Saturday, October 6, 2012

Diggapedia Calls Bullshit Volume I Episode II: Who killed coal?


At 12:01am on August 1, 1981MTV debuted airing The Buggles’ Video Killed the Radio Star

Rewritten by machine and new technology,

and now I understand the problems you can see.


The one hit wonder tells of the demise of radio at the hands of video; the music industry was evolving from the audio medium to the audio/visual medium.

During Wednesday’s night debate Mitt Romney accused President Obama of killing the coal industry  “People in the coal industry feel like it's getting crushed by your policies.”  Yes this has become a popular narrative from the right.  The big bad government and it’s EPA regulations are killing industries like coal.  Ed Morrissey “Nor has Obama ever honestly intended to apply an “all of the above” energy policy; he mouths the words, but his actions are hostile to hydrocarbon-based energy.”  More of the same without any evidence. 

For the record, there are new regulations concerning cuts in mercury, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide emissions from coal burning plants.  The plants that fail to comply with the new regulations are older installations that are expected to be retired in the next year or two.  So the new regulations are preventing coal companies’ from building new plants right?  Not quite.  According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) “The reduced overall costs of combined cycle natural gas cogeneration and extremely low natural gas prices, and lower cost renewables are major factors. The rise in coal inventories over the last year and EIA reports on electricity generation suggest that significant coal capacity was idled in favor of natural gas generators as natural gas prices plummeted.”

Of course that hasn’t stopped even Democrats from misrepresenting the facts. Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) said the regulations would harm miners in his state, which is a major coal producer. "These people are scared to death because all they hear every day is they're going to lose their jobs.”

Perhaps the Financial Times’ Ed Crooks summed it up best this week “In spite of complaints about President Barack Obama’s ‘war on coal’, government regulations has so far had little impact.  Coal’s problem has been the shale revolution, which created a surge in U.S. natural gas supplies that drove prices down to 10-year lows.”

Claiming the EPA is responsible for the death of the coal industry is like blaming the FCC for killing the radio star.  Where in reality, it was the free market that did the deed in both cases.

Diggapedia calls bullshit on all those blaming the EPA for the death of coal.

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