NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 6, 2008

Barak Obama has singled out new coal plant construction for big taxes.  The scheme, part of his cap-and-trade energy policy, is meant to tax coal producers straight out of business, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

First, the plan will first destroy America's domestic energy producers, and once that bridge is burned, force the United States to rely on alternative energies that have not been developed, says IBD.

History shows that centrally planned industries fail, and when there's an energy shortage, the private sector works best when it's left alone.  The Obama plan would also destroy America's best competitive advantage -- its treasure trove of coal and the companies that produce it. Consider:

  • America is the Saudi Arabia of coal, with the world's largest demonstrated reserve base of 489 billion short tons.
  • About 93 percent of it is used to produce electricity, and it provides about half of U.S. electricity needs.
  • As the nation's economy expands, that need for coal is projected to grow about 20 percent by 2030.
  • If that need can't be met, consumers will be hit with high prices brought on by shortages.
  • Meanwhile, America's 80,000 miners and 1.6 million workers in coal-related and coal-dependent industries would suffer from taxes on new coal power plants.

The biggest problem with the plan, says IBD, is that it taxes productive companies and offers nothing but "hope" to replace the missing energy.  It does not propose using our current resources as a bridge to cleaner energy; instead, it would stop their use cold.  No nuclear power, no offshore drilling, no new coal plants, and if consumers have to pay more, too bad.

Source: Editorial, "Obama's Mine Shaft," Investor's Business Daily, November 3, 2008.


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