In what's now become typical Obama fashion, the move was meant to appease environmental critics while at the same time ensure the fossil fuel industry that the so-called New Source Performance Standard would not actually hurt its bottom lines.
Here's why: the EPA rule would only impact new coal-fired power plants, but only those that break ground in over a year from now. In all, 15 proposed coal plants in 10 states could be potentially impacted by the rule, even though most are already hung up in court battles. As such, no coal-fired power plants in the United States have broke ground over the past three years and environmentalists, thanks to their tenacity and perseverance, have seen far more victories than defeats when it comes to battling King Coal on this front.
The new greenhouse rule will require fossil fuel-fired electricity generating units to restrict their emissions to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt-hour of electricity produced; a strict standard to be sure, but one that doesn't come without caveats. All old power plants, some well over 50 years in age, will be exempt entirely from Obama's greenhouse rule, despite the fact that these archaic facilities alone account for over 40 percent of carbon emissions in the country. In a nutshell, the biggest coal polluters are being let off the hook altogether.
Five years ago a whopping 151 new coal plants were slated for construction, but with one of the greatest environmental achievements in our history, grassroots activists across the country stopped their development.
Obama is riding on the coat-tails of these victories, which is to be expected, but what's underlying the greenhouse gas rule is a bit more sinister. As concerns about the impacts of fracking continue to grow, the power plants that burn natural gas extracted through this process of pumping a mix of water, chemicals and sand deep into the earth's crust, won't be covered by the rule. Generally, natural gas plants produce less than 900 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. Indeed the limit set by the EPA was not arbitrary; it directly aids and abets the natural gas industry. Obama knows quite well that natural gas is poised to be the fossil fuel of the future and his administration and the EPA are not going to stand in the way of the big boom.
This isn't to say the effect of natural gas on climate change is benign -- far from it. While still producing a large amount of carbon emissions (albeit less than coal), natural gas also spews a whole bunch of methane (natural gas is methane), which is far more potent than CO2 when it comes to the immediate warming of our planet. In fact, it is estimated that methane gas has a global warming potential 25 times that of CO2 (averaged over 100 years). So, in absolute terms, natural gas does contribute substantially to greenhouse gas emissions, and with more production in the works, this contribution is going to grow a lot more
GET REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS THE HELL OUT OF WASHINGTON.
Obama does not care if he hurts the People to advance his career. He will propel the American People into what he and the 1% consider the “Creative Process” of Climate Change in order to accumulate profit at the 99% expense.