Sunday, June 24, 2012

Killing Coal in America

By Alan Caruba

When I was a teenager, I made a lot of money as a magician entertaining at birthday parties and other events. The essence of stage magic is diverting the audience’s attention from what one is actually doing while creating the “illusion” that produces an entertaining surprise.

While the media was focused on stories last week about the House committee decision to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt and the subsequent declaration of executive privilege by the White House to delay the provision of information the committee had been seeking about Operation Fast and Furious for over a year, Americans were being deprived of one of the most affordable and proven sources of electrical power, coal.

In the Senate, on June 20, a resolution to block the imposition of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards for hazardous air pollutant emissions from power plants failed.

The vote was 46 ayes to 53 nays. Among the Republicans who sided with the Democrats to kill the measure were Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Scott Brown of Massachusetts, and the two Maine Senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snow, neither of whom is a Republican in anything but name only. Their support of the EPA regulation will cost Americans dearly in jobs and the cost of electricity.

The Utility MACT rule is so bogus, so based on illusionary computer models, so devoid of any real science that it constitutes a brazen act of criminality. It asserts that the health risks from mercury emissions is such that it is necessary to impose a rule that, by its own estimates, implementing it will cost $9.6 billion in 2016.

Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute points out that “in the 22 years since Congress tasked the EPA to study the health risks of mercury, the agency has not identified a single child whose learning or other disabilities can be traced to prenatal mercury exposure.” EPA cited the mercury risk as the “trigger” for the MACT rule.

There is no public health hazard from burning coal to produce electricity, but there is a very real hazard when such plants close down and cease to provide it.

The American Energy Institute notes that “coal’s share of U.S. electricity is expected to fall to below 40 percent this year from 42 percent last year and produce the lowest share since data was collected in 1949. Just five or six years ago, its share of electricity generation was 50 percent.”

The war on coal waged by major environmental organizations, combined with Obama’s hostility to coal is depriving Americans of a cheap, abundant source of energy and, last week, Democrats with the aid of some Republican Senators, just drove the price of electricity to new heights. It will close down plants that can no longer afford the cost of emissions control technology and it will close down some mining operations.

As then-candidate Obama said in 2008, under his proposed cap-and-trade legislation “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” adding that “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can…it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”

When Cap-and-Trade legislation, based on the bogus EPA claim that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant” failed the far-Left Center for American Progress pressed Obama to bypass Congress and move the anti-coal, anti-energy agenda forward by manipulating regulatory and executive power.

If there was no other reason to defeat Obama in November and deprive Democrats of control of the Senate, it is what is occurred on Capitol Hill last week while Americans were distracted by efforts to thwart action regarding the “Operation Fast and Furious” scandal.

Distracted, too, by the mounting numbers of unemployed, by the stagnating economy, and by potential and negative news from the European Union and the Middle East, the attack on the nation’s ability to power homes, businesses and industries will only become news when the blackouts begin years down the road.

© Alan Caruba, 2012


TonyfromOz said...


I know this may seem a little shameless of me by linking to a Post at my own home site, but it is relevant to this Post of yours.

For more than four years I have been following this, and submitting many hundreds of Posts on this and matters related to it.

You might think that if this perceived CO2 emissions problem was so bad, then the Government would be doing everything in its power to stop those emissions, and as 40% of them are coming from coal fired power generation, then that would entail closing those large scale coal fired power plants.

However, in those more than 4 years I have been doing this, not one large scale coal fired plant has closed. In fact, the only coal fired plants that are closing are the very small ones, (mainly all less than 100MW) and only because most of them have reached their use by date, which is around 50 years.

Barely 3 or 4 plants in the medium range (500 to 1000MW) has closed in that time, again only because they are older than 50 years.

All those plants with a greater Capacity than 1500MW are still humming along as they always have, and in fact there are no plans to close any of those in the near term, or in fact, even the long term.

The following is the link to my Post with the full explanation.

Again, Alan, I hope you don't mind my linking to my own Post, but the more people that know of this, then the more they will see that the Government is not really serious about this at all.


Alan Caruba said...

Tony, thanks for the information you have provided. My concern is that the lies about carbon dioxide and "climate change" will deprive the US of the energy it needs and coal is an important part of the mix that provides it.

Lime Lite said...

Alan, you are quite correct. In Australia our current government is trying to stop us from having cheap energy made from our own coal supplies by either force-closing our coal-fired power stations, or by taxing it into oblivion. Yet they are happy enough to ship our cheap coal by the shipload to China and other countries for them to burn to their hearts content, thereby allowing them to have cheap energy. I can't understand this blatant hypocrisy.

Steve Hollar said...

There is only one thing left to say about this and so much more that is wrong with America: Get out and vote all these leftist loons out of office in November. Folks, we have to take our country back or it's gone forever.