As I have written here before, the President has been able to effectively pass laws which Congress has not passed through the use of the Executive Order and his government agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seems to be one of his most popular. For instance, limitations on emissions were passed as a set of rules by the EPA, implementing almost the entirety of the cap-and-trade bill which failed in the Congress. Now the EPA strikes again!
According to the WSJ today, the EPA has finalized the
long-awaited rules to limit carbon-dioxide emissions from new power plants that will effectively block the construction of new coal-burning plants and make natural gas even more attractive as a fuel for generating electricity.
New power plants have a emissions limitation of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity produced. This affects new coal plants because they must be fitted with special equipment which catches the emissions and stores them. The cost to do so is extremely expensive, and a pilot program has shown it is not economically viable.
AEP pulled the plug last summer on a high-profile pilot program to capture emissions from one of its plants in West Virginia because the utility couldn’t recover the costs of the program from its customers.
These unnecessary regulations could spell the end of coal-burning plants, which admittedly, is a goal of the Obama administration. Obama is pushing natural gas as an alternative fuel for generating electricity. The demise of the coal industry, however, would be a huge loss of income and jobs for many states, something Obama fails to mention. Apparently, excessive regulations trump the economy. Glad we have the EPA to help us along!