energy rates

Obama’s ludicrous, anti-consumer cap and trade regulations aren’t actually about the environment

It’s been overshadowed by the continuing coverage of the Bergdahl-Taliban five swap, but reports began to surface this week that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at the direction of the White House, has begun pushing new carbon rules on existing coal plants that aim to reduce their emissions by 30% from 2005 levels.

Call it cap and trade by regulatory fiat:

Analysts widely expect the final rule to give states the option of joining or creating cap-and-trade programs, which allow companies to trade credits for emissions. The draft released on Monday does not discuss that possibility.

“There are no commercially viable [carbon capture and storage methods]. That’s why we expect cap-and-trade,” said Michael Ferguson, an associate director at S&P who covers merchant energy producers.

At risk of drawing the ire of the climate change true believers, there was a reason the climate change cap and trade legislation failed a few years back, and it wasn’t because evil, bible-thumping conservatives are convinced mankind has no effect on the environment (for the record, we do. But our carbon emissions, for example, are pretty negligible compared to things like decaying organic matter and volcanoes).

No, it was defeated in the Senate because many Democrats that voted against hailed from states that relied on jobs related to the coal industry. And if there’s one thing that moves a politician, it’s the voice of a united constituency.

But not to be deterred, the Obama administration used the EPA and the Clean Air Act to declare carbon emissions a health hazard that must be regulated:

Today in Liberty: House raises debt ceiling, Bachmann channels Ron Paul

“I will to my dying day oppose, with all the powers and faculties God has given me, all such instruments of slavery on the one hand, and villainy on the other, as this writ of assistance is.” — James Otis

Rand Paul v. Barack Obama: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) will file a class-action lawsuit against President Barack Obama and intelligence officials over the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs this morning at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Paul will be joined by Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks, and Ken Cuccinelli, lead counsel in the case. Stay tuned. We’ll have a full write up on this a little later.

Rand Paul

— House passes “clean” debt ceiling hike: House leaders gave up on the trying to get policy riders attached to a debt ceiling bill, The House of Representatives passed a “clean” debt ceiling early yesterday evening by a vote 221 to 201. The measure extends the nation’s borrowing limit to March 16, 2015. The Senate is expected to take up the measure as soon as tomorrow.

Rising energy prices in Germany offers U.S. a preview of what’s to come

President Barack Obama’s ideal clean coal plant is an expensive boondoggle that is causing consumers rates to skyrocket, long before its expected to come online. But this is only highlights one part of this administration’s agenda.

The push away from coal and nuclear energy and the focus on renewable energy in Germany has caused energy rates to rise, causing politicians to worry about the country’s international competitiveness:

The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) said on Friday a new government must move quickly to rein in rising energy costs in order to safeguard the competitiveness of German industry.

Speaking a day after the SPD leadership agreed to enter formal coalition negotiations with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, Gabriel called Germany’s renewable energy law (EEG) an impediment to a successful exit from nuclear power.

“The EEG was a wonderful law when we wanted to support new technologies to make them competitive. Today, in its current form, it is the biggest obstacle for the energy shift,” Gabriel said in a speech at a union event in Hanover.

“We need to ensure that renewable energy is affordable. And we need to put an end to the idea that we can pull out of nuclear and coal simultaneously. This won’t work.”

The exact policies may not necessarily be the same as those being pursued in the United States by the Obama Administration, but the basic point and end goals are almost identical.

Obama’s ideal clean coal plant plagued by cost-overruns, higher energy rates for consumers

Kemper County plant

A power plant in Mississippi that has been touted as an example of new clean coal technology has turned into a financial boondoggle for the Southern Company and ratepayers in the area, according to the Wall Street Journal, and that it could dissuade other power companies from taking similar projects (emphasis added):

Mississippi Power Co.’s Kemper County plant here, meant to showcase technology for generating clean electricity from low-quality coal, ranks as one of the most-expensive U.S. fossil-fuel projects ever—at $4.7 billion and rising. Mississippi Power’s 186,000 customers, who live in one of the poorest regions of the country, are reeling at double-digit rate increases. And even Mississippi Power’s parent, Atlanta-based Southern Co., has said Kemper shouldn’t be used as a nationwide model.

Meanwhile, the plant hasn’t generated a single kilowatt for customers, and it’s anyone’s guess how well the complex operation will work. The company this month said it would forfeit $133 million in federal tax credits because it won’t finish the project by its May deadline.

One of just three clean-coal plants moving ahead in the U.S., Kemper has been such a calamity for Southern that the power industry and Wall Street analysts say other utilities aren’t likely to take on similar projects, even though the federal government plans to offer financial incentives.


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