If you are keeping score and trying to figure "which side are you on", the EPA tips the Federal Government hand:
"What we are seeing now, with the change in the market that inexpensive natural gas has brought to the table, is a change in the marketability of those [coal] units and the electricity they generate," said Gina McCarthy, the Environmental Protection Agency's assistant administrator for air and radiation."So many retirements are expected just simply as a result of inexpensive natural gas."
Here is where the story gets complicated. You see, shale gas is seen to be both "friend and foe" to the US power grid:
As a foe, natural gas is a leading alternative to electricity for cooking, heating homes and water, drying clothes, and even in transportation.
In this case, gas competes with the generation of electricity (as opposed to fueling it). So, some big, bad energy companies might be looking to pop the alleged Marcellus bubble. You can count Big Coal among those enemies, marching side-by-side with environmentalists. Ahem!
There is quite a bit of hype surrounding the natural gas rush. I'm still confident that the boom is real. The overall policy narrative, industry and opposition (and folks between the two), points in that direction. As for the New York Times, I have lost a lot of respect for the newspaper. Churning out conspiracy theories isn't investigative journalism.