Hello New Carbon Tax; Goodbye 250,000 American Jobs

My father was born and raised in West Virginia, and is now buried in the heart of coal country. So President Obama’s war on coal and fossil fuels is not only a terrible policy decision, but it’s one that resonates with me personally.

Stephen Moore, founder of the Free Enterprise Fund, was recently a guest on my radio show, Made in America, and predicted that the way the Obama administration is waging war on fossil fuels, the coal industry could be dead in 10 years. He characterized this as a “jihad against coal.”

Moore made the interesting observation that part of the reason that the Obama administration takes credit for the improvement in the economy is due to the enormous progress in ratcheting up oil and natural gas production. With this new output came a spike in productivity, thereby lifting the economy at a crucial time during the 2012 presidential campaign. How ironic, an industry he despises is largely responsible for his re-election.

Now in the most audacious grab of unauthorized power during this young century, the Obama administration is giving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to demand that carbon emissions be cut 30 percent by 2030.

This will be the death knell for some 1,000 fossil fuel power plants that haven’t already been driven out of business as a result of other EPA regulations.

In 2007, coal accounted for more than half of our net electricity generation. Now it’s down to about 37 percent.

It doesn’t take an economist to figure out that when you start driving down coal production — our cheapest energy source — there are repercussions.

Electricity will cost more for families already having a hard time making ends meet. Not to mention the anticipated impact it will have on manufacturing. American manufacturers, saddled with soaring energy bills, will be unable to compete with foreign manufacturers. Factories will close, reopen in another country and millions of U.S. jobs will be lost.

It is already predicted that within the coal mining industry alone 250,000 jobs will be lost. These are good-paying jobs — jobs that are part of this nation’s historical heritage as the world leader in coal production.

Another result of this war on coal is that as coal-fired power plants go offline, it will put even greater pressure on the national electrical grid, which is already showing signs of strain.

What is the justification for this war on coal? According to the Obama administration, it’s to show the world we are serious about reducing carbon emissions.

Yet, according to the EPA’s own carbon accounting, even if we shut down every coal-fired plant in America, it would reduce the Earth’s temperature by about one-twentieth of a degree Fahrenheit during a hundred years.

But the Obama administration cannot be swayed by facts — unless they are facts that they report themselves, real or imagined.

As they stubbornly cling to their love affair with green energy, which has yet to prove that it can handle our energy demands and be cost competitive, the rest of the world has undergone a reality check.

TheEnergyCollective.com, an independent, moderated forum of commentary and analysis on energy policy, climate change, energy technologies and fuels and energy innovation, noted that from 2011 to 2015, Germany has opened or will open 10.7 GW of new coal-fired power stations, which is more new coal capacity than was constructed in the 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“The expected annual electricity production of these power stations will far exceed that of existing solar panels and will be approximately the same as that of Germany’s existing solar panels and wind turbines combined. Solar panels and wind turbines, however, have expected life spans of no more than 25 years. Coal power plants typically last 50 years or longer,” TheEnergyCollective.com noted.

Isn’t it time we took our heads out of the sand when it comes to coal and our preoccupation with green energy options and carbon emissions?

A Wall Street Journal op/ed suggested that in the eight years since Obama took office, he has accomplished the largest transformation of the U.S. power system since the 1930s. The trouble is that this transformation is undermining the vitality of this country and costing millions of U.S. jobs.

If Germany is transforming its energy system with a return to coal, this country deserves some bold thinking that will find ways to use clean coal technology (already in use) to transform our own energy grid.

If the administration truly wants to reduce emissions, they would not pour billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars into failed green energy companies like Solyndra. Instead, they would invest in advancing clean coal technology, which would create millions of good-paying jobs at home while providing competitive, stable energy prices for our manufacturers.

We would become the leader in this exciting technology, selling our expertise to China, India and Brazil, where they are still using 1950′s technology for their highly polluting coal-burning power plants. We could demonstrate that America has the solution to convert their inefficient coal plants of today into cleaner burning coal plants of tomorrow, which would position America as the world’s most advanced country in reducing world emissions.

We can improve our environment, save our economy and restore our energy leadership.

Our future depends on it.

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