The Obama administration moved forward with much-anticipated emissions regulations on Friday, requiring any new coal plants to cut down on their emissions levels to a degree that will necessitate expensive carbon capture and storage technology — which just so happens to be so prohibitively costly that there are no commercial coal-fired plants actually using it right now. (This round of regulations is really just the warmup act, by the way, for the regulations the Obama administration hopes to introduce next year requiring new and existing coal plants to meet their selected standards — meaning current plants will either need to aggressively retrofit their operations or call it quits.) Via the AP:
Linking global warming to public health, disease and extreme weather, the Obama administration pressed ahead Friday with tough requirements to limit carbon pollution from new power plants, despite protests from industry and from Republicans that it would mean a dim future for coal.
The proposal, which sets the first national limits on heat-trapping pollution from future power plants, would help reshape where Americans get electricity, moving from a coal-dependent past into a future fired by cleaner sources of energy. It’s also a key step in President Barack Obama’s global warming plans, because it would help end what he called “the limitless dumping of carbon pollution” from power plants.
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy said in a speech Friday morning to announce the proposal that, rather than damage an industry, the proposed regulations would help the industry to grow.
Yeah, try telling that to the coal industry, which is in an almighty uproar over their line of work getting picked to be the sacrificial lamb on the altar of President Obama’s climate-change agenda.
In Virginia, however, the national party leader’s domestic agenda is making rather an uncomfortable situation for the Democrat running for governor. National Journal explains:
The state’s southwest is coal-mining country, and many Virginians rely on coal plants to keep the lights on. While Democrats in other coal states have distanced themselves from the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement, so far McAuliffe has been mostly keeping quiet. Don’t be fooled though. As National Journal‘s Coral Davenport reported, this is an extremely important if uncomfortable time for the Old Dominion Democrat. …
Cuccinelli has been quick to pounce on the tension in McAuliffe’s position. “I find it remarkable and irresponsible that during a time of prolonged economic uncertainty, the president of the United States is proposing a policy that will crush Virginia jobs and hike energy prices for businesses, families, and workers,” Cuccinelli wrote in a statement moments after Obama’s new regulations were announced. “The needs of our job creators and families are much more important than special-interest groups and radical environmentalists. It’s disappointing that the president and Terry McAuliffe either don’t understand that or don’t seem to care.”
McAuliffe’s campaign broke its radio silence Friday, releasing a cautious statement saying, “He looks forward to further reviewing the president’s proposed rules.”
While plenty of the more moderate, purplish voters of Virginia are vaguely fine with President Obama’s climate-change agenda and Cuccinelli may have some vulnerabilities there too, the state is home to some major energy interests. That means that McAuliffe is going to have to walk a fine line on his penchant for flip-flopping on the issue — especially given that the race’s momentum seems to be on Cuccinelli’s side right now.