For those with short memories:
That was way back in 2008 when President Obama was merely a candidate. Five years later, his dreams of bankrupting coal are getting taken up a notch.
Tomorrow, Dear Leader is set to unveil a regulation that forms the centerpiece of his "anti-climate change" policy announced awhile back to much green fawning.
Yes, you read that right.
Now, of course, the regulation will not actually say "no one may ever again construct a power plant that burns coal to produce electricity anywhere in the United States of America." Instead, it will just say you can't build anything in future that emits more than a certain amount of greenhouse gas and then set a really low number that is commercially untenable as the relevant highest amount that can be emitted in order for a plant to be legally constructed.
From the Wall Street Journal:
But a person who has seen a recent version of the revised rule said it would propose an emissions limit of 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour for coal plants and 1,000 pounds per megawatt hour for large gas-fired plants. Last year's version was only slightly different, setting a 1,000-pound limit for both types of plants.
The person and others briefed on the rule said such stringent limits would ban new coal plants, which generally release about twice as much carbon dioxide as the proposed limits. Even the newest, most advanced coal-fired power plants in the world would fall far short of that revised standard, they said.
The only way coal plants could comply is to capture carbon-dioxide emissions and stick them underground—a costly process that hasn't been demonstrated at commercial scale before.
"This shows the administration discounts and does not appreciate the value of coal and how it can serve the country. You're impairing the backbone of the power grid," said Hal Quinn, chief executive of the National Mining Association, an industry trade group.
Utilities and manufacturers also worry the new rules could lead to an electricity supply crunch or rising prices for consumers. "For the first time ever, EPA is becoming a regulator of energy. The rule they're putting out there is going to force choices as to which energy you use, and that's a very disturbing concept for manufacturers, for businesses, for anybody that has to comply with these laws," said Ross Eisenberg, the vice president for energy policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group.
The Obama administration says this is all fine because there is one-- yes, one-- coal-fired power plant in America that could arguably meet this standard. Experts say that power plant is an isolated instance and that its construction couldn't be replicated. But never mind that.
Obviously, this move should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, given Obama's promise back in 2008 to bankrupt anyone who wanted to produce electricity from coal.
However, a bunch of Democrats from coal states are up in arms. I guess they just never thought that the leader of their party was serious about instituting a plan that would basically put vast numbers of their constituents out of work, or raise electricity prices by as much as 80%.
It also should surprise no one, especially the geniuses who crafted this regulation, that unless Obama has a last-minute reversal tonight, there's going to be plenty of litigation and legislative action to try to block this. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and other House Republicans are "prepping a bill that would limit new EPA carbon dioxide controls on power plants."
But wait, there's more! Again, from the Journal:
The rule is also a crucial stepping-stone for the Obama administration's next big environmental project, emissions standards for the fleet of existing power plants. Mr. Obama has told the EPA to produce those standards by June 2014.
Great… so maybe all our existing coal-fired power plants will be next. Who's ready for some skyrocketing electricity bills?