Emily Arthur: Biden’s war on coal

Anthracite coal. Photo credit: https://legacystoves.com/news/anthracite-coal-5-things-to-know/


The Biden administration’s war on coal came out of the shadows recently, with the release of a new series of regulations that have the clear intent of locking up millions of acres of federal land from coal mining and drilling for oil and natural gas, as well as shutting down the nation’s remaining coal-fired power generation fleet.

The Bureau of Land Management released a new rule that will effectively make it impossible to continue to mine coal or drill for oil and gas anywhere on federally owned lands. This will cripple coal mining in the Powder River Basin and other western reserves, which provide most of the nation’s thermal coal used for energy production. This action alone would have been devastating, but it was just part of a much larger and far-reaching series of regulatory actions.

The new tranche of regulations was an 11th hour assault, issued literally days before the close of a window of time allowing a new President to reverse the decision by executive order. With this announcement, any reversal will have to come through action by both houses of Congress or by litigation in court.

These actions come despite the clear warnings by some of the Biden Administration’s own electric utility regulators that further closures of baseload energy capacity (such as coal) could result in the failure of the nation’s electric grid.

The new regulations effectively make it impossible for utilities to continue to operate coal-fired power plants without investing in new, largely unproven commercially and highly expensive, carbon capture technologies capable of cutting 95% of carbon dioxide emissions. It would also require the same of any new natural gas-powered facilities. However, existing natural gas facilities would be exempt from the requirement.

Make no mistake about it, this new series of regulations has one intent – to force the shutdown of the nation’s coal-fired generation fleet, starving it of much of its fuel source, and making it economically impossible to continue to operate these units.  Far from some panacea, these actions will ripple through the entire economy. They will drive already staggering electric bills out of reach for millions of American families, leaving them struggling with the choice of putting food on the table or heating and cooling their homes. Many of those on fixed incomes, such as retirees on social security, will be the hardest hit.

And even if you can afford to pay for electricity, it may not be there when you need it most. Further closure of baseload generation could (and likely will) push the electric grid past the breaking point during the very times when they need electricity the most – the heat of summer and the cold of winter.  It will result in the de facto rationing of energy and will also play out across the rest of the economy, driving inflation even higher and forcing many companies out of business.

Frankly, I do not understand this “damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead” approach to regulation. It seems allegiance to a radical green agenda is all that matters to the Biden Administration and the needs of average American families are not even on the radar.

America needs ready access to reliable and affordable energy. It is what built this great nation. There is no shortage of coal. There is no shortage of gas or oil. However, there does appear to be a shortage of common sense on the part of this administration.

Rather than using our vast resources of coal, oil, and gas, the Biden Administration seems intent on committing economic suicide. Over the next few decades, demand for electricity is projected to skyrocket. How will we meet that demand if we continue this administration’s reckless pursuit of a green fairy tale?

Emily Arthun is president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based American Coal Council. This article was originally published by RealClearEnergy and made available via RealClearWire.


  1. The reason to do this, as well as import natural gas, is to make the price of fossil fuels so high that electrical generation from so called renewable resources looks cost effective. With Clean technology and carbon sequestration, coal can be as clean as renewables with base-load. The green-weeny climate deniers do not want that. And the anti-carbon sequestration nut jobs are playing right into their hands.

  2. Well, I would certainly expect a measured and unbiased article on this topic from the President and CEO of the American Coal Council. Next, perhaps we can have an article by Lia Thomas on the fairness of trans “women” competing in women’s swimming.

  3. The only thing that makes sense is this: While creating this unneeded crisis, there are those handful of companies out there making plans for nuclear power plants, utilizing current technology. When this democratically controlled government finally breaks the backs of millions of citizens, it will then proudly proclaim that nuclear is our only option. See, right now that word is a political killer but when the time is right, when certain politicians are positioned to make millions on it, nuclear will be offered as the only hope we have.

    Our country absolutely can’t be ran solely on wind and the sun.

  4. What will happen when the UAF’s $300 million brand new coal-fired power plant shuts down because Joe Usibelli can’t shovel any more coal out of the ground and sell it to UAF? Can Usibelli ask for his donated money back from UAF?

    More importantly, how will all of the climate idiots at UAF stay warm during the winter and turn on their lights?

    Kind of a cluster f*ck irony that the so-called intellectuals at UAF chose coal to help educate (brainwash) their goofy climate action students.

    They shoulda built a nuke.

    • UAF’s so-called, quasi intellectuals prefer millions of dollars donated by the Usibellis in exchange for long-term coal contracts. Money trumps clean air at the university level. As long as UAF keeps getting big donors like Usibelli to pony up, coal combustion will be running the university into the 22nd century. Smart folks on that little hill.

      • The particulate from the UAF coal plant goes up about 300 feet into the atmosphere during the winter, then flattens itself laterally all throughout Fairbanks because of the cold temperature inversions. Then, the far left-wing loonies blame the pollution on borough residents for using their wood stoves to keep warm. Then, the local government forbids the use of wood stoves during extreme cold.
        This is the thought process of “educated” folks with degrees from UAF. I sent my kids to the lower 48 for their schooling.

  5. I stopped reading after “came out of the shadows recently”.

    Recently? Only if you’ve been living on Mars.

    Grandpa Bloodstains said while running for office he wanted to shut down all fossil fuels.

  6. Ignorance produces fear that enables manipulation via propaganda.
    France’s electric power production is 71% nuclear since the 1980’s and they are building new plants. Many other countries are currently building nuclear plants as it is the most efficient and clean. Carbon fuel is most efficient, abundant and necessary in many applications/locations.
    ENERGY IS THE CURRENCY OF PROGRESS AND PROSPERITY, but the eugenicists religion is to pursue poverty and death with energy strangulation being one of many suicidal tactics. Fight the fear, learn and live !

  7. High value coal will always be useful for smelting. A simple carbon tax would let the free market determine the best option for power generation

  8. And everyone will pretend that this abuse of unelected bureaucracy to irreparably harm our economy and environment, and destroy living standards of our citizens is “legal”. The executive office is held by an individual who is not mentally or cognitively able to comprehend what he is doing. He has been found by a court incapable to respond to legal proceedings. The unelected puppet string masters work as form of a Politburo making policy decisions, which is not Constitutional. One could argue every legislation signature, executive order, treaty, directive or any action that has been taken since the mannequin president was installed is illegal and void. All electric grids must have a reliable source(s) of energy that operate 24/7 hours. The primitive methods of capturing energy from wind and sun currently in use are only at a research and development stage. We are literally committing national suicide by allowing this charade to continue.

    • “A lot of people say to me today—the toughest business people, people that you know about—’Could I ask you a question? How do you do it?’ I say, ‘Do what?’ ‘How do you get up in the morning and put your pants on? Why do you put the pants on?’,” he told supporters. “I’ll explain it to you someday. ‘How do you do it? How do you get up? How do you do it?'”

  9. Collapsing The power grid isn’t a bug to them its a feature. They want everyone but them, either shivering in the dark, or dead!! Preferably the latter.


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