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Mark Caserta: Obama's energy plan impacts all states

Jul. 10, 2013 @ 11:10 PM

What once was an "all of the above" energy strategy by Barack Obama might have just been downsized to an "anything but fossil fuels" policy for his remaining time in office.

During a recent speech at Georgetown University, an emboldened President Obama took to the stage declaring he is no longer willing to wait on lawmakers to act on climate change and will begin seeking ways to work around them.

You may recall the president raised climate change as a key second-term issue in his inaugural address in January and then again to lawmakers in his February State of the Union address.

"If Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will," the president chided Congress in encouraging stricter carbon emissions legislation.

Honestly, when I heard the president make those remarks, I was reminded of "Superman IV, The Quest for Peace."

In arguably the worst Superman movie ever, the man of steel crusades for nuclear disarmament and "sidesteps" governments around the globe to rid the earth of all nuclear weapons. In doing so, he meets Lex Luthor's solar-powered creation, Nuclear Man.

It's too soon to speculate if any legislator will assume the role of Nuclear Man in confronting Barack Obama, but coal is definitely this president's "kryptonite."

The president's remarks to those having a different view of climate change were simply condescending.

"We don't have time for a meeting of the flat-earth society," Obama said. "Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it's not going to protect you from the coming storm."

The coming storm, as I see it, relates to lost jobs and skyrocketing energy costs based on an environmental myth that man is causing climate change.

In his speech, the president described his plan to reduce carbon emissions, including directing the Environmental Protection Agency to stiffen regulations on new and existing coal-fired power plants.

Now, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Obama chose this time in his second term to "lower the boom" on the coal industry.

The president fired a shot directly across the bow of the industry in 2008 when then-candidate Obama declared in an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, "If somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can, it's just that it will bankrupt them..." soothsaying these same financial penalties!

So now, validated by his re-election, and having given Congress a "gratuitous" period of time to act, it's "second star to the right and straight on till morning" in his quest for green energy despite the billions of taxpayer dollars he's gambled away on the industry.

It won't be easy sidestepping Congress, however. Legislators understand the impact on their constituents.

But if the president is indeed successful in leveraging his executive power, it won't be only coal states which will be affected.

With a large part of our nation's electricity being produced by coal-fired plants, electricity prices will skyrocket, taking more money from the pockets of families across the nation.

But apparently, that's a price President Obama is willing to pay.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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