Have you ever paid an electrical bill and thought to yourself, “I hope this money will not only provide power to my house, but that it will also prop up the ultra-high-carbon coal industry, which would otherwise die a natural death”?
You haven’t? Well, that could be a problem if a current Energy Department proposal takes effect. The concept is pretty simple: the government would require that your utility bill help to prop up the full operating costs of coal power plants, even if those plants aren’t producing energy that you (or anyone else) will actually use.
Yes, even if Americans are increasingly getting their energy from solar, wind, hydropower, or (most commonly) natural gas, the Energy Department still wants a portion of everyone’s utility bill to fund coal plants — as though shutting them down will hurt their feelings or something.
It’s like the government telling everyone that a portion of your monthly Spotify subscription must go toward renting retail space for Sam Goody at your local mall. Or that part of your monthly gym fees have to go to Philip Morris USA.
The proposal is helmed by Energy Secretary Rick “D in Meats” Perry, who has long promoted himself as a free market conservative. A conservative who’s been propped up by the similarly “free market” Koch Brothers, who claim to hate it when the government “picks winners and losers.”
But apparently that ideology only applies to climate-saving technologies like solar panels and should be casually discarded when propping up a power technology that got its first smackdown from Charles Dickens and has only become less popular since.
What can’t be emphasized enough is that without intervention, the coal industry would naturally die off in true “free market” fashion. And it’s not even because of environmentalism, by the way; it’s because natural gas is so damn cheap.
But if the American people are forced to subsidize coal, it can live forever. It can wait out wind, gas, and solar, and technologies yet to be invented. It can even outlast the citizenry — continuing to belch out fumes over a barren American landscape, now too hot to inhabit, as humans flee for the poles.
Due to coincidental, unrelated reasons, of course.