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Posted: April 5, 2012 7:43 p.m.

Perugino: What is the energy plan of this administration?

Recently the Obama Administration effectively outlawed coal as a fuel source and it underscores the importance of Congress severely curbing the authority of regulatory agencies. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a new rule to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants, which would effectively ban new coal power plants, as its emissions standards are too low to be met by conventional coal-fired facilities.

Once again the Obama administration has usurped the power of Congress, denied the Constitution and used dictatorial powers to issue self serving regulations through his Federal agencies. Our freedom is being chiseled away on a daily and weekly basis without the resistance and fighting of our elected representatives.

By outlawing new coal-fired electric generation plants and ignoring nuclear power, the Administration has set in motion a plan to make the nation dependent upon natural gas and a mishmash of politically correct but non-viable sources such as solar and wind as older plants are decommissioned. Essentially, Obama has done via regulatory means what it could not accomplish in Congress: to set the trajectory for exorbitant electricity prices in the service of reducing "greenhouse gases."

The new rule requires power plants to meet an output-based standard of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity produced. Other than natural gas-fired power plants built in recent years, most power plants, and especially coal-fired ones, would fail to meet that standard.

When coupled with Obama's refusal to approve the Keystone pipeline with no believable justification, this newly issued regulation cannot be dismissed as an independent action but undeniably linked to a larger plan. Fatally that plan is not the will of the people or an approved act of Congress.

This stands in stark contrast with the President's supposed "all of the above energy approach" and sends a strong signal that coal is not part of the President's energy vision for America. Data, just released last week, of undeveloped natural deposits of coal in the U.S. indicates that we have enough coal available for hundreds of years. Are we to just ignore this resource and destroy our economy? In combination with other EPA regulations that contribute to the premature shutdown of existing coal plants, the EPA's actions represent one of the greatest threats to the electric sector and America's energy supply.

It's important to remember that the greatest progress toward environmental protection has not been accomplished by government regulation but through greater economic growth. Economic freedom and freer trade promote economic growth and prosperity, which provides society with the wealth and resources to pursue sound environmental policies. Increased government regulation, on the other hand, would stifle economic growth and could lead to counterproductive environmental results.

Whether it be in the form of directing you to purchase a product you don't wish to buy, telling religious organizations what they have to allow, or making electricity unaffordable, the cancerous growth of regulations presents the greatest danger to our liberty. Until the Congress decides to uphold the oath of office they swore to protect the Constitution and to man up and take back the power that it has relinquished, we are in a death spiral as a free people.

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