The destruction of the United States coal industry by President Barack Obama and his radical appointees is a major problem for all Americans.
First, the average cost of coal-fired electricity in America has been $0.04 per kilowatt hour. This compares to up to $0.22 per kilowatt hour for the wind and solar electricity promoted by the Obama Administration. Further, wind and solar power get a $24 per kilowatt hour subsidy from American taxpayer. On top of all of this, Mr. Obama and his appointees have squandered billions of dollars of American taxpayer money promoting "green" energy, such as wind and solar. Indeed, every "green" job created by Mr. Obama to date has cost the American taxpayer $5 million.
Recent independent studies indicate that President Obama and his radical appointees have already caused the loss of 2.15 million American jobs by 2020 at a cost to the American economy of nearly $200 billion.
You have all heard Mr. Obama dishonestly state that we need an "all of the above energy policy," but he has never once, ever, stated his support for coal. Indeed, he has stated that he will "bankrupt" coal users. I have concluded that what Mr. Obama really means is that we need an "all of the above ground energy policy," as he promotes his wind, solar, and biomass ways to make electricty, and never supports coal, and rarely any fossil fuels from beneath the ground.
Current estimates show that the Obama Administration's war on coal has already determined the elimination of 50,000 to 83,000 megawatts of coal-fired generation by 2020-2025, depending on which estimate you want to believe. This is the $0.04 per kilowatt hour electricity, not his $0.22 per kilowatt hour power.
Electric rates for our citizens on fixed incomes will skyrocket. American manufacturers who depend on low cost electricity to export their product into the global marketplace will no longer be competitive. This is all while China brings a new 500 megawatt coal-fired power plant on-line every week. Our jobs will continue to be exported to China, where they will have the low cost electricity as Mr. Obama kills ours.
Families having an income of less than $50,000 have historically paid 12% of their after-tax income for energy. Already, this year it is projected to be 21% of their after-tax income. In 2010, 62% of Hispanic and 68% of Black households had incomes below $50,000. That year the median gross income of the 25 million households with a principal aged 65 or older was $31, 408. It can be seen that energy price increases caused by President Obama will be felt disproportionately by the lower income households, who can least afford these costs.
But, the killing of the coal industry by President Obama and his radical appointees in various government agencies is a human issue to me. I know the names of our employees whose jobs and the livelihoods and standards of living of their families are being destroyed by him. These good Americans only want to work in honor and dignity. But, when their jobs and those of their neighbors are eliminated in the coal mining areas of America, they have no one to sell their homes to, which is generally their only possession. Thus, these people, who want to work, are prohibited form doing so and fall to the negative side of the economic ledger for the rest of their lives. This is not the America that I have always cherished.
It is important to understand how President Obama and his appointees to the respective federal agencies are accomplishing their mission of the absolute destruction of America's coal industry.
One of the worst Obama Administration rules is the so-called Stream Buffer Zone regulation proposed by the Department of the Interior and Federal Office of Surface Mining. This rule, if it becomes law, will destroy virtually all underground coal mining in the United States, which is the most environmentally acceptable way to produce our much needed American commodity. There is no need for this proposed regulation from the Obama Administration because our underground mining has little or no effect on surface ditches and streams.
Another Obama regulation that will eliminate underground coal mining is from the Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). While there are no studies or evidence that they will improve the health of any underground coal miner, the Obama Administration is advocating that respirable dust standards at mining faces be reduced from 2.0 milligrams per cubic meter to 1.0 milligram per cubic meter. Such a level is not achievable with today's mining technology, and they know that. This is just another way by which the Obama Administration is attempting to eliminate underground coal mining.
In addition, through President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the radicals that he has appointed to be in charge there, as well as in the Department of Energy, as stated before, a minimum of 50,000 megawatts of lowest cost coal-fired electricity has been forcibly retired. These rules also ensure that no new, modern, efficient coal-fired power plants will ever be built.
These regulations from the EPA include the Utility MACT, which is the most expensive rule that the EPA has ever written for power plants. The EPA itself estimates that this rule will cost $11.4 billion annually. Yet, there will be minimal health benefits from this over-kill from the very small amount of mercury that will be removed from stack gas emissions, which the EPA itself said might be valued as low as $500,000 per year. Also, electric utilities have been forced to close down coal-fired generating plants, which, again, by far, produce the lowest cost electricity, because this MACT rule cannot be complied within the three (3) years that Mr. Obama's EPA has allowed for utility compliance.
Other EPA rules that are eliminating our lowest cost electricity are the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Indeed, there is an EPA "Regulatory Train Wreck" of utility requirements being enacted by the Obama Administration relative to the emission of ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, water, particulate matter, ash, mercury, and carbon dioxide through 2017.
Low cost electricity is a staple of life, and the Obama Administration is tragically destroying this essential product for all Americans by killing coal. This is notwithstanding that America has 262 billion tos of coal reserves, which is more than all of the proven oil reserves of the Middle East, Africa, and Russia combined.
President Obama and his radical appointees are generating a huge crisis for America in their killing of the coal industry,and what they are doing to the cost and reliability of electric power for our citizens. This crisis is being exacerbated by Mr. Obama's efforts to replace low cost electricity with wind and solar power, which costs nearly six times as much as coal-fired generation, if the wind blows and the sun shines.