Monday, April 2, 2012

The Fix Is In—No More Coal Plants

The Environmental Protection Agency has issued its first major manifesto since receiving the power to regulate CO2 emissions. And surprise, surprise, it’s aimed at the coal power industry. The crippling new rules would essentially make it impossible for new coal-fueled energy plants to be built.

The coal companies could comply with the rules, but the costs would be astronomical in order to contain CO2 at the levels the EPA wants. Simply put, it’s technically viable, but economically impossible.

Amid huge photos of black smoke-belching chimneys (mostly from pre-1950), the EPA announced the new standards. New power plants would be required to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity. Today’s more modern plants produce about 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour. But using the junk science of anthropomorphic global warming which declares that carbon dioxide causes that warming, the EPA has set an arbitrary figure that nobody can either prove or disprove. It’s the right number because the bureaucrats say it is.

Natural gas plants already produce the lower level of emissions, but their day has not yet arrived. So far, the Obama administration has been able to keep them in check by denying permits for more drilling, particularly when “fracking” is involved. But currently, coal is the big banana for most of the American Midwest, and therefore the big target for the EPA.

Failing to get Congress to pass Cap and Trade legislation (aka the Al Gore Enrichment Program), the Obama administration is instead using another bureaucratic ploy to end-run the Constitution while advancing its own “green” agenda. If they can’t outright ban coal use, or force a chimerical system of offsets on the American public and the coal producers, they’ll just regulate coal to death under the guise of saving the industry via “carbon capture technology.”

Carbon capture is a simple concept, a complicated technology, and massively expensive. But, gee, it would help get some of that CO2 out of the air, so the EPA is only doing it for the public good. The result for the coal energy plants is one of two alternatives: Install the capture technology at their own expense and absorb the ongoing costs. That alternative leads quickly to bankruptcy. The other alternative (the one the administration is hoping for) is to pass the costs on to the consumers, making energy prices so high that the consumers will vilify the coal energy producers (without noticing who caused it in the first place).

What coal capture does is to store much of the carbon dioxide emissions in the ground instead of releasing it into the air. It’s a win-win for the green weenies. If the producers go forward with the technology, prices will rise dramatically and coal loses. If they instead release the CO2 into the air, they will be fined and ultimately forced into some arcane version of cap and trade. Coal loses. It won’t hurt the rich (it never does), but the poor and middle class will have an even greater daily burden placed on them to go with the skyrocketing cost of gasoline.

The coal industry was already limping along as the result of other heavy-handed EPA regulations regarding SO2 and mercury emissions. With the addition of CO2 to the list of prohibited or regulated emissions, the limp will turn into a complete collapse. And all of this stems from the EPA’s and the Obama administration’s inchoate search for perfectly clean energy to replace reasonably safe and acceptable energy. The former is years or decades away from being practical, the latter is already with us, but about to be destroyed.

To deflect public anger if it closed down all coal-fired energy plants immediately, the EPA has said it is only concerned with new facilities. That goes with the other two great lies: “The check is in the mail, and I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” In fact, at a Congressional committee hearing on the subject, the assistant administrator for EPA’s air and radiation unit said expressly that “the agency has no plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions for existing plants.” That, and $5.00 will get you a gallon of gasoline.

The EPA wrote a cute little escape clause for itself. Knowing full well that any plant that produces energy by using heat is going to have to repair its machinery regularly, it gave itself the power to declare any major repair an “upgrade,” thereby requiring that the older plants comply with the new rules. Naturally, they left it to their own determination what comprises a repair and what comprises an upgrade. Get it? Even the older plants have a very short lease on life.

Despite his idiotic grin, and recent habit of talking just like us common folks, Barack Obama declared his intentions during his first run at the presidency: “If someone wants to build a new coal-fired plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.” He didn’t get his cap and trade legislation, but he has since discovered the trick of using his agencies to rule by fiat.

He and his current Energy Secretary have tried to backtrack on their anti-coal, pro-green, pro-high energy price agenda in advance of the November referendum on their policies, but these liars are getting harder to believe by the day, even with their own true believers. At least the “jobs president “ won’t be costing thousands of jobs in the coal industry before the elections. It’s our job to make sure he doesn’t get a chance to do so after the elections.

31 comments:

tryanmax said...

I know I've mentioned it before, but I can't help but be reminded of the conversation where I was challenged to name "just one regulation" that stifles jobs. Oh, if I could only name one!

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

Shakespeare was WRONG. Instead of kill all the lawyers, he should have went with kill all the Luddites. That is a regulatory policy I can get behind.

T-Rav said...

And Obama is raising taxes on the oil companies. Were that the only anti-fossil fuel move, I could chalk it up to sheer stupidity. But of course, it's in conjunction with moves like this one, which add up to a deliberate intent to kill non-green sources of energy.

StanH said...

God, I hate these bastards. Though any of us old enough to remember knew this day would come, we are living in the Age of Aquarius, the ‘60s and 70s were the dawning. Even idiot democrats are getting irritated at $4-5dollar gasoline, and I don’t know about you guys, my electric bill is in the stratosphere…thanks Barry we’ll thank you personally on 11/6/12.

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
It never ceases to amaze me that interpretation based upon lack of understanding seems to be the bases for lib laws.
How much CO2 is generated to produce the machinery required to create the green friendly power generation facilities? How much CO2 is generated shipping the materials around the world? How much CO2 is generated transporting the workers who install and their machine needed to do the job?
Every thing that our modern world does, needs or plans to do requires energy. Energy density is what mandates the sources of energy that we use. Source location of the energy we use and it's cost are also major factors for a successful society.
These Adam Henry's seem to want to live high on the Hog while the rest of the world survives at the tribal level, hunting and gathering.
If our electorate does not come to it's combined senses real soon that looks like our future.
I can only hope and dream, as well as cast one vote, for common sense to return.

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: It really does take a complete idiot to lay down a challenge like that, doesn't it? Maybe he was hoping you'd have a brain malfunction just trying to get started with the list of thousands upon thousands of regulations that cost jobs.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: Excellent thought. We'll create one new super-agency--the Anti-Bureaucrat Reduction Agency. We'll limit the staff to five Commentaramans, and we'll get paid for piecework. We get $10 a head for each bureaucrat we eliminate. We'll get rich and retire after a job well-done, and the government will be off everybody else's backs.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Notice how many times the Obamists use the word "profits" in any given demagogic speech. It's a dirty word to them. Much of the time they enhance it with the word "windfall," but the refrain is always the same. Profit is dirty, capitalism is oppressive. They have absolutely no understanding of the concept of supply and demand. So they strangle the domestic supply, the demand continues on its natural course upward, and the price rises accordingly. Then, they kowtow to the foreign potentates who enrich themselves by artificially restricting the abundant supply and manipulating prices to their advantage. The market simply has no genuine opportunity to work naturally.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: As you know, I was one of those fools who celebrated the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Once I sobered up, I realized we were headed toward the Age of Asparagus. Michelle Obama has helped to confirm that, literally. Nanny is everywhere, into everything. I want my pink slime back!

Here in California, we are not yet suffering significant increases in the cost of electricity. largely because we have an abundance of hydroelectric power. But it's only a matter of time if the trend continues. We'll be taxed on that abundance to pay for more hare-brained green schemes and we'll be in the same boat. The coal issue is one of those which should bring all Americans together in solidarity against over-regulation and government-imposed pie-in-the-sky green initiatives. The coal-reliant center of the country is suffering, and we should recognize that the rest of us must help or end up in exactly the same position.

T-Rav said...

LawHawk, do we have to personally present the heads to get our $10, or can they be sent through the mail? (Because that's going to require A LOT of stamps....)

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: As you know, the Democrats and green weenies have a guiding principle--"don't confuse us with the facts." The Gaea worshipers are going to force us into total reliance on solar power, wind power and petroleum-free energy, no matter the cost and no matter the damage done to human existence.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: We'll get a fossil-fuel allowance and reimbursement of the cost of renting big rigs to transport the heads to their final destination--the South Side of Chicago. Maybe we can also get Warren Buffet to impose a new Buffet rule allowing us to transport the heads on his Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroads for free.

rlaWTX said...

I really hate them.

And that headhunting campaign, just think of the CO2 we'll save when they stop exhaling! (metaphorically, of course)

the laws of "unintended" consequences must be working overtime to keep up with the inane, insane idiocy TOTUS & Co keep shoveling out.

AndrewPrice said...

Welcome to Obamaland. As I mentioned the other day in why he can't win re-election, he is now going to raise electricity costs because of these rules right in time for air conditioner season. What an idiot.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: Metaphorically, naturally. We don't condone violence, and we promote civil discourse on this blog. Most of the time. LOL

I'm sure I'm not imagining it, but Obama's rhetoric seems to get more inane, more lacking in any substance, and more desperate every day. He's like a little kid who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, then tries multiple ridiculous explanations to explain his behavior. "You aren't buying that one? Well here, let me try a different one." He can't understand that every excuse contradicts one or more of the earlier excuses.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I truly hope you're right, and I tend to think you are. I've never seen an incumbent president dig himself into so many holes, only to discover he's in those holes and believes the solution is to dig faster and deeper. Surely the blinders must come off the eyes of the American people.

rlaWTX said...

OT: this is the NRO Poll today (I just want to take a shower to get the thought off of me!)

In a dispute between Olbermann and Gore, whom do you side with?
Olbermann
Gore

LawHawkRFD said...

There's some good news on the regulatory front. The EPA has dropped its lawsuit against Range Resources in Texas for damage resulting from fracking. Apparently, locals had told officials that they had found gas in their well water. The EPA immediately blamed Range Resources and their fracking activities in the area with absolutely no supporting evidence. EPA issued one of those abominable "compliance orders" that almost cost the Sacketts in Idaho their dream home.

It turns out that the levels of gas in the water were no higher than they had ever been and had nothing to do with fracking. Aside from the defendants, the Texas Railroad Commission had intervened and had loads of data which proved that the gas in the well water was a naturally-occurring phenomenon which had existed long before Range Resources began its activities. Credit the state with intervening to stand up to the meddling feds and protecting its state citizens.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: That's what the psychologists call the "avoidance-avoidance" conflict. We mere mortals call it choosing between bad and worse.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

Maybe the EPA can stop trying to save the Ozone.

Notice it is always framed as the EPA saving NATURE. When the EPA first was created, it was there to help PEOPLE from too much pollution that the PEOPLE had no control over that of pollution created in another state that floats over the state line. The electorate had no way of stopping another state.

On the Luddite heads thing, I think we only need the scalp and any tatoos to identify the idiot.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: The sole legitimate purpose of any federal agency is to do those things that the Constitution allows solely for the national government. Regulating and containing interstate pollution was one of those things. And as so often happens, once the legitimate task was accomplished, the agency sought to perpetuate itself and its deadwood employees. Instead of implementing policy (which had been accomplished), the EPA predictably started creating policy and extending its tentacles into every area of American life. If there's no problem, it's the nature of a federal agency to create one in order to solve it, usually at the cost of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, an enlarged federal bureaucracy, and the ultimate result of having done more harm than good.

Too often, when the EPA attempts to "save nature," it does so in the most unnatural ways. Case in point--the destruction of California agriculture to save a fish which was dying out naturally.

rlaWTX said...

scalps would lower the postage...

tryanmax said...

rlaWTX, trouble is, it's possible to survive a scalping. I suggest flat-rate boxes. If it fits, it ships. The pin-heads of bureaucrats should be no trouble.

Tennessee Jed said...

I am concluding that Obama is such an ideologue, his political instincts are accidental at best. In his own mind, maybe he thinks he saving us from ourselves. What I do know is he daily reminds me how important it is to send him back to Chicago as a one termer.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: Our intention is to spare no cost in order to achieve our goal. But for the sake of taking up less space, I guess scalps would be OK.

LawHawkRFD said...

tryanmax: Oops. Hadn't thought of that. We don't want an uprising of bald bureaucrats foiling our plans. We'll stick with the original plan.

Patti said...

when libbies whine and cry about "how could thgey know what barry would do?!" after they voted his sorry ass in, i say, "all you had to do was pay attention."

“If someone wants to build a new coal-fired plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

PAY ATTENTION.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: Obama is like Pinocchio in many ways, one of which is that he is somebody else's creation. He has been carefully prepared since his questionable birth with careful and devious handling to become the talking puppet of a leftist cabal. Then one day, he reached their goal of owning the presidency, and he decided he was actually a real human being. He began to believe all the propaganda about himself, and decided to strike out on his own. All of his subsequent gaffes, mistakes, missteps and fumbling are the result of trying to act on his own and live the fantasy of being an actual human president with a mind of his own. But in the end, it turns out his head is still filled with sawdust.

rlaWTX said...

excellent problem-solving! thanks!

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: See how we conservatives can work together to reach sensible and fair-minded solutions to the nation's problems? We kick around our individual ideas, settle on a plan, then work together to make it come out right.

LawHawkRFD said...

Patti: Right on the money. He promised he would fundamentally transform America, and he has done a yeoman's job of that.

But it's those little promises to the left that he hasn't kept that are likely to do him in. Guantanamo is still open. We're still losing lives in Afghanistan. The economy is no better than it was when he entered office, resulting in a major constituency of his being out of work, and his plans for freebies for the freeloaders have been thwarted many times by Congress, including members of his own party. His singular leftist achievement, socialized medicine, is turning out to be a monster that nobody can bear, and will be dead by the end of 2013, one way or another. And where's that blanket amnesty for the illegal immigrants?

And now, with the advent of racial division unlike any since the 60s, he has joined the Trayvon Martin/Sharpton/Jackson/New Black Panthers throng which will gain him no new votes on the one side, and will cost him many votes on the other. The first post-racial president has turned out to be a true racist. Those in the middle and on the right who voted for him solely out of the excitement of electing our first black president are finding out what we already knew. Race is not a qualification for being president.

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