Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How Big Coal Gave Us The Clean Power Plan

As polluters and their political allies decry President Obama's Clean Power Plan, it's understandable they're ignoring the reality that they created it. As Kate Sheppard recounts at Huffington Post, friends of the coal industry, namely the minority of Republican and coal state Democrat senators, filibustered the 2010 clean energy & climate bill, which contained the ungodly sum of $177 billion to subsidize carbon capture & storage at coal-fired power plants.

Despite that massive giveaway offer negotiated by coal ally Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), despite President Obama making clear that if the bill died he'd use the Clean Air Act to limit carbon pollution, coal allies blockaded the bill anyway. And then they voted their powerful Democratic ally Boucher out of office, replacing him with an inept, back-bench Tea Party Republican.

Coal and its allies were gambling they could kill the climate bill and block the Clean Power Plan. Here in 2015, it's breathtaking to look at just how spectacularly that plan blew up in Big Coal's face.

Even at the time, it was clear the climate bill's death also killed any hope coal could ever be clean. But just five years later, even the old-fashioned coal-fired power that's allowed to dump carbon pollution into the atmosphere for free is now in a death spiral - well before the Clean Power Plan takes effect.

I talked about the Clean Power Plan with Bruce DePuyt on News Channel 8's Newstalk:

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