The EPA's War on America

Posted on October 22, 2013
Posted By: Alan Caruba

Among the targets to disable an enemy's ability to wage war is their energy infrastructure. The destruction of the utilities that provide electricity or its ability to refine oil is critical to crippling a nation's ability to function, based on the universal use of hydrocarbons such as coal, natural gas, and oil.

If an enemy was doing this to America we would go to war against it, but this is being done and the enemy is the government on which we depend to ensure the nation has the energy it needs to function and grow. Leading the war on America has been the Environmental Protection Agency, but it is joined by the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and other agencies.

The Institute for Energy Research has estimated that the much of the government's oil and gas that is technically recoverable is worth $128 trillion, about eight times our national debt. Our coal resources in the lower 48 states are estimated to be worth $22.5 trillion.

On September 10, The Wall Street Journal reported that "The Obama administration plans to block the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they are built with novel and expensive technology to capture greenhouse-gas emissions, according to people familiar with a draft proposal." The U.S. has more than 27% of the world's known coal reserves.

Greenhouse gas emissions are primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas vital to all life on Earth, the "food" that vegetation depends upon. It plays no role whatever in a "global warming" that is not occurring. It is emitted by the Earth's many active volcanoes and hot springs. It is exhaled by humans and land animals. It is the product of the combustion of hydrocarbons. As it increased in the atmosphere, the Earth has entered a cooling-not a warming-spell since the late 1990s. Its atmospheric concentration is a very tiny 0.039 percent by volume.

It is, however, the justification on which much of the EPA's enforcement activities are based. "The only way coal plants could comply is to capture carbon dioxide emissions and stick them underground-a costly process that hasn't been demonstrated at commercial scale before."

The idea of "capturing" CO2 and holding it underground is about as idiotic as it gets. More CO2 means more abundant crops to feed humans, livestock, and wildlife. It means healthier forests and jungles. Yet this is what would be required if the EPA gets its way. And even if it were possible, it would drive up the cost of electricity to consumers.

If implemented the proposal would guarantee one thing; fewer coal-fired plants and, as a result, less production of electricity. In 2012, the American Energy Institute warned that "coal's share of U.S. electricity is expected to fall to below 40 percent this year from 42 percent last year and produce the lowest share since data was collected in 1949. Just five or six years ago, its share of electricity generation was 50 percent."

The EPA isn't content stopping the construction of coal-fired plants. In April 2013 a decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the EPA's veto of the Arch Coal Spruce Mine in West Virginia. The decision pushed aside the Army Corps that normally conducts the environmental reviews and which granted approval to the mine in 2007.

The EPA ordered the Corps to withdraw the permit. This transfer of power to the EPA imperils all future coal mining projects. A Wall Street Journal article about the EPA's project veto noted that "A recent study by Berkeley Professor David Sunding estimates that some $220 billion of annual investment depends on these permits; the fact of an EPA veto will deter new investment. EPA warnings have caused a British mining giant, Anglo-American, to walk away from a proposed Alaskan "Pebble" mine-potentially the largest coal and copper project in North America."

It is not just coal whose use is targeted by the EPA, fracking technology has unleashed a boom in natural gas, but the Obama administration has nominated an enemy of natural gas to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Ron Binz regards it as a "dead end" because he too is a believer in carbon capture and storage. His answer to a non-existent global warming is "renewable" energy sources such as solar and wind. Solar currently provides 0.01% of the electricity fed to the grid and wind provides just 2%. FERC oversees much of the gas business and could effectively deter the growth of this industry with all of its attendant benefits from jobs to the reduction in the cost of electricity.

A recent report by the Republican members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee exposes the way the EPA has "pursued a path of obfuscation, operating in the shadows, and out of the sunlight." The report noted how the former administration established an alias identify in order to discuss agency business without having to report on it. The report provides a lengthy description of violations of the Freedom of Information Act and other federal laws and regulations intended to encourage transparency in government.

All of this is going on while the nation languishes in the long recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, while creating jobs is vital to that recovery, and while it continues its long history of resisting the provision of energy in any form to Americans.

It is a war being waged on Americans, most of whom are unaware of it, but are being victimized by it.

Authored By:
Alan Caruba is the founder, in 1990, of The National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about "scare campaigns" that are designed to influence public opinion and policy. The Center maintains a website at These days he is best known for his blog "Warning Signs" ( that has recently

Other Posts by: Alan Caruba

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October, 22 2013

Ferdinand E. Banks says

Carbon capture and sequestration is not idiotic Alan. It's stupid. Here I can note that the boss of the site OilPrice.Com put in a good Word for it a few months ago, and so maybe it is a good thing that he fired me from his site Before I had a chance to tell him.

As for Mr Obama's government, the voters are getting what they deserve, If they had put John Kerry in the White House we would have been spared the present farce.

October, 22 2013

Michael Keller says

Considering that the whole basis for the EPA CO2 regulations are becoming ever more doubtful, the actions of the EPA become even more troubling.

The inability (or refusal) to periodically assess an unfolding situation strongly suggests a fundamental lack of integrity on the part of the EPA.

October, 22 2013

Fred Linn says

-------" ability to refine oil is critical to crippling a nation's ability to function,"-----

Nonsense. We have ethanol, biodiesel and natural gas. None of those need to be refined in order to be used to power our vehicles. They can be used with petroleum, or without petroleum.

They are cleaner, safer, renewable and sustainable---and they cost less than petroleum.

------" The idea of "capturing" CO2 and holding it underground is about as idiotic as it gets."--------

I agree. It is stupid to dig carbon up out of the ground in the first place.

------------" Leading the war on[in] America has been the Environmental Protection Agency, but it is joined by the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and other agencies."--------

You forgot the main department------------DoD, whose sole job is the defense of America. DoD is leading the way in the drive to save America from entrenched fossil fuel interests and the damage they are causing.

October, 23 2013

Josh Blair says

"It plays no role whatever in a "global warming" that is not occurring."

Yea, hard to take you seriously after this comment...

October, 23 2013

Richard Vesel says

More high-carbon economy blather by Mr. Caruba. A climate change denier, who will likely not be around long enough to see the error of his ways.

Energy will remain low cost for quite a while now, given new gas and oil sources here, and abroad. No need to expand the digging up of the worst of the carbon offenders (coal) and compound the CO2 issues we have with the existing 30GT of annual global emissions. Regulation of polluting outputs is necessary, and we're spewing out enough CO2 now to consider it a pollutant. Too much of a good thing is always a bad thing...


October, 23 2013

Michael Keller says

Vessel, Your grasp of basic economics is poor, at best. Have you any idea of the vast amount of our food supply that would be required for ethanol and bio-fuels? Stunningly vast.

Require the military to use "bio-fuels"? Not rational, both economically and from a military readiness perspective. Huge amounts of money are being stupidly spent by the DOD on a fundamentally unsound side show. The money should have been spent on the troops and equipment.

Further, your use of "denier" demonstrates a fundamental inability to rationally discuss issues. The fact remains, "man-caused-global-warming-catastrophe" remains an unproven theory that is becoming increasingly wobbly, as the actual climate is ignoring the global warming models.

October, 23 2013

Malcolm Rawlingson says

Perhaps I missed something but are the Chinese burying all their CO2 from coal burning plants. Fortunately they are not idiots and the answer is no they are not and neither will they. The antics of the EPA are just more music to the ears of a nation that understands how to become the next America. China already holds most of your debt. They are already trying to displace the US dollar as the reserve currency (and promoting the Renminbi in the process).

Fred Linn unfortunately is one of those on the lunatic fringe that believes converting food crops to ethanol is a smart thing to do. and supports the ensuing destruction of the US economy.The planes that bring the tropical tasty treats you enjoy from the tropics cannot run on ethanol or natural gas. They use aviation fuel a refined product from aviation planes. And if I am not mistaken the vast US Air force that protects your great country does not run on ethanol or biodiesel. It runs on aviation fuel from refineries.

I don't know who the author of this phrase is but it fits most of the nutbars in the EPA and Fred L here.

"There are none so blind as those who will not see"

Any body notice the great ABSENCE of hurricanes this year. Yet another Global Climate Catastrophe that did not happen.


October, 24 2013

Richard Vesel says

Actually, I have an excellent grasp of economics, sorry to disappoint you. (You might want to have a look at

Those who ignore the trends of history and reality are doomed.

"2012 marked the first time that wind-generated electricity exceeded electricity generated by coal in Ontario; moreover, "by the end of 2014, Ontario will be the first jurisdiction in North America to eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation."

One by one, the provinces, states and regions will reduce and then eliminate coal as a source of fuel for power generation. New England ISO is 54% gas, 31% Nuclear, and only 3% coal, 1% oil. New generation facilities built in the next decade are projected to be primarily wind and gas. This is per the head of NEISO, and also of the NEPGA. (Quotes are fresh from yesterday, October 23, 2013)

You all may choose to bury your heads in the sand, er, coal ash, or perhaps speak to the Chinese and Indians, who still need to burn dirt for power. However, the trend here is clear - coal is no longer king, and will soon be demoted to ambassador to Zimbabwe.


October, 24 2013

Richard Vesel says

In June of 2011, I spoke in Minneapolis to the Utility Coal Conference, of the American Coal Council. My topic: Enhancing Plant Survivability: Keeping Coal Flexible - The Coal Plant Survival Kit" In my work within the industry, I saw many things that coal-fired power generators were ignoring, at their own peril. That picture has not changed. I suggested to them to expect a smaller portion of a bigger pie, as the economy would slowly but inevitably recover. Amazingly, it only took one year for the first coal v. gas generation parity point to be hit, far earlier than I was projecting.

During lunch, I suggested that the coal companies were going to find themselves in the buggy whip business, and that they could insist that business as usual would still be possible, or they could look for new applications for their product, such as refinement to metallurgical grade coals, selling for as much as $300 per ton, or for purification and liquification to compete with petroleum. Smaller volume sales, at much higher prices and margins. The buggy whip manufacturer who would look at making leather seats for the automobile, in other words. Yes, investment is necessary, but those markets are open and expandable. The handwriting is on the wall though, for burning dirt in 19th century ways in a 21st century world...

RWV (with one "S")

October, 25 2013

Len Gould says

Wow. Even C. Darwin in the 18th century was more scientific than this author. Of course he probably doesn't "believe" Darwin either.

October, 26 2013

Michael Keller says

Not so sure the difficulties facing coal are all "climate-change/CO2" related, although the "buggy-whip" analogy may be pretty accurate.

In the broader context of a technology, steam powered power plants have been around for some time and are quite mature, with only limited potential for improvements. Combustion/gas turbine technology is both significantly more efficient as well as cost effective, and is constantly improving . Therein lies, in my opinion, the real threat to conventional coal power plants. Ditto for conventional nuclear power.

Coal gasification, of one form or the other, seems to me the only way for coal to successfully move into the 21st century where the gas turbine technology increasingly dominates energy production. The recently proposed EPA CO2 regulations appear to partially echo such a conclusion, although the proposed "sequestration" of CO2 is wildly unrealistic.

Please note, however, the proposed EPA regulations are fundamentally not scientifically sound, in my opinion, being based on an increasingly weak theory (man-caused-climate-catastrophe).

October, 26 2013

Nate Colman says

Not sure how you got permission to repost this from The Onion, but it's a brilliant satirical piece. Right out of the Colbert playbook, nicely done. Thanks for the humor Alan.

October, 29 2013

Stephen Morgan says

oh please, not again!

November, 02 2013

Ferdinand E. Banks says

Bill, when it comes to destroying America, the man to take the heat is George W. Bush, Without him the American voters might have kept their cool, and Mr Obama would still be unknown to most of us. Why,it is possible that we would have an American president capable of doing what American presidents are theoretically supposed to do. John Kerry is the man that I am thinking of, and I hope that he hasn't surrendered to the belief that has started going around that in the future the American president must be an ignoramus or fool if he or she is to get the approval of American TV audiences.

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