Don’t Let Obama Bypass Congress

Tens of millions of Americans will pay more for electricity because of action President Barack Obama already has taken in his war on the coal industry. But that apparently is not enough for Obama and liberals in Congress.

During his inauguration speech, Obama hinted climate change will continue to be a concern during his second term. Through the Environmental Protection Agency, his actions already have resulted in decisions by utilities to shut down scores of coal-fired power plants.

If Obama’s inauguration speech was intended to gauge support for even more draconian action, he did not have to wait long for results.

Last week, Democrat members of the House of Representatives held their annual retreat in Leesburg, Va. Obama met with them – and reportedly, the single subject brought up most frequently by the lawmakers was climate change.

Now, sources have said Obama will use his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to hit the coal industry – and reasonably priced electricity – even harder.

EPA rules, both implemented and proposed, to date have focused primarily on new power plants. But Obama reportedly plans to establish harsh new emissions limits on existing facilities, too. That could prompt utilities to shut down even more coal-fired generating stations.

Obama insists gas-fired power plants can meet the EPA’s targets while providing cheap electricity. But as demand increases for gas, prices for that fuel will soar. Some analysts expect gas prices to increase by 60-80 percent within a few years.

What is especially troubling about Obama’s plan – and his war on coal to date – is that it has been a unilateral assault. If Congress refuses to approve his anti-coal bills, as it has on some occasions, the president simply issues executive orders to bypass the elected representatives of the people.

He may be poised to intensify his single-handed assault on coal, states like ours where it is important, and reasonably priced electricity. He can be stopped – but only if thoughtful lawmakers of both political parties unite to block what has become one of the most imperial presidencies in the nation’s history.