As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Time To Burn The Coal Industry

Fantastic news for the environment and efforts to reduce climate change.

The Obama administration on Tuesday agreed to review whether it should regulate carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, portending a major reversal of the Bush administration's policy on global warming.

The Environmental Protection Agency granted a petition from environmental groups seeking to overturn a Bush-era EPA memo that prohibited controls of those emissions.

"I am granting this petition because we must learn more about how this memo affects all relevant stakeholders impacted by its provisions,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement.

Sierra Club lawyer David Bookbinder welcomed the move, saying it "stops the Bush administration's final, last-minute effort to saddle President Obama with its do-nothing policy on global warming."

"With coal-fired power plants emitting more than 30 percent of our global warming pollution, regulating their carbon dioxide is essential to making real progress in the fight against global warming," he said in a statement.

The industry is busy doomsaying this decision (Higher prices! Inflexible standards!), but it's too bad. We simply cannot do what is necessary to control emissions if 30% of the emissions are shielded from reductions. Coal makes people sick and Americans are actively fighting them. If the industry wants to stay in business they can abide by the restrictions.

To be clear, I support research and development solutions that would make coal feasible, if only because China and India are likely to keep burning it. That's just pragmatic. But there is no way that coal should be burned in this country at current levels. If they can't make it clean and profit-generating, they can't stay in business. The cost of the externalities outweigh the additional costs in energy.

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