America is staring at a fast-approaching energy disaster that needn’t happen. The recent discovery and development of vast deposits of oil and natural gas, now recoverable with new technologies, have provided the U.S. economy with a much-needed boost over the past several years. These new energy sources also offer promise of increasing America’s competitive advantage by drastically lowering energy costs and reducing American dependence on foreign oil. This is of critical importance to luring manufacturing and industry back to the United States.
However, coal, one of our most abundant and important sources of energy, will remain a major component of any viable energy scheme for the United States. According to the federal Energy Information Agency (EIA), 45 percent of the country’s annual four trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity are generated from coal. And, says the EIA, we have a Demonstrated Reserve Base of 496 billion short tons of coal, of which 272 billion tons are considered recoverable with current technology. With U.S. usage at 1.1 billion tons per year, we have about 250 years’ supply at the present rate of consumption.
President Obama, however, has taken the path of the most extreme environmental radicals and declared war on coal. Since he has not been able to get Congress to enact legislation to destroy the coal industry, he is unconstitutionally using the EPA to regulate coal into extinction.
On August 2, the Reuters news service provided a list of 207 coal-fired plants that are scheduled to close. A May 2 news release from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) puts the total of coal-fired plant closings even higher, at 285, in 32 states.
If Congress does not restrain the EPA’s regulatory binge, Americans will be hit not only with much higher electricity prices, but also with brownouts and blackouts, especially during the cold winter months and hot summer spells, when heaters and air conditioners put the squeeze on power grids. Warnings of potential brownouts and the need for the public to ease up on air conditioning, as issued recently in Boston and New York, will become commonplace if coal is banished as an energy source.
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