Jim's Blog

The President Wants to End the Coal Industry

by Rep. Jim Bridenstine

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Washington D.C., March 14, 2014 | comments
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During his presidential run in 2008, then-Candidate Barack Obama made a campaign promise to the San Francisco Chronicle.  He said: ñSo if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. ItÍs just that it will bankrupt them.î  So far, the President and his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are making good on his campaign promise to kill coal. 

This week, I questioned EPA Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe on the scientific basis for the AgencyÍs proposed regulations for new coal-fired power plants.  The EPAÍs recent proposed rule _ so-called New Source Performance Standards _ represents yet another campaign in the Obama AdministrationÍs War on Coal. In reality, the administrationÍs initiative equates to a War on the Poor because poor people suffer disproportionately from higher energy prices caused by overregulation and bureaucratic nonsense.

Under the EPAÍs proposal, any new coal-fired plant must use so-called Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) technology to limit carbon dioxide emissions.  HereÍs the problem.  EPA is forcing utilities to use an immature technology that is not demonstrated on a commercial scale.  EPA points to four experimental plants as evidence that CSS works.  The EPA is playing games.  Only one plant actually captures C02.  The three US-based plants are heavily subsidized by US taxpayers.  None has demonstrated the full CCS cycle _ from capturing CO2 emissions, transporting the gas, to pumping it underground.  Therefore, the EPA has no basis _ other than anti-coal ideology _ to say that CCS is adequately demonstrated.          

Does this story get any worse?  Unfortunately, the answer is yes.  The EPA admits in its Regulatory Impact Assessment that utilities would naturally lower CO2 emissions without any further regulation of its business and customers.  All EPA needs to do is get out of the way and let utilities make decisions in the best interest of the business and consumers. 

Please watch my discussion with EPA below.  Administrator McCabe admits that EPA ignored the advice of its own Scientific Advisory Board to generate these new regulations. 

Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced an investigation into EPA regarding its misguided new regulations for coal-fired power plants.  I look forward to supporting CongressÍs investigation of EPA.  After this weekÍs hearing, IÍm convinced the EPA is engaged in ñpicking winnersî based on anti-fossil fuel ideology.  In reality, the EPA is "picking losers" by working to eliminate a stable and abundant source of power _ coal _ from the US energy portfolio.

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