Last week's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearings in Atlanta on rules intended to "dramatically cut emissions" from coal-fired electricity generating stations were as contentious as expected. 

The new rules are claimed to try prevent long-term climate change, including hotter summers and more intense storms - but the US has already done that, American energy sector CO2 emissions are back at early 1990s levels and coal is at early 1980s level. Yet global emissions have not gone down because China, India and Mexico, all exempt from climate treaty efforts, offset the reduction in the U.S.

The most dramatic cuts from the new rules will come from shutting plants down because they cannot pay the enormous cost of meeting the new rules. It will be impossible for many plants to comply at all which makes the Obama administration's solar power agenda more economically, though primarily by causing its competitors to skyrocket in cost. That hurts poor people the most.

"Environmentalist demonstrators will go home," stated Jane Orient, M.D., president of Physicians for Civil Defense. "They will do nothing to help poor people in Georgia cope with their lowered standard of living." 

Coal generates about 39% of electricity nationwide—and more than 60% in Georgia. The Climate Reality Project, which favors any rules that hurt existing energy, offered free Ben and Jerry's ice cream to demonstrators.

"Poor and unemployed people won't be eating ice cream when their power gets cut off," stated Jane Orient, M.D., president of Physicians for Civil Defense. "And when the price of energy goes up, the price of everything goes up."

Increasing cost is not the only problem, she noted. The nation's electrical grid is already stretched to the limit, and there is no immediate way to replace the electricity from coal. Solar and wind won't replace it—ever. They must have a reliable backup that works when the sun is not shining, and the wind is not blowing fast enough (but not too fast).

Industry such as automobile manufacturing must have reliable, affordable electricity. All other renewables combined, even after tens of billions of dollars in subsidies under the Obama administration, only add up to 2.1%. Because renewables are so inconsistent, that means the government will have to ask traditional energy to participate in a short-term, on-demand spot market. Germany alone spends $1 billion in costs for on-demand power rights.

"The EPA claims of health benefits from the rules are bogus," Orient stated. "It uses secret calculations based on secret data. Its assertion that a tiny amount of dust in outdoor air causes asthma attacks or sudden death doesn't even make sense."

At the recent meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in Knoxville, Tenn., Willis Eschenbach stated it would be comparable to the difference in the air temperature at his head and at his feet.

Storms have been less intense recently, and they did not increase with the six-fold increase in the use of hydrocarbon fuels since the Industrial Revolution.

Image: State Rep. Mary Margaret Olive, D-Decatur, spoke in favor of EPA's proposal Tuesday at Centennial Olympic Park, WABE