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The War On Coal Rages On

- June 2, 2014

Obama Gets His War On Coal, But It’s The American Economy That Will Pay The Price

Today, The Obama Administration Has Launched “The First-Ever Carbon Pollution Limits On Existing Power Plants.” “President Barack Obama is planning a public show of support for new climate change rules that his administration will unveil Monday. The White House says Obama will spotlight the first-ever carbon pollution limits on existing power plants during his weekly radio and Internet address, released Saturday.”(Josh Lederman, “Obama Prepares To Push For New Power Plant Rules,” Associated Press, 5/30/14)

The New Regulation Will Be “The Most Dramatic Anti-Pollution Regulation In A Generation.” “The EPA will launch the most dramatic anti-pollution regulation in a generation early next month, a sweeping crackdown on carbon that offers President Barack Obama his last real shot at a legacy on climate change — while causing significant political peril for red-state Democrats.” (Erica Martinson, “President Obama’s Big Carbon Crackdown Readies For Launch,” Politico, 5/16/14)

  • The “Sweeping” New Rules “Will Ring The Bell On President Obama’s Biggest Brawl Yet Over Climate Change.” “The Obama administration is confident that sweeping new rules it is set to announce on coal-fired power plants will survive court challenges from opponents. The rules are expected to be announced on Monday, and will ring the bell on President Obama’s biggest brawl yet over climate change.” (Timothy Cama And Benjamin Goad, “Obama Confident On EPA, The Hill, 5/29/14)

The Wall Street Journal Headline: “The Future Of Coal: New Pollution Rules Choke Old Power Plants” (Rebecca Smith And John W. Miller, “The Future Of Coal: New Pollution Rules Choke Old Power Plants,” The Wall Street Journal, 1/7/14)

  • These Mandates “Would Effectively Shutter Coal Plants Across The U.S., Hurting The Economy And Energy Jobs.” “Instead, such mandates would effectively shutter coal plants across the U.S., hurting the economy and energy jobs, pro-coal Democrats and Republicans claim. The senators recommended that Obama evaluate ‘more appropriate ways to regulate emissions.’”  (Laura Barron-Lopez, “Senate Dems To Obama: Reconsider Coal Rules,” The Hill, 5/21/14)

As He Seeks To Secure His Legacy, Obama Is Finally Getting His “War On Coal”

“Obama Downplayed Climate Change In His First Term After A 2010 Legislative Defeat And Is Now Seeking To Secure His Legacy On Climate Issues Before His Presidency Comes To A Close.” “Obama downplayed climate change in his first term after a 2010 legislative defeat and now is seeking to secure his legacy on climate issues before his presidency comes to a close, say current and former aides who asked for anonymity to describe their meetings with him.” (Lisa Lerer, “Obama Seeks Climate Legacy As Coal State Democrats Cringe,” Bloomberg, 5/29/14)

Harvard University’s Daniel P. Schrag, One Of Obama’s Advisers On Climate Change, Said “A War On Coal Is Exactly What’s Needed.” “A Harvard University geochemist who serves as a scientific adviser to President Obama is urging the administration to wage a ‘war on coal.’ ‘The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants,’ Daniel P. Schrag, a member of the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology, told the New York Times. ‘Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal. On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.’” (Aaron Blake, “Obama Science Adviser Calls For ‘War On Coal,’” The Washington Post, 6/25/13)

AS THE WHITE HOUSE DISMISSES CRITICS, COAL STATES ARE ALREADY FACING THE CONSEQUENCES FROM OBAMA’S EPA REGULATIONS

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Accused Critics Of Making “Doomsday Claims” Regarding The EPA Regulations. “White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that critics in Congress are making ‘doomsday claims’ that the president's forthcoming climate regulation will devastate the economy.” (Laura Barron-Lopez, “WH Accuses Climate Rule Critics Of Scare Tactics,” The Hill, 5/29/14)

Coal Customers Will “Feel The Biggest Hit,” Paying The Price For Obama’s Agenda

“But For Coal Country, The Rule Is Yet Another Indignity For An Industry Already Facing A Wave Of Power Plant Shutdowns Amid Hostile Market Forces And A Series Of Separate EPA Air Regulations.” (Erica Martinson, “President Obama’s Big Carbon Crackdown Readies For Launch,” Politico, 5/16/14)

  • “[N]o Matter How Much Flexibility The EPA’s Rule Offers, Somebody Will Have To Pay For Complying With It — And Again, Coal Customers Would Feel The Biggest Hit.” “But no matter how much flexibility the EPA’s rule offers, somebody will have to pay for complying with it — and again, coal customers would feel the biggest hit. Utilities heavy on coal-fired power would be the ones paying for credits in any carbon-trading scheme, while utilities with lots of gas, nuclear and wind power would have credits to sell.” (Erica Martinson, “President Obama’s Big Carbon Crackdown Readies For Launch,” Politico, 5/16/14)

The EPA’s Policies Are Already Shutting Down Coal Plants Across The Country

338 Coal-Fired Electric Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units In The U.S., Representing 51,349 Megawatts Are Already Shutting Down Or Converting Due To EPA Policies. (Coal Unit Shutdowns, American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 5/8/14)

  • 41 Coal-Fired Electric Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units In Ohio, Representing 7,041 Megawatts Are Already Shutting Down Or Converting Due To EPA Policies. (Coal Unit Shutdowns, American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 5/8/14)
  • 18 Coal-Fired Electric Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units In West Virginia, Representing 2,737 Megawatts Are Already Shutting Down Or Converting Due To EPA Policies. (Coal Unit Shutdowns, American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 5/8/14)
  • 17 Coal-Fired Electric Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units In North Carolina, Representing 2,198 Megawatts Are Already Shutting Down Or Converting Due To EPA Policies. (Coal Unit Shutdowns, American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 5/8/14)
  • 16 Coal-Fired Electric Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units In Virginia, Representing 2,349 Megawatts Are Already Shutting Down Or Converting Due To EPA Policies. (Coal Unit Shutdowns, American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 5/8/14)
  • 15 Coal-Fired Electric Coal-Fired Electric Generating Units In Kentucky, Representing 3,406 Megawatts Are Already Shutting Down Or Converting Due To EPA Policies. (Coal Unit Shutdowns, American Coalition For Clean Coal Electricity, 5/8/14)

U.S. Chamber Of Commerce: New EPA Regulation Will Kill Jobs And Up Costs

Bloomberg Headline: “Chamber Study Predicts Obama Climate Rule Will Kill Jobs” (Mark Drajem, “Chamber Study Predicts Climate Rule Will Kill Jobs,” Bloomberg, 5/28/14)

A New Study By The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Warned That Obama’s EPA Proposal “Could Eclipse $50 Billion In Annual Costs Through 2030.” “The country’s largest business lobby warned Wednesday that the Obama administration’s proposal to impose new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants could eclipse $50 billion in annual costs through 2030. The new study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce comes ahead of the Environmental Protection Agency’s planned rollout of draft regulations at the center of President Obama's climate change initiative.”(Benjamin Goad, “Chamber: Costs Of EPA Climate Rule Could Top $50 Billion A Year,” The Hill, 5/28/14)

  • “Critics Say The New Restrictions Would Decimate Coal Country.” (Benjamin Goad, “Chamber: Costs Of EPA Climate Rule Could Top $50 Billion A Year,” The Hill, 5/28/14)

The Regulations “Could Diminish The Nation’s Coal-Fired Energy Capabilities By A Third, As Plants Unable To Meet The New Standards Shutter.” “The report issued Wednesday by the Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy concludes that the forthcoming regulations could diminish the nation’s coal-fired energy capabilities by a third, as plants unable to meet the new standards shutter.” (Benjamin Goad, “Chamber: Costs Of EPA Climate Rule Could Top $50 Billion A Year,” The Hill, 5/28/14)

“The Chamber’s Study Says As Many As 224,000 Jobs Would Be Eliminated Annually Through 2030 Under The Proposal.” (Benjamin Goad, “Chamber: Costs Of EPA Climate Rule Could Top $50 Billion A Year,” The Hill, 5/28/14)

  • “Coal Currently Represents Roughly 40 Percent Of The Country’s Energy Production, And Is A Major Part Of The Employment Picture In Many States…” “Coal currently represents roughly 40 percent of the country’s energy production, and is a major part of the employment picture in many states, including West Virginia, Kentucky, Wyoming and Pennsylvania.” (Benjamin Goad, “Chamber: Costs Of EPA Climate Rule Could Top $50 Billion A Year,” The Hill, 5/28/14)

“Consumers Would Also Have To Pay An Estimated $289 Billion More For Electricity And Their Disposable Income Would Decrease By $586 Billion, According To The Report.” (Benjamin Goad, “Chamber: Costs Of EPA Climate Rule Could Top $50 Billion A Year,” The Hill, 5/28/14)

Karen Harbert, President And CEO Of The Chamber’s Energy Institute: “[A]mericans Will Pay Significantly More For Electricity, See Slower Economic Growth And Fewer Jobs, And Have Less Disposable Income…” “‘Americans deserve to have an accurate picture of the costs and benefits associated with the administration’s plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through unprecedented and aggressive EPA regulations,’ said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Energy Institute. ‘Our analysis shows that Americans will pay significantly more for electricity, see slower economic growth and fewer jobs, and have less disposable income, while a slight reduction in carbon emissions will be overwhelmed by global increases.’” (“Energy Institute Report Finds That Potential New EPA Carbon Regulations Will Damage U.S. Economy, U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Press Release, 5/28/14)

COAL COUNTRY SHOULDN’T BE THE ONLY ONES AFRAID: THE REGULATION BRINGS “SIGNIFICANT POLITICAL PERIL” FOR VULNERABLE DEMOCRATS

Obama’s Energy Policies Will Be A Focus In The 2014 Midterm Elections, “As Democrats From Energy-Dependent States Find Themselves Squeezed Between Economic And Environmental Concerns.” “Energy advocates have staunchly opposed Obama’s proposed emissions limits on new and existing power plants, and accuse him of dallying on approval for the Keystone XL pipeline. The issue promises to play a prominent role in the 2014 midterm elections, as Democrats from energy-dependent states find themselves squeezed between economic and environmental concerns.” (Josh Lederman, “Obama Admin Drives Ahead With New Cleaner Gas Rule,” Associated Press, 3/3/14)

Once Obama’s “Staunchest Allies,” Vulnerable Democrats In Congress Are Running From Obama’s Energy Policies. “President Barack Obama is counting on Senate Democrats to help approve his legislative agenda during his final years in office. And though they are his staunchest allies on most economic issues, many Democratic senators are breaking with him on key issues in very public ways. From trade to Iran sanctions, the Keystone XL pipeline, Obamacare, the National Security Agency and energy policy, Senate Democrats seem unusually comfortable criticizing the president, with only minimal concerns about repercussions from the White House.” (Burgess Everett, “Senate Democrats Break From Obama,” Politico, 2/2/14)

  • In Some States, Democrats Are Even Intentionally Highlighting The Contrasts In An Effort To Save Their Own Jobs. “Democrats from energy-producing states are likely to whack the administration’s energy policies and red-state Democrats up for reelection in 2014 are worried about Obamacare fallout. In some instances, the contrasts between vulnerable Senate Democrats and the White House appear to be orchestrated to counter Obama’s low approval rates in red states where incumbents will face voters this fall, congressional aides in both parties suggest.” (Burgess Everett, “Senate Democrats Break From Obama,” Politico, 2/2/14)

Vulnerable Democrats Are Already Distancing Themselves From Obama’s Energy Policies On The Campaign Trail

Bloomberg Headline: “Obama Seeks Climate Legacy As Coal-State Democrats Cringe” (Lisa Lerer, “Obama Seeks Climate Legacy As Coal State Democrats Cringe,” Bloomberg, 5/29/14)

Obama’s “Most Dramatic Anti-Pollution Regulation” Is Causing “Significant Political Peril For Red-State Democrats.” “The EPA will launch the most dramatic anti-pollution regulation in a generation early next month, a sweeping crackdown on carbon that offers President Barack Obama his last real shot at a legacy on climate change — while causing significant political peril for red-state Democrats.” (Erica Martinson, “President Obama’s Big Carbon Crackdown Readies For Launch,” Politico, 5/16/14)

  • Obama’s New Coal Regulation Promises To Have “Major Political Implications In November.” “The move could produce a dramatic makeover of the power industry, shifting it away from coal-burning plants toward natural gas, solar and wind. While this is the big move environmentalists have been yearning for, it also has major political implications in November for a president already under fire for what the GOP is branding a job-killing ‘war on coal’ and promises to be an election issue in energy-producing states such as West Virginia, Kentucky and Louisiana.” (Erica Martinson, “President Obama’s Big Carbon Crackdown Readies For Launch,” Politico, 5/16/14)

Obama Is Facing Push-Back From Democrats “Who Warn That Tighter Regulations Could Hamper Democratic Candidates In Areas Where Coal Is A Major Source Of Jobs.” “Obama also faces push-back from some within his own party, who warn that tighter regulations could hamper Democratic candidates in areas where coal is a major source of jobs.” (Lisa Lerer, “Obama Seeks Climate Legacy As Coal State Democrats Cringe,” Bloomberg, 5/29/14)

  • On The Campaign Trail, Coal State Democrats Are Already “Distancing Themselves” From Obama’s Energy Policy. “Democrats in Kentucky and West Virginia already are distancing themselves from the president’s energy policies, highlighting their opposition to a ‘war on coal’ on the campaign trail.” (Lisa Lerer, “Obama Seeks Climate Legacy As Coal State Democrats Cringe,” Bloomberg, 5/29/14)
  • Several Vulnerable Senate Democrats Facing Reelection In November Sent A Letter Pressuring Obama “To Scale-Back The Proposed Carbon Limits On New Coal-Fired Power Plants.” “A group of seven Senate Democrats is pressuring President Obama to scale back the proposed carbon limits on new coal-fired power plants. In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, the senators asserted that the technology the rule is based on is not commercially viable. … Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Mark Warner (Va.), all vulnerable Democrats facing reelection in November, signed the letter.” (Laura Barron-Lopez, “Senate Dems To Obama: Reconsider Coal Rules,” The Hill, 5/21/14)

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