Four years ago, President Barack Obama campaigned on eliminating coal from America’s energy mix. And, unlike many campaign promises, this one is coming true.
Last month, Billings was shaken when we learned that the Corette coal-fired electrical generator in Yellowstone County will be shut down due to new Obama administration regulations. What has been happening in many other parts of the country, but we thought would never happen here, hit us squarely where it hurts: in our community and economy.
Corette isn’t the first generator that is being mothballed due to the Obama administration’s War on Coal. Already, 204 generating facilities in 25 states – representing 31 gigawatts of generating capacity – will go off line as a direct result of a barrage of carefully implemented new Environmental Protection Agency rules aimed at ending coal production and use.
For Montanans, the Corette announcement is a wake-up call – and a call to action.
Sixty percent of Montana’s electricity comes from coal. At 154 megawatts, enough to power 100,000 homes, Corette represents a significant share of our energy mix that will now have to be replaced. With little hope that anyone will be able to build a new coal-fired plant to replace the affordable power we get from Corette, the likely result will be that electricity for Montana will come from other, possibly out-of-state sources, causing our prices here in Montana to spike in coming years.
And Corette isn’t the only plant in Montana that is in jeopardy. Obama’s EPA already has additional proposed regulations on the drawing board aimed at power plants like the larger Colstrip generators. Piling several of these regulations on top of each other causes the compliance costs to skyrocket, making it nearly impossible for many existing power generators to stay in business.
For Obama and his politically motivated EPA supporters, that’s the whole point.