So much for the denials. An administration that denied it was waging a War on Coal has now come out and publicly declared its intention to shut down coal-fired power plants - putting hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work and sending electricity prices skyrocketing.
Obama claims he can do it all with no say from our elected representatives in Congress, but his designated point person for the effort, Gina McCarthy, awaits Senate confirmation. Given what we know now, a vote for McCarthy can only be understood as a vote for Obama's very expensive and destructive agenda.
Obama had no greater ally in the deliberate deception than Gina McCarthy. On April 13, 2010 she was asked point blank whether the EPA's power-plant greenhouse gas regulations would require coal plants to switch fuels. She said, "We haven't done it in the past, and there's been good reason why we haven't done it in the past."
McCarthy's insistence that the EPA would not require fuel-switching was instrumental in convincing coal-state Democrats to vote against a resolution less than two months later that would have barred EPA from implementing global warming regulations without Congressional approval. The vote, which was procedurally protected from filibuster, failed by just four votes.
Now that Obama is safely re-elected, there's no need to continue denying his fuel-switching policy. And in fact it's right there in black-and-white on page 19 of his newly released Climate Action Plan: "Going forward, we will promote fuel-switching from coal to gas for electricity production."
To reward her for her indispensable role in promoting this deception, Obama wants to promote McCarthy from her current EPA perch running the Office of Air and Radiation to the top job, from which she'll be called upon to systematically bypass the very Congress she deceived to implement Obama's anti-coal agenda.
Who better for that task than McCarthy? She once boasted in a commencement address that she "didn't go to Washington to sit around and wait for Congressional action. Never done that before, and don't plan to in the future."
Coal still produces 37 percent of U.S. electricity. A Heritage Foundation analysis found that implementing Obama's proposed regulation on existing coal plants would destroy more than 500,000 jobs, slash the income of a typical family of four more than $1,400 a year, and increase electricity prices at least 20 percent. Price spikes could be much higher in states that depend heavily on coal-fired power plants. President Obama once famously explained that he intended to make electricity prices "necessarily skyrocket."
Obama claimed McCarthy has "been held up for months, forced to jump through hoops no Cabinet nominee should ever have to." The truth is she's been asked eminently reasonable transparency questions by Senator David Vitter of Louisiana who thinks the American people deserve to know why, for instance, the scientific data underlying multi-billion-dollar regulations is being kept secret. So add a disturbing record of secrecy to her penchant for deception.
Senate Democrats have decided against passing the unpopular proposals they support legislatively (they never even considered the House-passed cap-and-trade bill) in favor of sitting back and letting the EPA take charge. Therefore the vote on McCarthy's nomination may be the only real vote on Obama's War on Coal. Senators who stand for jobs and affordable energy should vote against Gina McCarthy.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book Democracy Denied.
American Commitment is dedicated to restoring and protecting America’s core commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.
Washingtonian magazine named Mr. Kerpen to their "Guest List" in 2008 and The Hill newspaper named Mr. Kerpen a "Top Grassroots Lobbyist" in 2011.
Mr. Kerpen's op-eds have run in newspapers across the country and he is a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues.
Prior to joining American Commitment, Mr. Kerpen served as vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. Mr. Kerpen has also previously worked as an analyst and researcher for the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Kerpen currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Joanna and their daughter Lilly.