EPA putting the brakes on coal

posted at 10:55 am on October 26, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Almost two years ago, Barack Obama told the editors of the San Francisco Chronicle that anyone who wanted to open a new coal-burning electrical plant would get “bankrupted” by his policies.  They may not even get the coal to burn, thanks to the EPA.  The Washington Times’ Amanda Carpenter reports that the agency has held up scores of surface mining permits in an action that will get the attention of coal-producing states — and their Senators:

While campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama said his cap-and-trade tax plans would “bankrupt” anyone building a coal-fired power plant. Although those taxes haven’t materialized, the Environmental Protection Agency has put the brakes on 79 surface mining permits in four states since he was elected.

The EPA says these permits could violate the Clean Water Act and warrant “enhanced” review. But the agency went even further last week, announcing plans to revoke a permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia – a move that has caused anxiety among coal-state Democrats about the future of the industry under the Obama administration. …

Although his favored cap-and-trade bill hasn’t yet been passed, West Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin III, who supported Mr. Obama’s candidacy, called the EPA moves part of a stealth campaign to stifle the industry.

“Right now, my belief is that they’re trying to kill off surface mining through regulation what they cannot get done through legislation,” Mr. Manchin told MetroNews Talkline, a West Virginia call-in radio program, earlier this month. In West Virginia, 23 permits are being held up, with other affected states being Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

Speaking of Senators, West Virginia’s Jay Rockefeller is none too pleased at this action, either:

“I am angry with the EPA’s announcement that they will use veto power to revoke the authorized Spruce Mine permit in Logan,” he said. “It is wrong and unfair for the EPA to change the rules for a permit that is already active.”

To get cap-and-trade past a cloture vote, Obama will need Rockefeller and fellow WV Democrat Robert Byrd.  That’s not likely as long as the EPA attempts to hamstring the coal industry through heavy-handed regulatory encroachment.  But cloture isn’t the real problem.  Coal states have elected a number of Democrats, from Indiana to Ohio to Pennsylvania to West Virginia, none of whom will get re-elected if they kneecap their states’ economies by allowing the Obama administration to bankrupt the coal industry — especially through EPA overreach.

ObamaCare has its difficulties with moderate Democrats, but this creates another layer of difficulty for the White House.  ObamaCare would probably pass narrowly in the Senate if it could get past a cloture vote, which is why Harry Reid has threatened reconciliation to avoid the procedural hurdle.  Cap-and-trade may wind up not having 50 votes in the Senate, thanks to the EPA and the economy-killing approach the Obama administration is taking on coal.


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Comments

Given that US citizens travel like water across the various state borders, the whole idea of an “opt-out” is completely bogus, since anyone from an “opt-in” state may try to use healthcare in an “opt-out” state, making this Senate bill a functional reenactment of the “Missouri Compromise“.

J_Crater on October 26, 2009 at 5:09 PM

The Republicans need to get off their asses. They can have an issue in every coal produing state.

From wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_mining_in_the_United_States

Twenty-seven states produce coal. The major coal-producing states are (in descending order as of 2000, with annual production in thousands of short tons):

Wyoming (338,900).
West Virginia (158,257)
Kentucky (130,688)
Pennsylvania (74,619)
Texas (49,498)
Montana (38,352)
Illinois (33,444)
Virginia (32,834)
North Dakota (31,270)
Colorado (29,137) (see Coal mining in Colorado)
Indiana (27,965)
New Mexico (27,323)
Utah (26,656)
Ohio (22,269)
Alabama (19,324)
Arizona (13,111)

Total United States: 1,437,174

patch on October 26, 2009 at 6:05 PM

But, looking for the silver lining, at least here in WV…
WV politics has been dominated by the Democrats since the 1920s. State House and Senate Dems have large majority. 3 US Congress critters, 2 of which are Dems. Those 2, Nick Joe Rahall and Alan Mollohan have been in Congress for 20+ years. 2010 could be a landmark year here in WV. Southern WV is the base, but they are also bearing the brunt of these EPA permit revocations. The miners themselves, not the Union bosses, are spittin’ mad. Mr Mollohan, one of Congress’ 15 most most corrupt, already has a strong competitor in State Sen Clark Barnes. Here’s hoping that we get a change!

humdinger on October 26, 2009 at 6:20 PM

It appears that Bozo has set out to piss off as many Americans as possible and he is succeeding.

He is also destroying the country. Only the rabid kool aid drinkers can think what he is doing is a good idea.

dogsoldier on October 26, 2009 at 7:00 PM

Imagine the ads Conservatives will run? VIDEO of Obama with contrasting BROKEN PROMISE after BROKEN PROMISE after LIE after LIE. They will crucify the radical Liar-in-Chief.

marklmail on October 26, 2009 at 7:00 PM

The tenth and the second amendment are supposed to protect us from an overreaching federal government.

Johan Klaus on October 26, 2009 at 7:06 PM

Guess all those coal miners will be getting a vacation on the funemployment line. Maybe they’ll use that spare time to seek out and hang their union leaders.

GarandFan on October 26, 2009 at 7:13 PM

As the wife of a non union miner I just have to say according to the local news channel, which has a running ticker up,there has been 1561 jobs in coal mines lost since 1/1/09 and it just keeps getting worse.As for selling coal to China almost 75% of the coal that comes from my husbands mine goes there.And mountain top removal does help there is a new high school being built at the sight of an old mine plus an airport and other things also so yes it can be damaging but it also can do a lot of good.

tee866 on October 26, 2009 at 7:27 PM

Smart Power!

Itchee Dryback on October 26, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Time to watch Not Evil, Just Wrong. Although I would switch the adjectives in the title around.

Rambotito on October 26, 2009 at 8:40 PM

But, looking for the silver lining, at least here in WV…
WV politics has been dominated by the Democrats since the 1920s.
humdinger on October 26, 2009

Having grown up there, I’ll say that it looks as though that may be changing. One good indicator is that WV has gone red in the presidential election since 2000. Most people don’t understand that WV is a blue state with very, very red values.

Hazzard on October 26, 2009 at 9:48 PM

As someone who works in the energy sector, DO THEY REALIZE WE WILL NOT HAVE ELECTRICITY WITHOUT COAL FIRED POWER PLANTS?

And natural gas needs to be DRILLED FOR in order to tap the source.

And nu-cu-lar power plants need LESS regulation, not more.

They will kill us all if WE let them. VOTE the dems out in 2010.

dthorny on October 26, 2009 at 11:55 PM

Dig. Drill. Nuke. Now.

Maquis on October 27, 2009 at 12:32 AM

DO THEY REALIZE WE WILL NOT HAVE ELECTRICITY WITHOUT COAL FIRED POWER PLANTS?

dthorny on October 26, 2009 at 11:55 PM

The sad thing is that most Americans today think that electricity is just something that’s inside their wall waiting for them to plug into.

As far as I’m concerned, anyone actively trying to slow down the expansion of our energy supply should immediately have their utilities shut off. Let them pedal a bicycle generator to watch PBS.

TugboatPhil on October 27, 2009 at 12:50 AM

Let them pedal a bicycle generator to watch PBS

TugboatPhil on October 27, 2009 at 12:50 AM

Like these contrasting pics:
http://contexts.org/socimages/2008/10/03/palin-and-obama-on-bikes/

dthorny on October 27, 2009 at 4:24 AM

Rockefeller, Byrd, et.al. – own it, B!TCHES…

Wanderlust on October 27, 2009 at 6:21 AM

If it looks like a tax, walks like a tax and quacks like a tax…guess what.

Same thing with healthcare reform. Four years of taxes before any benefits show up.

This is not rocket science.

.

percysunshine on October 27, 2009 at 6:36 AM

All of the states that produce coal and voted for Obama you reap what you sow. You all wanted the hope and change and now you got it….live with it now. Oh, and by the way, thanks a lot for making the rest of us pay for your screw-up!!!!

yoda on October 27, 2009 at 7:15 AM

This single policy plank will cost the democrats Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee.

In other words, every state they gained in the last Presidential election cycle.

Opportunity Costs on October 27, 2009 at 7:44 AM

Ojesus wants us all to convert to electric cars, while at the same time taking measures to ensure electric shortages and extremely high costs.

Thanks for nothing, Jug-eared Jesus. Why do you hate Americans so?

hillbillyjim on October 27, 2009 at 8:28 AM

…and Barney Frank et al will be riding their bicycles to work.

Riiiiighhhht.

Saltysam on October 27, 2009 at 8:38 AM

Coal states have elected a number of Democrats, from Indiana to Ohio to Pennsylvania to West Virginia, none of whom will get re-elected if…

That’s the silver lining. Cap-n-trade wouldn’t be totally bad if it caused them all to be voted out and then we revoked cap-n-trade altogether.

petefrt on October 27, 2009 at 9:05 AM

Frog and the scorpion anyone?

larvcom on October 27, 2009 at 9:36 AM

…and Barney Frank et al will be riding their bicycles to work.

Riiiiighhhht.

Saltysam on October 27, 2009 at 8:38 AM

To tweak the song a bit, “Fat-bottomed BOYS (?), get on your bikes and ride…”

onlineanalyst on October 27, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Thank you Big Brother Barack, for destroying my country. I really appreciate it. No second term for you, commie….

adamsmith on October 27, 2009 at 11:26 AM

***
Comrade Obama (PBUH) has been quite open with his plans to change the U.S.A. into the new United Socialist States of Amerikka. C(R)AP and TAX and the shutdown of the coal industry will move him closer to taking over (aka “socializing”) our economy.
***
And the Messiah and EPA are going to start on it with winter coming on! Brilliant plan!
***
John Bibb
***

rocketman on October 27, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Insane.
Another reason why there are no new refineries.
Dams were dismantled to save the fish, though fish ladders help them spawn.
Coal is cheap & can be clean.
Some of it is clean enough to be burned straight away-i.e. Powder River coal.
The EPA is going to have a lot of problems in regulating all of this, as well as the DUST they say is now a pollutant that needs to be regulated.
Insanity.

Badger40 on October 27, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Well, Obama has finally done a second thing that I like. This so-called “mining” is leveling the state of West Virginia and putting heavy metal into its streams. I’m quite shocked because I had presumed that Obama was totally bought out by the coal industry–despite his efforts on “cap and trade”. I hope he’s able to bankrupt this evil industry before he is voted out of office in 2012.

thuja on October 27, 2009 at 5:24 PM

China is building a coal fired electric plant every week…All of the BRIC nations, Brazil, Russia, India, and China are racing ahead to secure energy for the future, most of which is coal and oil…We on the other hand are not even in the race…Our leadership are wringing their hands about global warming and doing everything in their power to prevent our gaining energy independance…Note to Obama-mao: We are not going to get there from here on your present course…Windmills and sundials are a romantic vision but they are of no practical value to us given the amount of energy required to drive the world’s largest economy…We need coal, oil, gas, nuclear, and lots of it, fast…Or, we will continue to squander national treasure importing oil from our enemies who look forward to $150 bbl oil and higher in the near future.

Nozzle on October 27, 2009 at 7:04 PM

Eat it.

DJ Rick on October 26, 2009 at 4:32 PM

The effects of this will hurt people way beyond those in coal-producing states who voted in the Dems in their states.

NightmareOnKStreet on October 28, 2009 at 1:15 AM

DO THEY REALIZE WE WILL NOT HAVE ELECTRICITY WITHOUT COAL FIRED POWER PLANTS?

dthorny on October 26, 2009 at 11:55 PM

They may be their plan.

NightmareOnKStreet on October 28, 2009 at 1:17 AM

DO THEY REALIZE WE WILL NOT HAVE ELECTRICITY WITHOUT COAL FIRED POWER PLANTS?

dthorny on October 26, 2009 at 11:55 PM
They may be their plan.

NightmareOnKStreet on October 28, 2009 at 1:17 AM

Of course that is their plan. Asinine is still asinine. Explains their reason of hurry, hurry, hurry. They need EVERYTHING passed NOW before we can overturn all their stupidity in 2010.

dthorny on October 28, 2009 at 7:19 AM

We need coal, oil, gas, nuclear, and lots of it, fast…Or, we will continue to squander national treasure importing oil from our enemies who look forward to $150 bbl oil and higher in the near future.

Nozzle on October 27, 2009 at 7:04 PM

They have no clue what products we get from oil:

http://www.saskschools.ca/~carnduffelem/oilpages/uses.htm

Pathetic. I’m sure the world loves us more now as in how can we be so naive?

dthorny on October 28, 2009 at 7:26 AM