The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Obama’s abandoned power plants

Photo of Ken Blackwell
Ken Blackwell
Former Ohio Secretary of State

If voters knew how America’s economy would look after two terms of President Barack Obama’s administration, Mitt Romney would win in a landslide.

In the 2008 campaign, President Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle that the “notion of no coal … is an illusion.” He noted that he favors a cap-and-trade system, “[s]o if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

While Obama did not get to implement cap-and-trade, he found other ways to shut down coal-burning power plants.

In the name of a rigidly anti-prosperity ideology, Obama’s administration, through the Environmental Protection Agency, is continuing its war on jobs and reliable sources of energy. And like most onerous regulations, the true costs are not immediately visible.

Three new EPA regulations on emissions have been announced. Collectively, they’ll cost American consumers more than $13 billion per year. Also, according to estimates by the Senate Republican Policy Committee, other rules dealing with coal ash and air could cost an additional $90 billion annually.

Obama’s claim to have an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy is a ruse. Instead, his administration seems determined to extend our economic recession, while government bureaucrats find creative ways to make energy too expensive.

More than 2,000 employees of the coal industry were laid off this year, and the industry expects 10,000 more layoffs in direct and related jobs. In addition, as reported by Human Events, leaked Obama administration documents estimate that one rule on water quality requirements will be responsible for an additional 7,000 job losses.

The new regulations are so extreme that, in effect, they require all new power plants to be powered by natural gas, an imperfect fuel. This may make the natural gas lobbyists who work with the Obama administration happy, but the incredible amounts of methane-expanded natural gas would not please environmentalists.

In five months, natural gas prices have increased by 52%, with the Obama administration’s rules largely to blame. According to Reuters data, as demand is expanding globally, natural gas is quickly approaching a price which is $2 more than the same per unit, which results in higher energy prices for cash-strapped consumers who already heat their homes with natural gas.

Even though industry has been able to dramatically decrease noxious pollutants from coal over the past 40 years, Obama’s heavy-handed rules have slashed coal production by one-third. In my state of Ohio, the coal industry has been devastated by drastic EPA regulations.

As you can see from this map, 175 fully functional coal-burning plants are being retired across the country, which puts further strain on our outdated energy grid while putting thousands of employees out of work.

Environmentalist groups aligned with the administration, such as the Sierra Club, are happy to see coal-burning plants shut down, and have nearly 400 more plants targeted. But with the administration’s emphasis on efficient “green energy” such as solar panels, they would not want to see the recent Heritage Foundation study which shows such a switch would increase a family’s $200/month energy bill to $700.

President Barack Obama is playing favorites with sources of energy, while destroying jobs and hurting consumers. America is in desperate need of a new direction on energy policy.

Ken Blackwell was the vice chairman of the 2008 GOP platform.