UNITED STATES: POLITICS: POLITICAL PARTIES: REPUBLICAN PARTY, TEA PARTY : INDUSTRIES: PETROLEUM : LIBERTARIANISM : ENVIRONMENT: ATMOSPHERE AIR QUALITY AND AIR POLUTION : ENVIRONMENT: GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE: CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL : INDUSTRIES: COAL: Attacking Obama's Climate Plan Won't Save America's Dying Coal Industry
David P. Dillard
UNITED STATES: POLITICS: POLITICAL PARTIES: REPUBLICAN PARTY, TEA PARTY :
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Attacking Obama's Climate Plan Won't Save America's Dying Coal Industry
Attacking Obama's Climate Plan
Won't Save America's Dying Coal Industry
By Rebecca Leber
August 4, 2015
A shorter URL for the above link:
For years, Republicans have attacked President Barack Obama for waging a war on coal. In fact, for much of the Environmental Protection Agencys existence, theyve offered doomsday predictions that any regulations on coal would make the lights go out. It was little surprise, then, that on Monday, minutes before Obama entered the East Room of the White House to lay out his historic plan to rein in carbon emissions from power plants, Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to castigate the proposal.
I am not going to sit by while the White House takes aim at the lifeblood of our states economy, the Kentucky senator said. The new regulations, he argued, would mean fewer jobs, shuttered power plants, and higher electricity costs for families and businesses.
McConnell vowed to fight the Clean Power Plan, which requires a 32-percent cut in power plant pollution over 2005 levels by 2030, with all the tools at his disposalfrom legislative maneuvers to lawsuits. And he's supported by the fossil fuel industry, which has predictably piled on to the criticism.
The Environmental Protection Agency " is pursuing an illegal plan that will drive up electricity costs and put people out of work," Mike Duncan, the president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, said in a statement on Sunday, after details of Obama's plan were teased. The country's largest privately held coal company, Murray Energy, promised to file multiple lawsuits against the new rule.
Reaction from the oil and gas industry has been more mixed. The American Petroleum Institute said in a statement that it opposes the rule because it oversteps the authority given to the EPA under the Clean Air Act. Even as it registered its complaint, the oil lobby tellingly didn't pledge to fight the proposal. And the plan gives natural gas a boost, even if it isnt as much as the industry would like. "We are confident about the role that natural gas can and will play in America's clean power future," Americas Natural Gas Alliance commented.
In 2008, when Obama took office, almost 18,000 coal miners were employed in Kentucky, 14,000 of them in Eastern Kentucky. Today, fewer than 6,000 miners remain in the region. Yet the real cause of the industry's decline isn't Obama. It's the free market that Republicans love to embrace. As renewables and natural gas have driven coal prices down, coal jobs have shifted away from Central Appalachia, where coal is more expensive, to Wyoming, where it is cheaper to mine. Mining coal is simply no longer an economically viable option in Kentucky.
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