Death Knell for Coal
Obama Administration rushing policies to kill coal power after Nov. 6
BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
November 5, 2012
The Obama administration is rushing to finalize regulations that will effectively kill coal power in America, the Washington Examiner reported:
President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has devoted an unprecedented number of bureaucrats to finalizing new anti-coal regulations that are set to be released at the end of November, according to a source inside the EPA.
More than 50 EPA staff are now crashing to finish greenhouse gas emission standards that would essentially ban all construction of new coal-fired power plants. Never before have so many EPA resources been devoted to a single regulation. The independent and non-partisan Manhattan Institute estimates that the EPA’s greenhouse gas coal regulation will cost the U.S. economy $700 billion.
The rush is a major sign of panic by environmentalists inside the Obama administration. If Obama wins, the EPA would have another four full years to implement their anti-fossil fuel agenda. But if Romney wins, regulators will have a very narrow window to enact a select few costly regulations that would then be very hard for a President Romney to undo.
The same Manhattan Institute report also notes that the new EPA regulations will not actually cut greenhouse gas emissions and that new coal power plants are clean by the usual EPA standards.
The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy points out coal’s importance to Virginia’s energy profile:
Coal is the most valuable single mineral resource produced in Virginia, with an estimated value in 2006 totaling $1.7 billion. During 2006, about 29.5 million short tons of coal was mined. … Virginia consistently ranks among the top ten coal-producing states in the nation, making it an important contributor to the U.S. energy profile.
Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has complained in the past to theWashington Free Beacon about the Obama administration’s energy policies:
“Stop coming up with silly and unbalanced policies that hurt the ability of Virginia to use all of its God-given natural resources.”
Waging War on Coal
EPA haze plans designed to circumvent court rulings
November 6, 2012
BY: Bill McMorris
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has expanded its control of state regulations known as Regional Haze Rule in order to impose more stringent regulations on coal-fired power plants and avoid the judicial injunction against air quality regulations that it tried to impose in 2011.
The EPA imposed haze plans on North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Nebraska in 2011 and 2012 that will increase energy compliance costs by almost $375 million. It also rejected plans in Wyoming and Arizona, demanding stricter regulations that would add at least $200 million to energy production, according to William Yeatman, an environmental regulations expert at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
“Ultimately every state will face this; Ohio, Pennsylvania, everyone,” Yeatman said. “The EPA positioned Regional Haze to stand in for other regulations that didn’t pass constitutional muster. It is clearly moving aggressively to extend these rules to all coal-fired plants.”
The EPA attempted to usher in new regulatory processes for coal with the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, which would have enabled the department to cap emissions for power plants operating in the states because pollution can travel across state lines. A federal appeals court blocked the rule from taking effect in 2011 and struck it down in August 2012, citing the rule’s onerous requirements and regulatory overreach.
The courts may have thwarted the rule from taking effect, but that did not prevent the department from using its costly guidelines on existing regulation such as the Regional Haze Rule, a 1999 standard that requires states to enhance visibility in federal parks. The EPA allowed the states to count existing air quality standards, such as the Clean Air Interstate Rules, toward its haze plans.
The EPA replaced the Clean Air Interstate Rules baseline with the more stringent Cross State Air Pollution Rule in May 2012 despite being on shaky legal ground. The agency then assumed the authority not only to approve haze plans, but also to replace them with federal plans if states refused to comply.
“EPA has been working with all states to take action on their regional haze plans for protecting visibility in our national parks and other areas. Most of these actions have been approvals,” spokeswoman Enesta Jones said.
Mark Lewis sits on the board of the Central Arizona Project, a public water management system that relies on the Navajo Generating Station’s coal plants to pump water throughout the state. He said the Regional Haze Rules proposed by the EPA would “destroy 65 years and $4 billion of infrastructure investments” because they would force the Navajo Station to spend $1 billion on upgrades. This has left the state no choice but to challenge the haze rules.
“This is targeted to shut down coal plants and they’re going to end up bankrupting the largest tribe in the country, as well as the farmers that use it for their water supply and the taxpayers who use it for electricity,” he said. “The EPA and environmental activists have overplayed their hands in these job-killing regulations.”
AND ADD THIS:
OBAMACARE RULES TO BE UNLEASHED AFTER ELECTION
6 Nov 2012
President Obama has not talked about ObamaCare much during the campaign, understandably because most Americans want the health care law repealed. But just wait. We’ll be hearing a lot more about the president’s signature legislation, because a “flood” of ObamaCare rules will be unleashed upon us immediately following the election.
While Barack Obama has been on the campaign trail, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and her staff, along with those at the state level who are decision-making about the “exchanges,” have been busy working behind the scenes preparing for the “big reveal” of regulations.
On November 16th, the states face a deadline to inform the Obama administration whether they will implement the health insurance exchanges where consumers will purchase health insurance after 2014. States must have the exchanges ready to go in late 2013. If Obama wins and Democrats are still in control of the Senate, they will be sure the law is put in place as soon as possible.
With a Romney win, the lame duck session will not be so lame. Democrats will likely scramble to get all the regulations finalized by Nov. 22nd, which will be the 60-day mark before Romney’s inauguration on Jan. 20th. For the Obama administration, a “finalized” rule is one that cannot easily be undone by a Romney administration.
Perhaps one of the most significant, and controversial, ObamaCare regulations to be issued is one that will dictate what health insurance plans must cover. Other final rules to be issued include those governing the health insurance exchanges, the individual mandate, employer penalties with regard to insuring “full-time” employees, and the now notorious HHS “contraception” mandate.
Regarding the likely onslaught of ObamaCare rules, Gail Wilensky, who has overseen the Medicare and Medicaid programs under President George H.W. Bush, “My expectation is we will see a flurry [of regulation releases], but we’ll see the biggest flurry if Obama were to lose.” If Obama loses the election, time will not be on his side.
But, how will ObamaCare affect the pocketbooks of consumers who purchase health insurance in 2013? According to Ralph J. Nicoletti, Chief Financial Officer for Cigna, taxes on the health insurance industry related to ObamaCare will be passed on to customers in the form of higher premiums.