The Washington Post editorial board has come out in support of the Obama administration’s carbon dioxide emissions caps, which effectively ban new coal-fired power plants.
“In the absence of congressional action, the EPA’s approach — interpreting the confusing text of the Clean Air Act in light of its overriding purpose to combat threatening air pollution —- is the right one,” the Post’s editorial board writes.
Congress has largely failed to act on the president’s wishes to pass limits on U.S. carbon emissions, which scientists and environmentalists say cause global warming. Since the failure of cap-and-trade during Obama’s first term, Congress has been reluctant to take up the issue in any meaningful way.
Without congressional action, the Post argues, the Obama administration must act alone in combating global warming through the regulatory system.
“The overriding problem is that Congress hasn’t faced up to the global-warming threat. Instead of updating clean air rules and building a policy that addresses the unique challenge of greenhouse emissions, it has left the EPA and the courts with a strong but sometimes ambiguous law that applies imperfectly to greenhouse emissions,” the Post added.
However, the administration’s plan to limit carbon emissions from coal plants has been met with fierce resistance from states and coal supporters.
Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to review the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to impose limits on stationary power sources — aka coal plants. A ruling against the Obama EPA could derail some of the administration’s climate agenda.
“It is fundamentally immoral for the federal government to put hard-working, middle-class American families into economic distress. And that’s exactly what this war on coal does,” said Rep. Andy Barr, a Kentucky Republican.
Coal generates 40 percent of the country’s power on the whole, but in some states coal power can account for more than 90 percent of power generation. Furthermore, thousands of people states like Kentucky and West Virginia depend on coal for their livelihood.
Kentucky is the nation’s third-largest coal producing state, but disappearing coal jobs have helped propel the state to rank 11th on the unemployment charts. The state gets 90 percent of its electricity from coal and has some of the lowest power costs in the nation.
However, EPA regulations will help force the shutdown of 1,400 megawatts of coal-fired power by 2016, imperiling the state’s low energy prices.
“So if you want to take low income working moms and dads, single parents, and make their lives more miserable, more difficult, make their paychecks go less far, these are the regulations that will do it,” echoed Wyoming Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis.
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