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Join the Fight for Energy Freedom

Radical environmental groups, greedy investor-owned utilities, and liberal billionaires are working together to shut down perfectly good coal-powered electricity generation across America. This “premature retirement” of the nation’s coal fleet is causing electricity prices to rise and will lead to rolling blackouts in many parts of the country. It must be stopped before America’s best-in-the-world energy system is permanently crippled.

The War on Coal Was Very Real.

Coal has been a mainstay of economic growth and human well-being in the United States and advanced countries around the world for more than a century. Coal powered the Industrial Revolution and enabled the United States to electrify in the twentieth century, creating the most prosperous and free nation in human history.

More than 260 coal-fired power plants have closed since 2010 due to onerous regulations imposed by the Obama administration, state renewable energy mandates, federal renewable energy subsidies, and competition from natural gas power plants. Science, economics, and new political realities say these closures need to stop before America’s electricity supply is dangerously compromised.

The war on coal was led from the White House and backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in funding from left-wing foundations including the Rockefeller Brothers, Energy Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation to environmental activist groups including Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council. Just one donor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, has given more than $168 million to the Sierra Club to support the effort.

While running for president in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle that under his cap-and-trade proposal, anyone who wanted to build a coal-fired power plant could do so, but it would bankrupt them. Obama said “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” under his plan.

As president, Obama was never able to enact cap-and-trade legislation, so he sought other ways of “skinning the cat.” He directed EPA to draft a series of regulations that would adversely and dramatically affect coal-fired power plants as a means of fulfilling his campaign promise to fundamentally transform the energy makeup of the United States.

Obama’s war on coal had its intended effect. More than 250 coal-fired power plants were retired between 2010 and 2017, taking offline more than 34,000 megawatts (34 gigawatts) of power generation capacity. Coal’s share of U.S. electricity generation fell from 50 percent of total generation in 2008 to 31 percent in 2017. Reduced demand resulted in significant job losses in the coal industry, a matter discussed in the third Policy Study in this series.

Retiring the nation’s coal-fired power plants increases electricity prices because on average, existing coal plants generate electricity more affordably than the new plants that replace them. Additionally, retiring the coal-fired power fleet puts the reliability of the grid at greater risk. Low-priced natural gas is an attractive option for generating electricity, but prices and availability can fluctuate, which is why prudent public utilities usually want electricity from a mix of sources, including coal.

Trump is Ending the War on Coal.

As part of his America First Energy Plan, Trump has vowed to end the war on coal and work instead to protect and expand energy freedom. His administration has made good steps in that direction, including revoking or reconsidering unnecessary environmental regulations, withdrawing from the Paris Accord, and retracting the deeply flawed “social cost of carbon” estimates used to justify regulations.

Importantly, the Trump administration also dissolved the inter-agency group that has produced the highly biased and alarmist National Climate Assessments, and is placing independent scholars on EPA’s scientific review boards, replacing some members who have financial conflicts of interest.

See our Energy Freedom Score Card to see how the Trump administration is doing, and what remains to be done.

Ultimately, the administration will need to rescind the “endangerment finding,” the underlying foundation of regulations built up during the Obama years if Trump is to succeed with his energy plan and prevent activist groups or future administrations from undoing his work.

We Need Your Help!

Here are five ways you can help end the war on coal and other fossil fuels:

1. Get informed. Use the links in the navigation bar at the top of this page to find news articles, research, commentary, and videos about why the war on coal and other fossil fuels is a war on freedom and must be stopped. Watch videos from Heartland’s America First Energy Conference to see who is leading the fight for energy freedom.

2. Educate your friends, relatives, and colleagues by sharing links to the research and commentary to you find on this site. Ask them to join you in ending the war on coal.

3. Write or call your elected officials, at the local and state and federal levels, and tell them you oppose the premature retirement of coal-fired electrical plants. Tell them you support President Trump’s America First Energy Plan.

4. Use the sign-up widget at the upper right of this page to join our Energy Freedom Action Team, a group of concerned citizens willing to help us communicate with civic and business leaders, elected officials, and journalists about why we must protect our energy resources.

5. Make a special tax-deductible contribution to The Heartland Institute so we can continue our educational efforts on this vitally important issue. Go here to make a donation today.


Heartland's Work on Coal

News and Op-eds

High Coal Demand Expected Through at Least 2024, Study Finds
Kevin Stone, 
The Heartland Institute, January 27, 2020

Federal Science Panel Rejects Stricter Air Particulate Standards 
Duggan Flanakin, The Heartland Institute, January 8, 2020 

Report Assesses Economic Damage of ‘Carbon Taxes’ 
Hayley Sledge, The Heartland Institute, December 18, 2019

Oregon Ballot Initiatives Target Fossil Fuels
Bonner Cohen, 
The Heartland Institute, December 12, 2019

University of California System Announces Fossil Fuel Divestment
Kenneth Artz, The Heartland Institute, December 3, 2019

Trump Administration Makes Paris Climate Agreement Pullout Official
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute, November 25, 2019

EPA to Rescind East Texas Air-Quality Nonattainment Designation
Bonner Cohen, The Heartland Institute, October 10, 2019

Twenty-Two States, Seven Cities Sue Trump Administration over Power Plant Rule
Bonner Cohen, The Heartland Institute, October 7, 2019
D.C. Circuit Court Upholds EPA Ozone Standards
Duggan Flanakin, The Heartland Institute, September 26, 2019
Defending Climate and Energy Realism in Minnesota
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute, September 18, 2019
Idaho Reforms Laws to Encourage and Protect Mining
Duggan Flanakin, The Heartland Institute, September 9, 2019
James Taylor, The Heartland Institute, September 4, 2019
New Ohio Energy Law Emphasizes Subsidies, Mandates
Duggan Flanakin, The Heartland Institute, August 29, 2019
‘Green’ Cities: Higher Costs, Lower Electricity Reliability
Carley Good, The Heartland Institute, August 26, 2019
New York Adopts State 'Green New Deal’
Bonner Cohen, The Heartland Institute, October 15, 2019
Defending Constituents’ Climate Interests in Oregon
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute, August 2, 2019
Maine Enacts Sweeping Renewable Energy Mandates
Vivian Jones, 
The Heartland Institute, August 1, 2019
Federal Coal Sales Won’t Impact Climate, Trump Admin. Says
Kenneth Artz, The Heartland Institute, July 22, 2019
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute, July 10, 2019
Liberal Party Unexpectedly Wins Australian Elections Focused on Climate Change
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute, July 3, 2019
NV Law Mandates Costly 100% Carbon-Dioxide-Free Electricity
Kenneth Artz, The Heartland Institute, July 2, 2019
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Issues New Clean Air Rule
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute, June 26, 2019
Sorry, Kids, but the Next Energy Alternative Is Not Here Yet
Ronald Stein, The Heartland Institute, May 13, 2019
Renewables Push Undermines Power Grid Serving 65 Million
Bud Weinstein, The Heartland Institute, April 25, 2019
New Mexico Enacts 100 Percent Renewable Energy Mandate
Tim Benson, The Heartland Institute, April 24, 2019
NM Considers Big Increase in Costly Renewable Energy Mandate
Kenneth Artz, The Heartland Institute, April 4, 2019
Linnea Lueken, The Heartland Institute, March 20, 2019
Court Decision Could Determine Coal Power Plants’ Futures
Bonner Cohen, The Heartland Institute, March 15, 2019
Illinois Joins U.S. Climate Alliance, Pledges to Cut Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Christopher Talgo, The Heartland Institute, March 7, 2019
Xcel Energy Commits to Zero Carbon Dioxide Emission Electricity by 2050
Bonner Cohen, The Heartland Institute, March 5, 2019
Virginia House of Delegates Overwhelmingly Rejects Electric Power Fossil Fuel Ban
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute, February 19, 2019
New York Governor Pushes Goal of 100 Percent Renewable Power by 2040
Bonner Cohen, The Heartland Institute, February 13, 2019
EPA Proposes Easing Carbon Dioxide Emissions Standards for Coal Power Plants
Kenneth Artz, The Heartland Institute, February 11, 2019
‘Sustainable’ Investment Policies Are Costly, Often Unethical, Study Finds
Edward Hudgins, The Heartland Institute, January 30, 2019
Arizona Voters Reject Calif. Billionaire’s Renewable Energy Mandate Increase
Bonner Cohen, The Heartland Institute, January 3, 2019
Jobs, Revenues on Federal Lands Are Rising, Interior Dept. Reports
Bonner Cohen, The Heartland Institute, December 24, 2018
Fossil Fuels Remain Key to Continued Prosperity, New Study Shows
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute, December 21, 2018
Carbon-Dioxide Taxes Would Seriously Cut Economic Growth, Study Finds 
Tim Benson, The Heartland Institute, December 19, 2018
H. Sterling Burnett, The Heartland Institute, December 18, 2018

EPA Streamlines Industrial Facility Upgrade Process
Bonner Cohen, Environment & Climate News, April 25, 2018

Tax Reform Delivers Cheaper Electricity
H. Sterling Burnett, Detroit News, April 19, 2018

U.S. Energy Markets: The Real Russian Meddling the Media Ignores
H. Sterling Burnett, American Spectator, April 18, 2018

Russia Uses Activists, Web to Slow U.S. Energy Production, Congress Reports
H. Sterling Burnett, Environment & Climate News, April 17, 2018

Arizona Senate Puts Coal Tax Relief Bill on Hold
Tim Benson, Environment & Climate News, April 16, 2018

The Double Standards Industry
Paul Driessen, The Heartland Institute, April 16, 2018

Colorado Must Keep The Comanche Power Plant Running At Full Steam
Isaac Orr, RedState, April 9, 2018

Fossil Fuels Under Fire
H. Sterling Burnett, Climate Change Weekly, April 3, 2018

EPA Rejects Connecticut’s Request for Limits on Pennsylvania Coal Plant
Bonner Cohen, Environment & Cliamte News, April 2, 2018

WE Energies Values Corporate Profits More than Its Ratepayers
Isaac Orr, The Heartland Institute, March 7, 2018

Making Electricity Markets Competitive Again
Isaac Orr, Investor’s Business Daily, February 27, 2018

Real Needs Are Being Ignored in the Pursuit of Green Fantasies
H. Sterling Burnett, Inside Sources, February 27, 2018

Time for the Clean Power Plan to Go, Endangerment Finding Should Be Next
H. Sterling Burnett, Cornwall Alliance, January 31, 2018

President Trump on Energy and the Environment, an Assessment of His First Year
H. Sterling Burnett, Breitbart, January 22, 2018

Closing Coal Plant in Pleasant Prairie Will Increase Electricity Prices
Isaac Orr, Wisconsin State Journal, December 28, 2017

Blame Government, Not the Market, For Dwindling Coal Industry
Isaac Orr, The Hill, December 15, 2017

Trump EPA Puts Clean Power Plan on Trial in Coal Country
Isaac Orr, RealClearEnergy, December 12, 2017

We Must Eliminate Renewable Energy Subsidies to Ensure Reliable, Affordable Electricity
Isaac Orr, Orange County Register, November 23, 2017

Trump and the End of Obama's Bitter 'War on Coal'
H. Sterling Burnett, The Hill, September 30, 2017

Before Closing the Waukegan Coal Plant, Lawmakers Should Consider California’s Failures
Isaac Orr and Fred Palmer, Lake County Gazette, September 11, 2017

Germany Should Say Danke for U.S. Oil
Isaac Orr, Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2017

Coal, the Nation's Power Grid and the Broken Window Fallacy
Isaac Orr and Fred Palmer, Cleveland Sun, July 16, 2017

Real Energy Expert Destroys John Oliver’s Ignorant, Profanity-Laced Rant About Coal
Rich Trzupek, Breitbart, July 7, 2017

Paris Climate Agreement and the ‘America First’ Energy Plan
Fred Palmer, Breitbart, May 31, 2017

When It Comes to a Carbon Tax, There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
Tom Walton, RealClearEnergy, April 27, 2017

Renewable Energy Myths Abound
Isaac Orr, Detroit News, April 12, 2017

Dayton Power And Light Should Keep The Lights On By Saving Coal Plants
Isaac Orr, Investor’s Business Daily, April 4, 2017

Trump's order improved the fortunes of coal and American economy
H. Sterling Burnett, The Hill, March 29, 2017

Climate-Driven Coal Closures Harm Investors, Workers And Ratepayers
H. Sterling Burnett, Forbes, March 20, 2017

Trump’s Energy, Climate Plans Will Put America First Again
H. Sterling Burnett, American Spectator, November 25, 2016



Research & Commentary

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY: New Analysis Estimates Cost of Transition to 100 Percent Renewables Would be $4.5 Trillion 
Tim Benson, July 9, 2019

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY: Researchers Say Renewable Energy Mandates Cause Large Electricity Price Increases
Tim Benson, May 2, 2019

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY: US Transition to 100 Percent Renewable Energy Would Lead to Catastrophe
Tim Benson, April 24, 2019

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY: Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Expansion Would be Unwelcome News for Low Income Marylanders
Tim Benson, March 22, 2019

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY: Illinois Should Abolish not Expand Renewable Portfolio Standard
Tim Benson, March 19, 2019

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY: Renewables Energy Standard Expansion Would Cost Minnesotans Billions
Tim Benson, March 15, 2019

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY: Renewables Portfolio Standard Expansion Would Disproportionally Harm Low Income New Mexicans
Tim Benson, February 15, 2019

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY: Renewable Energy Mandate Expansion Regressive Carbon Dioxide Tax Would Make Life Harder for Low Income Bay Staters
Tim Benson, February 13, 2019

RESEARCH & COMMENTARY: Renewable Energy Mandate Expansion Regressive Carbon Dioxide Tax Would Make Life Harder for Low Income Bay Washingtonians 
Tim Benson, February 6, 2019

Heartland's Four-Part Series of Coal Papers

HEARTLAND POLICY STUDY: How the Premature Retirement of Coal-Fired Power Plants Affects Energy Reliability, Affordability
Isaac Orr, Frederick D. Palmer, February 1, 2018

Isaac Orr, Frederick D. Palmer, March 8, 2018
Isaac Orr, Frederick D. Palmer, March 22, 2018


Featured Heartland Research & Commentary

The Social Benefits of Fossil Fuels
Joseph Bast and Peter Ferrara, May 30, 2018



Other Research and Commentary

Federal Judge Overturns Oakland’s Ban on Coal Export Terminal
Bonner Cohen, June 29, 2018

Congress, Think Tanks State Opposition to Carbon Taxes
H. Sterling Burnett, June 22, 2018

House Votes to Modify Emissions Limits for Some Coal-Fired Power Plants
Bonner Cohen, May 3, 2018

Energy Department Calls for Smaller, Modular Coal Power Plants
Joe Barrett, April 30, 2018

Study Shows How ‘Zombie Regulations’ Are Closing Perfectly Good Coal Plants
Tim Benson, April 25, 2018

Arizona Senate Puts Coal Tax Relief Bill on Hold
Tim Benson, April 16, 2018

Trump Administration Eases Coal-Ash Disposal Regulations
Bonner Cohen, April 9, 2018

Connecticut Governor’s Climate Bills Costly and Unnecessary
Tim Benson, March 23, 2018

Reliability, Resilience and the Oncoming Wave fo Retiring Baseload Units
Peter Balash, National Energy Technology Laboratory, March 13, 2018

Carbon Tax Proposal Still a Bad Deal for Connecticut Residents
Tim Benson, March 12, 2018

John Nothdurft, February 14, 2018


The World is Getting Better Thanks to Fossil Fuels! (Guest: Merril Matthews)
H. Sterling Burnett, January 9, 2002


Explaining Energy Reality to the General Public (Guest: Ronald Stein)
H. Sterling Burnett, October 17, 2019


The Incalculable Societal Benefits of Fossil Fuels (Guest: Roger Bezdek)
H. Sterling Burnett, August 15, 2019


Fossil Fuels: Feeding The World and Restoring Wildlife Habitat (Guest: Dennis Avery)
H. Sterling Burnett, February 27, 2019


Russia Meddled in U.S. Energy Markets Through Environmental Groups (Guest: John Droz)
H. Sterling Burnett, March 28, 2018


Climate Science Special Report: All Politics, No Science (Guest: Jay Lehr)
H. Sterling Burnett, March 14, 2018


In The Tank (ep129) – Trump-ing Reagan? Fresh Prince, Obamacare Waivers, and Coal Power
Donny Kendal, John Nothdurft, March 2. 2018


Why Did the Obama Administration Wage a War on Coal?
Isaac Orr, Jim Lakely. February 9, 2018


California Invests Public Employee Retirement Funds in Sustainable Energy… To Pitiful Results
Isaac Orr, Tim Doyle, January 25, 2018


Is The Environmental Movement Just For Show?
Isaac Orr, Todd Myers, January 10, 2018


Australia, From Coal Power to Blackouts
Isaac Orr, Dr. Alan Moran, December 19, 2017


Australia, a Cautionary Tale
Jim Lakely, Fred Palmer,  November 6, 2017


Mary Hutzler: If Natural Gas and Coal Are So Cheap Right Now, Why Do My Power Bills Keep Going Up?
Isaac Orr, August 15, 2017


Fred Palmer: America and Coal's Brighter Future under President Trump
H. Sterling Burnett, June 5, 2017





Tim Huelskamp: The Sierra Club vs. The Heartland Institute
March 9, 2018


Flashes of Freedom: Coal is Green
March 2, 2018


Fred Palmer, America First Energy Conference (Panel 4A: The Future of Coal)
November 9, 2017


Bud Weinstein, America First Energy Conference  (Panel 4A: The Future of Coal)
November 9, 2017


Heath Lovell, America First Energy Conference  (Panel 4A: The Future of Coal)
November 9, 2017