You probably haven't heard this story -- it's been overshadowed by the media's ubiquitous coverage of the Supreme Court health care case.
But while every back was turned, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) quietly released new regulations that could cripple, or possibly even kill, many U.S. coal companies.
On March 27, the EPA unveiled a stringent proposal to limit any new power plant to a maximum emission of 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt of electricity produced. The average coal-fired plant currently operates well above that threshold, releasing 1,768 pounds of CO2 per megawatt.
As I've told readers of my Scarcity and Real Wealth advisory, this new rule doesn't just jeopardize many coal miners. It could be the final blow that virtually eliminates any future construction of coal plants in the United States (at least those without cleaner-burning coal or expensive scrubbing equipment).
The entire coal industry has already been taking a beating as it faces harsh competition from cheap and abundant natural gas.
The White House concedes that it lacks the votes to push costly climate-change policy through Congress. So if it can't implement environmental standards through the proper legislative channels, it will just bypass them and mandate through the EPA.
Heavy-handed government regulation is punishing investors, workers and homeowners. If we shun coal resources in favor of more expensive fuels, then power-generating costs will rise -- and so will your monthly electricity bill. Count on it.