US Set to Regress From Modernity

Liberals denounce Donald Trump as a would-be tyrant, but the fact is that he ruled less by executive order than any other recent president. It is Joe Biden who has discarded the Constitution and imposed a blizzard of illegal or probably-illegal regulations on the rest of us.

Lately, they have been coming so furiously that it is hard to keep up with them. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board caught up with just one set, relating to power plants. The intent of the regulations is to set our economy and our material well-being back by as much as a century:

On Thursday the Environmental Protection Agency proposed its latest doozy—rules that will effectively force coal plants to shut down while banning new natural-gas plants.
Barack Obama’s regulation spurred a wave of coal plant closures. Now President Biden is trying to finish the job by tightening mercury, wastewater and ash disposal standards. EPA is also replacing the Obama Clean Power Plan that the Supreme Court struck down with a rule requiring that coal plants and new gas-fired plants adopt costly and unproven carbon-capture technology by 2032.

The Supreme Court held that Obama’s Clean Power Plan was illegal; Biden’s version likely will meet the same fate. But the damage done in the meantime will be incalculable.

Section 111 of the Clean Air Act says the EPA can regulate pollutants from stationary sources through the “best system of emission reduction” that is “adequately demonstrated.” Carbon capture is neither the best nor adequately demonstrated. As of last year, only one commercial-scale coal plant in the world used carbon capture, and no gas-fired plants did.

Existing carbon capture technology will badly degrade our ability to produce electricity:

Because carbon capture uses 20% to 25% of the electricity generated by a power plant, less will be available to the grid. That means more generators will be needed to provide the same amount of power. But new gas-fired plants won’t be built because the technology will make them uneconomic. Talk about a catch-22.

Another problem: CO2 must be stored underground in certain geologic formations, largely in the upper Midwest and Gulf Coast. Permitting new wells for CO2 injections can take six years. Pipelines to transport CO2 can take even longer. Green groups oppose pipelines for CO2 as they do for oil and natural gas.

All of this regulatory uncertainty will discourage the development of new gas-fired plants even as coal plants that currently generate about 16% of the country’s power are forced to retire.

So the federal government is forcing us to produce less electricity. Meanwhile, the demand for electricity is growing:

All of this will hit while demand for power is surging amid new manufacturing needs and an artificial intelligence boom. Texas’s grid operator this week raised its forecast for demand growth for 2030 by 40,000 megawatts compared to last year’s forecast. That’s about seven times the power that New York City uses at any given time.

Texas power demand will nearly double over the next six years owing to data centers, manufacturing plants, crypto mining and the electrification of oil and gas equipment.

We are on a collision course with disaster. And to what end? These new rules will do no good whatsoever, except for those who are on the Democratic Party’s “green” gravy train. They will get many billions of dollars, if not trillions, at the American people’s expense.

By the way, EPA plans to unveil soon another rule to reduce CO2 emissions from existing gas-fired plants, so some of them may also have to shut down. Meantime, China has added about 200 gigawatts of coal power over the last five years—about as much as the entire U.S. coal fleet. The Biden fossil-fuel onslaught will have no effect on global temperatures.

Biden’s purpose is not to benefit the climate, it is to benefit the vast “green” grift that is one of the Democratic Party’s main constituencies. The greens, but also Communist China. China controls the market for solar panels and wind turbines, and it also controls the raw materials that are necessary to produce solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and the hypothetical batteries that are the magical solution to the fact that weather-dependent sources of energy can never fuel an economy–a primitive economy, let alone a modern one.

Why is Biden destroying our electrical grid and dragging the United States back into the 19th century, to the immense benefit of the Chinese Communist Party? Occam’s Razor suggests that he is doing it on purpose. Even Joe Biden isn’t dumb enough to fail to understand where these policies are leading. I don’t know whether it is sheer, malicious anti-Americanism, or whether the millions of dollars that Biden and his family have gotten from China have made him the Manchurian Candidate. But, one way or another, the disastrous consequences of the Biden administration’s energy policies are obvious to anyone who pays attention.

Including, even, Slow Joe.

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