Environmental Protection Agency regulations could make it difficult for Americans to stay warm this winter

With reports predicting brutally-cold weather to envelop much of the U.S. in the coming weeks, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations could make it harder for Americans to stay warm. According to the National Center for Public Policy, the EPA’s regulatory war on greenhouse gas emissions will drastically increase costs for the majority of Americans who get their heat generated from coal.

Coal happens to be the chief emitter of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, making it the EPA’s public enemy number one. And in absence of a comprehensive energy bill, the agency’s strategy has instead been to regulate and cap its use, which is bad news for the country’s coldest regions.

According to a press release from the National Center for Public Policy, the Congressional Research Service this year has already predicted that the average American household will spend $986 just for heat this winter. As far south as Atlanta, Georgia, hundreds have already waited in line for government assistance programs to help pay their energy bills.

“With millions of Americans unemployed and struggling to keep their homes warm, the need for government assistance will only increase,” said Deneen Borelli of the National Center for Public Policy’s Project21. “Heavy demand and higher prices due to the Obama Administration’s assault on the fossil fuels we rely upon are going to stretch charities to their limits and beyond,” she said in a press release.

Borelli went on to say that “By having the EPA regulate carbon emissions, [EPA Administrator] Lisa Jackson is laying the foundation for the 2010 version of bread lines by supporting efforts that will raise energy costs.”

Borelli’s warnings come on the heels of a major victory for the EPA in their effort to regulate greenhouse gases. Last week, a federal court ruled in a lawsuit brought against the EPA by industry groups, advocacy organizations and states. The suit sought to block the EPA from enacting regulations that are to go into effect on January 2.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, however, sided with the EPA, saying the groups failed to provide real evidence showing they would be harmed by the regulations that aim to cap emissions from large, stationary objects.

Environmentalists praised the ruling. “This is a victory for every American who wants better gas mileage and cleaner cars and factories,” David Doniger, policy director for the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “ It means cleaner air, a stronger economy and a healthier future for us all,” said David Doniger, policy director for the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council.”

Industry insiders, however, sought to downplay the decision and the EPA’s power. “The denial of a stay is hardly an endorsement of the underlying EPA position,” said Scott Segal, head of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, which represents coal-fired generators.

“Indeed, we expect vigorous challenges to continue regarding EPA’s unprecedented foray into greenhouse gas regulation,” he added.