Last month, a group of West Virginia leaders, including Governor Tomblin and Senator Manchin, had a much-ballyhooed meeting at the White House with the EPA’s new administrator Gina McCarthy.
The members of the delegation got a chance to speak their minds about what they believe is a “war on coal” by the EPA. By all accounts, McCarthy was attentive, taking notes and asking questions.
That was quite a shift from McCarthy’s predecessor, Lisa Jackson, who couldn’t be bothered with complaints from coal country. But as it turns out, the difference between the two is in style, but not substance.
Within a few days the EPA will release its new rules on power plant emissions and, according to the Wall Street Journal, coal takes it on the chin. The Journal quotes a person familiar with the proposed regulations as saying the new limits will ban new coal-fired power plants.
The agency plans to accomplish its goal by setting carbon emission levels so low that coal power plants would have to install expensive and unproven carbon-capture technology to meet the standards.
“If reports are true, the EPA is set to issue a rule that will completely halt the development of new coal-fueled plants by requiring they meet unachievable carbon standards,” said Mike Duncan, President of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.
And this is just part of that plan, according to Scott Segal, an attorney for the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council.
“The bottom line is, the EPA is taking a very, very aggressive approach,” Segal said on Metronews Talkline Thursday. “It’s sort of the tip of the spear for the Administration’s general plans to address carbon emissions.”
Next year, the EPA will release its new rules for existing power plants. There’s no reason to believe those rules will be any less hostile to coal, which still fuels 39 percent of the electricity generated in this country.
These EPA actions will wreck West Virginia’s economy, which depends heavily on the coal industry for good jobs and tax revenue. Yes, coal will still be exported to countries that value economic growth over environmental zealotry, but if the EPA succeeds, the domestic market will eventually dry up.
None of this is surprising. The Obama Administration and its EPA have consistently pushed for the elimination of coal as an energy source to satisfy its climate change agenda.
Administration officials have frequently let their true intent slip at candid moments, only to then return to the falsity that they favor an “all of the above” strategy when it comes to energy.
Perhaps we were better off when the caustic Jackson was in charge. At least then the hostility toward coal was evident. With McCarthy, West Virginia and the rest of coal country still gets the shaft. The only difference is it includes a congenial trip to the White House and the jotting of notes.