Clean-Energy Hostages; GOP Should Offer Obama His Wind Credits for an End to His War on Fossil Fuels
Byline: Steve Milloy, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
L et the fossil fuels go, or the wind industry gets it in the wallet. That's the threat congres- sional Republicans need to convey to their colleagues across the aisle to stop the Obama war against fossil fuels.
Despite President Obama's effort in his State of the Union address to position himself as favoring an all of the above approach to domestic energy production, the reality of the past three years has been quite to the contrary.
After failing to crush the coal industry with the ill-fated Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, Mr. Obama has since loosed his regulatory agencies, especially the thuggish Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA is on the verge of proposing its greenhouse gas emission rules for power plants - the cap part of cap-and-trade - despite ongoing litigation over their legality.
One concern is that the rules as implemented will block the construction of new coal-fired power plants - the very same sort of power that safely provides about 45 percent of U.S. electricity.
And those existing plants are in danger, too.
Not only has the EPA issued its expensive anti-coal Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and Mercury Air Toxics Standard - part of the suite of regulations known as the EPA train wreck that pose a threat to electricity reliability - the president has also sicced the Department of Interior and Mine Safety Administration on the coal industry to interfere with underground mining.
Mr. Obama tried to sound positive and even take credit for the natural gas glut brought about by the revolutionary practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The reality, however, is that his EPA is working on measures to insinuate itself into what so far has largely been a state regulatory issue, with the aim of reeling in the burgeoning field.
As for oil drilling, in addition to rejection of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and the needless moratorium on Gulf drilling following the 2010 oil spill, Mr. Obama has dramatically cut back on western drilling.
New Bureau of Land Management oil and gas leases were down 44 percent in 2009-10 compared with 2007-08, and permits and new wells drilled were both down 39 percent, with both trends continuing into 2011, according to a new report from the American Petroleum Institute.
There is, however, a pre-election solution to Mr. …