“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”
High gasoline prices.
High FOOD prices.
Obama’s war on coal hits your electric bill
Published May 22, 2012
By Phil Kerpen
Obama’s War on Coal has already taken a remarkable toll on coal-fired power plants in America.
Last week the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a shocking drop in power sector coal consumption in the first quarter of 2012. Coal-fired power plants are now generating just 36 percent of U.S. electricity, versus 44.6 percent just one year ago.
It’s the result of an unprecedented regulatory assault on coal that will leave us all much poorer.
Last week PJM Interconnection, the company that operates the electric grid for 13 states (Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia) held its 2015 capacity auction. These are the first real, market prices that take Obama’s most recent anti-coal regulations into account, and they prove that he is keeping his 2008 campaign promise to make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”
The market-clearing price for new 2015 capacity – almost all natural gas – was $136 per megawatt. That’s eight times higher than the price for 2012, which was just $16 per megawatt. In the mid-Atlantic area covering New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and DC the new price is $167 per megawatt. For the northern Ohio territory served by FirstEnergy, the price is a shocking $357 per megawatt.
Why the massive price increases? Andy Ott from PJM stated the obvious: “Capacity prices were higher than last year’s because of retirements of existing coal-fired generation resulting largely from environmental regulations which go into effect in 2015.” Northern Ohio is suffering from more forced coal-plant retirements than the rest of the region, hence the even higher price.
These are not computer models or projections or estimates. These are the actual prices that electric distributors have agreed to pay for new capacity. The costs will be passed on to consumers at the retail level.
House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) aptly explained: “The PJM auction forecasts a dim future where Americans will be paying more to keep the lights on. We are seeing more and more coal plants fall victim to EPA’s destructive regulatory agenda, and as a result, we are seeing more job losses and higher electricity prices.”
The only thing that can stop this massive price hike now is an all-out effort to end Obama’s War on Coal and repeal this destructive regulatory agenda.
The Senate will have a critical opportunity to do just that when it votes on stopping Obama’s most expensive anti-coal regulation sometime in the next couple of weeks. The vote is on the Inhofe Resolution, S.J. Res 37, to overturn the so-called Utility MACT rule, which the EPA itself acknowledges is its most expensive rule ever.
This vote is protected from filibuster, and it will take just 51 votes to send a clear message to Obama that his War on Coal must end.
Of course, Obama could veto the resolution and keep the rule intact, although that would force him to take full political responsibility for the massive impending jump in electricity prices.
House votes to rein in ‘war on coal’ after latest round of industry layoffs
September 21, 2012
WASHINGTON – House Democrats joined Republicans Friday in voting to restrain environmental regulators from hurting the coal industry, battling what mining-state lawmakers call a “war on coal” that just cost another 1,200 jobs.
The 233-175 vote to approve the “Stop the War on Coal Act” marked the final vote in the chamber until mid-November. Nineteen Democrats joined the majority in voting for the bill.
The proposals would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from restricting greenhouse gases, quash stricter fuel efficiency standards for cars and give states control over disposal of harmful coal byproducts. The vote coincides with a fresh campaign-trail effort by Mitt Romney to hammer President Obama over the impact the EPA’s policies have had on the industry. It also comes after company Alpha Natural Resources announced earlier this week that it was eliminating 1,200 positions, closing eight coal mines across three states. The company cited a difficult market in which power plants are switching to abundant, less-expensive natural gas and “a regulatory environment that’s aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal.”
House Speaker John Boehner, in a statement Friday on the vote, blamed the “war on coal” for the job loss and said the House bill reins in the administration’s most damaging new energy regulations and holds them accountable for the economic impact of several others.”
The legislation, though, is dead on arrival in the Democratic-led Senate, and Obama has already threatened a veto should it ever reach his desk.
Republicans and conservative groups are working to saddle down-ballot Democrats with Obama’s environmental policies, which are unpopular in energy-producing battleground states such as Virginia and Ohio. They argue that no source of jobs or affordable energy can be spared amid a still-weak economy, with unemployment at 8.1 percent, and reliance on oil from the tumultuous Middle East.
New fuel economy standards that cut tailpipe emissions — set for model years 2017-2025 — would be gutted by the act. So would the EPA’s ability to regulate gases blamed for global warming. A 2007 Supreme Court ruling cleared the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases under its authority to control air pollutants, but the legislation amends the Clean Air Act to preclude any taxes or regulations on greenhouse gases.
Another provision would forbid the Interior Department from issuing any new rules that threaten mining jobs or U.S. coal production through the end of 2013. The package also would create a new agency to study how EPA rules harm jobs and energy prices.
The measure also would give states broad control over disposal of coal ash, a waste product from power plants, and protection of water quality near mining operations. Also nixed would be EPA standards for mercury and air toxins and a “good neighbor” rule that protects states that are downwind from polluting power plants.
Rep. Bill Johnson, who authored the act, challenged Obama to follow through on his State of the Union vow to support an all-of-the-above approach to American energy.
“This is not about climate change,” said Johnson, R-Ohio. “If it’s a public health, public safety, national security issue, certainly common sense regulations are appropriate. Regulations that are based on fact and science — not based on political rhetoric or an environmentalist agenda.”