“The Sierra Club may be thankful for a windfall to fight affordable energy, but families across the country facing higher utility bills won’t be so grateful,” cautioned NMA’s President and CEO Hal Quinn.

Not to be out done, that same day the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the environmental lawyers that compete with the Club for the title of the greenest pressure group in Washington, told a credulous press corps that the Clean Power Plan its lawyers wrote for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will actually be good for poor people. No, this is not a joke, it’s their belief.

If higher electricity prices are good for the poor, then a kazoo band sounds better than the Berlin Philharmonic. Why not double utility bills then and cut our growing poor population in half?

The funders of these two environmental organizations are the 1%, the very financial plutocrats the White House excoriates when it doesn’t have its hand in their pockets. Their combined membership is as racially diverse as a Mad Men country club. The White House promised an administration that looks more like America, i.e. more like Wal-mart shoppers. This crowd looks more like the Wal-mart family.

But they know what’s best for low-income Americans, the blue-collar families and the rest of the shrinking middle class. They don’t socialize with such people, let alone hire them.

But to assuage the guilt of an exclusive and affluent movement, the new progressives must invoke the language of the now passé labor liberals of the civil rights era. Liberals who once stood up for striking steelworkers now stand up when rich donors walk in the room. The “progress” made by Progressives.

The litigation and policies they support, enthusiastically embraced by the administration, have already taken a steep toll on the source of most of the country’s cheapest and most reliable electric power as well as its employment base. In the past three years, almost 28,000 miners have lost their jobs. The 2012 Mercury and Air Toxics rule has alone brought the reliability of the power grid to the edge of collapse in some regions. Pending rules like the Clean Power Plan, the president’s sacrificial offering to the UN climate clique, will take down more coal capacity and more jobs baring a bold decision from the courts and smart decisions by the nation’s governors.

Earlier this spring, NMA argued before the Supreme Court for an injunction against the mercury rule. We believe the EPA unlawfully ignored its enormous costs while fantasizing about its health benefits. A decision expected this summer could resurrect a significant volume of generating capacity. Similarly, NMA in April will argue in a federal court here that the Clean Power Plan is also unlawful.

It’s certainly going to be costly. Independent studies of different state compliance strategies arrive at similar price tags: anywhere from $366 billion to $407 billion will be added to the nation’s power tab.

But this will be good for us, say the new sun worshipers, because we’ll use less. Maybe the poor will be forced to buy halogen light bulbs, put a Tesla in the garage…if they only had a garage. Leaders of low-income minorities and fixed-income seniors aren’t buying this wet-is-the-new-dry argument. “Unforgivably, the burden of these costs is going to fall disproportionately on those who can’t afford them,” said Jim Martin, chairman of the 60 Plus Association, who represents 7.2 million seniors. Dr. Charles Steele, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, asked the EPA “to think twice about pursuing extreme rules that will have a negligible environmental impact, but could bring great pain to hard-working everyday Americans.”
Amen, brothers.

Luke Popovich is a spokesperson for the National Mining Association, the industry’s trade group based in Washington, D.C.