The demise of Coal in the US

Not many people are aware of the scope and depth of new regulations that are being set on industry in general.  This is not just true in the coal industry, but I use coal as an example to show how over-regulating anything creates issues and how these regulations are in other words going to destroy the coal industry in the US.  While most opponents of AGW are focusing on the science or on laws, the current president has set into stone regulations through the EPA and other organizations that make in impossible to make a profit today in opening up new coal plants (and other industry) through mostly blunt instruments that do nothing but destroy the ability of coal to function.

I discussed a little bit about this in how President Obama wants to “bankrupt coal” in a previous blog post as far as how it does not work economically: Right here.

Here is a map of the actual closures slated for the next 10-15 years:

As it should be noted, these closures are spread out in many different areas of the country.

Protests in general have been set into motion for other environmental harms with coal taking a back-seat as the battle has already been lost so to speak with the EPA taking a heavy hand and simply destroying coal with no mandate to do so which I did cover under my discussions on the endangerment finding here.  There are several ways this is being set into place…and the coverage can be found elsewhere, but the plant closings which have really started this year and run into next year at a serious pace are slated to really run into motion.  I have a couple of links here to help out in this regard here:

ONE

TWO

THREE

FOUR

To summarize all of those articles, basically increased regulation that simply caters to regulating coal out of existence through quasi-science and pseudo science is being utilized.  In other words, since the current administration hates coal they are simply regulating it out of existence.  This has led to many other articles on how new sources of power can be used in different areas since coal can not compete.  But the harsh reality is that every single power source will be more expensive.  In link number four it explains how power prices will probably increase by 40-60% for everyone.  This is real money that instead of going into the economy is going straight into inferior power sources that simply put do not do the same job as coal and/or nuclear.

But to get back to the pseudo science used, I will just mention it here, but at this link, a very in-depth article to the pseudo science used is this article here. The fallacy to explain so-called economic benefits or any saved lives through increased regulations is called the linear no threshold hypothesis.  This hypothesis which is completely wrong goes to the thought that if X of a bad substance causes Y deaths, then 1/100 of X causes 1/100 deaths which is flat-out wrong scientifically, but this is still embraced and used by the EPA and other Government regulations to otherwise “justify” their actions.  So instead of using actual science to figure out what the estimated death toll is, they simply use this pseudo science to complete political agendas.  In essence, we go from using science to make decisions to knee-jerk reactions and fuzzy dreams.

But the true danger is in not having enough power to actually power the grid.  As seen in Texas last winter, this is very possible within high demand time periods such as the coldest days of winter or the warmest days of the summer (which coincidently are the same times that the wind tends to not blow, so wind power does not solve this issue in any way.) and this of course means that in general Americans will in the future be paying MORE for power and getting LESS for that same amount of money.  By using a heavy-handed regulatory policy, our current president is in other words responsible for Americans having less money to spend and the economy will suffer for this.

But to go back into the how this is being accomplished, I think the following quote which is from here:

Is probably the best quick explanation.

During 2009, 2010, and 2011, a combination of factors converged to produce a wave of coal plant retirement announcements by plant operators. These factors included:

  • The continued aging of the coal fleet, in which the median generating station was built in January 1966. (See Table 1 below) Since their efficiency is lower than newer plants, older plants are typically run less often and have poorer economics.[1]
  • New and proposed EPA regulations, including the proposed Clean Air Transport Rule, the proposed Coal Combustion Residuals rule, the proposed Tailoring Rule (covering greenhouse gas emissions), the Ozone NAAQS (National Ambient Air Quality Standards), the forthcoming National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs), and cooling water regulations under section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act. [2][3][4]
  • Low prices of power from natural gas plants.

In other words, a combination of over-regulation and cheaper Natural Gas has contributed to coal becoming the new dog that is going the way of the dinosaur.  The natural gas angle is interesting because although it might be cheaper today, there are some very important facts people should be aware of.  Natural Gas is cheaper today, but if you increase the demand, the price will rise (which should be common sense and not even needed to be mentioned).  But this will cause prices to probably head back to where they were prior to the recent boon on NG.  In other words, as said in the Tribune article mentioned earlier, power will probably increase in price by at least 40-60% as of today.  And not to mention increased chances of rolling black-outs.

In other words these regulations will not help the country in any way.  The regulations will not save the lives claimed, and in the end the only people who suffer are the average citizen who is more likely to be unemployed or have less money to spend on other products which strictly speaking really affects the economy in a bad way.  So just like in my previous post where I showed that environmental concerns which are simply wrong are working to force our country into an even longer recession.  And let us not even mention the effect to the coal industry which provides the highest paying jobs in the country for un-educated laborers.  This is a true shame and as we move forward in time we seem to be walking backwards out of scientific enlightenment and into a new dark age.

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