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-- now is Dan Weiss.
Senior fellow for the Center for American Progress Action Fund in -- -- business columnist with the Houston Chronicle gentlemen thank you so much for joining me.
-- having me.
Certain -- let me start with you -- as a -- call right now we've heard a lot about that do you agree with that.
No absolutely not there's no war -- war on call there are however.
Cheaper cleaner alternatives to burning coal to generate electricity like natural gas.
And utilities have decided to use them that's why natural gas -- -- gone up 50% in the last four years because gas is really cheap.
And -- you add India cost -- -- the health impacts of coal its chief Ed natural gas is even more favorable OK so that's where there's no real well there's no -- cold.
There thing going on though Lauren if half a dozen coal burning plants that have been in the planning are stepping up their plant serving as quickly as possible to begin construction.
Before new rules from the EPA go into effect in April 2013 there's something going on.
Well there's absolutely something going on and we've seen this in Texas we probably permitted more new coal plants here -- any other state in the union.
But it really -- a lot more to do with hydraulic fracturing -- it does with anything that the EPA is -- Yeah I mean that's absolutely -- that that one of the big.
You know impacts on coal right now as the fact that natural gas -- all of a sudden so plentiful and so cheap.
That is crowding out in and you know making it harder for people to start coal plants.
Deal -- do you think that isn't -- dangerous to become dependent on from one.
Energy source -- mean if we focus all -- our energy and natural gas we ignore the fact that we -- the Saudi Arabia of coal it seems like that's dangerous long term plan as well well that.
Yes but that's nobody is -- I mean that might be a fiction myth perpetuated by the right wing media but in fact.
President Obama hasn't all of the above strategy which includes you burning coal more cleanly for electricity using natural gas -- electricity.
Using oil but more efficiently by having cars go much further on a gallon -- gas and also investing in clean alternatives we've doubled our renewable electricity generation.
In the past three and a half years and we need to keep doing that.
That's all of the above strategy which in the long gonna create jobs manufacturing -- -- new cleaner technologies Lauren.
You believe is -- say he right wing media conspiracy and the president really has and all of the above strategy that.
I think what's going on with coal is is basic economics as you alluded to natural gas prices are are significantly lower than they were a couple of years ago.
Lot of these coal companies invested in plans they've invested billions of dollars to build these new plants.
And and they did that because especially here in taxes.
What if you if you were generating electricity with coal you were basically guarantee to profit because the margin was the difference between the price of -- the price of natural gas.
That margins gone away it's it's completely guided the economics of the business.
And now these guys are looking for something to blame and so you know regulations are convenient scapegoat but.
The fact is they new regulations we're gonna get tougher they may not know exactly how -- when.
But they knew something was coming so -- really more about economic -- I think.
Do you think that clearly -- I just wanna make sure is that weren't -- good point I I know but do we think that the EPA regulations are on beasts.
And our fair are they too restricted by I would ask each of you that question Lauren what do you think of -- and you'll get a chance because I -- going up because we're seeing industry react to them.
Are they justified for cleaner air do they go to part what do you think.
-- -- mean certainly the regulations -- deal with things like Mercury I mean these are these are very toxic chemicals we know they're bad for us.
So it's kinda hard to argue that the tightening restrictions on on you know Mercury.
It is is a bad thing I mean again you know the industry knew this was coming even the carbon emissions stuff the global warming stuff -- -- -- you know these things have been in the works for years and and I -- find it hard to believe that you would have even started building a coal plant.
510 years ago and and couldn't read the writing on the wall.
Yet DNA you -- you two seem to agree on everything but I'll let you get in the last word what do you think by the -- partners to distract.
No they're not fact efforts I agree with Lauren you know -- law that these -- regulations were done from.
Was passed in 1990.
-- it had more than twenty years to get ready for secondly EPA scientists believe that the rules to control Mercury.
Other toxic chemicals soot and smog will save 60000.
Lives every year and reduce hospitalizations.
By an equal amount.
Every single year that's a very good for help particularly for our children and senior citizens okay were annoyed at their -- thanks for joining us.