EPA to strike blow against climate rules, reports say

Rodiano Bonacci
Dicembre 6, 2018

Americans are consuming less coal in 2018 than at any time since Jimmy Carter's presidency, a federal report said Tuesday, as cheap natural gas and other rival sources of energy frustrate the Trump administration's pledges to revive the US coal industry.

According to anonymous sources speaking to The New York Times, the EPA will announce a rollback of this rule on Thursday, effectively making it possible for energy companies to build new coal plants that emit up to 1,900 pounds of CO 2 per MWh, which is more in-line with emissions from modern coal plants without carbon capture.

In fact, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) wrote yesterday that USA coal consumption was the lowest it has been since 1979. Tougher pollution rules also have compelled some older, dirtier-burning coal plants to close rather than upgrade their equipment to trap more harmful coal emissions.

"Coal use is at its lowest level in almost four decades and the Trump administration can't stop this country from continuing to move beyond coal", said Mary Anne Hitt, senior director of Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign. He and other Republicans frequently attacked former President Barack Obama for waging what they called a "war on coal" through increased regulations that Republicans said killed jobs and harmed the industry.

At a rally in West Virginia last summer, Trump declared, "The coal industry is back".

Federal government figures continue to show otherwise, however, as market forces inexorably tamp down coal demand. "Only one, relatively small, new coal-fired generator with a capacity of 17 megawatts is expected to come online by the end of 2019", the EIA wrote.

Still, if the Trump EPA does roll back Obama's regulations, it may not have a significant effect on the coal market in the US. The shale boom created a glut of cheap natural gas in America, and the costs to deploy wind and solar continue to plunge.

Pizarchik, who worked under the Obama administration, is now a consultant on water quality and reforestation.

Spokespeople for the USA departments of Energy and Interior did not immediately return requests for comment Tuesday. "This is economic opportunity for a region" that needs it, Perry said.

National gas production in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia has jumped from 2 percent of the nation's total in 2008 to 27 percent a year ago, Perry said.

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