Obama Administration's "All-of-the-Above But Nothing-from-Below" Energy Policy Pushes State-of-the-Art Coal Projects Over the Edge

February 20, 2013

Over the last several weeks, the plug was pulled on two state-of-the-art coal projects in Texas that were projected to exceed $5.5 billion in private investment and create hundreds of jobs. The reason? The Obama administration's ongoing push for climate regulations that will effectively regulate coal, and thousands of coal jobs, out of existence.

White Stallion Energy Center’s $2.5 billion power plant southwest of Houston was promised to be one of the cleanest and technologically advanced coal-fired power plants ever built in the United States, but the project was suspended after the president signaled he would bypass Congress and move forward with aggressive new emissions regulations. The news on White Stallion came on the heels of Chase Power’s announcement that it was cancelling plans for its $3 billion Las Brisas power plant in Corpus Christi – a project estimated to support up to 1,300 direct and 2,600 indirect jobs.

These two projects are just the latest victims of the Obama administration’s regulatory assault against coal. The EPA has moved forward with a suite of new regulations that are compelling the shuttering of power plants nationwide. EPA’s proposed rule regulating greenhouse gas emissions for new power plants will prevent the construction of any new coal-fired power plants, and the Obama administration has committed to issue additional rules regulating such emissions at existing power plants.

While new natural gas discoveries have increased access to alternative supplies for affordable, reliable electricity, that doesn’t change our country’s need for a diverse energy portfolio, including coal. Coal still remains our greatest electricity source, accounting for nearly half of the country’s electricity generation. The United States has been often called the Saudi Arabia of coal, but rather than taking advantage of our abundant natural resources in pursuit of middle class job growth and energy independence, the Obama administration has targeted coal for extinction. Coal has powered the U.S. economy and middle class for decades. With the right policies, coal can continue to provide reliable, affordable electricity, promote economic growth, and generate thousands of middle class jobs for decades to come.

Texas developer cancels power plant, blames Obama climate push
E&E Publishing, LLC
February 18, 2013

HOUSTON -- Developers quietly ended their push last week to open a new Texas coal-fired power plant.

White Stallion Energy LLC had been planning to build a new power station in Matagorda County, south of Houston along the Gulf of Mexico, that the company promised would be the cleanest and safest coal-burning power plant ever. But the company undermined its message somewhat and angered locals by fighting U.S. EPA limits on mercury emissions.

President Obama's renewed attention on climate change and low natural gas prices persuaded White Stallion to call off the 1,200-megawatt project.

"Pronouncements by the administration -- most recently in the President's State of the Union message -- continue to indicate that additional regulatory barriers to such projects will be erected," Chief Operating Officer Randy Bird said in a statement. "In addition, even though the generation needs for the state of Texas continue to grow, the presently low price of natural gas has made the price of electricity from a new coal fired generator uncompetitive at this time."

White Stallion faced opposition from environmentalists in Austin and from neighbors of the project site who expressed concern about the prospect of mercury contamination.

The company insisted its project would have been among the cleanest coal-fired generators in the world. It promised to process emissions during and after combustion, using techniques to scrub nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides, the main causes of acid rain. The company also said it would be using activated carbon to limit mercury emissions and capture fine particulates, or soot. …

Read the full article online here.

Obama EPA kills power plant, 3,900 jobs in Texas
Washington Examiner
January 24, 2013

Chase Power, the parent company behind the $3 billion Las Brisas coal power plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, announced yesterday that it was cancelling the project.

“Chase Power … has opted to suspend efforts to further permit the facility and is seeking alternative investors as part of a plan of dissolution for the parent company,” Chase CEO Dave Freysinger told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Freysinger made it very clear who was responsible for the projects death. “The (Las Brisas Energy Center) is a victim of EPA’s concerted effort to stifle solid-fuel energy facilities in the U.S., including EPA’s carbon-permitting requirements and EPA’s New Source Performance Standards for new power plants,” he said.

The Las Brisas power plant had been part of a larger Las Brisas Energy Center project planned for Corpus Christi’s Inner Harbor. Economists had projected that in the first 5 years of construction and operation the project would create as 1,300 direct and 2,600 indirect jobs. Now none of those jobs will exist. …

Read the full article online here.