Not content with pending rules that virtually bar construction of new coal-fired power plants, President Obama directed the U.S. Environ-mental Protection Agency to set limits on how much carbon dioxide the nation's existing electric power plants may emit.
The implications for the American coal industry, coal-fired utilities, and business and residential power customers are enormous.
The Natural Resources Defense Council estimated it would cost utilities $4 billion to comply with new regulations on coal power plants, but the economy would see from $25 to $60 billion in benefits.
This, plainly put, is a crock, and the story behind it is one of dishonest government that should be curbed.
The figures stem from a new construct slipped into a new efficiency standard for microwave ovens.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy declined to set energy conservation standards for microwaves, saying it "has determined that such standards would not be technologically feasible and economically justified."
Four years later, everything had changed. In May Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said his department had finished new efficiency standards for microwaves that would save Americans almost $3 billion by 2030.
Into this seemingly innocuous regulation of soup-nuking devices, the department slipped in a gargantuan redefinition of what it called the "social benefits" of cutting carbon emissions.
In 2010, an interagency group decided that every metric ton of carbon reduced by regulation would count for $21 in "social benefits."