The Obama administration proposed on Tuesday the first ever standards to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, a move likely to be hotly contested by Republicans and industry in an election year, reports Reuters.
The Environmental Protection Agency's proposal would effectively stop the building of most new coal-fired plants in an industry that is moving rapidly to more natural gas.
Republicans say a slew of EPA clean air measures will drive up power costs but have had little success in trying to stop them in Congress. Industries have turned to the courts to slow down the EPA's program.
Some Democrats from energy-intensive states also complained. "The overreaching that EPA continues to do is going to create a tremendous burden and hardship on the families and people of America," said Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia.
The enforcement of the new measures, which will force new plants to cut CO2 emissions by 50 per cent and also mandate investment in unaffordable technologies to bury carbon emissions underground, marks the realization of Obama’s 2008 promise to “bankrupt” the coal industry.
During an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle in January 2008 when he was still a Senator, Obama stated, “If somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”
Since Congress successfully defeated Obama’s disastrous climate bill in 2010, which would have imposed similar measures, the EPA has simply declared CO2, the life-giving gas that plants breathe, to be a deadly poison, and will impose the limits by dictatorial fiat.
Groups like the Edison Electric Institute have previously warned that the new rules eventually “cost utilities up to $129 billion and force them to retire one-fifth of coal capacity,” prompting a wave of coal plant shutdowns. Americans will be hit with more energy rate hikes even as they struggle to pay the bills now.