Heartland Institute Responds to EPA Emissions Rule

March 27, 2012

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, announced today that the agency will tighten restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, a move opponents say could essentially ban the construction of new conventional coal-fired power plants. The United States has the largest coal reserves in the world; coal currently supplies 40 percent of the nation’s electricity.

The following statements from experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest, please contact Tammy Nash at tnash@heartland.org and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/731-9364.

“With around 50,000 megawatts of coal-fired power set to be forcibly retired in the next few years – thanks to the draconian policies of Obama’s EPA – this rule ensures that no new modern, efficient coal fired power plants will be built to fill the gap. The administration will continue to push its pixie-dust energy policies instead, pretending that expensive, inefficient, and unreliable solar and wind power can somehow fill the gap.

“The big winner will be Obama’s good friend, GE Chairman Jeff Immelt. Since solar and wind cannot fill a 50,000 megawatt baseload gap, the only way to ensure continued reliability of the grid is to build a lot of natural gas-fired power plants quickly. And who is the world’s biggest supplier of natural gas-fired combustion turbines? GE of course. This move reeks of more crony capitalism hiding behind the dubious cloak of eco-purity.”

Richard J. Trzupek
Policy Advisor, Environment
The Heartland Institute

“An unelected federal bureaucracy has in one fell swoop taken away one of the nation’s greatest economic resources. The United States of America is the Saudi Arabia of coal, but now the EPA has ruled we cannot use coal anymore. Even though coal is our least expensive source of electricity, this bountiful resource will now sit in the ground unused.

“President Obama’s professed ‘all of the above’ strategy is being painfully exposed for what it has been all along – ‘none of the above.’ The Keystone Pipeline has been scuttled, oil and natural gas permitting on federal lands is virtually nonexistent, and affordable coal electricity will soon be a thing of the past.

“It should not come as a surprise that this administration has kept its word about purposefully driving up the price of energy in order to leave no affordable alternatives to radical environmentalists’ preferred wind and solar power. As a nation, we have only ourselves to blame for allowing this to happen.”

James M. Taylor
Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy
The Heartland Institute

“There should be no ambiguity that this regulation will prevent any new coal-fired power plants from being constructed without the addition of speculative carbon capture and storage technology. This rule will have little, if any, effect on global greenhouse gas emissions, and exists solely as a result of environmental interest groups abusing the judicial process to further their radical agenda. President Obama should be honest with the American people in his rhetoric and recognize that he cannot one week support an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy agenda and the next eliminate an entire fuel source from our future energy portfolio.”

John Monaghan
Legislative Specialist for Environmental Policy
The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.