges at the American Action Forum. The 600 regulations churned out by the president’s regulatory agencies, more than any of its Asian and Latin American rivals, is a mark unlikely to be bested for years, said long-time observers. “Truly astonishing,” said an admiring EU bureaucrat from Brussels. “This is a record-shattering performance that will leave bureaucratic teams from Angola to Zaire re-examining their techniques for stifling job creation and economic growth.”

Accepting the gold medal on behalf of the Obama administration was Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy. Cheered on by deep-pocketed environmental organizations, she led a powerful administration team that is largely credited for shutting down a once vibrant coal industry and putting tens of thousands out of work with rules like the Clean Power Plan and Stream Protection Rule — even as miners struggled to compete with subsidized renewable fuels, weak export markets and low natural gas prices.

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Off to the Coal (aka “Swing”) States

Off to the Coal (aka “Swing”) States

August 3, 2016

This week finds the candidates embarking on campaign swings through battleground states – Colorado with nine electoral votes, Virginia with 13, Pennsylvania with 20 and Ohio with 18.

Another description for battleground states is “coal states.” Like most toss-up states this year, they either produce or use lots of coal, and sometimes do both. It provides 60 percent of Colorado’s electricity and 2,400 direct jobs. Pennsylvania coal generates almost a third of the commonwealth’s power and provides more than 11,500 jobs, accounts for 59 percent of power and 4,400 jobs in Ohio and 20 percent of electricity and 5,300 direct jobs in Virginia.

In addition to generating a third of the country’s electricity, coal also generates some of the most sharply divergent opinions between the two parties. Republicans continue to embrace an all-of-the-above energy strategy, which includes all types of domestic energy, in like coal, natural gas, solar, wind and other energy resources. An increasing number of Democrats are moving towards a keep it-in-the-ground approach, minimizing or overlooking the economic consequences of doing so or the realistic ability to deliver on this promise.

As they approach coal state voters, neither candidate has so far offered persuasive explanations for how to fulfill their parties’ varied aspirations for coal. And the truth rests somewhere in the middle.

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Holdren the Heretic

Holdren the Heretic

July 27, 2016

It’s hardly newsworthy when energy experts question the “keep it in the ground” doctrine, the new battle cry of fossil fuel critics. This doctrine has now become the litmus test for the party faithful gathering in Philadelphia this week. In fact, a specific commitment to keep fossils in the ground was even considered for the Democratic platform (although narrowly defeated 7-6).

So it’s unlikely their faith will be shaken by another expert to question this environmental dogmatism. Even when the expert is the White House science advisor.

In his keynote speech at the annual EIA Energy Conference this month, White House Office of Science and Technology Director Dr. John Holdren bravely contradicted the cardinal conviction of the green faithful. “The notion that we’re going to keep it all in the ground is unrealistic,” he said. “We are still a very heavily fossil-fuel dependent world.”

That assertion, confirmed by ordinary observation, won’t strike most people as heretical. But it may seem so to the Sierra Club and their faction at the Democratic Convention. Behind their reckless haste to shut down coal-based power plants, halt coal leasing on federal land, neutralize coal reserves under the guise of stream protection and expose the ‘evils’ of natural gas are convictions that don’t sit well with the caution implicit in Holdren’s speech, let alone with the future he sees.

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Keep Americans Employed and Safe with Abundant Coal

Keep Americans Employed and Safe with Abundant Coal

July 21, 2016

Recent headlines remind us that we no longer live in a secure world, if we ever did. Whether it is economic security or national security, the mood of the country suggests Americans today have less of both. So it’s understandable that GOP conventioneers would seize on jobs and safety as twin themes in Cleveland this week.

A robust energy policy, like that in the GOP platform, keeps America working and safe. The platform advocates for using all of the nation’s prodigious energy resources – from “coal” to “hydropower.” Relying on our vast sources of energy is certainly one time-tested way of safeguarding our economy from external shocks and generating affordable power and good-paying jobs for American families. An inclusive energy policy also incentivizes research institutions and companies to apply their ingenuity to all forms of energy efficiency – from carbon capture to advanced battery technologies.

An inclusive energy policy also safeguards American jobs, especially those paying the highest wages and offering good benefits. These jobs are capable of supporting families, like those in the coal industry which are among the highest wage-paying jobs in virtually every state where coal is mined or used.

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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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Searching for the Power Plan’s Benefits

Searching for the Power Plan’s Benefits

July 7, 2016

In a House subcommittee hearing this week, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) echoed the doubts of many when he questioned the benefits of this administration’s anti-coal regulations –  leaving aside the legality of them. In a “where’s the beef” remark, Rep. Barton told agency air chief Janet McCabe he was hard pressed to find any benefits of rules, including the so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP), but would welcome “scientifically proven” evidence of their existence.

While he waits for McCabe to comb NRDC’s website for a benefit tally, on the other side of the country, we may be seeing a foretaste of what’s to come should the CPP become reality. California utilities are asking customers to use less electricity and grid operators at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission are warning of reliability concerns. The reason: The Golden State’s pioneering cap and trade program that discourages fossil fuels in favor of renewable sources. Adding to unanticipated problems with natural gas supplies are now nuclear plant closures – the latest announced last week by PG&E – that together are suddenly leaving the energy hungry state vulnerable to power shortages.

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An Energy Plank for Costlier Electricity

An Energy Plank for Costlier Electricity

June 26, 2016

The initial meeting of the Democratic Platform Committee last week proposed a little noticed shift in the party’s energy policy – one that carries high risks and costs to match for the U.S. economy. 

If this proposal stands, it would, for the first time, reject the “all of the above” energy approach that has been the nation’s bipartisan strategy for decades, keeping the nation’s electricity rates among the lowest in the industrialized world. The new platform “moves far beyond it,” said a Hillary Clinton aide and the casualty will be affordable electricity as a central requirement of American consumers.

That’s a seismic change from 2012, when the official party line was grounded in the reality that fossil energy, including coal, must be in the mix in order to deliver reliable energy that is accessible to all. Apparently, no longer. Now, coal will be anathema for party ideologues, as will natural gas, once hailed as the “bridge fuel” to the sunny uplands of renewable fuels — the party line just a few years ago.

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BLM Keeps Coal in the Ground and Stakeholder Opinion in the Dark

BLM Keeps Coal in the Ground and Stakeholder Opinion in the Dark

June 21, 2016

Today the Bureau of Land Management will solicit stakeholder comments on the Obama administration’s moratorium on federal coal leases and its keen interest in hiking royalties on coal operators.

There’s no legitimate reason for either, other than to “keep coal in the ground.” A moratorium threatens jobs and billions of dollars in coal revenue. Total costs to mine federal coal already exceed the costs of leasing private coal, so the only point of raising federal costs further would be to stop coal mining in a region that supplies more than 44 percent of total U.S. coal production.

The administration doesn’t want to hear any of this. That explains why BLM is hosting tomorrow’s public meeting in Seattle, where there are no coal stakeholders. Would you seek public comment on lobster fishing in Des Moines? You might if you didn’t care what New England’s fishermen thought about your plan to restrict lobster fishing.

House Hears Costs of Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground

House Hears Costs of Keeping Fossil Fuels in the Ground

June 14, 2016

This week we heard more evidence, as if any is needed, on the mounting costs of the Obama administration’s de facto energy policy.  That would be its short-sighted determination to keep fossil fuels like coal in the ground.

Today, Wyoming’s top economic official, Alex Kean, told a House panel that royalties from coal and other fossil fuels account for at least 20 percent of state revenue.  That income stream is in doubt now that the administration wants to raise royalties and slap a three-year moratorium on federal coal production that has already declined to a level not seen in 20 years.  Kean supports a bill by Rep. Zinke (R-Mont.) to set strict limits on the moratorium’s duration. Jillian Balow, superintendent of the state’s public schools, warned the House panel of the impact to state education funding.  “Coal lease bonus payments pay for our school construction. Efforts by some to keep our nation’s natural resources ‘in the ground’ present a very misguided and dangerous policy prescription.” And Mike Johnson, head of the operating engineers local, said more job losses and social dislocation are on the way. “I have personally seen the results of job closures,” he said. “And they are not pretty.”

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EPA Ignores What Senate Will Hear Tomorrow on Clean Power Plan

EPA Ignores What Senate Will Hear Tomorrow on Clean Power Plan

June 8, 2016

It took a Freedom of Information Act request to pry real “transparency” out of EPA.  In contrast to the agency’s public utterances, confidential emails reported last week showed EPA’s alarming reaction to the Feb. 9 Supreme Court ruling that stayed the agency’s Clean Power Plan.

“This is very obviously disappointing, and we are still absorbing it this evening,” said EPA air chief Janet McCabe in a Feb. 9 email.  The stay is “difficult news,” wrote the agency’s top lawyer. “There’s no sugar-coating it.”

The agency tried to, and is still trying to sugar coat a ruling that effectively wrecks the CPP agenda. “We didn’t lose anything yet,” said agency chief Gina McCarthy in the following days. The stay “didn’t mean that anything on the ground had really changed.”

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EPA Guides States Past a Supreme Court Decision

EPA Guides States Past a Supreme Court Decision

June 2, 2016

Some state agencies continue to work on EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) despite the Supreme Court’s decision to stay the rule. [NMA v EPA …] Undaunted, these agencies not only ignore a high court ruling that, for all practical purposes, shelved the administration’s signature climate change regulation but ignore also the governors and the state legislatures that have prudently decided to put pencils down until the legality of the rule has been decided.

Instead, they listen to friends of EPA like the National Association of Clean Air Agencies and the Natural Resources Defense Council that ask state agencies to pretend the Supreme Court stay never happened, as if it changes nothing. EPA, also in deep denial over the judicial decision, offers “technical” CPP guidance to states even though they don’t need it.

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Administration Experts: CPP Is Costly, “Stupid”

Administration Experts: CPP Is Costly, “Stupid”

May 25, 2016

Why are a growing number of states – 29 at last count – challenging EPA’s costly power plan? Because they’re persuaded by a growing number of authorities, some from the Obama administration, of just how costly it will be.

The latest to forecast the pain from EPA’s rule is none other than the Energy Information Administration. In its 2016 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO), the agency that has forgotten more about energy economics than EPA will ever know confirms the CPP will not only raise electricity rates but unemployment, too. Thanks to the rule’s major impact on coal production, and an expected $60 billion drop in GDP, the nation will have about 375,000 fewer jobs in 2030 than it would have without the rule. Jobs, by the way, that pay an average annual wage of $87,300 with good benefits.

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Labor’s Liberals Vs. Steyer’s Progressives

Labor’s Liberals Vs. Steyer’s Progressives

May 19, 2016

As greens demanded the administration keep federal coal in the ground this week, the biggest difference between yesterday’s “liberals” and today’s “progressives” was on buck-naked display.

In a sulfurous letter to AFL-CIO boss Richard Trumka, Laborers International Union President Terry O’Sullivan denounced Trumka’s decision to accept Tom Steyer’s green super PAC money. O’Sullivan was “appalled by the decision to pool union funds with job-killing environmental extremists.”

For those not yet familiar with Steyer, O’Sullivan helpfully described the “hedge fund billionaire” as the purveyor of “self-righteous, patronizing, unrealistic, and damaging policies.”

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Keeping Coal in the Ground – What the Administration Should Hear

Keeping Coal in the Ground – What the Administration Should Hear

May 16, 2016

The Department of the Interior begins its listening sessions today in Caspar, Wyo. to hear stakeholder comments on its announced multi-year moratorium on new sales of coal leased from federal land.

This is a down payment to the Sierra Club and other climate change activists who want to “keep coal in the ground” based on two contradictory objectives. They claim the federal coal lease program cheats taxpayers of a fair return, then – citing climate change — demand that federal coal be left underground, robbing federal, state and local taxpayers of about $1 billion annually in revenue and destroying thousands of “living wage” jobs.
Once again, working Americans lose when keep-it-in-the-ground activists win.

Not just contradictory, their rationale for a moratorium and for higher royalties on federal coal lacks any factual basis. Financial analysis of the federal coal program shows current royalties, bonus bids and other fees paid by operators provide taxpayers with 39 cents of every dollar earned from federal coal sales.

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Destroying Coal to Save It

Destroying Coal to Save It

April 11, 2016

On the eve of primaries in West Virginia and Kentucky, EPA Administrator McCarthy inadvertently showed why voters are fed up with Washington.

She bewailed the plight of coal communities as her agency aggressively regulates their primary employer out of business, then offers the victims a taxpayer-funded aid package to mitigate the suffering her agency has caused.

– Her administration destroys coal mining jobs (see chart below) paying an annual average wage of $83,700 with good benefits, then laments the results and growing income disparity. Sounds like the Orwellian logic — “we had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

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Coal Takes Center Stage Off Broadway

Coal Takes Center Stage Off Broadway

May 4, 2016

The value of coal to the economy and to presidential aspirations won powerful endorsements on the campaign trail this week.  Both presumptive candidates for the White House gave coal and coal jobs top billing, albeit in very different ways.  What they left unmistakably clear, however, was that coal and the communities it supports will remain an issue to be reckoned with as both parties vie for the support of working Americans.

Hillary Clinton corrected her controversial “misstatement” about wanting to shut down the industry.  “It didn’t mean that we were going to do it,” she said on Monday about her remark to CNN last month. “What we said is that it’s going to happen unless we take action to help and prevent it.”

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Blue States See Red Over EPA’s Costly Power Plan

Blue States See Red Over EPA’s Costly Power Plan

April 27, 2016

Virginia and Minnesota, two states run by Democratic administrations, are seeing red over Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).

In Virginia, the House of Delegates voted to forbid the Department of Environmental Quality from spending state money to implement the CPP. In defiance of its governor and the president, Virginia’s legislators refused to impose higher electricity costs on the Commonwealth from an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that no longer has the force of law after the Supreme Court’s February 9th ruling to block it.

Thanks to the legislature, the McAuliffe administration can no longer work on a CPP compliance plan “unless the stay issued by the Supreme Court is released.”

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Despite the PARIS Treaty, Coal Demand Will Surge

Despite the PARIS Treaty, Coal Demand Will Surge

April 20, 2016:

Global coal demand is rising – undermining the Obama administration’s environmental rationale for regulating the domestic coal industry out of existence to address climate change. Real environmental leadership would instead advance low-emission, high-efficiency technology to address global emissions.

At the climate accord signing ceremony in New York Friday, the administration and its activist supporters will tout their determination to shut down the U.S. coal industry and defend or deny the related economic costs and job losses. But aggressive regulation here won’t solve the global climate change crisis they insist is real. It only creates economic hardships and distracts from the realistic solution they ignore.

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