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Obama’s new climate war opens
« on: June 02, 2014, 03:19:38 AM »
WASHINGTON—The Environmental Protection Agency will propose a draft rule on Monday seeking a 30% reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions by 2030 from existing power plants based on emission levels from 2005, according to two people who have been briefed on the rule, setting in motion the main piece of President Barack Obama's climate-change agenda.

The rule, scheduled to be completed one year from now, will give flexibility to the states, which must implement the rules and submit compliance plans to EPA by June 2016. States can decide how to meet the reductions, including joining or creating new cap-and-trade programs, deploying more renewable energy or ramping up energy-efficiency technologies.

Each state will have different percent reduction standards, and the national average will be 25% by 2020 and 30% by 2030, these people said.

The proposed rule will regulate carbon emissions from hundreds of fossil-fuel power plants across the U.S., including about 600 coal plants, which will be hit hardest by the standard.

"EPA will release its proposed carbon pollution reduction rule on Monday," EPA spokesman Tom Reynolds said. "Until then the agency will not comment on any information that may or may not be in the proposal."

Via the Wall Street Journal:

The comments are well worth a read.
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Obama’s new climate war opens
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2014, 09:02:52 AM »

 By Laura Barron-Lopez - 06/02/14 06:00 AM EDT

President Obama is opening a climate change war with Republicans on Monday with the Environmental Protection Agency’s unveiling of sweeping new standards on carbon emissions from power plants.

The new rules are a central part of Obama’s climate change agenda meant to ensure he leaves behind a legacy on tackling global warming.

Republicans say the regulations on existing coal-powered plants represent a war on coal that will play out in midterm elections across the country.

They hope that anger over the rules will help them win back the Senate, which could let them curb Obama’s power in his final two years in office.

Power plants would need to cut their carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030 under a new EPA rule, according to multiple reports.

Obama is just as determined to leave a mark by moving forward with regulation at a time when his legislative proposals appear dead on arrival at Capitol Hill.

Monday’s clash will also intensify a public relations and lobbying battle between green groups and business.

The Chamber of Commerce argues the rules could cost the U.S. economy $50 billion annually, while environmentalists see curbing power plant emissions as an historic moment in the climate change fight.

“When history is written [this rule] has the potential to be judged as the moment that the U.S. fully committed to fighting climate change,” said Michael Greenstone, an environmental economist at MIT.
Republicans are vowing to exhaust all avenues available to kill the regulation.

As soon as EPA chief Gina McCarthy personally announces the rule Monday at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C., Republicans say they will take to the Senate floor to blast the rule as a “national energy tax.”

The proposal will be on the lips of every Republican heading to the floor Monday, and will likely dominate the weekly leadership stakeout, a Senate aide told The Hill. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who is fighting the most expensive Senate race in the nation this year and is seeking to tie his Democratic opponent to the administration’s climate change rules, has signaled he will introduce legislation quickly to block them.

“There will be a lot of push back, a lot of hearings, and a lot of lawsuits,” promised Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) “We may even go down and protest. One of the real disappointing things is that the administration always talks about those most in need and those are precisely the people who will be hurt the most by this.”

Republicans and Democrats from coal-heavy states say the regulation will kill mining jobs, drive up electricity bills, and hurt the nation's economy.

In response to those attacks, the EPA has said states that rely on coal, such as Kentucky, West Virginia, Wyoming and Utah, will be given great flexibility to reach the new goals.
Supporters of the rule say they will provide benefits for the broader economy.

“Of course there will be costs, and costs of compliance, but overall for the economy the costs will not be very large, much less than 1 percent of gross domestic product,” said Robert Stavins, professor of business and government for Harvard University's environmental economics program.

The EPA already regulates sulfur dioxide, nitrogen, mercury, and particle pollution from power plants, but not carbon emissions, which account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gases.
The new standards will regulate carbon emissions from hundreds of fossil-fuel power plants, including 600 coal plants.

“The net benefits of this rule will be quite substantial,” White House adviser John Podesta, who was brought on to spearhead the climate regulations, told reporters last week. 

As power plants transition to technology that will help slash carbon emissions, Greenstone of MIT said it will catalyze a marketplace for jobs in energy efficiency and carbon capture technology.

"It will be the first time we will have a price on carbon, and that price signal is critical because innovators respond. They will see that there is a market for technology that can either pull carbon out of the atmosphere or reduce initial emissions. And it's technology you and I couldn't possibly dream of,” Greenstone said.

Even more important is that the move will impose a price on carbon.

“The symbolic value can be very important, especially internationally,” Stavins said.

Republicans argue that the U.S. should not take the lead on climate when countries like China and India remain reliant on coal-fired power plants.

But Stavins, who spends much of his time traveling to Europe and Asia to work on climate policy, said emerging economies are watching the U.S. carefully.

He argued the rules will make it “much more difficult for China, and other emerging economies not to move forward on climate regulations.”

The Sierra Club is one of many national environmental organizations that will help the administration launch an emboldened outreach campaign promoting the regulation as a fight to clean up pollution.

The group will enlist 100 staffers to work with 26 states to mobilize support for the rule over the next two years, touting the regulation's ability to protect kids, and families from asthma-inducing pollution.

“If it's as strong as we hope it will be it will begin to fulfill the promise that the president made when he won the election in 2008,” Sierra Club President Michael Brune said.

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Offline mountaineer

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Re: Obama’s new climate war opens
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2014, 09:11:46 AM »
Obammy (again) declares war on coal and oil. Will it hurt Dems?
Tougher emissions rules dividing Democrats
By  Reid Wilson,   Published: June 1

 When President Obama announces new rules Monday governing carbon emissions from coal plants, some of the loudest cries of opposition are likely to come from members of his party.

The regulations, aimed at combating a rapidly changing climate by implementing state-by-state limits on greenhouse-gas emissions, will shine a spotlight on a growing division within the Democratic Party: On one side are major donors, who take a particular interest in environmental causes and are becoming increasingly important to the party. On the other are the candidates whose fates will decide control of the Senate and who hail from energy-producing states, where regulations on coal-fired power plants could have the most detrimental effects.

Those candidates — most notably Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Kay Hagan (N.C.) and, to a lesser extent, Mark Udall (Colo.) — are on the front lines of the battle for the Senate. Their Republican opponents will almost certainly use Monday’s announcement to attack them.

“Every American’s electricity bills will get more expensive, and we will force-feed those electric bills back to every Democratic candidate,” said Brad Todd, a Republican strategist working for Hagan’s and Pryor’s opponents. “When any politician gets caught making life more expensive for the middle class, he or she is in harm’s way.”

Landrieu has been the most vocal Democrat pushing back against the administration’s environmental proposals. In May, Landrieu introduced a measure with Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) that would have immediately authorized construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a bill co-
sponsored by Pryor, Begich and Sen. John Walsh (Mont.), another energy-state Democrat facing a tough fight this year.

As chairman of the Senate Energy and Commerce Committee, Landrieu has used campaign advertisements to tout her influence as a boon to Louisiana’s oil and gas industries. Last week, she guided Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on a tour of oil and gas hubs along the Gulf Coast.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), who faces a tight contest against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) in the heart of coal country, has said she would use the Senate seat to try to curb the “most restrictive” regulations on coal-fired power plants.

“Coal keeps the lights on in Kentucky — plain and simple — and I will not stand idle as overreaching regulation adversely impacts jobs and middle-class families,” Grimes said in September. After the EPA proposed limiting carbon output, Grimes said the Obama administration “has taken direct aim at Kentucky jobs.”

Democratic strategists say their energy-state candidates have to make clear their opposition to the forthcoming EPA rule, lest it hurt their chances.

“If I were running, I would get the governor to sue and try to tie it up in the courts,” said Jim Cauley, a Kentucky-based Democratic strategist who managed Obama’s first Senate campaign. “Coal has just become the cultural litmus test as to whose side you are on.”

That puts big Democratic donors for whom environmentalism and climate change are leading causes, led by California investor and billionaire Tom Steyer, in the awkward position of supporting candidates who don’t take the same view. Steyer has said he will spend up to $50 million of his own money and an additional $50 million through his NextGen Climate Action PAC on Democratic candidates in the 2014 midterm elections.

Steyer has not directly spent money on behalf of Landrieu, Pryor, Hagan or Grimes. But his money will at least indirectly help energy-state Democrats: Steyer has contributed $5 million to the Senate Majority PAC, which has spent heavily in Louisiana, North Carolina and Arkansas. A Senate Majority PAC spokesman declined to say whether Steyer’s money came with stipulations on where it could be spent, but regardless every dollar spent elsewhere frees another donor’s dollar for Landrieu, Pryor, Hagan or Grimes.

“People do recognize that ’14 is a pivot year for climate, because of the fact that on an everyday basis people are feeling a direct, immediate pocketbook impact on their daily lives,” said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist who advises Steyer. Races that Steyer and others are investing in are contests critical to maintaining a Senate majority.

“You’ve got to win Iowa, you’ve got to win New Hampshire, you’ve got to keep Colorado” to keep the majority, Lehane said. In each state, Steyer-funded ads will point to immediate threats posed by climate change, whether through droughts, flooding, fracking or public health. “As much as I love polar bears and I love butterflies, we’re not going to be talking about them in these campaigns.”

The balance between acting on environmental issues that are high priorities for Obama and the left and jobs created in energy-producing states represented by Democrats has come up several times in recent years. Energy-state Democrats have pushed the administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline and to open new lands for oil and gas exploration. Strategists close to those big donors say they are less concerned with Landrieu’s position on oil drilling or Pryor’s support for Keystone and more focused on the larger goal of salvaging the Democratic majority in the Senate. ...
Read more at Washington Post
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Offline rangerrebew

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Barack Obama’s New Promise: “If You Like Your Energy Price, You Can Keep Your Energy Price.”

Posted 8 hours ago by Mark Horne filed under Business, Economy, Energy, Environment, Global Warming

This supine press release for the next stage in Barack Obama’s Impoverish America Program reveals how the President expects us to trust him now matter what outrageous statement he makes and how many times he has lied to us in the past.

Bloomberg News:

President Barack Obama will propose cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from the nation’s power plants by an average of 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, according to people briefed on the plans.

The proposal, scheduled to be unveiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tomorrow morning, represents one of the boldest steps the U.S. has taken to fight global warming -- and a political gamble.

Obama signaled both the importance of the rule to his legacy on environmental protection and the bruising fight ahead by joining a conference call today with congressional Democrats, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and White House counselor John Podesta to rally support.

According to two people who listened to the call, Obama dismissed complaints that the rule will hurt the economy by driving up electricity prices, and told the Democrats listening: “Please go on offense” to promote the measure rather than responding to criticisms.

He said that rather than having an adverse effect on the economy – as critics say – his new rule limiting carbon pollution will boost the economy by $43 billion to $74 billion, according to the people.

McCarthy told the lawmakers that the rule will only lead to minimal cost increases for consumers in some areas and families could end up saving money due to efficiency gains, one participant on the call said. She also stressed that states will be able to design their own approaches to meet the targets, the source said.

Only minimal cost increases? Areas and families could end up saving money?


Not only are these people the same ones who lied about Obamacare being affordable and allowing us to keep our plans and doctors, these are also the people who brought us the Solyndra bankruptcy. They know nothing about how to predict and plan energy production in the future.

The only good thing about this plan is that it has a fifteen year timeline. We can hope it will be repealed before it does too much damage.

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Offline rangerrebew

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U.S. Chamber says new EPA rule could cost economy $51 billion a year

Signaling growing industry opposition to the Obama administration’s forthcoming proposal to curb carbon emissions from power plants, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned in a report Wednesday that the climate-change rule could cost the economy tens of billions of dollars in lost investment and millions of jobs..

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected Monday to unveil regulations that would push states to make significant cuts in pollution from coal generators, which account for about 40% of all greenhouse-gas emissions in the country.

by Tony Barboza

Although the size of the proposed reduction has yet to be announced, the chamber’s report estimated that such a rule could result in an average annual drop of $51 billion in economic output and 224,000 fewer jobs every year through 2030, with the Southeast feeling the biggest pinch.

The chamber said the numbers were based on modeling from the economic research firm IHS, using assumptions that the regulation would set a 42% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030 from 2005 levels — an aggressive percentage that is close to a target previously cited by President Obama.

Some analysts noted, however, that the chamber’s economic analysis doesn’t take into account the gains in productivity, among other benefits, in employing pollution-cutting technologies and shifting to cleaner sources of energy.

EPA spokesman Tom Reynolds took issue with the chamber's cost numbers. In a blog statement, he said the report assumes that under the proposal, states would need to require so-called carbon capture and sequestration technology for natural gas plants.

This report (perhaps funded by the Koch Brothers?) seems to worry about a few jobs lost in coal mines and plants but ignores the millions of job opportunities in energy efficiency and clean energy like rooftop solar. It also ignores the huge costs of the millions of workdays and school days...

at 8:20 PM June 01, 2014

“That's not true,”‎ he wrote, noting that three-fourths of the chamber's cost estimates come from power plant construction.

Even if the chamber’s projections are true, some economists said, a $51-billion drop in output amounts to peanuts for an American economy with an annual gross domestic product of about $15 trillion.

“It sounds ominous, but it’s tiny,” said Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto. Of the estimated hit to jobs, he said: “We added 288,000 jobs last month alone.”

The chamber’s report is the latest in what could be a mounting campaign this summer to challenge the administration’s proposal from groups representing energy and other U.S. industries, as well as politicians in coal-strong states.

The EPA rule on fighting coal pollution, a key element of Obama’s initiative on climate change, is expected to be completed by June 2015.

This spring, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, which represents coal mining companies, issued a report warning that the EPA proposal could cause electricity prices to rise in many states and cost nearly 3 million jobs.

In releasing the chamber’s report, Karen Harbert, chief executive of the group’s Energy Institute, wouldn’t say what actions her organization was planning to take in response to the upcoming proposal.

“But should our analysis be overlooked or ignored,” she said, “we will reserve all options.”
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 09:56:25 AM by rangerrebew »
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Published June 02, 2014

The Obama administration took aim at the coal industry on Monday by mandating a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions at fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030 -- despite claims the regulation will cost nearly a quarter-million jobs a year and force plants across the country to close.

The controversial regulation, which some lawmakers already are trying to block, is one of the most sweeping efforts to tackle global warming by this or any other administration.

The 645-page plan, expected to be finalized next year, is a centerpiece of President Obama's climate change agenda, and a step that the administration hopes will get other countries to act when negotiations on a new international treaty resume next year.

"We have a moral obligation to act," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said, in announcing the plan Monday morning.

While the proposed regulation drew praise from environmental groups, the coal industry and coal-state lawmakers were immediately wary. Democratic West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall announced he would introduce legislation, along with Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., to stop the EPA plan.

"We will introduce bipartisan legislation that will prevent these disastrous new rules from wreaking havoc on our economy in West Virginia," Rahall said in a statement.

Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, said he's "certain that it will be very bad news for states like Kentucky who mine and use coal to create electricity."

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who represents Kentucky, called it a "dagger in the heart of the American middle class" -- and predicted higher power costs and less reliable energy as a result. McConnell's general election opponent, Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, also spoke out against the plan.

The draft regulation sidesteps Congress, where Obama's Democratic allies have failed to pass a so-called "cap-and-trade" plan to limit such emissions.

Under the plan, carbon emissions would be reduced 30 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The proposal sets off a complex regulatory process in which the 50 states will each determine how to meet customized targets set by the EPA.

States could have until 2017 to submit a plan to cut power plant pollution, and 2018 if they join with other states to tackle the problem, according to the EPA's proposal.

EPA data shows that the nation's power plants have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 13 percent since 2005. But with coal-fired power plants already beleaguered by cheap natural gas prices and other environmental regulations, experts said reaching the targets won't be easy. The EPA is expected to offer a range of options to states to meet targets that will be based on where they get their electricity and how much carbon dioxide they emit in the process.

While some states will be allowed to emit more and others less, overall the reduction will be 30 percent nationwide.

The options include making power plants more efficient, reducing the frequency at which coal-fired power plants supply power to the grid, and investing in more renewable, low-carbon sources of energy. They also can set up pollution-trading markets as some states already have done to offer more flexibility in how plants cut emissions.

If a state refuses to create a plan, the EPA can make its own.

The Obama administration claimed the changes would produce jobs, cut electricity bills and save thousands of lives thanks to cleaner air.

But critics disputed the estimates.

"Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama has adopted a 'my way or the highway' approach, and that explains why he's shoving these EPA regulations down our throat," Republican Party Chairman  Reince Priebus said in a statement. "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has found that each year this regulation will kill 224,000 jobs and force energy rates to skyrocket, so it's no wonder President Obama is circumventing Congress to implement his latest job-killing regulation."

Hundreds of coal-burning plants will have to comply, which has resulted in strong opposition from the energy industry, big business and coal-state Democrats and Republicans, who argue Obama’s green-energy agenda is tantamount to a “war on coal.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce argues that the rule will kill jobs and close power plants across the country.

The group released a study that finds the rule will result in the loss of 224,000 jobs every year through 2030 and impose $50 billion in annual costs.

Without waiting to see what Obama proposes, governors in Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia have already signed laws directing their environmental agencies to develop their own carbon-emission plans. Similar measures recently passed in Missouri and are pending in the Louisiana and Ohio legislatures.

On Saturday, Obama tried to bolster public support for the new rule by arguing that carbon-dioxide emissions are a national health crisis -- beyond hurting the economy and causing global warming.

“We don’t have to choose between the health of our economy and the health of our children,” Obama said in his weekly address. “As president and as a parent, I refuse to condemn our children to a planet that’s beyond fixing.”

Many anticipate the rule change will increase electricity prices, considering the United States relies on coal for 40 percent of its electricity. However, the plants also are the country’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

Many of the Democrats who are raising concerns represent coal-producing states and face tough 2014 reelection bids.

Among them is West Virginia Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall, whose state gets 96 percent of its power from coal. Rahall said Thursday that he didn't have specific details about the rule, but "from everything we know we can be sure of this: It will be bad for jobs."

Obama is being forced to use the 1970s-era old Clean Air Act, after failing during his first term to get Congress to pass a law. The law has long been used to regulate pollutants like soot, mercury and lead, but has only recently been applied to greenhouse gases.

"There are no national limits to the amount of carbon pollution that existing plants can pump into the air we breathe. None," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. "We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury, sulfur, and arsenic that power plants put in our air and water. But they can dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air. It's not smart, it's not safe, and it doesn't make sense."

The rule also will prescribe technological fixes or equipment to be placed on existing plants and require new ones to capture some of their carbon dioxide and bury it underground.

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Offline rangerrebew

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In North Dakota’s oil, gas country, the air’s just fine
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2014, 02:00:44 PM »
In North Dakota’s oil, gas country, the air’s just fine

By Rob Port  /   June 2, 2014  /   No Comments

CLEAN POWER: The American Lung Association gave North Dakota top marks for air quality, including in six counties that represent the heart of oil and coal production in the state.


By Rob Port | North Dakota Bureau

BISMARCK, N.D. — The Environmental Protection Agency has announced emissions rules for power plants President Obama says are needed to protect the health of Americans.

But in North Dakota, where the rapid pace of oil development exists alongside what industry sources say is an 800-year supply of lignite coal, that argument doesn’t seem to match the facts on the ground.

The proposed EPA rules announced Monday would require power plants to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2030. They would be implemented in 2016 after a one-year public commenting period.

“We don’t have to choose between the health of our economy and the health of our children,” Obama said of the rules in his weekly address released Saturday. “As president and as a parent, I refuse to condemn our children to a planet that’s beyond fixing.”

But in North Dakota, fossil fuel energy development seems to have had little impact on air quality. According to the American Lung Association’s 2014 State of the Air report, the state gets a top grade for air quality specifically in counties with intense fossil fuel energy development.

Every county in the state measured by the ALA got an “A” grade, including Billings, Burke, Dunn and McKenzie counties where oil production and natural gas flaring have made national headlines. Two more counties, Mercer and Oliver, are home to five coal-fired power plants.

The coal industry in North Dakota warns that new EPA regulations could hurt the state’s economy and the power grid.

“Demand for electrical power in North Dakota is expected to increase by 208 percent over the next 20 years,” said Jason Bohrer, president of the Lignite Energy Council. “Our lignite coal reserves provide approximately 80 percent of the power within North Dakota, as well as 2 million people throughout the Upper Midwest. Any regulations that would require unfeasible retrofits to continue operation of existing plants would greatly impact power reliability and our economy. Unreasonable regulations could lead to layoffs, higher unemployment, increased costs to consumers and depressed economic activity.”

North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Randy Christmann told Watchdog previously these new rules were restricting the development of new power plants even before they were announced.

“Nothing is in the planning stages for new coal plants,” Christmann said in January, suggesting the EPA is “threatening” the state’s power grid.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 02:01:17 PM by rangerrebew »
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. Abraham Lincoln

Offline Chieftain

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If this goes into effect next year, you can expect immediate rolling brownouts all over the Country during the first heat wave and/or the first cold snap.  The first winter after this goes into effect will be a stone-cold bitch with electricity more expensive than ever.

Glad I have a good woodstove....


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