Sunday, August 3, 2014

WSJ Op-ed: Obama expects the American people to sacrifice for the sake of mere symbolism on 'climate change'

Pushing Back Against Obama's War on Coal

A dozen states filed suit on Friday to stop an ideological EPA campaign that will damage the U.S. economy.
Aug. 3, 2014 4:48 p.m. ET

A dozen states filed suit on Friday to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from enacting its "Clean Power Plan," new rules that will put many coal-fired power plants out of business. The filing came the same week the EPA held nation-wide public hearings about the plan—including in Pittsburgh, where thousands of coal workers turned out to register their unhappiness with the Obama administration's intentions.

Coal workers are upset because the White House-ordered regulatory scheme will badly damage the coal industry and cost Americans in higher electricity costs and lost jobs while doing little to fight climate change. It was good to see coal finally get a public hearing. The bad news is that President Obama and the EPA have already issued their guilty verdict and handed down the sentence.

Coal generates 40% of America's electricity—more than any other energy source. Its stable price and abundance insulates the U.S. economy from spikes in energy demand. Yet the EPA is proposing to destroy coal's benefits by imposing onerous emissions standards on all existing power plants, under the threat of crippling fines, which is certain to lead to plant closures.

The EPA's war on coal has troubling economic implications for every American and U.S. business. As the new regulations take effect, Americans could see their electric bills increase annually by more than 10%—$150 for the average consumer—by the end of the decade, according to the American Action Forum.

By keeping energy rates reliably low, coal helps give U.S. manufacturing its global edge against foreign competitors. On June 2 the National Association of Manufacturers warned that the EPA rule "could single-handedly eliminate this competitive advantage by removing reliable and abundant sources of energy from our nation's energy mix."

Coal also provides, directly and indirectly, hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. In my state of Pennsylvania, more than 40,000 jobs are tied to coal production, including thousands of manufacturing jobs in factories powered by coal. Federal regulations have already forced two plants in my district to close over the past two years. The National Mining Association estimates that more than 300 plants will retire nationwide due to EPA rules over the next six years. When mines and plants shut down, manufacturing costs rise and employment plummets.

According to the Heritage Foundation, the result of the EPA's proposed rule "will be fewer jobs and less income for American families." A study by the foundation released in June predicts that the EPA's anti-coal crusade could terminate 600,000 American jobs by 2023 while dampening economic growth by more than $2 trillion.

What is the point of all this pain? China and India, not the United States, are the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide from coal. China alone has increased coal production by more than 24% since 2005, according to the Energy Information Administration, while the U.S. power sector's carbon emissions have declined by 15%. According to the National Mining Association, a coal plant built today emits 90% fewer emissions than a plant built in the 1970s. That's not clean enough for the EPA.

The New Republic puts it this way: "The goal of these regulations is not to stop global warming, but to prove to the international community that the U.S. is ready to pay additional costs to combat climate change." In other words, the Obama administration expects the American people to sacrifice for the sake of mere symbolism.

I recently introduced the Coal Country Protection Act (H.R. 4808) in the House of Representatives, a companion Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's legislation in the Senate. This bipartisan bill—co-sponsored by West Virginia Democrat Nick Rahall, among others—would halt new EPA regulation on power plants until there is a guarantee that there will be no loss of American jobs, no drop in gross domestic product, no higher electricity rates and no interruption in energy delivery.

In January 2008 as a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama promised that "electricity rates would necessarily sky-rocket" under his policies and boasted that "if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can—it's just that [it] will bankrupt them." He has shown as president that he intends to make good on that promise by eradicating coal from American life.

He used his first-year political capital to try to pass a cap-and-trade plan, but that legislation failed even in the Democratic Senate. Now he is leading the charge again through regulatory fiat. The Clean Power Plan must be stopped—not just for coal country, but the whole country.

Mr. Kelly is a Republican congressman from Pennsylvania.

1 comment:

  1. And all the while CO2 does not contribute to anything climate related and is measured in the air thousands of times less than what we breath out in one breath.