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President Obama “Leading” The Way On Climate Change – But Who Is Following?

Looking back on last week’s United Nations (UN) climate talks and the environmental community’s self-professed “Climate Week,” it is more apparent now than ever before that President Obama is completely out of touch with the American people he was elected to serve. His administration chose to go “all in” on the showmanship surrounding the UN summit in New York at a time when Americans are profoundly concerned about the U.S. economy and our national security.

Even as President Obama addressed the world stage, the potential impacts of his damaging energy policy remain largely unaddressed here at home. President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) repeatedly employ misleading rhetoric about their overreaching and costly regulations, and his entire administration continues to push a carbon plan that no other nation wants to follow.

Speaking before the UN last Tuesday, President Obama chose to emphasize the “leadership” our nation will display by stringently regulating carbon, ignoring the fact that these regulations will threaten American jobs and the economy with little to no environmental benefit. Yet instead of heeding warnings about electricity cost increases and electric grid reliability, the administration continues to prioritize its own political legacy over our nation’s energy stability.

As if the sheer futility of its plan is not enough to stop EPA from pushing forward, some of the world’s largest carbon emitters failed to even show up to the climate summit last week. Furthermore, nations like Australia and Germany have rolled back carbon taxes and other costly policies that hinder the production of affordable energy because of the adverse economic affects. These leaders share a similar view that President Obama just doesn’t get: it’s not worth sacrificing economic competitiveness for costly regulations that ultimately have little impact on the environment.

It is time for the Obama Administration to let go of its blind ambition and recognize that its “leadership” on climate change will fail to produce real results. Instead, the president should take a cue from other world leaders and promote a balanced, all-of-the above approach to energy. Because as long as President Obama pursues these aggressive and economically harmful policies, he will stand alone.

 

 


The Story of Electricity

Yesterday marked an important anniversary in America’s energy history – 132 years ago, Thomas Edison turned on our country’s first electric grid. Since then, electricity has been a driving force in the growth of America’s economic and social development.

The electric grid crisscrosses our nation, bringing light and power to homes and businesses from coast to coast. Coal has helped power America’s electric grid since 1882 and continues to play an important role today, providing nearly 40 percent of all electricity generated in the country.

To show just how impressive the electric grid really is, the Institute for Energy Research launched the Story of Electricity initiative yesterday:

With new EPA regulations putting the future of coal in jeopardy, the question facing us today is whether the United States’ power grid can adequately provide reliable, affordable electricity if coal is regulated out of existence. The unequivocal answer: absolutely not. The continued use of coal in our energy mix is critical to keep the lights on in America’s homes and businesses.

To keep our nation on the path toward an ever-brighter future powered by safe, affordable and reliable electricity, visit www.KeepAmericasPowerOn.com and take action today.


President Obama’s Record: Bypassing Congress Time & Time Again

President Obama has become famous for his track record of bypassing Congress while in office, especially when it comes to achieving his regulatory agenda. According to the Washington Times, the president has worked around lawmakers 40 times this year, and a White House official recently said that the president would not let Congress stand in the way of any progress to be made. Is this how our forefathers envisioned our democratic process working?

Unfortunately, the president’s 2014 crusade of executive orders is far from over. As the administration prepares for climate talks in Paris next year, the president is looking to make a deal that would persuade other nations to reduce their carbon footprint. This informal treaty, which would commit other countries to meeting certain reduction goals at the risk of public embarrassment, would not have to be ratified by the Senate (where it would likely fail). Countries such as China and India refuse to sign such an agreement as it would hinder their economic development, and other national leaders have come out against the proposal. Recently, Prime Ministers Tony Abbott of Australia and Stephen Harper of Canada stated that they will not be following Obama’s lead, refusing to take actions that would deliberately harm jobs and economic growth.

I am beginning to wonder when the American people will come before the president’s pride during his last years in office. Why do we need to pay the price for years to come just so the president can fulfill his own environmental legacy? President Obama can put us on a better track for the future by withdrawing these harmful carbon regulations and sparing his constituents the financial burden—especially when the only gain is a reduction in sea level by less than five sheets of paper.


Message to EPA on Labor Day: Policies Must Create Jobs, Not Eliminate Them

Yesterday, American workers enjoyed a much-deserved day of rest. Here at America’s Power, we believe that job creation should be a national priority, and our advocacy efforts seek to protect and strengthen America’s workforce.

Unfortunately, the Obama Administration and EPA are pursuing a regulatory agenda that will have the exact opposite effect and if EPA’s proposed carbon regulations are left unchallenged, many workers will face a much more permanent break from work: unemployment.

EPA has repeatedly made the dubious claim that these new regulations for America’s power plants will create jobs through the construction and management of new energy efficient facilities. But America’s Power has done the math, and we can tell you that this assertion is simply not true. In fact, EPA’s proposed regulations stand to cause widespread job losses across many sectors of the U.S. economy.

What EPA fails to mention is that these construction jobs are only temporary, and few will be maintained once the facilities are built. More so, EPA completely neglected to address, let alone calculate, the hundreds of thousands of jobs that its proposal will eliminate.

America’s coal industry is a proven driver of economic development in cities and towns from coast to coast. Coal mining alone employs more than 80,000 Americans, with hundreds of thousands additional jobs tied to coal production through the manufacturing, electricity, and transportation industries.  It’s these skilled, high-quality jobs that EPA is going after. A myth-busting study by America’s Power revealed that, based on a proposal similar to EPA’s, as many as 178,000 jobs will be lost each year.

Yet, these estimates don’t even account for the job losses that will result from skyrocketing electricity prices for businesses across the U.S. Under EPA’s proposal, the agency will essentially bully states into choosing more expensive, less reliable energy sources in lieu of using affordable coal-based power. This costly switch will ultimately trickle down to businesses and force business owners to face a difficult decision: meet their payroll or pay their utility bills.

The facts don’t lie, and EPA’s proposal is putting America on a dangerous course toward job losses we can’t afford.

Join us in protecting America’s workforce – visit www.KeepAmericasPoweron.org to tell EPA that you support policies that create jobs, not eliminate them.


Spotlight on Bristol

Our hearts are racing in anticipation of the NASCAR races this weekend. Our favorite drivers and teammates, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Regan Smith, will be zooming around the track in what also happens to be one of our favorite cities – Bristol!

Bristol is really unique, as it lies in both Tennessee and Virginia and is coal country’s epicenter in Southwest Virginia. For these two states and their shared city, the affordable electricity provided by coal has long powered homes, businesses and innovation. In Virginia, nearly 30 percent of electricity is generated by coal-fueled power, while Tennessee uses an even greater amount: 41 percent. In 2013, both states boasted electricity prices significantly lower than the national average. Affordable electricity powered by coal enabled homes and business across the region to keep costs down.

Bristol Motor Speedway may have one of the shortest racetracks in the country, but the crowd capacity is over 160,000, making the race this weekend one of NASCAR’s best! When the sun sinks below the horizon, you know the night race is about to start and you can be sure that low-cost, reliable electricity from coal will help keep the lights shining on the track as all-star drivers like Dale Jr. and Regan speed around the track.

If you’ll be at Bristol Motor Speedway, be sure to visit the America’s Power display in the Fan Zone! We’ll be hosting autograph signing sessions with Regan and the #7 pit crew. On Friday, August 22nd, Regan will be meeting fans and signing autographs from 2:30-3:00PM and the pit crew will do the same from 5:30-6:00PM. If you can’t make it to the race, don’t worry! There’s another opportunity to chat with Regan – we’re hosting a twitter chat this Thursday, August 21st from 5:40-6:00PM ET. Participate by tweeting your question that includes the hashtag #AskAmericasPower.

America’s Power is thrilled to claim Regan, Dale Jr. and supporters like you as members of our team. Like we proudly support them on the track, Regan and Dale Jr. proudly join us to support America’s most abundant, reliable, and affordable fuel source. We wish them the best of luck!


Lack of Transparency at EPA

The subject of EPA’s lack of transparency really struck a note with me a couple months ago when I read a piece in the Daily Caller about reporters being constantly frustrated with EPA’s failure to go on the record when coming out with a major climate rule.  According to the article, EPA held a background briefing call with reporters to discuss the next steps in their regulatory agenda but then wouldn’t answer any questions on the matters at hand. Who actually schedules a press call and then doesn’t take questions from credentialed media? It would be one thing if these were one-off calls, but scheduled “on-the-record” briefings where officials can’t be identified by name?  I can only wonder if that’s because people within EPA are afraid that their facts are wrong or that they don’t dare get any personal ink for fear of internal retribution. Regardless of the answer, it’s bizarre and interestingly not a new thing.

Apparently, EPA has had these non-credible background briefing calls since the days of Administrator Lisa Jackson. My favorite quote in Mike Bastasch’s article is from Beth Parke from the Society of Environmental Journalists: “We journalists are personally accountable for what we report about EPA’s actions. Why aren’t your staff members just as accountable for what they tell us? End this insidious practice, which only reinforces public cynicism about a nameless, faceless, feckless federal bureaucracy.”

Unfortunately for EPA, Bastasch’s piece wasn’t the last article on the matter. In July, there was another story about EPA taking three months to respond to reporters and failing to give an “on the record” interview with Janet McCabe. In August, there was an Associated Press article about EPA’s scientific advisors not being allowed to speak with the media, and having their media requests being funneled elsewhere. It seems EPA doesn’t want to accept all of the consequences of their radical regulations, which includes speaking on the record to members of the press regarding said regulations. If the EPA is so confident that their agenda will stand up to the light of day, why aren’t they letting the sunshine in? Considering the fact that thanks to these ill-conceived regulations American jobs and competitiveness will be lost and that all of us will pay the ultimate cost of skyrocketing electricity prices and questionable power when it is most needed, I understand why they are hiding in the shadows. Trust me folks, that’s where I’d be too.

 


Continuing to Share Your Stories

Continuing with our Share Your Story initiative, I wanted to pull some more excerpts from what you all are sharing on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you! Please feel free to go to the Share Your Story page and submit a short story on what coal means to you. It may get featured on our page!

As you can see from the folks below, coal is more than just an energy source. It’s a way of life: a job, shelter, food on the table for your family. With these EPA regulations, coal communities are being threatened by regulatory overreach and will ultimately be devastated. Electricity bills for some have already doubled, coal-fired plants have already endured layoffs and small businesses have suffered. If you want to protect our most reliable and affordable energy source, go to www.KeepAmericasPowerOn.org and sign our comment tool to tell the EPA that you oppose these regulations.

“I started working in a coal mine when I was 15– best job and people to work with. The only thing that will change from not using coal isn’t clean air– its loss of jobs, homes, and families moving to find jobs, it’s hard to pay for things where you live now and then where you move to also. Can’t [easily] be done and survive with a family.”

“I work at a coal fired power plant helping to keep the lights on for the folks who don’t like coal. Kind of ironic.”

“Both of my grandfathers were miners, my dad retired from the mines, and I retired from the mines after 40 years of service. Coal pays my retirement and now my son is a miner. Coal is not only a way of life for this family; it is the backbone of what made this country great. The war on coal is a war on the strength and liberty of this once great country.”

“I work in a coal fired power plant. For the 3rd time in three years, we are bracing for layoffs because we have to cut costs to remain profitable in Obama’s war on coal. I nearly lost my job in the last one (had to transfer to another plant 200 miles away), and it remains to be seen if I will survive this round. My wife and my three year old son depend on coal!”

“My wife’s father and three brothers were miners here in Southeast Kentucky! Now, because of EPA, our town is dying! Stores are closing. Restaurants are laying off because of so many miners are not able to spend like they did before! Mining was a good, honest living! It provided not only for the families of the workers, but for entire communities! Some former miners are finding new jobs, but they have to move away for them! It’s a shame that a bunch of tree huggers have to destroy an honest and traditional living for so many good Americans!”

“Other than the fact that it provides power, that I am noticing many take for granted. I don’t have a story but I do know if it weren’t for the miners and the power stations that use coal, we would be in the dark.”

 


Advanced Energy for Life: Keeping the Lights On Worldwide

Last week, 50 heads of state from Africa gathered in Washington, D.C. for the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Among the many topics of conversation, eradicating poverty throughout the continent was a frequently voiced goal. One key component to achieving this goal, particularly in Africa’s sub-Saharan region, is increasing access to affordable electricity.

President Obama pledged to boost U.S. spending for his Power Africa initiative to $300 million annually in order to bring electricity access to 60 million homes and businesses across sub-Saharan Africa through “clean energy” and infrastructure development programs.  Upon his announcement, we questioned the efficacy of the president’s commitment as it runs contrary to his actions, which speak louder than words. Since taking office, the Obama Administration has not only vowed to eradicate the use of coal  both abroad and domestically but has taken decisive steps to ensure that coal-based power, which  is critical to electrification in the developing world, is kept out of reach by encouraging leading financial investors to not fund coal-based power generation.

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank said during the summit that Africa will need to rely on traditional power sources to grow its economy, including coal, and underscored that intermittent sources like wind and solar have so far contributed little to industrial development. We couldn’t agree more.

Peabody Energy launched its Advanced Energy for Life Campaign earlier this year, and they’ve made great strides in bringing attention to the issue of energy poverty. As the world’s largest coal company, Peabody understands how vital coal is to powering lives, especially those in less developed nations. This is why Peabody’s campaign aims to end energy poverty, a more serious global issue than many realize.

Nearly 3.5 billion people, half the world’s population, lack adequate access to electricity. Peabody is working to change this reality by harnessing coal’s ability to “solve energy poverty, keep energy prices low, fuel the world’s best economies and use advanced technologies to improve the environment.”

Trying to establish a basic electric infrastructure in some of the world’s poorest areas is a daunting task, yet one that will yield life-altering results across the globe. We must harness all our resources, especially affordable, reliable power from coal. Coal keeps the lights on in the U.S., and it must play an important role in bringing electrification to the developing world, helping these families and businesses turn on the lights for the very first time.

 

If you support affordable, reliable energy in the U.S. and around the globe, take action to protect our future today.