There's no doubt the Obama administration is waging an all-out war on affordable energy. Instead of unmanned killer drones, red tape is the weapon of choice for this White House offensive. Unfortunately for President Obama's top general, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, the battle plan unraveled Tuesday.
The D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals invalidated one of the EPA's most insidious schemes to shut down affordable power generation. Mrs. Jackson tried to subject 28 Eastern and Central states to restrictions on sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, pollutants with the potential to drift from one state to another.
In practice, the agency was offering coal companies the choice of either shelling out $72 billion for scrubbing equipment that provides a barely perceptible improvement in air quality, or going out of business. Either way, the cost of electricity to consumers would necessarily skyrocket, putting pink slips in the hands of thousands of coal miners and power-plant employees.
This is by design, as Mr. Obama explained in a candid 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. "If somebody wants to build a coal-fired power plant, they can," said the then-senator from Illinois. "It's just that it'll bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted." While he was referring to cap-and-trade at the time, Mr. Obama was ultimately unable to get that particular legislative program through Congress. Now he's tasked Mrs. Jackson with eliminating coal through the regulatory process.
The maneuver almost worked, but the court scolded Mrs. Jackson's agency for going too far. "Congress did not authorize EPA to simply adopt limits on emissions as EPA deemed reasonable," Tuesday's ruling explained. The agency rule "flagrantly" crossed the line and trampled on federalism in an attempt to centralize air-quality decisions in Washington. The agency's arguments for its anti-coal jihad were deemed "extraordinarily unpersuasive" and "unsound."
That's good news for consumers, but the fight for affordable energy is far from over. Mr. Obama remains committed to declaring uneconomic windmills, solar panels and algae the power sources of the future -- to the delight of his campaign donors from these heavily subsidized industries. Meanwhile, the rest of the American manufacturing base can't afford to keep factories running. Ending the war on coal is the first step to reviving the U.S. economy.
The Washington Times
© Copyright 2016 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.