Sun Tzu famously said in “The Art of War,” “All warfare is based on deception.” Though that sentence was written more than 2,000 years ago, it is still relevant. Just ask any senior White House official.
Those words help explain how this administration can claim to support an “all of the above” energy plan while simultaneously advocating and pursuing policies that negatively impact the coal industry.
Now Americans are faced with a government that so far has been trying a Washington-knows-best approach to the coal industry, with the result being lost jobs and a reduced standard of living. My friend Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works, reminds us that after cap-and-trade was rejected by the American people and defeated in a Democrat-controlled Congress, President Obama promised he wouldn’t give up in his efforts to stop coal development. He said, “Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat. It was a means, not an end. I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”
If you think this sounds far-fetched, look no further than the Obama campaign’s original seven-point energy proposal. Coal, which produces nearly half of the nation’s electricity, was conspicuously absent. The president’s campaign revised the proposal to include coal only after members of Congress, the media and conservative organizations exposed the smoke-and-mirrors trickery.
The Obama administration’s hostility toward coal extends far beyond mere omission. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a full-scale regulatory assault on America’s coal industry. No amount of campaign propaganda can hide that fact from the American people. Step 1 of the president’s war on coal is to prevent new coal power plants from ever being built. Mr. Obama didn’t mince words in 2008 when he promised that any company that wanted to build a new coal-powered plant could, but “it would bankrupt them.”
Four years later, the EPA was working under that very edict when it proposed rules governing emissions from new power plants.
EPA’s crafty approach does not dictate which fuels a plant can burn. However, in a regulatory sleight of hand, the agency requires that any new coal plants must significantly limit carbon-dioxide emissions to be on par with natural-gas-powered facilities.
As a result, coal plants must install technology to capture and store carbon emissions. This is a cost-prohibitive prospect and one that all but forces new power plants to be generated by natural gas instead of coal. Of the proposed EPA rules, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity has predicted they “will make it impossible to build any new coal-fueled power plants and could cause the premature closure of many more coal-fueled power plants operating today.”