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Mark Caserta: Obama out to cripple coal industry

Feb. 27, 2013 @ 10:10 PM

Barack Obama plans to bankrupt the coal industry -- with or without Congress.

A recent U.S. News article revealed that an emboldened Obama administration plans to move on climate change with or without congressional support by asserting executive privilege aimed at preventing any new coal-fired power plants from being built in the United States.

"If Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will," the president remarked in his fourth State of the Union address. "I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions ... to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy."

Obama's yearning to dismantle the coal industry was evident early in his presidency.

"Under my plan of cap and trade system, electricity price would necessarily skyrocket ... Because I'm capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, natural gas ... whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers," the president said. "So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

This shameful disregard for the families of coal-producing states and the subsequent impact on our nation suggests a supreme naivety as to its impact.

According to the Institute for Energy Research, coal is currently used to meet 20 percent of America's total energy demand and generate 42 percent of all its electricity. In addition, the United States has enough recoverable coal reserves to last at least another 250 years, with reserves that are over one-and-one half times greater than our nearest competitor, Russia, and over twice that of China.

America's "known" coal reserves alone constitute 27 percent of the entire world's coal supply. Clean coal technology using gasification is a promising alternative to meet the global energy demand and provide a significant energy resource advantage for the U.S.

But Barack Obama has proven he isn't interested in the United States becoming energy independent. He's simply obsessed with achieving his "presidential prize" of eradicating the coal industry.

And while the president aspires to become our nation's global warming "savior," other countries are ardently pursuing the benefits of coal and dismissing lobbyist-led carbon emissions concerns, leaving America choking on its own "fumes of folly."

According to the U.S. Energy Information administration, China burns almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined!

Yet experts expect President Obama will soon order the EPA to set standards on the coal industry which are so economically unrealistic it will not only prevent any new plants from being built, it will lead to crippling regulations on existing coal-fired plants.

At this point, I'm not sure which is worse -- the "trumped" up charge that "man" is impacting climate change or Obama's self-proclaimed "anointing" to save the world from carbon emissions.

Either way, the coal industry, the U.S. and states like West Virginia lose.

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

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