Mark Tapscott of the Washington Examiner uses his latest column to project the likely impact of federal rules that would force utilities to move away from coal-burning power plants.

So is the Obama proposal a pragmatic and centrist way to deal with global warming, or an economic calamity for hundreds of thousands of American families that will achieve little or nothing to improve the environment?

Don’t expect a straight answer to that question from the Obama administration, because the president himself appears to have lapsed back into his disastrous “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it — period” mode.

That’s seen in a claim Obama made Monday during a conference call with the American Lung Association concerning his proposal’s likely effect on utility rates.

According to The Wall Street Journal’s Amy Harder, Obama said his proposal “provides a huge incentive for states and consumers to become more energy efficient. As a result, your electricity bills will shrink, as these standards will spur investment in energy efficiency and cutting waste.”

That’s the exact opposite of what Obama said in a 2008 editorial board meeting at the San Francisco Chronicle: “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

Obama’s cheerleaders will no doubt defend him by claiming in 2008 he was referring to a different form of cap-and-trade compared to the state-level cap-and-trade system he’s proposed in 2014.

What is certain is that — assuming it ever actually goes into effect — Obama’s proposal will force hundreds of power plants to convert from using coal fuel to natural gas.

The conversion will be costly and those costs will be passed directly to consumers. The conversion will also take years to complete, meaning relief won’t be coming for several election cycles.