Biden Administration Launches New Offensive In Their War On Coal

After Eight Disastrous Years For Energy Policy Under The Obama Administration, Its Retreads In The Biden Administration Are Pledging To Revive The War On Coal, With John Kerry Telling Climate Activists That ‘We Won’t Have Coal’ While The Biden EPA Attempts To Revive The Supreme Court-Blocked ‘Clean Power Plan’ And Congressional Democrats Pursue Policies That Will Make Energy More Expensive And Less Reliable For Americans

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “As a Kentuckian, I’m all too familiar with the ways these Democratic policies can hurt communities. Kentucky paid dearly for the first round of these liberal policies under President Obama. We have no desire to be subjected to a sequel. Especially when Mr. Kerry says we should take the rate at which coal is already declining and quintuple it. In her confirmation hearing … the President’s nominee to be Energy Secretary referenced, quote, ‘jobs that might be sacrificed.’ Well, points for honesty. That’s what happened the last time these folks called the shots. Jobs were sacrificed. Including, ultimately, some of the jobs of the Democratic politicians who backed these policies. There’s a concept in sports that a coach or a manager should never make a decision that will make the opposing team happy. If they’re torn about a risky play call, if they’re overthinking a pitching change, they should ask themself which decision their opponents would rather see -- and do the opposite. Our new Administration is failing that test on domestic energy. China, Russia, and our other competitors must be thrilled that our new government is essentially declaring war on some of our own economic foundations to satisfy a craving for symbolic gestures. Willfully throwing our own people out of work… reducing our domestic energy security… raising costs and prices for working families… All for no meaningful impact on global temperatures. Just to buy applause at those international conferences where the participants all assemble by private jet.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 1/28/2021)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “Of course, President Biden’s war on coal predates his administration. Back in 2008, as a candidate for the vice-presidency, he insisted there would be ‘no coal plants here in America. Build them, if they’re going to build them, over there.’ Sadly, this was one area where the Obama administration more or less kept its promises. It was a terrible time to be a working American whose livelihood the Democrats disliked. But our new President’s leftward sprint is set to make those bad old days merely the warm-up act. Remember: rejoining the Paris climate agreement was a Day One priority for his administration. The unenforceable deal whose own signatories largely ignored their “commitments” for the past five years. The deal that proved unable to keep China from significantly increasing its greenhouse gas emissions and proved unnecessary for the United States to decrease our own. But despite it all, the Administration is rushing back in, to signal virtue on the international stage. Here at home, they’re rolling out policy after policy that would cost working American families dearly. The President signed away thousands of jobs by cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline. The authors of the Green New Deal boast about the radical social engineering they’ve seeded into the Administration’s legislative proposals. The “infrastructure” plan they’ve rolled out would pick winners and losers in auto manufacturing and aim to purge the electric grid of the most reliable and affordable forms of domestic power.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 4/27/2021)


On Foreign Soil, John Kerry Is Pledging To Revive Democrats’ Domestic War On Coal, Declaring, ‘By 2030 In The United States, We Won’t Have Coal’

JOHN KERRY, U.S. Special Envoy For Climate: “By 2030 in the United States, we won’t have coal…. We will not have coal plants.” (“U.S. ‘Won’t Have Coal’ by 2030, John Kerry Predicts in Glasgow,” Bloomberg Government, 11/09/2021)

Back In 2008, President Biden Signaled His Allegiance To A War On Coal Agenda, Saying, ‘No Coal Plants Here In America’

THEN-SEN. JOE BIDEN (D-DE): “No coal plants here in America…. We’re not supporting clean coal.” (“Biden: ‘No coal plants here in America,’” Politico, 9/23/2008)


Biden Administration Officials Have Pledged To ‘Aggressively’ Resume The War On Coal By Restructuring And Then Reissuing Regulations Based On President Obama’s So-Called ‘Clean Power Plan’

“Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan says he’s willing to wield broad regulatory power to enact President Biden’s climate agenda if Congress fails to pass meaningful climate legislation. Regan says his agency will issue a robust greenhouse gas rule for power plants, a stringent methane rule for oil and gas infrastructure, and sweeping emissions standards for new cars, regardless of Congress's actions.” (“EPA Head Says He'll Act On Climate Even If Congress Doesn't,” The Washington Post’s Climate 202, 10/12/2021)

EPA ADMINISTRATOR MICHAEL REGAN: “I have been very clear since day one that … this country will move forward on climate change and combatting climate change and looking at ways to build jobs and increase our global competitiveness. And so, I will push the envelope. I will move forward as quickly as possible, as aggressively as possible, using the authorities that Congress has given us.” (Washington Post Live, 10/28/2021)

THE WASHINGTON POST’s BRADY DENNIS: “I wonder for you what you're hoping to take care of or finalize before the end of this presidential term. I mean, what are the--in your eyes, the priorities when it comes to the environment and climate change that absolutely have to get done, and what are the hurdles to that?” (Washington Post Live, 10/28/2021)

REGAN: “We really have to have a very strong methane regulation that is durable and will withstand a lot of the legal challenges. And we will revisit our carbon reduction strategy for coal plants…. And so, before the end of this term, I'd like to have durable regulations in place that can withstand the test of time and withstand litigation, and I believe we can do that.” (Washington Post Live, 10/28/2021)

The Obama Administration’s So-Called ‘Clean Power Plan’ Targeted Affordable Coal Power Before The Supreme Court Stepped In To Block Its Implementation

“When Obama’s EPA unveiled the Clean Power Plan in 2015, the landmark rule sought to reduce planet-warming emissions from coal-fired power plants 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. At the time, EPA determined that ‘generation shifting,’ or switching from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas or renewable energy, counted as a ‘best system of emission reduction’ under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. But 24 Republican-led states sued over the Clean Power Plan, arguing that it represented regulatory overreach. The Supreme Court stopped implementation of the rule before it could take effect, allowing the litigation to play out in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.” (“Wanted: EPA Carbon Rule That Can Survive In Court,” E&E News, 8/02/2021)

SEN. McCONNELL: “[S]ome [Obama administration] actions were so egregious and so likely illegal, that the courts put a halt to them before we could even reform or repeal them. As my colleagues recall, implementation of the so-called ‘Clean Power Plan’ was frozen by a Supreme Court stay … in 2016. The Obama Administration’s War on Coal had already done plenty of damage in places like my home state of Kentucky. But at least this additional hammer blow on so many Americans‘ livelihoods was held off. It would have weaponized a federal agency to bury energy producers and all those who depend on them under one-size-fits-all regulations with duplicative mandates and unrealistic timelines. And as production of the most affordable and reliable energy available to American families dried up, it would have left higher electricity costs in its wake. Higher domestic power prices would mean fewer American jobs here at home, with no meaningful effect on global emissions. Any rational observer would have concluded that this regulation was all pain for no gain -- just good American jobs being shipped overseas.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 6/19/2019)


In Service Of This, Democrats Are Proposing To Spend $45 Million In Their Reckless Taxing-And-Spending Spree To Help The EPA Issue New Legally Dubious Energy Regulations

PAGE 343: “SEC. 30106. FUNDING TO ADDRESS AIR POLLUTION. (a) APPROPRIATIONS.—  … (7) OTHER ACTIVITIES.—In addition to amounts otherwise available, there is appropriated to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for fiscal year 2022, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $45,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2031, to carry out, with respect to greenhouse gases, sections 111, 115, 165, 177, 202, 211, 213, 231, and 612 of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7411, 7415, 7475, 7507, 7521, 7545, 7547, 7571, and 7671k).” (U.S. House of Representatives Rules Committee Print 117-18, 11/03/2021)

SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-WV), Senate EPW Committee Ranking Member: “[T]he House bill includes a [$45] million fund to create a new greenhouse gas emissions regulation at the EPA, like President Obama's Clean Power Plan. My question would be, if the EPA is funded, why they would need another [$45] million to create a program. But this provision directs the EPA to develop overly burdensome regulations. At the request of 26 States, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed President Obama's Clean Power Plan because the EPA lacked the statutory authority. Yet this [$45] million provision, tucked into the … behemoth bill, isn't only about giving more money to the EPA; it is designed to give the administration the ability to say that future climate rules were specifically authorized by the Congress. These rules could regulate energy production, manufacturing, agriculture--really, any sector in the U.S. economy--and place countless jobs at risk.” (Sen. Capito, Congressional Record, S.7405, 10/27/2021)

  • SEN. CAPITO: “They would give [$45] million to write a new version of President Obama's Clean Power Plan and other devastating climate regulations. With the money, EPA will hire extra lawyers and bureaucrats to write additional regulations under section 111 and other provisions of the Clean Air Act in ways that they have never done before, all, in my view, which would put my hard-working West Virginians out of a job.” (Sen. Capito, Congressional Record, S.6906, 10/05/2021)


Democrats Also Want To Use Their Multitrillion Dollar Spending Package To Subsidize Unreliable Solar And Wind Energy With Tax Credits, At The Expense Of Traditionally More Affordable Fuels

“The White House’s Build Back Better plan unveiled Thursday represents the biggest clean-energy investment in U.S. history, with a $555 billion package of tax credits, grants and other policies … [Sen. Ed] Markey [D-MA] said he now believes that tax credits would ‘supercharge the renewable revolution’ and work in concert with new regulations the administration plans to adopt…. ‘From my perspective, the most important thing survived, because the engine of this bill from the beginning has been tax credits,’ [Fred] Krupp [president of the Environmental Defense Fund] said.” (“New Budget Deal Marks The Biggest Climate Investment In U.S. History,” The Washington Post, 11/09/2021)

  • THE ECONOMIST: “Two energy veterans, one at a top renewables lobbying outfit and the other at a fossil-heavy utility, agree that the tax credits would sharply boost investment in low-carbon technologies. That is because they improve the current set-up by replacing stop-go uncertainty with a predictable long-term tax regime, and make tax breaks “refundable” rather than needing to be offset against tax liabilities, meaning even utilities that do not have such tax liabilities can enjoy them as freely as cash in the bank…. A former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) puts it bluntly: ‘Take the wind and solar tax credits at ten years if you had to choose—and let everything else go.’” (“One Policy Accounts For A Lot Of The Decarbonisation In Joe Biden’s Climate Plans,” The Economist, 10/16/2021)

But Overreliance On Wind And Solar Energy Undermines The Reliability Of The U.S. Electricity Grid And Can Raise Energy Costs

ROBERT BRYCE, Author & Energy Journalist: “America’s electric grid is our most critical piece of energy infrastructure. The electric grid is the Mother Network, the network upon which all of our critical systems depend…. Several interrelated factors are making our grid more fragile. The first and most important factor is the shift in the energy sources being used for electricity generation. Over the past two decades, due to state-level mandates and lavish federal subsidies, the domestic electric grid has become far more reliant on weather-dependent and intermittent renewables like wind and solar. Over that same time period, dozens of coal and nuclear plants — which provide resilient baseload power and help keep the grid stable, have been prematurely shuttered because they cannot compete with subsidized wind and solar energy.” (U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management Hearing, 10/27/2021)

  • BRYCE: “[O]ur grid is becoming more reliant on intermittent wind and solar energy… [T]he Department of Energy’s own data shows the increasing frequency of grid disturbances. This data should be a wake-up call for Congress to the very real possibility that the United States could be hit by a wide-area, long-term blackout if we do not take action to ensure the resilience of our grid. Of course, renewable-energy promoters, as well as large environmental groups like the Rocky Mountain Institute, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, and others, don’t want to admit that wind and solar are undermining our grid and placing lives at risk. But on August 13, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, issued a report which identified ‘changing resource mix’ as the most urgent challenge facing the reliability of the U.S. electric grid. It also said America’s electric generation capacity ‘is increasingly characterized as one that is sensitive to extreme, widespread, and long duration temperatures as well as wind and solar droughts.’” (U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management Hearing, 10/27/2021)

BRYCE: “Prominent executives in the utility sector have also said that renewables can be bad for reliability. On March 10, in testimony in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works [Committee] … Xcel Energy CEO Ben Fowke said, ‘At higher levels of intermittent renewables, the cost of the energy system begins to skyrocket and its reliability degrades.’” (U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Government Operations and Border Management Hearing, 10/27/2021)

WEST VIRGINIA COAL ASSOCIATION: “Another major concern identified with the House Budget bill involves ‘tax credits for wind and solar’ which potentially will have an equal devastating effect on US coal-fired generation as the Clean Energy Standard (CES) or the Clean Energy Payment Program (CEPP). The House Budget bill purports to allocate more than $105 billion to extend the investment tax credit and the production tax credit for wind and solar through 2033. We understand this proposed requirement would expand the credit and allows renewable energy companies to take a payment for the credit in excess of their tax liability.” (Chris Hamilton, West Virginia Coal Association President, Letter to Sen. Capito, 10/7/2021)

  • Coal and coal-fired electricity provide superior assurances beyond any other base fuels that household power supplies will not be compromised during adverse weather or other undesirable events. Grid resiliency and stability, heightened protection against severe weather or terrorism, and other disruptions are key objectives that serve to underscore the benefits of base load coal generation.” (Chris Hamilton, West Virginia Coal Association President, Letter to Sen. Capito, 10/7/2021)

AMERICA’S POWER: “Wind and solar power do not provide the same value to the grid as conventional electricity sources.  In addition to not operating on-demand, they provide little of the capacity value that is needed to maintain long-term reliability and cannot be relied on to provide the essential reliability services the grid needs to maintain reliability.   Instead, they rely on other electricity generators to provide the services they cannot, thus ‘imposing’ those costs on other generators and the grid. Though the wind and solar facilities do not pay these costs, ratepayers do…. The ITC and PTC subsidies have lowered out-of-pocket costs for renewable project developers but have not led to similar savings for electricity ratepayers.  This is evident when examining states that have enacted renewable portfolio standards (RPS) that require utilities to procure renewable power.  A study from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago examined the impact RPS programs had on electricity rates across the country and concluded they led to higher electricity rates.   Rates increased by 11% when the share of renewable generation increased by 1.8%, and by 17% when the renewable share increased by 4.2%. According to the study, ‘These cost estimates … likely re?ect costs that renewables impose on the generation system, including those associated with their intermittency, higher transmission costs, and any stranded asset costs assigned to ratepayers.” (“It’s Time to End Subsidies for Renewable Energy,” America’s Power, 4/17/2020)


Coal Prices Are Already Increasing As Rising Demand Hits ‘Supply Held Back By Carbon Emission-Reduction Plans’

“Coal prices have been pushed up by rising demand colliding with supply held back by carbon emission-reduction plans.” (“Soaring Energy Prices Raise Concerns About U.S. Inflation, Economy,” The Wall Street Journal, 10/10/2021)


OBAMA ADMINISTRATION FLASHBACK: ‘A War On Coal Is Exactly What’s Needed,’ ‘We’re Going To Put A Lot Of Coal Miners And Coal Companies Out Of Business’

SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” (“Why Putting Coal Miners Out Of Work Is A Very Bad Thing To Say In West Virginia,” The Washington Post, 5/10/16)

DANIEL P. SCHRAG, Obama White House Climate Adviser: ‘A war on coal is exactly what’s needed’ “The one thing the president really needs to do now is to begin the process of shutting down the conventional coal plants. …a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.” (The New York Times, 6/25/2013)

Obama EPA Official: ‘Make examples out of people’ “The Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish (sic) town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. And so you make examples out of people...” (Forbes, 4/26/2012)

THEN-SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL): “Under my plan of a cap and trade system electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket, even, you know, regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad, because I'm capping greenhouse gases, coal powered plants, you know, natural gas, you name it, whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.” (The San Francisco Chronicle, 1/17/2008)

THEN-SEN. BARACK OBAMA: “So if somebody wants to build a coal fired plant they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that is being emitted.” (The San Francisco Chronicle, 1/17/2008)



Related Issues: Green New Deal, Energy, EPA, Coal