Since Barack Obama took office in January 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a suite of anti-coal regulations, collectively known as the “war on coal,” which to date has lead to the loss of 26,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity—enough to power 20 million to 26 million homes. And that’s just the beginning: According to an analysis by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, EPA regulations will “likely” retire almost an additional 55,000 megawatts of coal-fired electricity by 2018.
Unfortunately, it gets worse. In recent months, EPA has issued two regulations—the Utility Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule and the Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants—that effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants. Thus, EPA has effectively taken coal, one of America’s most abundant and reliable energy sources, off the table.
To be sure, Congress never authorized EPA to shut down the coal industry. Rather, EPA is using creative interpretations of existing statutes to seize the power it needs to shutter existing coal-fired power plants and prevent new ones from being built, which raises an important question: Why hasn’t Congress checked EPA’s power grabs?CONTINUE READING