It produces more energy than any other fuel and is the nation’s most efficient maker of electricity, but the administration’s war on coal is leveling a new charge against the black gold: Few want it anymore because it’s expensive to mine.

Just days after the Environmental Protection Agency announced sweeping new anti-pollution rules that new coal-fired energy plants will have to follow, Administrator Gina McCarthy stepped up her criticism of coal.

“We know that coal isn’t the fuel of choice right now because of the economics in most cases,” she said.

“With low natural gas prices, with low energy demand, what we are seeing in our modeling,” she added, “is that coal, while it will still be a significant part of the energy mix, because of existing (energy plants), is not really the fuel of choice right now in the market.”

According to the Energy Department, coal plants produce 37 percent of U.S. energy, tops in the field. Renewable fuels, the administration’s pet, produce five percent. It also takes less coal to produce electricity than other sources.

And it’s not just expensive, she said. McCarthy blamed coal and the carbon emissions from coal plants for the bulk of global warming which officials claim is helping to spread sickness like childhood asthma, and helping to produce floods, droughts and mudslides.

“Climate change is real,” she said at a media roundtable hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “We think it is a significant public health threat,” she said of carbon emissions that the administration believes causes global warming.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at