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Friday, September 20, 2013

Fine Print of Obama's EPA Rules Reveal Huge Giveaways to Big Coal and Gas

Obama can't fight 'war on coal' by giving industry $8 billion in government subsidies, say critics

"The Environmental Protection Agency announced new regulations for the energy industry on Friday which will limit, for the first time, the amount of carbon that gas- and coal-fired plants can emit into the atmosphere. And though many of the larger environmental groups in the country welcomed the new restrictions, more critical observers of the EPA announcement argue the rules don't go far enough in terms of limiting emissions. Meanwhile the Obama administration, in fact, is preparing to use huge amounts of public money to prop up the U.S. coal industry. Such a scheme, according to one critic, "will make only modest cuts to power plant emissions" at a moment in history when much more dramatic actions are needed.
Pushing back against the idea the Obama has somehow initiated a "war against coal"—an argument used by Republicans and Conservatives to blast the new rules and conversely used by groups like NRDC and Sierra to champion them—the Campaign for America's Future Bob Scher asked his readers to take a closer look at the proposal. Citing New York Times reporting which shows the Obama administration plans to support the fossil fuel industry with "as much as $8 billion" in order to help it build the "cleaner" plants the rules will require, Scher concludes that "Obama is not launching a war on coal. He’s bending over backwards to keep coal viable." And the Center for Biological Diversity, striking a much more adversarial tone than its larger environmental colleagues, declared the EPA rules and Obama's effort are far too imperfect to adequately address the climate crisis facing the country and the planet. “If we’re really serious about tackling the climate crisis – and morality dictates that we must be – we just have to do more than this,” said Bill Snape, the Center’s senior counsel. “That means a stronger rule for power plants and other serious measures that lead to deep cuts in greenhouse emissions.”"