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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

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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 "You will see a decrease in emissions ,” Wheeler argued, saying that U.S. investments would lead to new technologies.

EPA proposes easing carbon dioxide emissions rules for new coal -fired power plants . The Environment Protection Agency on Thursday announced plans to ease rules for new coal plants , marking the Trump administration's latest effort to roll back Obama-era climate regulations.

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.

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The Environmental Protection Agency proposal would revise its “ New Source Performance Standards” for coal power plants , allowing coal -fired generators to emit The EPA will collect public comments on the proposal for 60 days and plans to hold a public hearing on the proposed rule change.

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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.

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"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.

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The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to announce the plan on Thursday, according Under the Obama administration plan , first proposed in 2013, carbon dioxide emissions from new coal plants were so severely limited that the rule effectively blocked new construction unless plants

The Environmental Protection Agency proposal would revise its " New Source Performance Standards" for coal power plants , allowing coal -fired This would ease an Obama-era rule that was a central target in critics' accusations of a "war on coal ." The coal industry argues the existing Obama

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.

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The Environmental Protection Agency proposal would revise its " New Source Performance Standards" for coal power plants , allowing coal -fired This would ease an Obama-era rule that was a central target in critics' accusations of a "war on coal ." The coal industry argues the existing Obama

The Environmental Protection Agency proposal would revise its " New Source Performance Standards" for coal power plants , allowing coal -fired generators to emit more CO2 per megawatt-hour of electricity generated. This would ease an Obama-era rule that was a central target in critics'

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.”

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

The Trump administration wants to reverse a rule that would have required new coal plants to have expensive technology to Listener-supported WNYC is the home for independent journalism and courageous conversation on air and online. Broadcasting live from New York City on 93.9 FM and AM

The EPA is preparing to roll back CO2 rules for coal plants . Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images. The Environmental Protection Agency , now led by acting Administrator Andrew This would have likely required new coal plants to install carbon capture technologies to limit some of their emissions .

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.

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