Describing recently implemented or approved regulations – including the Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standard, the Utility MACT standards, and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule – and their deep impacts on the coal industry, a report from the Heritage Foundation calls on Congress “to create a framework that restricts overregulation, empowers the states, balances economic growth and environmental well-being, and creates a timely permitting process for all aspects of coal production.” The report finds no issue with the free market changing coal’s share of our energy mix, but argues against artificially reducing that share through disincentives and regulation.

The report states that many of these new regulations have reached “a point of diminishing returns at which further tightening will impose exceedingly high costs on American energy consumers for unnoticeable environmental benefits.” The report argues that the regulations are largely based on shaky scientific rationale, and provide little or no benefit at great cost.

Among the report’s recommendations to Congress: Shift power on these issues away from federal agencies towards State governments; Freeze new federal environmental regulations; Repeal New Source Review; Prohibit the EPA from regulat­ing greenhouse gas emissions; Require congressional approv­al of major new regulations promulgated by agencies; Restructure and withdraw proposed Mine Safety and Health Administration worker safety rules; Eliminate subsidies for clean coal technologies.

Do the economic and energy security benefits of coal outweigh its environmental costs? What is your take on Heritage’s argument and recommendations? Would these recommendations, if implemented, save coal?