11.12.2015 0

Stop Obama’s power plant rules

By Rick Manning

As published at http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/259700-stop-obamas-power-plant-rules

A major battle over President Obama’s plan to deindustrialize America is heating up in Congress as Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) has taken the first step toward overturning two of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) most egregious rules in its war on coal.

What’s at stake is a projected 72 gigawatts of electricity generation capacity that has either already gone offline or is scheduled to close as a result of the EPA’s regulatory assault on coal-fueled power plants. To put this into perspective, 72 gigawatts of electricity would provide enough power for more than 40 million households, more than one-third of the entire United States.Whitfield’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power voted to put a big red stop-sign up on two of Obama’s power-plant-killing regulations by giving the okay to legislation that would rescind them. While Obama will not sign any standalone legislation overriding his ill-conceived EPA rules, Whitfield has set in motion a series of congressional actions that are likely to force a real national discussion about America’s economic future.

And the consequences of destroying inexpensive, abundant sources of electricity are truly dire. Coal burning utilities account for 39 percent of the total electricity generation in the U.S., out of a total of more than 400 gigawatts from all sources. Losing 72 gigawatts represents a cut of almost 20 percent of the current electricity generating capacity of the nation, and with increased usage of electricity-hogging technology, the needs of the country are going to surge — not dwindle.

While some point to the increasing use of wind and solar as alternatives, the hard fact is that these two highly taxpayer-subsidized sources of electricity are far from a sure shot as short-term energy solutions.

As proof, all one has to do is examine the electricity generating performance of the $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar farm that spreads over California’s Mojave Desert. At Ivanpah, the plant is only generating 40 percent of its projected capacity, a massive and expensive failure highlighting the dangers of depending upon unproven technologies.

One of Obama’s admitted outcomes of his anti-coal crusade, which the power plant rules emblemize, is that electricity prices will “necessarily skyrocket.”

Whitfield and his colleagues in the House make a different case: A case where lower electricity costs fueled by our nation’s abundant and inexpensive coal and natural gas will lead to an American manufacturing renaissance, creating higher-paying jobs and a virtuous economic growth cycle.

This debate between Obama’s diminished America with lowered expectations and a growing, revitalized nation driven by inexpensive electricity needs to happen. And the next month, as Congress reasserts its Article One power-of-the-purse prerogatives, it should be center stage.

America has been blessed with enormous natural resource wealth. The question before our nation will be whether we will flourish by using it, or accept a steady, unstoppable economic decline as our nation chokes out cheap energy.

It’s time for Congress to just say “no” to Obama’s new normal and defund the EPA’s power plant rules. It is time to make the case for a vibrant and renewed American 21st-century, rather than an apologetic, declining nation. It’s time for Congress to take the ink cartridge out of Obama’s pen and cut off his phone privileges by using their Article One authority to just say “no” to the president’s destructive agenda.

Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government.

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