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War on Coal Is Very Real

October 18, 2012
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

There is no war against coal, President Barack Obama - and even some in the news media who apparently accept Obama's word in preference to the facts - maintain.

But there is. Obama himself promised to make it so expensive to use coal that electric companies would not want to do so. He has succeeded:

-- Already, thousands of U.S. coal miners have lost their jobs during Obama's tenure.

-- U.S. coal consumption has decreased by about 12 percent, from about 1.12 billion tons to 1 billion, since Obama took office.

-- Electric companies during the past year have announced plans to close about three dozen coal-fired power plants. Their reasoning is that plants using gas will be more economical than building new coal facilities or retrofitting old ones to meet Obama's air pollution demands.

-- Obama's administration has poured about $90 billion into subsidies for alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power. Billions of taxpayer dollars have been lost when some of the companies the White House backed failed.

-- Meanwhile, federal funding for clean coal research has been slashed.

-- So fixated on wrecking the coal industry has the Obama administration been that after the U.S. Senate refused to approve a White House "cap and trade" bill, the Environmental Protection Agency established similar rules on its own.

-- Not content to use air pollution rules to demolish the mining industry, the EPA has rejected water permits for surface mines and attempted to regulate coal ash at power plants as a hazardous waste.

-- So outrageous has the EPA's assault been that parts of it already have been overturned by federal judges.

-- Obama's own Energy Information Administration projects that, in large measure because of White House policies, the percentage of U.S. electricity generated by burning coal will drop to 38 within a few years - down from about 50 just a couple of years ago.

-- This, despite the fact coal's heat value - used to make steam for power generation - is about 50 percent greater than that of natural gas at current prices.

No war on coal? It exists as certainly as Obama's promise to make it happen was made.

 
 

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