•   
  •   
  •   

USEPA announces plan to ease carbon emissions rule for new coal plants

22:55  06 december  2018
22:55  06 december  2018 Source:   msn.com

EPA to roll back carbon rule on new coal plants

EPA to roll back carbon rule on new coal plants EPA to roll back carbon rule on new coal plants

EPA announces plan to ease carbon emissions rule for new coal plants© Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post A towboat pushing barges full of corn up the Mississippi River past the coal-fired Sioux Power Plant in West Alton, Mo. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday it plans to reverse a rule that would have forced new U.S. coal plants to install technology to capture their carbon dioxide emissions, marking the latest effort by the Trump administration to repeal Obama-era climate regulations.

Acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler said at an afternoon news conference that the Obama administration’s rule, which effectively required any new coal plant to have costly carbon capture equipment to meet certain emissions standards, was “disingenuous” because the costs of the technology made new coal plans infeasible.

Analysis: Why America's coal industry is not coming back

Analysis: Why America's coal industry is not coming back The Trump administration attempted a daring rescue of the coal country, but the pro-coal agenda is failing to jump-start a renaissance — and analysts don't see one on the horizon. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Despite trying for nearly two years to prop up coal by rolling back climate regulations, the industry remains in sharp decline — coal consumption peaked in 2007.

Wheeler said the Trump administration’s proposed policy would have “high yet achievable standards that are rooted in reality,” that would result in “leveling the playing field” for all types of fuels.

Subscribe to the Post Most newsletter: Today’s most popular stories on The Washington Post

"You will see a decrease in emissions,” Wheeler argued, saying that U.S. investments would lead to new technologies. “By allowing the genius of the private sector to work, we can keep American energy reliable and abundant.”

The latest Trump administration environmental rollback, if adopted, likely would have little real-world impact, both industry representatives and environmental activists said.

“There are not going to be any new coal plants built in the U.S., with or without this,” said David Doniger, a senior climate and energy policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, noting that the low price of natural gas in recent years has made coal less economically viable.

House lawmakers introduce first bipartisan carbon tax bill in a decade

House lawmakers introduce first bipartisan carbon tax bill in a decade A small group of Democratic and Republican House lawmakers introduced Tuesday night the first bipartisan carbon tax legislation in nearly a decade as a way to combat climate change. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida, the Democratic co-chair of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, unveiled the bill along with fellow members of the group, Reps. Francis Rooney, R-Fla., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., Charlie Crist, D-Fla., and John Delaney, D, Md.

Nevertheless, Doniger called the proposal a “head-in-the-sand” attempt to pander to the coal industry for which Wheeler used to lobby, and to ignore ever-growing evidence of the risks of climate change.

“The science is telling us we drastically need to cut back on the emissions from fossil fuel combustion,” Doniger said. “Any administration which is looking at reality would not be repealing this requirement, it would be looking at ways to extend it . . . They are going exactly backwards.”

Jeff Holmstead, a partner at the law and energy lobbying firm Bracewell and former head of the EPA’s air and radiation office, agreed that undoing what effectively amounted to a ban on new coal plants is “mostly symbolic at this point.” Moreover, Holmstead said, there has never been an application for modifying or reconstructing a plant under the section of the Clean Air Act the rule is based upon.

California is first state to mandate zero-emission bus fleet

California is first state to mandate zero-emission bus fleet California is moving to eliminate fossil fuels from its fleet of 12,000 transit buses. It's a first-in-the-nation mandate that will vastly increase the number of electric buses on the road. The California Air Resources Board voted unanimously Friday to require that all new buses be carbon-free by 2029. Environmental advocates project that the last buses emitting greenhouse gases will be phased out by 2040. While clean buses cost more than the diesel and natural gas vehicles they will replace, say they have lower maintenance and fuel costs.

The National Mining Association, however, said that building new more-efficient coal plants could reduce the nation’s overall carbon dioxide emissions. “Improving the average efficiency rate of coal-fired power plants from 33 percent to 40 percent by using the advanced high efficiency, low emissions technology that exists could cut U.S. coal-plant emissions by up to 21 percent,” said Ashley Burke, a spokeswoman for the trade association.

Building new coal plants would be expensive, however. Burke said companies would need subsidies in the form of tax incentives and loan guarantees. Last month, Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.) proposed legislation that would provide loan guarantees and other incentives for the construction of new coal plants.

But advocates of renewable energy say that the sort of drastic reductions in carbon dioxide emissions needed to slow global warming would come only with the continued closing of coal plants and replacing them with wind, solar or geothermal facilities.

“This proposal is another illegal attempt by the Trump administration to prop up an industry already buckling under the powerful force of the free market,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), said in a statement. Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said "If the president cared about coal miners, he would start working on ways to help the industry’s workforce adjust to the new economic reality and begin investing in their future.”

Landmark environmental protections being rolled back

Landmark environmental protections being rolled back Landmark environmental protections are being rolled back by the Trump administration. It is expected to announce a major rollback of federal protections for streams and wetlands as soon as next week. President Donald Trump commanded the Environmental Protection Agency last year to rewrite an Obama-era law determining what waterways fall under the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Environmental groups say more than a half-century of federal preservation of even remote, unloved and at times bone-dry creeks and wetlands has helped protect major downstream lakes and rivers from upstream pollutants, fertilizer runoffs and oil spills, helped clean up big

A panel of U.N. scientists said in a recent report that coal and gas plants still operating need to be equipped with carbon-capture technologies to achieve the reduction in carbon emissions necessary for keeping the world under 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming past preindustrial levels.

“This is just one more step this administration is taking that shows a pretty complete disregard for public health and the health of the planet, in favor of what appears here to be a pretty elusive goal,” said Janet McCabe, who served as the EPA’s acting assistant administrator for Office of Air and Radiation during the Obama administration and helped shape the existing rule.

McCabe called the emissions standards set during her watch “appropriate” and said the Trump administration will likely have to defend in court its reasons for easing them.

“Sending a signal of minimal ambition, if any, is the wrong direction to go when we’ve just been told by the National Climate Assessment that things are pretty dire,” she said, calling it the latest signal of the administration’s disregard for climate-related risks. “They’ve been giving nothing but this signal with rule after rule after rule.”

The Energy Information Administration said this week that U.S. coal consumption had fallen to a 40-year low. The agency said that the use of coal by the U.S. power sector will drop by 4 percent, or 691 million short tons, during 2018.

Power generators in the United States will close down coal-fired power plants with 14.3 gigawatts of capacity this year, more than twice the 7 gigawatts of capacity retired in 2017, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Another 22.9 gigawatts of coal plants are already scheduled for shutdown by 2024.

These other GM car plants might be at risk as sales slide.
General Motors, whose plan to shut four U.S. factories infuriated the president, might have more cutting to do. The largest U.S. automaker spared three plants that build slow-selling cars from a production restructuring Donald Trump loudly criticized this week. The factories employ more than 5,100 people, according to GM’s website. © Bloomberg GM’s Chevrolet Camaro plant in Lansing, Mich.; Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Ky.; and Chevy Malibu facility in Fairfax, Kan., all have been operating well below production capacity, according to data compiled by just-auto and Bloomberg Intelligence.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

This is interesting!