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Coal must be part of coherent US energy policy

August 18, 2012
The Mining Journal

President Barack Obama and some in Congress insist they are not out to kill the coal industry. Those who point out the administration's policies are doing just that are exaggerating, it's claimed.

Regrettably, they are not. In fact, the anti-coal forces already have chalked up a major victory. Utility companies, even those that traditionally have relied on coal to generate power, seem to be turning away from it.

It has been several years since construction began on a new coal-fired power plant in the United States, it's been reported. Nearly half the nation's electric power is generated by burning coal.

Regions where coal is used to generate power generally pay much less for it - with notable exceptions in states with their own harsh emissions laws.

Forcing other states to abandon coal, install extremely expensive new carbon control equipment or pay for pricey government permits to avoid that would send utility bills skyrocketing.

Apparently, many utilities already have decided sticking with coal is not the smart bet, in light of the Obama administration's campaign against it. And why not? Higher prices for non-coal generating capacity can be passed on to consumers.

As we have pointed out, the White House does not care that Congress -including many Democrats, as well as Republicans - has rejected anti-coal measures such as "cap and trade."

The Environmental Protection Agency, with Obama's blessing, is moving ahead with its own war against coal. Clearly, lawmakers need to stop it - without delay.



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