Does Obama Have a War on Coal?

United for Missouri’s Future primarily focuses on educating about state and local issues.  We are firm believers that in order to make a long lasting difference in and on Washington, you have to start at home. While this is our primary focus, it doesn’t mean any of us can ignore what is being done to us in Washington!

Today we have a guest blog post by a long-time friend and really smart guy, Phil Kerpen. Phil is the President of American Commitment an organization “dedicated to restoring and protecting the American Commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.” Our kind of folks!

A lot of people complain about elected officials not keeping their promises.  Unfortunately, President Obama is keeping most of his promises and America is suffering for it! Take candidate Obama’s promise to drive up electricity rates by making coal fired electricity so expensive they would have to shut down.  Obama and his EPA is making sure that the price of generating coal fired electricity is so expensive they are shutting down lots of capacity driving electricity costs through the roof.

Phil writes in this guest blog, which originally appeared on Fox News Opinion, how Obama managed to keep his promise and what you and I can do about it.  

Obama’s war on coal hits your electric bill

By Phil Kerpen

Published May 22, 2012

FoxNews.com

Obama’s War on Coal has already taken a remarkable toll on coal-fired power plants in America.

Last week the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a shocking drop in power sector coal consumption in the first quarter of 2012. Coal-fired power plants are now generating just 36 percent of U.S. electricity, versus 44.6 percent just one year ago.

It’s the result of an unprecedented regulatory assault on coal that will leave us all much poorer.

Last week PJM Interconnection, the company that operates the electric grid for 13 states (Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia) held its 2015 capacity auction. These are the first real, market prices that take Obama’s most recent anti-coal regulations into account, and they prove that he is keeping his 2008 campaign promise to make electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket.”

The market-clearing price for new 2015 capacity – almost all natural gas – was $136 per megawatt. That’s eight times higher than the price for 2012, which was just $16 per megawatt. In the mid-Atlantic area covering New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and DC the new price is $167 per megawatt. For the northern Ohio territory served by FirstEnergy, the price is a shocking $357 per megawatt.

Why the massive price increases? Andy Ott from PJM stated the obvious: “Capacity prices were higher than last year’s because of retirements of existing coal-fired generation resulting largely from environmental regulations which go into effect in 2015.” Northern Ohio is suffering from more forced coal-plant retirements than the rest of the region, hence the even higher price.

These are not computer models or projections or estimates. These are the actual prices that electric distributors have agreed to pay for new capacity. The costs will be passed on to consumers at the retail level.

House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) aptly explained: “The PJM auction forecasts a dim future where Americans will be paying more to keep the lights on. We are seeing more and more coal plants fall victim to EPA’s destructive regulatory agenda, and as a result, we are seeing more job losses and higher electricity prices.”

The only thing that can stop this massive price hike now is an all-out effort to end Obama’s War on Coal and repeal this destructive regulatory agenda.

The Senate will have a critical opportunity to do just that when it votes on stopping Obama’s most expensive anti-coal regulation sometime in the next couple of weeks. The vote is on the Inhofe Resolution, S.J. Res 37, to overturn the so-called Utility MACT rule, which the EPA itself acknowledges is its most expensive rule ever.

This vote is protected from filibuster, and it will take just 51 votes to send a clear message to Obama that his War on Coal must end.

Of course, Obama could veto the resolution and keep the rule intact, although that would force him to take full political responsibility for the massive impending jump in electricity prices.

Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment and author of “Democracy Denied.”