Posts filed under Climate Change

EPA Outdoes Itself with Final Carbon Plan, Consumers Pay the Price

When it comes to bureaucratic overreach, the Environmental Protection Agency just took the proverbial cake when issuing its final rule regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. In doing so, EPA usurped the authority of virtually every state in the nation, while unleashing both sky-high energy cost increases for consumers and irreversible damage to the reliability of America’s electric grid.

EPA’s final rule is the most expensive ever imposed on the electric power sector. According to analysis of the proposed rule conducted by NERA Economic Consulting, consumers will see double-digit electricity rate increases in 43 states if the plan is implemented. These increases will be particularly devastating for the 59 million low- and middle-income families who may be forced to choose to keep the lights on or food on the table.

How else does the final rule affect America?

  • The nation’s electricity grid will be jeopardized. Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. coal fleet is currently scheduled to retire, largely due to recent EPA policies. Once coal plants go offline, they cannot be brought back online to generate electricity during times of greatest demand. As a result, America’s grid, which is not prepared to operate on renewable energy sources, would require an estimated $2 trillion in upgrades by 2030.
  • Perhaps the biggest blow of all, EPA’s carbon regulations will have virtually no effect on its stated purpose: climate change. At best, the rule will reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations by less than one-half of one percent, global average temperature by less than 2/100th of a degree and sea level rise by the thickness of three sheets of paper – all at a cost few can afford.

Because EPA deliberately misinterpreted the Clean Air Act, this illegal rule engendered the opposition of elected and environmental officials from 32 states and legal experts. In fact, President Obama’s former law professor, renowned constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe, likened the regulation to “burning the Constitution.”


Mike Duncan, president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said it best today: “This rule fails across the board, but most troubling is that it fails the millions of families and businesses who rely on affordable electricity to help them keep food on the table and the lights on.”

We will continue to fight until this illegal takeover of America’s energy system is overturned by the courts. Stay tuned for updates on how America’s Power is making sure electricity remains affordable for all Americans.

The Truth Behind EPA’s Energy Policy

When someone criticizes the Environmental Protection Agency, the normal response nowadays is a retort along the lines of, “What did Mother Nature ever do to you?” or “So, you hate puppies and all things good, then?” Yes, I may be exaggerating, but don’t miss my overall point: Americans should feel free, and indeed obligated, to analyze and criticize the actions of federal government agencies. Since our tax dollars fund these massive institutions, it should be expected that we monitor their policies and initiatives, and EPA is no exception.

For the past several years, EPA has targeted domestic energy industries, particularly those producing fossil fuels, under the guise that doing so will significantly thwart climate change and produce a stronger economy. The coal industry in particular has been pinpointed by such EPA policies, which have been cited as a factor in the closure of 62,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity (393 coal units) in 36 states as of June 18. Entire communities have been devastated by these closures, forcing state officials to cope with weakened regional economies and increased unemployment. Hard-working Americans have seen their way of life destroyed for the sake of EPA’s politically fashionable and hastily implemented agenda.

Unfortunately, these irresponsible practices continue to persist in the form of additional, burdensome regulations. What does this trend actually mean for the environment? Will more layoffs, plant shutdowns and intentional economic dilapidation add up to a greener planet? EPA’s proposed carbon regulations, the centerpiece of its climate change program, would reduce sea level rise by a mere 1/100th of an inch – the equivalent of three sheets of paper! From an economic standpoint, the effects are even less inspiring; economic analysis reveals the costs to comply with the plan could total $366 billion, or more, in today’s dollars. Consumers will ultimately foot the bill for these rising costs, which include double-digit electricity price increases in 43 states. Consider the amount of irreversible economic damage these regulations will cause compared to their practically nonexistent environmental achievement and ask yourself, “isn’t there a better way?”

America’s coal industry has undergone vast and impressive improvements to use coal more cleanly and efficiently than ever before. Emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by approximately 90 percent over the period of 1970-2014. Meanwhile, the industry continues to provide jobs to over 700,000 hard-working Americans and pump revenue and ingenuity into our national economy. As America’s most expansive electricity source, coal provides reliable and affordable energy to families and businesses across the country. States benefit as well; those that generate the majority of their electricity from coal pay on average 11 percent less than the national average.

If EPA wants to make a true, lasting difference in the well-being of our national and global environment, stifling entrepreneurship and hindering families is not the right approach. Instead, incentivize existing industries to develop and utilize cleaner technologies. Encourage responsible growth so businesses can more easily contribute to scientific research and innovation. The American people, and their more manageable power bills, will thank you.

W.H. Science Director Knocks Climate Change Skeptics

Tens of millions of Americans experienced last week’s “polar vortex,” bringing sub-zero temperatures to communities across the country.

Much to the content of environmental activists, who have exploited the extreme weather occurrence in Al Gore-like fashion, the White House took on its opponents firsthand in a “response” video. John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, used YouTube to address those who have expressed skepticism about climate change given the historically frigid week.

“If you’ve been hearing that extreme cold spells like the one we’re having in the United States now disprove global warming, don’t believe it,” Holdren says in the video. “The fact is that no single weather episode can either prove or disprove global climate change.”

However, later in the video, Holden contradicts his contention that an individual weather event proves or disproves global warming:

“But I believe the odds are that we can expect as a result of global warming to see more of this pattern of extreme cold in the mid-latitudes and some extreme warm in the far north.”

And in an effort to pander to those who support the President’s misguided, ill-conceived climate change plan, Holdren goes a step further—alluding to questionable research that the “shrinking distance between Arctic temperatures and the mid-latitudes is making it more likely that incursions of that frigid air from the ‘polar vortex’ will happen more frequently in the future.”

Although EPA has made coal “enemy number one” in its climate change plan, the reality is that coal plant closures will do little to address global warming. Instead it will simply increase the cost of electricity to families and businesses and make our nation’s electric grid less reliable.

Carbon emissions continue to decline in the United States, due in part to the coal industry’s $110 billion investment to reduce emissions by nearly 90 percent. The industry is committed to investing another $100 billion over 10 years and supports a slate of more than 15 next-generation technologies.

Independence Day and Energy Independence

Happy Fourth of July.

As we spend time with our families and friends celebrating our nation’s birthday, America’s Power is pausing to think about the future of our energy independence.

Last week, the administration rolled out its plan for the future of energy policy and its implied intent to significantly reduce the supply or reliable and affordable coal-fueled energy is putting our energy independence at risk.

Leaders on both sides of the aisle are standing up to keep coal a part of America’s energy future and help us move towards energy independence.

An “all-of-the-above” approach is essential to helping our country move closer to energy independence.

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH): “America needs an ‘all of the above’ energy vision, not a ‘what President Obama thinks is best for us’ dictate. We should be harvesting and using all of the abundant natural resources our great nation has been blessed with: coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear, hydropower – and we’ll figure out where wind and solar fit into this vision too. We can, and should be, energy independent.” (Op-Ed, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), “Keep Coal In Energy Mix,” The Intelligencer: Wheeling News-Register, 7/3/13)

Senator Joe Manchin joined Rep. Johnson in his call for an approach that includes all of our resources to achieve energy independence.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): “Moving forward, achieving true energy independence demands that we not only start realizing the importance that coal has in achieving this goal, it means we must also stop demonizing one resource and start developing a comprehensive plan that utilizes all of our domestic resources – coal, natural gas, biomass, nuclear, wind and solar – so that we can, once and for all, end our dependence on foreign oil within this generation.” (“Achieving Energy Independence,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Accessed 7/3/13)

We stand with Sen. Manchin and Rep. Johnson in their efforts to move America towards energy independence using all of our available resources.

It’s About Jobs

The coal-based electricity industry supports 760,000 jobs in the U.S. and enacting a new energy policy that puts these jobs at risk could have harmful and lasting consequences for our economy and our families.

It would be easy to see this as a partisan issue, to assume that Republicans are lining up to oppose the administration’s efforts and Democrats are standing behind the plan, but that’s not the case.

Last week, Senator Jay Rockefeller(D-WV) expressed his concerns about possible regulations:

I’m deeply concerned that, in it’s current form, there’s not enough emphasis in the President’s plan on the people who are the backbone of our economy and the fabric of our nation.” (Sen. Jay Rockefeller, “Rockefeller Releases Statement On President’s Climate Change Speech,” Press Release, 6/25/13)

Sen. Rockefeller isn’t the only leader concerned that a misguided plan could be damaging to the coal workers who power our economy.

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) also pointed out the potential impact regulations could have on our communities:

We must reduce our carbon usage wisely through regulations that properly phase in new requirements over time and don’t unduly impact communities that rely on coal production.” (Sen. Tim Kaine, “Kaine Statement on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan”, Press Release, 6/25/13)

The wrong policies could have serious impact on American jobs. Risking the 760,000 coal jobs isn’t something we take lightly. As Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said:

It is just so irresponsible. We’re looking for an all-in energy policy that basically secures our nation, makes us less dependent on foreign oil or foreign energy. And we can do that, but we’ve got to use everything we have, in balance with the environment and economy. That’s all we ever said. … They’re declaring war truly on jobs, on American jobs.” (Fox News’ ” Special Report,” 6/25/13)

We need an all-in approach, we need to keep energy reliable and affordable, and we need to protect the jobs of hardworking Americans.

EPA’s Climate Plan Must Consider Impact on Workers and Consumers

In the wake of President Obama’s major climate plan speech last week, Americans everywhere have been wondering what the real cost of his energy agenda will be.

Virginia Attorney General and Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Cuccinelli hit the nail squarely on the head when he said:

“What it really is when it comes to the people, it’s a war on the poor.  That’s what it is.”

Cuccinelli continued: “The loss of opportunity and job creation affects the poorest parts of America and the poorest parts of Virginia the most.

Coinciding with Cuccinelli’s honest assessment of the Administration’s forthcoming policies was a study by from the Heritage Foundation describing the economic impact of the proposed plan.

According to Heritage the President’s plan could result in:

  • Employment falls by more than 500,000 jobs;
  • Manufacturing loses over 280,000 jobs;
  • A family of four’s annual income drops more than $1,000 per year, and its total income drops by $16,500 over the period of analysis;
  • Aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) decreases by $1.47 trillion;
  • Electricity prices rise by 20 percent;
  • Coal-mining jobs drop 43 percent; and
  • Natural gas prices rise 42 percent.

This isn’t just about numbers, regulations, or damaging policy agendas, it’s about real people.   Yesterday on Fox News Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke with two West Virginia coal industry workers about the impact the President’s plan would have on their jobs and their families.

The coal-fueled electricity industry has demonstrated its commitment to the environment by investing more than $100 billion, so far, to produce cleaner electricity, and the industry will invest another $100 billion to reduce its environmental footprint even further over the next 15 years. This is new plan is clearly about the putting politics over good policy, elevating the president’s environmental activist friends before American families and the economy.

What’s At Stake: President Obama’s Upcoming Speech on Climate Change

One day before President Obama’s highly anticipated speech on climate change, energy producers, small businesses and families are all preparing for the impact of a potentially serious shift in energy policy.

On one side, American energy producers, who want to operate within a reasonable framework, continuing to advance cleaner more efficient technology projects; and on the other, environmentalists and the EPA, who do not seem interested in finding a balance between protecting jobs, keeping energy prices affordable and producing cleaner energy.

Jean Chemnick, reporting for E&E examined how industry and political leaders are gearing up for the President’s speech and turned to ACCCE President and CEO Mike Duncan for his insight:

If the government creates standards that are not practical, they risk not just shutting down existing plants, but also halting the development of additional clean-coal technology facilities.  Taking America’s most significant source of electricity offline would have disastrous consequences for our nations economy.

Energy policy is about jobs and finding a way to produce cleaner more efficient power but mostly it’s about keeping the lights on for American families.  We hope that the President and his Administration recognize these priorities tomorrow when he addresses climate change.

By The Numbers: Emissions from Coal-Based Electricity Down 83.7 Percent

With so much discussion these days about the best approach to reducing specific emissions from power plants, we thought it would be good to take a look back at the past four decades to see what the coal-based electricity industry has done to improve its environmental footprint.

Coal-Based Electricity Emissions

Check out the graphic above. From 1970 to today, growth has skyrocketed in America on three different levels. The U.S. has had:

  • 48 percent growth in population
  • 180 percent growth in the use of coal for electricity generation, and
  • 209 percent growth in gross domestic product

Even with all this growth, including a near tripling of the use of coal to generate electricity, the industry has used technology and innovation to make significant emissions reductions. From 1970 to 2008, according to the EPA, the coal-based electricity industry has had:

  • 56.6 percent reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions
  • 38.7 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions, and
  • 93.1 percent reduction in emissions of particulate matter

The coal-based electricity industry has had a total of 83.7 percent reduction in criteria pollutants since 1970. This is through clean coal technologies like SO2 scrubbers, NOx control technology and electrostatic precipitators for particulate matter.

And the future is equally bright! Read more on carbon capture and storage for what is next in clean coal.