Government should save coal, not kill it

It has become perfectly clear that the U.S. EPA’s goal is to shut down coal-fired power plants – whether doing so is essential in battling climate change or not. If it is successful, tens of millions of American families will pay much higher electric bills. And hundreds of thousands of people will lose their jobs, all to allow President Barack Obama to get his way in his vendetta against coal.

The EPA adopted rules effectively banning construction of new coal-fired power plants in the United States. This was done without a majority of members of the Senate, who refused to vote in favor of this “cap and trade” scheme.

Utilities quickly revealed plans to close hundreds of older coal-fired power stations. Most will be replaced with natural gas facilities.

Then, late last month, the EPA revealed new rules that will make it virtually impossible to operate existing coal-fired power plants. Even Obama’s administration admits this will drive electric bills up by 20 percent to 30 percent for many Americans. More objective analysts say bills may go up by double that amount or more.

Business analysts say the anti-coal agenda is likely to cost the nation at least 500,000 jobs.

If technology existed to retrofit coal-burning power plants to comply with EPA limits, things would be different. But it does not.

And that is part of the plan. While the federal government has been throwing away billions of dollars on so-called “alternative” energy such as solar power – and granting wind power operators exemptions from federal laws – Congress has been slashing federal funding for coal research. Department of Energy coal research spending has been cut to less than half what it was five years ago.

Spending more on research could find ways for the coal industry to limit carbon dioxide emissions. Then, a half a million people could retain their jobs.