President Obama likes to say he’s for the Republicans’ “all of the above” energy strategy, but his actions have only rarely backed up his words. But as the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported yesterday, it’s also what he doesn’t say:
“Yet it is the one energy resource about which President Obama dares not speak. In fact, Obama has not mentioned it since last year -- and then, only in passing at a news conference.”
“Last Thursday, in what the White House touted as his ‘big American-made energy’ speech, the president never mentioned coal.”
In the past, the president provided some rhetorical support for coal, much to the chagrin of some in his own party. But for more than a year, he has gone to great lengths to avoid mentioning the very word. For example, he promoted coal in his State of the Union address in 2009, 2010, and 2011, but not this year. And his once favorite energy phrase “the United States is the Saudi Arabia of coal” has now been replaced with “We are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.” He has not mentioned it once during his energy “tour de farce” this year.
While the president has dropped the word “coal” from his vocabulary, his administration has been pushing burdensome new regulations that would block more coal production. According to the Energy & Commerce Committee, the Utility MACT rule, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Coal Ash Rule, and the Cooling Water Intake Structure rule would cumulatively cost some $21 billion annually, while also increasing electricity rates and costing thousands of jobs.
While the president refuses to talk about one of America’s richest natural resources, Republicans continue to count coal as a critical component of our “all of the above” energy strategy. Last year, the House passed the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act (H.R. 2401), another element of the Republican Plan For America’s Job Creators and American Energy Initiative, that would require a study of the cumulative impacts of Obama administration rules on jobs, energy prices, and electric reliability, and would stop implementation of two of the most damaging rules for coal and coal-fired power.
As we saw during his energy “tour de farce,” three years of delaying and rejecting energy production hasn’t stopped President Obama from claiming he too is for “all of the above.” The difference is that when the president says “all of the above” he’s actually referring to the energy he’s blocking. This is the Obama Energy Gap. And in the case of coal, while the president refuses to acknowledge its existence, his own administration is taking concrete steps to block more coal production – the opposite of “all of the above.” It’s all just another glaring example of the president’s failed energy policies that are driving up energy costs, increasing gas prices, and costing more American jobs.